Inspiration for "Pop of Pet" holiday products

Welcome everyone! I wanted to give a bit more insight into the launch of the "Pop of Pet" rescue line. It all started about eight months ago when a very close friend of mine lost her beloved dog of 11 years. I went to look for a sympathy card, but nothing I saw was "right" or what I had in mind. So fast-forward several months, my friend adopts a new dog, we talk and the inspiration was born to work on a series of pet-themed cards, gift bags and wrapping paper.

I was inspired by her dog Maizy's personality and the photos she sent. I HAD to draw her! I haven't drawn since college, over 20 years ago, and never animals! So what made me think that I could do it? I wasn't sure. But what I had was this "need to draw!" I've always loved b/w or monotone drawings, and my favorite part of drawing class sessions was the "gesture drawings" at the beginning where you drew quickly to loosen up.
While I was creating these drawings, I realized that like myself, all the pets were rescues. When I read my friends' stories and the process they went through, I found myself relating on a very emotional level. I too am an adoptee, and the similarities to my process of finding a loving home with my adoptee parents in the U.S. resonated. Their story is my story, and I also knew I had to share those stories.  
I didn't want super realistic drawings, but I wanted to illustrate the "moments" that were captured in the photos, and to me, the "gestural" quality captures these "moments." I made about about three initial drawings before I got to the ones you now see on the cards, gift bags and wrapping paper.
Then my graphic designer hat went on, and I designed the products and worked with a couple of writer friends to come up with the right greetings that fit the personality and expressions on the drawings.
I hope you get as much joy from buying these for your family, friends or self as I did from creating them. 
Thank you for supporting me in finding my passion and figuring out a way to combine my two loves and to build the creative life that I have been striving for over the past 20 years. 
Dream on! We all just have to start! 
-Laura Gannarelli