Delivery Ride

by Coat & Tails on

Today is Saturday. I woke up early after a restful night’s sleep and immediately began working. I haven’t stopped. Which is what I love most about Coat & Tails: I get to build stuff all day.

This can get problematic, though. Like this past week, I just sat here, at my desk, for hours. Painting or working on my website. But because I love being alone and making stuff, it’s easy to get a little too isolated. For instance, I noticed a certain difficulty with some pretty basic social interactions. Like I was at the store earlier, and I walked up to the cashier and said, “‘sup?” But I didn’t say it in that passive, obligatory way that you usually say it as you’re loading things onto the conveyer belt. I said it in an alarming way that demanded a response. He didn’t really know what to do with that and said  “Is this it?” regarding my items.

I never did find out what was up with the cashier. Probably for the best.

But the point – if I even have a point – is that I had been spending so much time alone and working that everything I did was uninspired. I was working on a painting where nothing looked right (but here it is finished!). So the only thing I could think to do was to dust off my cycling shoes. But of course I had to make it about work so I gave myself the task of delivering some of my recent Austin orders.

The second I made it to the street, I started to feel better. However, on my voyage of self-re-discovery, I found myself dodging a construction zone and ended up on the train tracks:

Not a bad thing, necessarily.

I guess I don’t have anything more to say about my trip, but I will reveal the following facts:

  • I got muddy, which required that I remove my shoes before entering an establishment
  • I almost ate shit in front of a lot of cars
  • I listened to Sun Kil Moon, which was kind of perfect
  • It was extremely helpful in terms of getting out in nature, even if this version of nature was riddled with wood slats and metal rails and powerlines

Outside of that, I started working on this painting Sunday, and I finished it Wednesday:

It started out as another sort of princess/Victorian thing. An effort to make better women’s outfits. I wanted to get all surreal and Mark Ryden with it, so I drew her holding something. And then I was like, “What creepy shit should she be holding?” and somehow the answer to that question was “a fork.” And then I realized that I need to make it about cooking. I mean, obviously. People like food and dogs and cats like food. How had I not thought of that? So I abandoned about 6 hours of work to start on what is now called Le Chef.

This week I also worked on Jack, who is The Gentleman #2:

Here’s Jack and his owner:

I also did some other ones – including a possum – but I can’t show those yet because they’re gifts.

At this point, I’m going to take my own advice and get the hell away from my computer so that I can expose the world to my social ineptitude.


The Last Nine Months: A Memoir

by Coat & Tails on

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I want you to know that I’ve been thinking about you. Actually you’ve never left my mind. I’m sorry I left you in the dark.

I love you.

I have so much to tell you. Below are some things that happened over the past 9 months.

I’m Pregnant

…with a baby of sobriety. My last drink was on January 1, 2018 at like 12:30 a.m. It was Hendrick’s gin. Neat. This has impacted Coat & Tails because I feel a renewed sense of focus. This focus naturally ebbs and flows – sometimes I’m obsessive and other times I can’t bring myself to open Photoshop or fix stupid glitches on my site. But in sobriety, the former becomes essentially the meaning of life. I’ll work a full day at my full time job and then work a full day at my otherwise non-full-time job. The feeling of fullness is fundamental. For instance, I spent about 25 hours on this one:

One thing I’ve learned in sobriety is that my reward system plays a large role in the outcome of certain decisions. After 15 years of drinking/partying, I’ve taught myself gravitate toward some kind of debauchery, especially in the face of either adversity or victory. Even though it’s only been nine months, I can feel the rewiring starting to happen. Naturally or evolutionarily or whatever, our rewards were food and water. Now that the acquisition of resources is easy, rewards become complex. We need to take it up – or down – a notch to get to that place of feeling balanced. You can’t just sit there. (Or at least I can’t.) The reward used to be a step back so that I could go a step forward. Now I just try to go forward.

I Went to Colombia

My hunch is that it has something to do with this rewiring process, but I got a wild hare (hair?), and wet to Colombia for a month. I had planned on living abroad for 6 months to a year, but that didn’t happen for a few reasons. One of those reasons was that I realized that I’d have to be pretty committed – I’d have to sell my condo, for instance, and learn Spanish, and figure out whether I’m ok with not getting my haircut done by the same person every month – that sort of thing. Either way, going to Colombia impacted Coat & Tails because working abroad helped me to consider different kinds of expansion. Could I roam around the earth doing Coat & Tails full-time? What would that look like? What would that take?

