Rob Ryan

Ryantown Staffordshire Dogs Part 4

Posted by on Thursday 6th October, 2016

We are very excited to announce that work has begun on the final stages of our latest edition of Staffordshire Dogs.

Rob has been working hard to come up with the final artwork and production is now underway. This has involved a lot of experimenting and sampling of designs, decals and glazes. Here is an insight into some of the processes involved and a behind the scene look at some of the sample dogs.

The blank dogs are lined up ready for decoration and then firing. These are cast from clay moulds which were hand sculpted here at the studio last year, the dogs are based on Rob’s drawings and are completely unique and original to Ryantown. You can read more about that process here.

sketch book

Rob draws out his initial ideas in his sketchbook to figure out the design for the dogs. Working closely with these he paints the design directly onto the first pair of dogs using gouache. These will be the working models and will be used as the design template to replicate onto the dogs in glaze later on. Extra detail is added using the sharpened end of a paintbrush to scratch into the dry paint creating the patterns for the ears and the eyes.




Here Rob’s has used his fingers and thumb to print the nose and cheeks details, adding even more texture and depth.


Glazes can react in unexpected ways during the firing process so the colours come out lighter or darker or with a different texture. It is really important to test out the different glazes before working on the edition itself so that Rob is completely happy with the final outcome.


As well as hand painting, the dogs are decorated with decals which are printed here in the studio. These teardrop decals are marked with ‘L’ and ‘R’ to make sure they are put onto the right dogs.



Rob tries out lots of ideas using paper templates stuck onto the working models to get a good idea of the final layout.




To make sure the dogs work together as a pair, it is important to line them up and see how they look alongside each other. A combination of coloured glazes are painted across several sets of dogs before Rob picks the final colours for the edition.


With every pair of dogs that are fired, Rob gets closer to the final design, making changes to the working models each time so the design is as perfect as possible.




Making use of a sunny day in the yard, the edition of dogs are lined up for the first round of glazing. Every pair is hand painted with loose mark making so that no two dogs are exactly the same. Once this each dog has been painted they are left to dry and then fired, ready for their next stage.

Keep an eye out for the next stage in the process with lots more behind the scenes photos.

Find out more about the previous stages of the Staffordshire Dogs production in the previous blog posts, part 1, 2 & 3.

Briony Mullan
Studio Assistant