Arlo & Joan, Joan & Arlo

“Mature blonde” Joan, and her mesmerizingly cute step-brother (I mean, they’re not actually related so whatever that makes them) were a commission from writer and performer Brian Herrera for his husband. You can buy Brian’s extraordinary book, “Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in 20th Century U.S. Popular Performance” here. I had so much fun drawing these two! I used several of Brian’s photos for the portraiture and then extrapolated on a background we liked from one to tie the two canines together. I’ve only ever had one canine tied, and that was trying to prematurely pull it out for the tooth fairy. But enough about me: enjoy!Arlo and Joan companion pieces

Bandit Critiques Portrait of Charcoal, Finds it lacks cat

Bandit snoozes near Charcoal

I really enjoyed spending time with Charcoal. He’s an Eminence Gris, a wise old sage canine. He has a gravitas I think I captured. Charcoal is Bailey’s brother–you can find Bailey below and on my postcards! This particular portrait took us quite some time–in this later part of his life Charcoal didn’t really appreciate posing, nor can I blame him! We took a ton of photos; I think I wore his mom down. “It has to be RIGHT!” I kept saying to Vicky. Charcoal

I think we were all pleased with the outcome. Vicky wrote me, “Thank you so much Sam. For our drawings, this one for Charcoal, and the one of Bailey could not be more perfect. You put so much love into both of them. Blessings evermore.”
I failed to convince Bandit of Charcoal’s Eminence, however.

To commission your own homage to love, email !

A Memorial for a Sweet Trickster

My friend Christian commissioned this portrait of an adoring Loki for his partner’s birthday. “He loved that cat so much,” sighed Christian. “This is gonna make him so happy.” I’ve been in love with many: tiny Pearl, who was polydactyl and could hold things in her paws, Sado, the genius Tonkinese who would open my girlfriend’s cabinets, find and open the Tampon box, and unwrap one to play with the “mouse,” often in front of company! Samson was my ninja girl, and now I live for Bandit and Casper, my tabby twins. Every day I’m more alive because of my relationships with other species.

In other HandsofSam news: I’m reopening my Etsy site soon. Stay awake–more will be revealed! Rrowr!Loki Bespoke-y

I LIVE to Draw Your Snuggydoo Miss Honeypest

It’s been a minute. I’ve been working a full-time job like a grownup, but I got laid off recently so I have time to do what I love: Immortalizing your own darling Beyonce Mabel Primworthy or Smokey or Snowball or Pince Nez the Potbellied Pig! However you roll: that’s how I roll.

Hit me up for a portrait at and scroll around this site for examples. Here’s a recent example, Betty’s little CB, done on Bristol with richly pigmented colored pencils and acrylic paint. Also a little bit of CB (joy)!CB

The Human Animal

Once in a while I get asked to draw a human portrait. Here’s my most recent endeavor, of Shannon and her two kids, Porter and Quinn. I was helping their dad build a patio one day, and he went inside after asking me to watch Quinn. She found some pink twine pretty much the minute Daddy went away and wrapped it around her neck, leaving about six feet of excess hanging off her. “I’m a puppy!” she said, and handed me the “leash.” Then she tore off, to the back of the yard and climbed atop a mountain of clay and mudThe Neileys, barking wildly.