My trip also impacted Coat & Tails because I had more time to explore new styles. Here are three new outfits I made while I was in Colombia:

That last one is obviously in the Botero style, which I felt inspired by when I saw his sculptures in Medellin.

Ultimately, the most important thing that happened in Colombia was the acquisition of a new hat:

Worked on my Condo

Part of my Colombia trip required that I AirBnB my condo, so I had to make it suitable. Since I had tools scattered everywhere from the renovation, I built drawers to maximize the space in this thin-but-deep closet:

I also made some improvements to my desk as well:


There were a lot of other things I did as well, such as: refinish my countertops, install new sink, install new fan, put up accent wall adorned with allergy-activating summertime flowers, and not let anyone inside.


These three things – sobriety, Columbia, condo renovations – have all contributed to a sense of feeling “back.” Sometimes I drift from myself because just being one person with one fixed personality and psychological makeup is profoundly boring. But there’s nothing like feeling home, and at the moment, I’m there both mentally and physically. I’m sure I’ll go roam around at some point, but right now, I’m just gonna do the work.

Christmas Vacation

by Coat & Tails on

Oh, hello there.

Happy holidays or whatever.

I’ve recently experienced a mild uptick of orders, and I think it might have something to do with the “season of giving” that has befallen us as of late. So basically all I’ve been doing for the past 22 days is sitting here in the dark, painting, and watching Love, Actually on repeat with a large jug of eggnog on-hand.

Despite the heart-wrenching emotional turmoil caused by the aforementioned film, I was able to create a new outfit for your financial consideration:

smoking jacket dog outfit whisky

…which you can purchase for your own pet or someone else’s here.

Since the last time I wrote in this incoherent and mostly pointless blog, I’ve also done some other new things, the most significant of which is the new collection entitled very cleverly “American Pawthic:”

american gothic cats

In case it was not obvious, the title of the collection is what is known in certain circles as a “play on words” – the title of the original painting is “American Gothic” and I’ve replaced the “aww” sound in “gothic” (“gawwthic”) with the word “paw” because it’s related to the subject matter.

Now that the tough business is out of the way, I must alert you to some personal updates, since talking about pet portraiture is rather dull.

I’ve acquired a “special someone”:

cat sitting samhain

He used to live at Austin Pets Alive Exclamation Point but now he lives with me. His name is Samhain.

This name is a little bit contentious because of the unpronounceable-ness. But for me there was no other choice. First of all, he’s got the silhouette of a bat on his head, so he’s clearly from a demon land transported here via sleigh to instigate trickery among faithful do-gooders by knocking various things off shelves and scratching the shit out of my leather couch.

It’s also the name of a little-known metal band:

samhain band

Whose front man went on to do great things:

danzig kitty litter

And by “great things” I mean embarking on the adventure of cat ownership:

fresh step

Interesting that Danzig’s stone floor is likely splotched with blood, the occasional ribcage revealed by a torchlight, but cat poop is a dealbreaker.

Anyway, obviously I had to recreate the band’s logo for personal use:

samhain logo

Outside of that, I’ve also made some significant headway on my condominium/studio/cave:

renovation mural curtains wood ceiling

When you order a portrait from me you are ensured the highest of quality because all the work is overseen by my “special friend”:

cat sitting

“I wonder if I can topple that expensive guitar?”

I was never very good at guitar anyway.


This Just In: Blogging is Hard

by Coat & Tails on

I really like to write, but I also really like to sit around using the power of attraction to will both six pack abs and regular six packs into my life. The latter usually takes precedence and, as a result, I’m sitting here drunk with abdominal muscles that resemble a vintage washing machine:

Wait – that guy appears to be using his vintage washing machine to suspend cans of tuna. Or maybe those are his abdominal muscles? Hard to tell. But it would make sense because a high-protein diet not only facilitates muscle-growth, it facilitates “wicked” facial-hair growth as well.

At any rate, I’m here and I’m writing and I’m doing it to inform you that I am actually still doing pet portraits. You might recall that I killed Coat & Tails, buried it, and then exhumed it again only to waft the fumes of the undead upon my Instagram followers.

But just because I hardly ever post doesn’t mean that I’m not taking orders, so I should probably keep you apprised of what’s happening with me so that you don’t go thinking that I killed Coat & Tails again.

