Anna Danielle | Animal Artist & Greeting Card Designer
Anna Danielle, artist and designer, studied printed textiles at Winchester School of Art. That was in a decade that now requires much scrolling to reach the correct tick box! Anna’s final degree project featured cows. Lots and lots of cows. Each student was encouraged to have a quote or sentence that best described their work. Anna’s artwork has always been animal based, simple and full of gentle humour. Consequently, being in a bovine frame of mind she chose the line from the Hey Diddle Diddle nursery rhyme “the little dog laughed to see such fun”. Reminding her of positive, creative times, this later became her choice of company name which then led directly to her next subject matter.
And she has been here pretty much ever since!
It was during the second year of her textile degree that Anna had her first experience of designing greeting cards. That was her eureka moment. Twenty five years on she is still creating cards and gifts inspired by her love of all things furry or feathered. Although a mixer of artistic mediums, Anna primarily works with watercolour and pen and gets much of her inspiration from the photos and anecdotes loyal Little Dog followers send to her via email or her Facebook page.
Intrigued to know more?
Continue scrolling to see a snapshot of Anna’s current work and gain a glimpse into her design journey since creating The Little Dog Laughed.
The Digs&Manor Greeting Card Collection
This style is currently Anna’s most popular collection. Her artwork has evolved to include the AppleMac as part of her artistic process. Self taught on the Mac, Anna discovered that by combining her watercolour sketches with flat computer generated colour backgrounds, she could create a unique style and combine her love of interiors and textiles with the dogs and cats. Her strong colour palette is unusual for art greeting cards and try as she might to lighten the look, it is the deeper, muted tones that consistently win through. When Anna first started designing greeting cards, cat imagery out sold dogs ten fold and “the little dog laughed” was a lone bark in a cacophony of meows! Nowadays, it is the complete opposite.
To view the whole Dog & Cat Greeting Cards collection click here.
Watercolour Art Greeting Cards
On some days the paint takes centre stage and when this happens Anna relaxes back and lets the magic flow. On average her artworks take anywhere between 4 and 6 hours. Within this time, a piece of artwork often goes through a number of stages, from ” This could well be the best one yet” to “Damn, I’ve overworked it again.”
Discover all the designs that escaped the bin right here! Watercolour Art Greeting Cards
The Classic Collection | Scruffy Mutts & Magnificent Moggies
For those of you who have followed Anna’s artwork over the years, you’ll know that her Scruffy Mutts is where her greeting card journey began. This style appeals more to the art lovers and greeting card aficionados. The collection certainly holds the highest number of Anna’s design favourites. However, it is common knowledge at Little Dog Towers, that if, on a rare occasion, Anna admits to being pleased with one of her drawings, the design will be very unlikely to feature in any best sellers list! The growth of social media platforms and camera phones has had a huge impact on Anna’s work. Nowadays, she has a steady flow of real life, brilliant muse inspiration. When Anna first started, her animal reference was limited to books and her own photography efforts, the variety of pet imagery has been a godsend to the development of the collections.
See the full Mutts, Moggies & Country range here.
The Tuppence A Bag Collection
Most creative souls will freely admit to be greatly affected by the world around them and this collection of colour, nature and birds evolved as the Covid pandemic bought life to a standstill. Taking time to stop and listen to the birds and enjoy the shapes and colours in natural wild green spaces was essential in maintaining sanity and hope. These designs mix photography, watercolour studies and some computer jiggery pokery that enables Anna to build up layers and layers of grasses and flowers to mimic that wildflower spontaneity.
Find the full Tuppence A Bag collection here.
The Big Country Walk Collection
Although the newest collection in Anna’s portfolio, her use of pen and pastels and collaged paper backgrounds is a return to her early days. The Big Country Walk title was a suitable heading to allow Anna to include a broad range of wild animals, any that you are likely to see when out on a big country walk! Rather frustratingly, the daily demands of running a small business means this collection hasn’t grown as quickly as she would have hoped. However, the sheer delight of working with soft pastels again, blending the colours and the finished results means this range is destined to grow.
