If you’ve tapped out on cute holiday card ideas featuring your pet, how about a little cartoon inspiration. Illustrator George Berlin will be at each of the Bentley’s Corner Barkery locations this weekend drawing personalized holiday cards featuring the best star in your house – your pet.
“I’ve digitally designed five different holiday cards that have various scenes – it’s just missing a pet,” says Berlin. “I’ll have a computer, monitor and drawing tablet at the event and will draw illustrations of people’s pets and personalize the drawings. It works best with photos, so I can really capture a pet and there is room on the card to add names.”
Although he has five set backgrounds for the card, there’s plenty of ways to personalize by adding hats, toys and other props to the photos. You may also add your pet’s name to a stocking, gift tag or scarf in the photo and add your own message as well.
“It’s a good idea to bring a good photo of your pet because it’s much easier for me to do a good illustration from the photo, especially with feedback about a pet’s personality,” Berlin adds. “A few days after the event, you’ll get an email with the illustration that you can print out. You can also turn that into an eCard and pass it along on social media.”
Berlin is a freelance animator for a living. He started out doing fun animated profile illustrations for Facebook pages on the side a few years ago. In the past year, he’s started focusing on more pet drawings after he did some animated pet drawings for a Border collie agility group.
“After I started doing the dogs, it just exploded into a huge group of people wanting illustrations and paintings,” says Berlin, who does paintings along with his computer illustrations. “I live in Ravenswood and I’ve meet so many other dog people when I’m out walking my own dog. That has also led me to a lot of business.”
“Since I work off photographs, one of the cool things I’ve been able to do is a pet family photo for people including all the pets they’ve had,” says Berlin. “People love being able to have their dog from 20 years ago in the same illustration or painting with their current pet.”
He’ll be at Bentley’s Corner Barkery at 90 South Evergreen in Arlington Heights from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Schaumburg store at 691 East Golf. Slots are filling up in advance so call 224-735-2160 for a reservation in Arlington Heights and 847-278-1048 for a reservation in Schaumburg.
In the past, he’s done 40 to 50 drawings in an afternoon at events like this. He also has been a fixture at Chicago Party Animals Wagging Wednesdays. The charge this weekend is $60 per illustration with 10-percent of the proceeds being donated to the Trio Animal Foundation. Along with the illustrations and paintings, he also has custom Christmas ornaments that can either be ordered online or ordered at the Bentley’s event. They’ll ship out later.
Check out Berlin’s work online and follow him on Facebook. If you’d like to reach out to George for your own special pet illustrations or art, you may reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (773) 470-8060 or shop his online store. You may also order your holiday illustrations of your pet there if you can’t make it out to Bentley’s.
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