Here’s Jack:

If you’re unfamiliar with the reference, this is an allusion to Mulder, a character from a little-known show which aired in the 90s called X Files.

This has been my major accomplishment over the summer.

Minor accomplishments included the purchase of a condo, which I soon destroyed:

Then, much like the exhumation of Coat & Tails, I un-destroyed it:

Mostly so that I could watch The Office on a giant screen:

the office

Note the fancy office furniture. That is where all my portraits will be done, so I needed only the best. Although put the many beer cans out of your mind; just as I surely won’t be robed, I surely won’t be drinking whilst doing your portrait.



If you love something, let it go. Then see if it sends you an email. If it does, then hold on forever, because it’s probably all you have.

Well, I’m back. At the end of the summer, I started working on a project that eventually proved to require a different skill set than the one I currently possess (this is known as having a “lack of talent” in certain circles). It also required more time and energy than I was willing to put forth (that’s called “laziness” in similar circles).

At the outset, I was so enraptured by the concept of the project that I quit Coat & Tails completely. I sold my printer, took down my website, and told everyone that I was “officially done with it and working on something new.” When people asked me how the project was going, it went from “I’m drunk with inspiration!” to simply “I’m drunk!”

Indeed, as it became more and more clear that I couldn’t actualize my vision for the project, I’d increasingly watch television or engage in a very time- and money-consuming process called “online shopping,” which is something I’m by all accounts – especially that of my bank – not proud of.

I guess I’m being pretty hyperbolic here considering what is probably the norm when it comes to online shopping. I’m just very leery of turning into a pure consumer – someone who works all day and then comes home and spends their money on craft cocktails and gratuitous “gear” or home furnishings or whatever – so when I start buying things out of boredom – even once – I force-feed myself copious quantities of shame so as to keep myself in-line.

Thus, in the haze of my profound ennui, I purchased a “mountain” bicycle:

Even though I love bicycles, they’re such liabilities. Especially “mountain” bicycles, since they’re put through so much stress. There’s dirt and wet dirt (“mud” in some circles) and inevitable crashing (if you’re as unskilled as me) and also driving to trails – not to mention the time spent that could be better used learning about investing or sharpening workforce skills or meeting “basic hygiene” goals, the latter of which is probably the most difficult for me.

Outside of online shopping, the newfound boredom I experienced in the wake of my colossal failure of an art project also precipitated an inordinate number of feverish trips to the bowling alley. I joined a league, bought a ball, and went at least twice a week.

All of these are pretty tangible results of not having Coat & Tails to work on anymore. I mean what’s next, children?

That’s a life I’m simply not willing or capable of living.

Anyway, long story short, I hoped that another project would satisfy a different creative craving, but it didn’t, and, without a project, I was immensely bored. And as my boredom increased, I received some emails, such as the following, which made me feel like I had been taking what I had done with Coat & Tails for granted:

Hello. I just got through digging through thousands of pictures and screen shots on an external hard drive I used a couple years ago. I was searching for your Instagram page I knew that I saved, but couldn’t find it because I forgot the name. Finally found the screen shot and was extremely disappointed to see Coat & Tails is no longer active. Since you don’t do pet portraits anymore, I was hoping you could give me the name or website of someone who does or does something close to what you were doing. Scrolling through your Instagram pictures right now and I’m really bummed I missed out. You’re a great artist! If you ever decide to do pet portraits again, please let me know.

So after a certain point, it seemed dumb and naive to have quit, and now I’m back, so there you go.

It’s Very Hot

by Coat & Tails on

With temperatures reaching approximately 253 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s hard to stay inside and focus on my work. But I’ve had the discipline to not only compulsively update my website, but to carry on the only kind of work that matters in this country anymore: pet portraiture. So let’s run through these updates like Schlitz runs through a freshman.

