When Chris Cline, his girlfriend and their 3-year-old Goldendoodle Juji moved to Buffalo in Minnesota, the North American winter weather wasn’t particularly welcoming. With temperatures dropping to beyond minus 30 degrees Celsius in winter “a good indoor hobby is a must,” admits Chris.
This is when he started to get creative with Photoshop: “At first it was just random things and then one day I created a photo of me riding on Juji’s back and I posted it on my Facebook and Instagram pages and people just loved it.”
Initially only wanting to play around and post funny pictures to get some laughs and comments, his accounts quickly gained followers. “That’s when it really started to get fun,” says Chris. Following some creative exploration, Chris landed on the final look: “Juji wasn’t always a giant. Sometimes he was super small, other times he was 20 feet tall. I finally settled on him being 7 feet tall because it’s just large enough that you question whether or not its real without it looking too fake,” explains Chris who deliberately makes Juji larger than himself to show how dogs are such a huge part of our lives.
As an illustrator, Chris follows his own creative process: “I start with my background images, clouds and horizon first and then I build from there. I take all of my photos separately (sky, land, Juji and myself) and I then load everything into Photoshop and begin to layer all of my images together, adjusting lighting and colour as I go,” reveals Chris who takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to create an image.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from just every day life with Juji. Obviously it is dramatised 10 fold, but it’s still our adventures. We also live on a beautiful farm that offers us riverfront property and there’s a lake at the end of our driveway. So finding inspiration here is not very difficult.”
Chris admits that his Photoshop adventures with Juji have changed his life. Being able to work from home and turn his hobby into a full-time job still feels like a dream: “It never ceases to amaze me that I get paid to take pictures of my dog and share them with the world,” he says. “Now people from all over the planet email me photos of themselves and their dogs and I create special memories for them. I have worked with people on every continent and countries all over the world.”
His new work also evolved the relationship he has with Juji: “We have been working together for so long now that we have formed a bond between one another that was unexpected. Before all of this, he and I were just a boy and his dog, but now it’s different. He’s not just my dog. He’s my business partner, my buddy and my best friend. I truly can’t imagine a world that doesn’t include him.”
If you would like Chris to get creative and edit a picture of your pet, then get in touch with him here: [email protected]
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