I started doing art as a very small child in my home country of England. I went through many phases including drawing horses, monkeys, cartoon people to name a few. I drew all over the covers and inside leaves of each school workbook I owned. As I went into adolescence I drew annotated caricatures of teachers, and was caught on a couple of occasions. In grammar school art classes I always got A's and enjoyed the classes even if the subjects we were given were pretty dull. One teacher made us draw weeds for an entire semester. Soon after that I got into drawing portraits. My mum was often a willing subject and there were more than a few self portraits from that period. I went in and out of pencil v paint periods.

In 1969 I began art college. As my father was dead against me getting into art as a career, I had no '0' level qualification that was needed to get me into the school, so I showed them a whole slew of paintings and drawings of rock stars, Che Guevara, etc. and they welcomed me in. There, I took 'A' level art and passed with flying colors.

I spent some years working as a layout artist in magazine publishing before I went freelance and then threw it all in to go traveling across Asia. After visiting India twice and living in Greece and Holland for some years, I settled down in the Santa Cruz Mountains where I started an arts and crafts business making greeting card designs, decorated gourds, jewelry and pottery along with other media. My love of animals showed through in the designs on the gourds. I decorated them with Kokopellis, Native American animal symbols and many other designs from my imagination. My gourd “Fat Kats” became quite well know and were featured in Cat Fancy Magazine.

Around 1998 I started using a Macintosh with Painter software and a Wacom tablet drawing pad. From then on I was sold on digital media. I found that I could do much more than with traditional paint and ink, and could do it more easily! Any medium I wanted to use was at my finger tips, packed into a tiny space that I could carry around with me. I tried out the water color brushes, impasto, oil, conte crayons, chalk , you name it. I mixed it up and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of paint without smell and mess.

Shortly after I began with Painter I suffered the loss of my little dog Muffin, a companion of fourteen years and I painted an 'In Memorium' work of my small dog, and my friend's cat’s spirits up in a tree above an imaginary vets office. After this I kept on painting animals - my own and also my friends’. Some animals I draw are invented, some are taken from real life subjects of dog and cat friends, living and not.

Today I work as a freelance graphic/web designer and illustrator and live in Menlo Park where I also teach bellydancing and dance with Troupe Zambalita.

Sudeep Johnson

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Sudeep Johnson