First of all, I’ve increased the number of sizes that are available. The range used to be 8×10” to 20×24”. Now it’s 4×6” to 24×36”. This required an update on the prices, which was pretty tedious. For those of you who are interested in how I calculate them, below is a sample from my Pricing spreadsheet:


I’ve also updated my home page. Now there are real buttons and shit:

homepage design

Also, I’ll add parenthetically that I spent precisely 8 or 9 hours or so creating an interface that shows me my queue. This way, I’ll be able to see which orders are outstanding, when they’re due, what was ordered, etc. Which is extremely helpful when I’m swamped, like I am now. Just take a look at this workload:

being busy

With my hectic schedule, it’s amazing even to me that I was also able to update The Southern Belle:

southern belle

And finally, here are some commissions:

New website feature: add your own photo

by Coat & Tails on

I have some pretty exciting news: I got a haircut that came with a free “deep conditioning treatment.” Even though this made me feel like one of those guys who try to look manly-yet-foppish, I have to say that having my skull massaged put me in a relaxed state, and being in such a state for 15 minutes once every 5 years was quite lovely. And also useful, since I’m going to have to give a “best man speech” soon, which, outside of my new dandy doo, I’m wholly unprepared for, especially since among all men, I am certainly not the best (but I’m not going to say anything if you don’t; I mean I would have chosen someone like Bob Dylan or Gandhi or maybe Jesus if he’s available, but it’s cool if he chose me; it’s kind of flattering). Anyway, I’m glad I took the “deep conditioning treatment” deal.

Speaking of deals, I have a shitload of 16×20” frames from my Bouldin Creek display, and thereforely I’m having a sale. For the rest of the month, said frames are 50% off.

In other news, I’ve added a new feature on my site that allows you to test your photo before sending it to me. Because I wrote the code myself, it perhaps doesn’t offer the most ideal user experience, but I did my best considering that (1) I’m not a programmer, (2) such a feature is not the heart and soul of my proprietorship, and (3) I didn’t do my best.

That said, I feel like I need to school you in how it works. First, you click the button that says Test a Photo:

test photo button

Your photo is placed behind the other elements:

cat wearing clothing

You’re probably going to want to adjust your photo, and the button that says “Your Photo” will help you with that, because it activates your photo by bringing it forward:

cat brought forward

Note that once Your Photo is selected, you’re given some controls:


Those controls are only for the image you uploaded –  not my images – because my images are just like me: perfect.

Once you resize your photo, you can click the other layers to make them active, thus allowing you to rearrange the clothing and accessories. You can click or tap the arrows to bring something new into the canvas, or you can use your cursor or move the items that are already available. Below is an image that has the hat activated.

Note: Because some people don’t want their pets wearing hats or using tobacco products, an empty layer can find itself on the canvas. Thus if you’re trying to manipulate an empty layer, you’re not going to see any results.

Below is a non-empty layer; the hat is selected.

selected item

If you were to hit the right arrow for the hat, it would be removed from the canvas, and the empty layer would be active. So I would advise that you choose another layer or deselect.

When you’re finished or you want to see what the composition looks like without the lightened effect, hit Deselect:

I know it could use some refining, but that will come in time after a lot of aspirin and screwing off.

Which is a great segway into another feature I need to mention. See, in some cases, you cannot upload a photo to test it. Pretty much all of the themes are not prepared for this cutting edge technology, so I needed to come up with a way for the “Test your Photo” button to not be displayed on certain pages. I also needed a way to have it function a specific way on other types of collections. Thusforthly, I created a flag for each collection:

  • Collections that don’t allow photos
  • Collections that allow one photo
  • Collections that allow two photos

You read right! In an exciting new collection that will be available sometime between now and never, you will be able to test two photos.

Let’s see, what else? It’s been a long time since I’ve written, so a lot has happened, but I don’t want to cover too much, since I need to go do other things.

Ok, one more: for the first time in Coat & Tails history, I will be allowing another artist to put his work on my site. He will thusfore be doing the work, although – unfortunately for you – I will continue to be the un-foppish-yet-manly liaison you will interface with.

And if that weren’t as exciting as the invention of the cubicle, he’s currently working on a collection that may or may not be named after a popular television program: “Game of Bones.”

So keep your eyes glued to my Instagram for updates which again will happen between now and some point in the future.

An Up and a Down of Self-Employment

by Coat & Tails on

One of the greatest aspects of self-employment is the lack of competition when it comes to the Coat & Tails “Employee of the Month” award, which involves lunch from the one-star restaurant of my choosing and free air conditioning. And that’s on top of the pot of coffee that’s as bottomless as my chaps. But I’m not only in this for the perks. Sometimes I think that even without these incentives, I’d still be in the pet-portrait game, mostly because of the people whose lives are impacted by my work. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern the nature of that impact, but I can always tell that things are at least heading in the right direction when people feel compelled to employ the use of profanity in their emails to me. It is in these moments that I feel assured that I’ve made at least a few correct choices. For instance:

“First off, I love your work. Seriously, it’s the fucking best.”


