For the Love of Dogs (and Cats)

Custom Pet Portraits Celebrate Our Four-Legged Family Members

Some people say a home is a gallery of things we love, so why not include our beloved pets in our treasured artwork?

That’s why Tiffani Mensch started Goodnight Squirrel, an Etsy shop dedicated to animal portraits. Using photos sent in by customers, Tiffani captures the life and personality of pets in unique, custom-designed artwork. She uses a variety of techniques to create each piece, from pens and colored pencils to watercolors, giving the portraits the layers and depth of multimedia art. The hand-drawn sketches are realistic, and the use of color and shading gives a whimsical quality that makes each piece both beautiful and fun.

Originally from Rochester, New York, she received her bachelor’s degree in illustration at Rochester Institute of Technology and went on to earn a master’s degree in teaching and design from Rhode Island School of Design. She entered the nonprofit sector professionally, but art was always a creative outlet. She created her first pet portrait as a gift for a friend, which was proudly displayed in the friend’s home. Eventually, people who saw her work reached out and requested their own. Now she has created a business out of it, making more than 100 custom pet portraits through her online shop, Goodnight Squirrel, simply by word-of-mouth recommendations.

While Tiffani is passionate about her full-time work training and capacity building for local nonprofits, Goodnight Squirrel is a side gig she doesn’t anticipate giving up. Making art is restorative for her.

“It’s really important for me and my sanity to be creative every day in some way,” she says. “It’s fun to paint people’s pets because they love them and are so attached to them. The portraits really just make people happy.” 

Visit Tiffani’s Etsy shop at Etsy.com/shop/goodnightsquirrel

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