Nord Anglia Education
WRITTEN BY
Nord Anglia
14 December, 2021

BISW Student Artist Makes Pet Portraits for Charity

BISW Student Artist Makes Pet Portraits for Charity a8ece6358b54669ac9e3210bd8da24e8

At BISW, students in years 12 and 13 complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, which is the preeminent college preparatory course. Part of the programme involves completing the service aspect of the IB's Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) component. We are always impressed by the wonderful ways our students choose to serve their community. Recently, we caught up with Annalise T, who turned a personal passion project into a beautiful service project this year.

What is your Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) project? 

My CAS project is creating and selling hand-drawn, in-colour, realistic portraits of people's pets for pet owners who request one. As a part of this project, all the proceeds go to the charity So Others Might Eat (SOME).

Why did you choose this project? 

I've always had a passion for drawing, so I figured I could put that passion to good use by selling pet portraits to people who want them. Then, at the beginning of the school year, I realized this project might also apply to CAS as part of the creativity requirements for IB. With encouragement from Mr Mulligan, I chose to do this work as a CAS project and put all the earnings towards a charity of my choosing.

What does art mean to you personally?

What interests me most about art is transforming a blank piece of paper into something that can astound and please the eye. It is a way of displaying things you see around you differently. For me, art isn't just about the finished product. It is also about how I start and how I get there. Every time I draw, I learn new techniques to improve my skills, and it is interesting to see how my works develop over time. Also, I find the process of drawing calming. It helps me de-stress and takes my mind off the rest of the world.

How can artists make a difference in the world?

In general, the purpose of art can vary greatly. For example, some artists create paintings that try to make you question or challenge specific ideas and norms, while others try to evoke emotion or inspiration for the viewer. Then, some artists create art simply for its beauty. This last reason for making art tends to be my style. I look for images that I find beautiful and would enjoy re-creating.

When did you start making pet portraits? 

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, but I started making pet portraits last summer. It began when I drew a portrait of our dog, Ginny, for my mum's birthday. She loved it so much she showed it to some of the neighbours, who then asked if they could commission me to do portraits of their dogs. Since then, I have worked on multiple commissions of dogs and cats.

Who is your target market?

My specific target market is pet owners, of course; however, the pieces I make often end up being gifts. Therefore, my broader target market is anyone who wants one of my drawings!

What mediums do you use?

A few years ago, I started to use more coloured pencils in my works, so I developed my art skills using that medium. I prefer not to use more than one medium, like adding paint or pen, because I find it detracts from the realism effect that I can get just using a coloured pencil to create strokes of fur.

How would you describe your artistic methods? 

I tend to draw most often in the afternoon, as I find that is the most calming part of the day for me to sit down and draw. I love listening to audiobooks or music while I draw because the noise helps me focus and get in the flow. When I had time during the summer, I would love to go to a local coffee shop with my art supplies and draw for a while. I feel most inspired to draw when I have a lot of time on my hands and can have a lazy afternoon.

What do you hope to accomplish with this project?

Of course, raising as much money as possible for people in need is what I hope to achieve with this project. I have already raised almost $300, which is exciting. In addition, I love to see people's reactions to my finished works. I love seeing how happy it makes people when they see a tangible representation of their pet's face.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

If you or someone you know would like to commission a drawing of a pet, please contact me at annalise_toporski@biswashington.org! Also, if you want to see some of my work, please check out my Instagram page, @lisa.prisma!