“That is fucking awesome Bryce!! My husband is going to love it lol. Can’t wait to receive it!”

Despite the spoils of self-employment, there is one major downside: there is no one double checking me. Thus, there is more room for error, especially because being vigilant is exhausting. This week was proof of this: I had to get a very large portrait printed, which required the equipment of a third party. But I ordered the wrong print size – it was 2” short – but didn’t realize that till after I drove all the way across town to pick it up. I even had it mounted to a foam board. This was a pretty tragic mistake that all the free air conditioning in the world couldn’t have prevented.

Anyway, now that you know its context and concurrently my shameful truth, here is the portrait:

film noir dog

And here are a few portraits that I did recently that I did not fuck up:

the man of leisure

cat wearing clothes

pirate cat

And here is something I’m working on:

work in progress

Web Updates, June Fundraiser, Summer Sale, and (of course) More Pet Portraiture

by Coat & Tails on

Web Updates

During the past month or so, I have been doing the following:

  • Making my site not suck horribly:
  • Drawing hair (see farther down)
  • Online shopping (mostly for old bike parts and Jazzercise groupons)
  • Eating cake
  • Generally destroying any vestige of hope

Most of the changes to my site include adding basic functionality. For instance, when you click the “Place Order Now” button, something happens to indicate that the order is processing.

Before, when you clicked that button, the order was processing, but there was no indication of it, so people would click it over and over again until (1) they were notified that the order processed or (2) they went bankrupt.

I also added a dialog that shows you what to do if the order was not processed. This evidently happens on occasion, so I’m glad I was able to provide some info about how to get oneself out of that terrible situation.

Also, I’m delighted to inform you that the Pet Personality Test is back. I removed it because it was built stupidly. Now it is built more smarter. Let me explain. Instead of creating 108 images (!) for each possible result, it just pulls from the cover image that is associated with the suggested collection. Thusly I’m feeling extremely crafty at this particular moment. Which is great because I’m completely expecting an avalanche of self-doubt to destroy it all quite soon.

June Fundraiser

Now that the month is nearly over, it’s a great time to tell you that this month’s fundraiser is for Pug Rescue Austin:

As usual, $10 per shirt sold will go to PRA.

Get yours here.

Summer Sale

I’m also having a sale that involves free shipping for orders over $35. This is to incentivize people to order tee shirts or something with their prints, since the $30 photo edit option is by far my most frequently ordered item. So for all of you who are considering a photo edit, you can achieve the ultimate honor of having you shipping “on the apartment,” as they say.

More Pet Portraiture

And finally, below is what I’ve been working on this week:

cat robin hood art
pet portrait
cat portrait
cat robin hood art
cat robin hood art
cat robin hood art
cat robin hood art
cat robin hood art
cat robin hood art

Instagram, Website Updates and, ah, Hair

by Coat & Tails on

First of all, I’m delighted to inform you that the Bouldin Creek display has been going very well. Proof of this is that I’ve been tagged on Instagram by not one, but two, patrons:

save the animals instagram

instagram bouldin creek cafe pet portrait


This is deeply satisfying, but not as satisfying as having also finally styled those terribly distasteful default dialog boxes that used to haunt my otherwise beautiful website. Now, look at this magical apex of design and practicality:

dialog box

The astute follower of my ever-evolving website petri dish will also notice the perhaps indulgent use of Font Awesome icons, which are used sincerely to make the interface and processes easier. For instance, I added a help icon for the question I get asked most frequently:

help icon font awesome

…which also displays yet another modal:

help modal

You might think I’m showing you all these images simply because I’m immensely proud of myself. Good job; you’re right. But also: the information displayed in the previous image is also for those of you who don’t know whether I can include more than one pet in a single portrait, so it serves a practical purpose as well.

One more enhancement: I’ve also included a “Start Over” icon to each step in the process:

start over icon

That little back arrow shows up along each breadcrumb so that you can go back and start from a clean slate. It’s pretty much exactly like going to confession.

And BTW, that little arrow will only show up on the Collections page if you already have info stored. You can’t believe how unbelievably smug I feel right about now. I bet that would have cost me $500 if I had hired a developer.

On the portrait end of the spectrum, I did some of them, and below is evidence, just in case you’re skeptical:

dog wearing clothes

And a photo edit:

princess dog wearing sunglasses