The Creative Endeavors Thread Gets into the Dog Days of Summer

This is the space for our members to discuss and share their creative projects, ranging from written works to drawings, photography, and even craft projects such as knitting and woodworking. Self promotion is welcome (websites where we can view and/or purchase your work). Please do continue to preface if content is NSFW and be sure to properly spoiler/link such content. Those of you who’d like to post future Creative Endeavors Threads post your request in the comments below.

Hey, it’s me, Zicholaz Zivins. I’m an artist, illustrator, designer, and comics creator in Southern California. For about the past year and a half I’ve been focusing on a series of Día de los Muertos dog and cat portraits. Prior to that I had been exploring both Day of the Dead imagery of people and wild animals in my art for the entirety of my art career (about a decade), so it seemed a logical step to combine them in a new series. And I won’t lie – I had a feeling it would most likely be a profitable path, since people really seem to like their furry friends.

The pandemic provided ample time to flesh out the small handful I had already done prior to the shut down, so I decided to commit to the series in a way I hadn’t really done before with anything else. Focusing on the most popular breeds of mostly dogs (with some cats), I’ve done 18 pieces so far, and plan to have another 10 done before the end of this year. I do them in sets of five, spending a week on each, and then sending them to print at the end of the batch.

They’ve proven pretty popular on my Etsy shop, with sales outpacing every other kind of piece I have. Although 2020 was the worst year I’ve had as an artist in terms of overall sales, it was the best year I’ve ever had in online sales. So I’ve been leaning into that ever since. I have them available as paper prints, canvases, candles, stickers, and greeting cards.

Some people respond to these pieces because of a pet they’ve lost recently, and I’ve received emotional messages from customers saying as much. I’m glad that these things I draw can help fill the space a friend left behind. One of the reasons I got into doing Day of the Dead was because of how its traditions and philosophies on life and death resonated with me. Día de los Muertos has grown in popularity in recent years due in part to its cool and colorful aesthetics, but it represents something deep and resonant for many, including myself. It’s a way of dealing with pain and loss in a bright celebratory way, emphasizing how precious life is, as well as the friends we shared it with – human or animal.

What have you been up to creatively?