Digital Artist Captures Dogs’ Personas

Marriage of photography and digital media creates very personal dog portraits.

Baltimore artist Robert McClintock blends his experience as a professional photographer and his self-taught computer skills to create art through photo-digital illustration.

To create the artwork, McClintock begins by using his photographer’s eye to capture pets on camera. The artwork moves into its second stage of creation when McClintock manipulates the photo on his computer, changing the image to one that mirrors a painting created on canvas.

“It’s all hand-painted in Photoshop,” he said. “I really emphasize that. It’s not a point and click kind of production. I use the brushes and I use a digital pen. All the brush strokes are done by hand, and no Photoshop filters are used. I’m adamant about that…all the brush strokes are hand-mushed by me.”

McClintock changed his medium several years ago after stumbling upon designers who were laying out catalogs digitally.

“I thought, ‘oh boy, I bet I can do something on the computer and I bet I can accomplish something really cool.’ And the stars kind of aligned one day,” he said. “And I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I didn’t know what I was going to do. But I bought a Mac and I bought Photoshop, and this is what I came up with.”

It’s been eight years since McClintock completely crossed over and five years since he’s had his own gallery in Baltimore. Now he strictly focuses on digital art. He creates cityscapes as well as cat and dog art, but began incorporating pets because of his at-home inspiration.

“I have models on staff at my house at any given time,” he said. “I have four cats, so it kind of started off with one of my black cats,” he said. “And the way the dogs kind of entered into it is a guy asked me if I would paint a picture of his dog…And people really liked it.

“I’m big on eye contact with the dogs instead of these far-off-looking gazes,” McClintock says of his style. “I like to be up close to them and [have them] really looking right at me because I think it’s all in the eyes. The same goes for cats.”

In 2005 McClintock was the artist selected for the PetSmart Charities “Just a Buck, Change Their Luck” campaign. His artwork was placed in PetSmart stores nationwide and on T-shirts, backpacks and buttons in an effort to solicit donations to help homeless animals. During the campaign featuring McClintock’s artwork, $3.2 million was raised for animals, he said.

To view more of McClintock’s artwork, visit his website.

–Heidi Hatch, Associate News Editor for

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