amy young
school visits

Spike and Cubby’s Ice Cream Island Adventure is about dogs I know and places I know, but I didn’t want to make the illustrations too realistic. Instead, I wanted to create a visual world where it seems natural that cats run ferries and dogs talk and rent boats from bears. I also wanted to focus more on the essence of each dog’s character than on how he looks.

Here is an example of how I made the transition from real world dogs to story world dogs. First, I looked at the real Spike and Cubby (aren’t they cute?).

spike cubby sketch

Then I drew them realistically, from life and photographs, so I would understand how they look and move.


spike cubby sketch
cubby sketch spike sketch

Then I took the very important next step: I simplified and distilled these images, and tried to show not only the character of each dog, but also how they relate to each other as best friends.

sketch cubby sketch
cubby sketch
spike eat spike


There you have it. And even though they are now part of the story world, I should tell you that as I paint, that story world is very real to me.

spike and cubby

persistence | inspiration | research | spike & cubby's ice cream island adventure