It’s not every person who can look at a photograph or person and draw from scratch a detailed and defined resemblance.
Jimmy Wharton of Waxahachie is one of those who can.
Working alongside author Tom Dodge of Waxahachie, Wharton allowed his artistic skills to shine in drawing animal-related illustrations for Dodge’s new book, “Let Freedom Bark.”
The book focuses on the life of Four, a dachshund of dubious descent, and his relationship with other pets of the household — Fred, Spanky, Orca, Denver, Cindy, Sammy, Johnny, Jack and others.
The cover shows Four sitting in Dodge’s blue chair in his living room with a bookshelf in the background.
“The dogs were all once owned by Tom and the cats were once owned by his wife, Brenda,” Wharton said, saying it was a lot of fun to draw illustrations of the pets for the book written by his best friend’s father.
“I don’t have much of an imagination but I can take a photo and draw an identical picture to it,” he said. “I was able to do illustrations for Tom’s book because he has always been a big fan of my art and he thought I needed to get it out there.”
This is his first time to illustrate a book, and Wharton said he hopes the opportunity enhances his goals in the world of art.
“With my illustrations in Tom’s book, I surely hopes this brings me more work in the future,” Wharton said, noting he also has completed drawings of Dale Earnhardt Sr., the Floyd Lawson character of the “Andy Griffith Show,” former NFL player Emmitt Smith, a rodeo man and train No. 481 traveling from Durango to Silverton, Colo.
Being a part of a family that loves art is one driving force behind Wharton’s skills.
“Drawing does run in my family because my dad, brother and Aunt Joy are all artists,” Wharton said. “My dad and my brother are good oil painters and I’ve done a lot of oil painting myself, but it’s been over 20 years since I’ve used it (oil). I just started drawing again about seven or eight years ago but I’ve pretty much been around good artists all my life.”
He considers his talent a wonderful blessing from God and enhanced that blessing by working in graphic arts in Dallas for 18 years and also being affiliated with Spiegel’s, a mail order catalog out of Chicago, for seven years, specializing in color correction, editing and airbrushing.
Wharton also attended a six-week course at Scitex School in Boston, Mass., where he studied editing, color correcting on computers, retouching and page layout.
“Everyone told me that I was a good artist but I’ve seen so many other people who were much better,” he said. “I just think my work is decent because this is something I do for a leisure time activity. Since I’ve suffered from back injuries, I’ve just been able to sit and do this, which helps fill the void. It’s just been something I’ve excelled in.”
Wharton studied in the Waxahachie ISD at an early age before completing his education at Midlothian ISD, where he said his love for art was definitely influenced by his art instructor, Nancy Carson, and her husband, Larry.
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