Animal Inspired Artwork for Kids

DOTS BY DONNA

www.dotsbydonna.com.au

Donna Taylor creates intricate, hand drawn illustrations of animals and people, by layering hundreds upon thousands of tiny dots. As a mum of two beautiful children, Donna took pen to paper whilst her babies slept as newborns, as form of escapism. Based on Victoria’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula, Donna is an award-winning artist with a range of original artwork, prints, wall decals and stationary. 

The animals and portraits take on a life-like appearance by using a steady hand, plenty of patience and a fine liner pen. Her artwork can take anywhere from 20 to 250 hours to complete, with one her signature pieces ‘African Goddess‘ taking 120+ hours to draw, dot by dot. The detail and unique features in her pieces are achieved through her free-hand technique, known as stippling. The result is truly breathtaking! 

Animal Artwork Nursery
Beryl The Bear, limited edition print

Tell us a bit about Dots by Donna and how your business came about?

“I started drawing as a way to relax during the days of being a new mum. Motherhood can be challenging and at times, you feel like you’re losing yourself. Whilst I loved that time in my journey, it can feel like a part of your old identity has gone. I struggled with no longer being the career woman I once was. However, one day I pulled out a pad and pen and started drawing… Drawing can be (and still is) very therapeutic, and it was very reassuring once I put my work out there and received that appreciation. I have now been doing this full time for 8 years and each day it still brings me so much comfort as life continues to throw its curve balls!”

Tell us about your creative process and how long it takes to create your artworks? 

“I draw detailed, life-like drawings of animals and people through the placement of dots (stippling) using just my hand, a fine-liner pen and beautiful paper. Each drawing is made up of millions of tiny dots and can consume me for up to 250 hours. It becomes an obsession for me.”

Native Animals Artwork
Kenneth The Koala with Eucalyptus Leaves and Kerry The Koala with Poppy Crown
Rebekah The Rabbit with Protea Crown

Talk us through your range and what you’re working on? 

“My illustrations become my obsession, with every detail, down to each strand of hair being created by hand. The prints are reproduced here in Australia with the same dedication and care, as is the printing and framing. My hope is that my artwork becomes a family heirloom to pass down from generation to generation. The wall decals have been a huge hit, particularly for kids bedrooms and nurseries. They are super easy to use, made from a polyester peel and stick material that can be installed on any surface and reused many times over! I also offer a small range of stationary such as cards, notebooks and the 1000 piece stingray puzzles were popular during lockdown!” 

Where do you draw your inspiration for each piece?

“My husband is from South Africa so people often think that’s why I draw a lot of African animals. However, I love drawing powerful animals like the lion and elephant, particularly the expression and detail in each. I only draw things that I can’t get out of my mind. There is no collection or purpose behind each new design, I just draw what inspires me. It might sound funny, but it has to nag me to draw it before I even put pen to paper!”

African Goddess Dots by Donna
African Goddess, a signature piece from Donna's range

What are your passions and philosophies? 

“My main passion is drawing and creating the wow factor in my pieces. The world is full of wonder and you can create something so special by just using a piece of paper and a pen. It is a process, but the result is magical. I am an avid animal lover. Looking into the eyes of an animal can melt me and I obsess over drawing the eyes of my animals. They’re the first thing I draw (dot) onto the page and I always go back to them during the drawing process and they’re the last thing I finish with. Individual animals species captivate me in different ways, their strength, beauty and dominance. Animals make everyone happy. 

Further to this, I want to inspire those around me especially children. My dotty animal friends now hang in countless homes, watching over many children as they sleep. My hope is that they bring calm and comfort, like a guardian angel.”

What are some standout moments in your career as an artist so far? 

Seeing my artwork hanging in the parent/nursing rooms at Chadstone was like going full circle as I used to work there in retail many moons ago. To have my work featured there was a big moment… It made me realise how far I had come!
 
It’s equally as exciting when customers tag me in their homes, bedrooms or nurseries so I can see the artwork or wall decals in situ. They look so effective and the fact the decals can be easily transferred form one place to the next is fantastic.
 
I have also just released a collection of cards in collaboration with Hallmark and these are beautiful too!” 

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What is next for Dots by Donna? 

“Looking towards the future, I am hoping to exhibit my artwork overseas again. In the short term, I will be working on more designs and potentially some florals to add to the collection.”

Quick Fire Q’s

(Instagram) Fave scroll stopper: Ocean Ramsey
(Design Style) Less is more or more is more: More is best, more detail. Once I think a drawing is complete, I have a rule – spend another day working on it (to add more) and then it’s finished. Go the extra mile. 
(Netflix) Can’t switch off: Vikings
(Mindfulness) Quote that best sums you up: Creating and inspiring through art has opened me up to so many opportunities that I would never have dreamt. Do what you love and challenge yourself, say yes to everything and see how far that gets you. Learn as you go, don’t be scared to make mistakes because you will only learn from them. 

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