Deborah Sheehy: Whimsical and Wild Animal Illustrations

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Mixed-media Art

Pencil and paint unite perfectly in full-time Scottish artist Deborah Sheehy’s illustrative work. Her whimsical paintings and drawings conjure up memories of animals portrayed in antique children’s storybooks. . . and much like those stories, Deborah’s artwork tells tall tales of animals that are anything but common.

“Hares, in particular, are a source of great inspiration for me,” Deborah has said. “Their unspoiled wildness thrums a song that sets my paintbrushes and pencils to dancing.”

Take her pencil and watercolor piece below, entitled Nesting Hare. Atop a plush blanket of wild grass and dried leaves, the languid hare sacks out, oblivious to any danger that might lurk nearby.


And why should he worry, with his long ears adept at hearing the slightest sound, lithe body meant for going the distance and thumping feet, strong and steady beneath him?

Every part of this hare is designed to thrive in the wilderness; even his dense fur protects him from the elements. Don’t you wish life could be as blissfully sweet as this hare’s surely wonderful dreams?

In Patience, an acrylic painting on canvas, Deborah celebrates the black cat – an animal often the talk of superstition and less likely to be adopted from a shelter for that very reason. Here, she depicts the black cat’s unyielding awareness and posture and undeniable regality. A slight glint of midnight blue in the cat’s shiny fur shows off his lean features.


With a look of primal determination in its eyes, a greenish-amber hue mimicked subtly in the yellow background, the cat’s focus is unbreakable, making us wonder – is it engrossed by a mouse, or simply plotting against the dog it shares its domain with?

Lastly, a commissioned piece, The Puffin is an acrylic painting rejoicing in this cute bird’s clown-like appearance.


Waves softly ripple in the background while the puffin turns sorrowful-looking eyes to the left, webbed feet clinging tightly to the rock as his downy-soft feathers ruffle amid the coastal breeze. His physical features are striking, from the perfect roundness of his black and white face to his bright orange beak and feet, and yellow markings.

Wild and free, this puffin is in his element, but his adorable appearance and soft-hearted eyes are enough to make anyone want to try to scoop him up into a big bear hug!

View more of Deborah’s imaginative, mesmerizing artwork (which include pensive bears, furry foxes, tranquil birds and more!) on her website.


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