by Vickie Jenkins
Almost all of us can remember our childhood days. We were stress-free, not a care in the world as we used our imaginations; using our fat, little fingers to sculpture our own little work-of-art with play-dough, color with brightly-colored crayons and draw numerous pictures. Our artwork seemed to take over the refrigerator. Did you know that as we were being creative, we were relieving stress? No wonder we were having so much fun!
Meet Danny Gordon, a self-taught multi-award winning artist/illustrator from Oklahoma City, OK. Danny has been drawing since the age of five years old. “I come from a family of 7 children. When I was growing up, my brothers and I would sit around the dining room table after dinner and draw pictures; animals, cars, houses, robots and anything else that seemed to fit a typical little boy’s style. Well, except for me. I was drawing people,” Danny answered with a smile.
After graduating high school, Danny attended several area colleges where he furthered his artistic skills and won numerous awards in the process, including the Most Prestigious Art Student in Oklahoma for 2 consecutive years, Prestigious Honor of Graphic Communication of Oklahoma and numerous awards for first place for his outstanding artwork. Most of his drawings consisted of portraits of people. Each canvas brought out the unique and creative side of Danny.
One of Danny’s first jobs was at C.R. Anthony Co. as an illustrator/fashion designer where he designed the ads for newspapers and magazines. His artwork was featured in various art shows, libraries, schools and children’s books. It was in 2004, Gordon’s art work expanded into “Danny’s Doggies.” These were pictures of a dog’s head drawn into cartoon form. The dogs took on their own personality as they held up signs of what they said to their owner. “Everyone liked the idea of the dogs,” Danny said. “I know everyone likes cats too but I love to draw pictures of the dogs. I have drawn over 600 kinds of dogs and that’s not even all of them,” he said.
“Is there one drawing that stands out from the rest?” I ask Danny. “I have always been a perfectionist, even when I was little. When I would draw and make a mistake, I would discard it right then. As my artistic skills improved, I didn’t discard as many pictures. Overall, I think one of my favorite drawings is one of my dogs, the Beagle. I name all of the drawings of the dogs and I choose a name that seems to fit their personality,” he replied with a laugh.
Wondering where Danny comes up with his ideas, he said, “Well, I am inspired when I see something. It can be anything. It causes me to be creative. Like with my dog art, I see a dog and his owner, and it makes me really think and study it. After a little while, everything becomes comical and it makes me want to make people laugh. That is one of my goals; to see people happy. I like the interaction between a dog and its owner. It’s kind of like the conversations are little secrets between the two of them.”
This successful and popular body of whimsical dog art has grown into a product line which includes collectible bean bag plush toys, dog toys, prints, and more. Not only does Danny’s artistic abilities come alive with his creativeness, his personality of passion for others shines through.
“Another one of my passions has always been teaching art to children. Many years ago, before I drew my first dog, I began teaching basic drawing lessons to children at the church that I attended. Since then, I have been visiting elementary schools throughout Oklahoma, teaching children to draw.”
Danny has visited many schools over the years. Children love for him to visit the classrooms where Danny gives the children a personal art lesson. “I usually draw a character like a mascot of the school or something. I let the children create what they want me to draw, choosing what the character will look like, how they will be dressed, if they are going to play sports or not. Children have a brilliant imagination and their mind runs wild sometimes,” he says with a laugh. “They have come up with some great ideas. One class even chose their character to be the class mascot. It was so much fun.”
Danny is the artist and founder of Comical Canine Gift Shop, located at 7918 N.W. 23, Bethany, OK. “Last year, we opened the Comical Canine Gift Shop and Art School where my comical dog prints and products are sold plus I am able to teach art classes for children age 7 and up. Here, you will be able to choose from a print of a dog, mug, coasters, backpack, tote bag, magnets and t-shirts. All of the items can be personalized depending on what is chosen.
Teaching children how to draw is another one of Danny’s talents. “Anyone can learn to draw whether they know it or not plus they have fun learning. Here are some basic learning skills that are taught in my art class. The students will be able to use simple basic shapes to draw a variety of images. They will learn about character design. An important step in drawing is when the student is able to demonstrate the ability to listen to a specific story and create a character. They use their imagination and this is so healthy for them. Basic Illustration is also taught. This allows the students to demonstrate the ability to hear a specific theme, concept or story and create a relevant image. The students will be able to use a variety of created lettering in segmented forms to create fun and interesting letters and lettering effects. One of the student’s favorites is Cartooning. The students will be able to demonstrate the ability to create humorous characters and scenes by using simple basic shapes. The children have fun with it plus they leave with their art work. This also gives the students a real feeling of confidence; a special feeling when the child draws a picture on their own and they succeed in their own little masterpiece. The look of surprise on their face is just priceless,” Danny says.
“The children love to think of something to draw and put it on paper. I have to share a story with you,” Danny said. One of my students, Ava, wanted to draw a picture of her cat, Beanie. She carefully completed her wonderful rendition of Beanie, then the amazing part happened! This was a reminder for me that no matter how many times my art is printed on a product, it’s utterly exciting! Ava chose to have Beanie printed on a t-shirt so that she could proudly wear it to school. She and her mother made this decision. Each of them was able to see the entire process of transforming Ava’s art into an actual product and their response was truly heartfelt. After I scanned Ava’s art and she and her mom saw the picture of Beanie on my large computer screen, they were so excited! I printed the t-shirt and the looks on Ava’s and her mother’s face was priceless! I love teaching children how to draw, showing them how they can create their own little masterpiece, putting it on to a useable product. Now, Ava’s mother is talking about having her art work printed onto a mug. She also wants a tote bag for her grandparents,” Danny explains.
Danny Gordon is a talented artist and enjoys his work of drawing and making children happy. Danny offers you a whimsical, funny and humorous dog art created from a unique and stylistic perspective. Each piece is a blend of caricature and accurate art that captures the small nuances of each dog breed he draws.
Starting May 7, 2016 and every following Saturday, Danny will offer two new comical pets to paint. You can go to the website www.comicalcanine.com which will show which pets are to be painted for that Saturday evening of painting and socializing. Danny’s Paint Your Pet Party is a non-alcoholic environment of fun for the family. For more information, please contact Danny Gordon at 405-498-3423 or stop by to see him at Comical Canine Gift Shop, 7918 N.W. 23, Street, Bethany, OK where you are always welcome.