Hello hello! My name is Chelsea, and I’m a freelance illustrator. I’m in charge of the Shelter Sketches feature here on ILRA. So far I’ve been doing the bulk of our weekly sketches, but sometimes other artists pitch in and send me a sketch of an animal in need.
The idea for Shelter Sketches came to me some time in late fall, 2009. I had started up my own sketch blog a few months earlier, and I wanted to try sketching an animal’s portrait each week in the hopes of helping the dog or cat get adopted. My own blog didn’t really seem like the appropriate place for such weekly sketches, though, mostly because not enough people would have seen them to make a difference. I shelved the idea for a while, hoping to find a better time and place for it.
A couple months later, I got in touch with Nikki via Twitter, and we hit it off. Not too long after that I pitched my idea for Shelter Sketches, and here we are!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve gotten along better with animals than I have with most people. I used to catch frogs in our pond and kiss their bellies before releasing them. When asked if I wanted them to turn into princes I would pull a face and declare that frogs were cuter than stupid princes. I’ve always taken in sick or injured animals, at least until I could get them to a proper wildlife rehabilitator. As a teenager I volunteered at a wildlife rescue facility, where unwanted animals of all kinds lived: tigers, lions, a bear, Arctic Foxes, deer, miniature goats, bobcats, squirrels, geese. One of the goslings was abandoned while still in the egg, so I was charged with taking him home and raising him. I still miss that little goose and the way he would follow after me, peeping loudly if I got too far away. Besides baby geese, I’ve taken care of ducks, chickens, lizards, hamsters, mice, dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, and budgies. I only wish that the Internet had existed when I was a kid; I’m sure I made mistakes that could have been avoided if I’d had such easy access to information.
These days I just have two dogs. Nick and I adopted Azu at the end of 2007, and we’ve had Storm (rescue greyhound) since January, 2009. We’re both from New England, though we currently live in Kentucky and are hoping to relocate to the Vancouver, Canada area in the next couple years. Nearly every weekend we drive for rescue transports, bringing homeless dogs from the south to the north. It’s something we can’t not do; even if we only save a few dogs each week, it makes all the difference for those dogs.