Puppy Love

To celebrate National Dog Day, the team behind canine-loving magazine Four&Sons share with us their favourite illustrators working with hounds and their mutt-inspired works.

Jay Howell
by Kyle Fitzpatrick

Jay Howell’s creations balance extremes. One drawing in a series could show cute puppies dancing while another might be men in a beer bath—wearing wolf skins. Widely known for his zines and drawings, as well  as for creating the original artwork for Fox’s Bob’s Burgers, Howell covers the full gamut in his output. The dogs in his art are no different. From rotund smiling mutts to heavy metal terriers, Howell’s dogs represent an aspect of human silliness. A self-taught artist, Howell formed his punk aesthetic in San Francisco’s Bay Area, where he established himself as a hardcore goofball. His style is now frequently employed by major brands, from footwear empire Vans to kids’ network Nickelodeon, a clear indication of just how likeable Howell – and his art – really is.

Nathaniel Russell
by Will Morley

Nathaniel Russell is an Indianapolis-based artist whose easy-going style is at odds with his hyper-prodigious output. His inspiration stems from the bold, fluid design work of illustrators from the Sixties and Seventies – artists who took pop art mainstream such as Milton Glaser and Heinz Edelmann. Working in a variety of mediums, from zines to fabric prints to fake books, Russell imbues all with his mellow sense of humour. That theme also carries through to his commercial work. But it’s his take on the DIY flyer that people are drawn to most. At first glance, the posters look like genuine community announcements for missing pets, but are actually absurdist plays on the familiar kind of xeroxed notes seen pinned to neighbourhood telegraph poles.

Matt Furie
by Caroline Clements

Matt Furie’s fantasy world is inhabited by chain-smoking aliens, BMX-riding monsters, and what could very well be Falkor’s – the lovable luck dragon from The NeverEnding Story – evil twin. The Ohio-born artist, whose inspirations run the gamut from David Lynch to David Attenborough, Sally Cruikshank’s surrealistic animations to Gary Larson’s comic gags, moved to San Francisco in the early Noughties and worked in the children’s department of a Mission District thrift store. By day, he sorted stuffed toys and action figures; by night, incorporated the likes of the Terminator, He-Man, and Big Bird into his work.

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Illustrations by Brian Donnelly from Four&Sons issue 3

Brian Donnelly
by Hayley Morgan

On paper, Brian Donnelly is a visual artist, but on canvas he’s a pseudo mad scientist who throws solvents at his portraits. Known widely for his hound-headed humans, he intends to destabilise and corrupt with his Frankensteinian practice, but not in the ways you might think. Casting a critical eye over art history and tradition, each work is embedded with a combination of warm, familiar hues and calm, restrained brushwork. It’s hard  to accept that they’re painted to the tune of agro metal and blast beats in a Toronto studio, but what else besides rampant contradiction would incline a mad scientist to stay mad?

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Illustrations by Eric Yahnker from Four&Sons issue 2

Eric Yahnker
by Will Morley

Eric Yahnker creates work like no other modern artist. Often complex, but always jarring, his paintings and illustrations are less an accusatory middle finger than a subversive reflection of contemporary life – works that are more often than not laugh-out-loud funny. Accessible without being condescending, and avoiding the trap of bludgeoning wake-up-sheeple-style proselytising, Yahnker succeeds in making deeply personal statements about culture and politics by grounding them in satirical humour.