View the full The Big Country Walk collection here.
It’s A Good Sign Collection
The Good Sign Collection came about in a most unintentional manner. Anna had settled down fully intending to go old school with sepia washes and pen. A break from technology. No more screens. Just good, old-fashioned paint. However, it seems the influence of her other collections was simply too strong to resist. Anna started with the artwork for Blake the Greyhound but when Blake was finished, the urge to add a nice flooring and a yummy wall colour proved impossible to ignore. For Anna, artistically, this range sits neatly between Digs&Manor and Douglas The Boy Wonder. A hybrid of the other dog based collections. However, it differs slightly in its use of captions and memes, rather than Anna’s interpretation of what the animal is thinking. This collection became afflicted with the RSPCA in a fund raising effort. Despite the huge disruption to retail caused by the pandemic lockdowns, the Little Dog Laughed still managed to raise over £23,000 for the animal charity.
Rufus Rabbit Baby Collection
You can often guess what stage a designer is at in their life by the collections they create. Rufus Rabbit began as a greeting card range inspired by Anna’s habit of quoting statistics (that may or may not be true) to help her prove her point, usually in a debate with her partner!
This range was very popular and coincided with her starting a family. It felt like a logical step to develop the bunny logo from the card and turn it into a baby collection. For seven busy years, Rufus Rabbit did his own independent thing and at times even hopped alongside industry giants. He weathered some tough economic challenges but in the end time, investment and copyright by a major toy brand forced Rufus to take a sabbatical.
At the time it felt like failure but looking back, Anna now feels proud of the collection and the great fun everyone had in building the brand. From placing bunnies around the country with take me home tags to personal blogs on the pitfalls and hilarity of parenting. She also has the knowledge that, in a small way, Rufus Rabbit comforted babies and gave parents the elusive gift of sleep. And that is priceless!
Shop End of Line Baby Cards and Gifts bargains here
Douglas The Boy Wonder
This was a design collection which became a life lesson in hurdles. Something Anna had easily cleared in the pass but only in complete and blissful ignorance! From inspirational spark to design classic there is a lot of in-between and Douglas The Boy Wonder almost made it. He was a reverse of Rufus Rabbit in that he was already a toy, a fabulous vintage find. A push along toy dog who had seen better days and was now missing fur, stuffing and his wheels. He started out as a photography product prop and soon inspired a new company logo. Then, because the love was so strong, Douglas gained his own collection. This was a chance for Anna to indulge her design urges and create something fresh and contemporary. The range drew greatly from her time and influences in Norway, where, as a student she worked for a bed linen company. Her background in textiles design was helpful and the quest for the perfect Douglas blue was all consuming.
At his tradeshow launch party he couldn’t have hoped for a better response. Douglas The Boy wonder was the talk of the show, the something new and refreshing that the buyers were after. However, within two years it became apparent Douglas had fallen at the Sell Through hurdle. He was, in retail terms, a one hit wonder rather than the boy wonder.
Shop end of line bargains here Douglas The Boy Wonder
Feel like there should probably be more?
Well you’re not wrong! Before Rufus and Douglas there was Really Likes, a spin off brand for more contemporary greeting card designs. This was set up in part to broaden The Little Dog Laughed’s appeal and to feature other artists with the hope of reducing Anna’s work load. It didn’t quite work out that way because the popular collections proved to be Anna’s. It did however, give her an outlet for her creative design urges and she looks back fondly on many of these ranges.
Behind the Scenes
A mother to four boys, Anna divides her time between her art board and the washing machine. When she’s not picking up dirty pants and feeding her hungry hoard, Anna’s indulgences include reading, writing, radio and escaping to the hills with her rescue dog, Lord Darley. She is still waiting to ‘get good” at Art but does consider herself ridiculously lucky to be able to combine all her passions into her day job and do something she has always loved for a living.
If you’d like to follow Anna Danielle’s weekly musings and design news, you can always find her on our Facebook page The Little Dog