Drawing a Shaggy Dog Named Pavlov

Pavlov, the real dog, photo courtesy Howard Campbell

Howard Campbell first told me the story of the real dog Pavlov at Zandunga, a restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico. Pavlov is a bright and fun-loving dog, who learned a lot through positive psychological reinforcement. Pavlov had belonged to his late brother. The photo above shows Pavlov at George Campbell’s grave. Howard asked me to illustrate a children’s book he wrote about the shaggy hound. Below is how I drew Pavlov based on that one photo.

Pavlov, drawn in ink, colored in Photopshop @2010 Kevin McCloskey

Howard Campbell, PhD, of the University of Texas, El Paso, is an interesting guy. As an anthropologist he is one of the foremost experts on Oaxaca’s Zapotec culture. He also has the considerable courage to document the most terrifying stories of the border region in a new book, Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juárez. Alma Guillermoprieto’s recent essay The Murderers of Mexico in The New York Review of Books called this work “so breathtakingly sensible as to amount to genius.”

He told an El Paso newspaper writing the drug book was an “arduous process because of the delicacy of the topic and the need to handle it with scientific rigor.” A Dog Named Pavlov, on the other hand, he calls a “labor of love,” a memorial to his brother loosely based on his beloved and energetic dog.

Pavlov as a Puppy

For me, it was fun trying to draw Pavlov as he grew from puppy to adult. Technically, I got to try something different. I sketched in ink on paper until I got the right likeness, then scanned the ink drawing. I open the drawing in Photoshop. There is mode in Photoshop called Multiply. Basically, it makes my ink drawing into layer that can be “back-painted.”  I used a Wacom tablet rather than a mouse to lay down the color. The end result is much like an animation cel.

Pavlov at Play

A Dog Named Pavlov, Un Perro Llamado Pavlov, is a bilingual, Spanish and English children’s book published by Stanley Publishing of El Paso, Texas. The 44-page paperback tells just a bit about the famed Russian scientist, Pavlov’s namesake, then launches into the story of the shaggy dog’s life. Most bookstores should be able to order a copy in time for Christmas, but the quickest way to get a copy if you’d like one is to order direct from Stanley Publishing though this link.

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