Wednesday 1 February 2023

Hank the Tank

So, this one was a tad difficult to get going on. I had so many ideas. I’m not the best at drawing, I have a habit of getting the proportions wrong – most things I draw look a little bit squished. 

Thinking that might not be the best look on a person I thought it might work for one of the dogs if I go with a cartoony look. Nothing says cartoon more than a Basset Hound! So Hank, our old rescue that we had to say goodbye to during the second covid lockdown, popped into my mind.

We have photos and quilt creations of Charly, Wilbur (in sihouette above) and Maggie but none of Hank, aka Hank the Tank. He was the biggest Basset we ever had and a complete and total pet. All he wanted was to be minded. As long as your arm was around him he was ok. A good philosophy for life I think. A hug a day keeps the blues away.

We got him at the age of 10 from a lovely lady who had to move house and couldn’t take him with her. Bassets have a lifespan of 10-12 so we weren’t sure what we were in for but we had him for 3 Christmases’ and we loved him.

He got thinner as he got older and my main mission in life was to make sure he was eating enough so I spoiled him rotten. Towards the end he wasn’t able to jump and couldn’t get up on the couch so we would take turns sitting on the floor with him watching TV. We all missed him so much, but Gordon more than he had missed any of the other Bassets we had had before, which was a surprise. Maggie was very mopey for a few months too and eventually we plucked up the courage to get a puppy so now we have Humphrey who is heading towards being as big as Hank and he’s only a year and a half.

So I wanted to do something with Hank as the main subject for ages and I thought Portrait, could be anyone, pet etc. fit the bill. Great you would think, so why the difficulty getting started?

I couldn’t decide how to make a pet portrait of Hank.
  • Go really cartoony with Ticker Tape and make something to go with the Wilbur quilt I made a few years ago?
  • Go some bit realistic and make an applique quilt with different shapes and colours applied in layers.
  • Try a collage style pictorial quilt - I am very drawn to these at the moment. I did make a collage flower and discovered you need lots of fabrics in various shades for this one! I’m fairly sure this would take ages to do too.
I dithered, I dathered (I’m sure that’s not a word!) and I got nowhere very fast. My friend Suzanne reminded me that I am slow to start a project and can take my time to get going. Deadline looming I settled for what I thought would be the quickest and went Ticker Tape.

I have taught this in a day long workshop and estimated 2-3days to complete Hank. Well, that was waaaay off. My friend Paula says however long you think it will take you to make something, double it. For me and my slow starting ways I am thinking triple it. So, I didn’t get this finished in time. But I like it and I like where it is going (even if the eyes are a bit cray-cray). There will be a finished Hank portrait at some stage in my future!


I have learned procrastination is the universe telling you a decision needs to be made, getting started is harder than finishing, never be afraid to rescue an old dog (they all break your heart a little bit no matter how long you have them) and sometimes the deadline isn’t the point, enjoying the process can be just as important.  


Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done with this month’s challenging theme.


  1. Cartoons are just as good as other, realistic, portraits. I love that this one goes with the other quilt.

    1. Thanks Debbi, not sure where I am going to put them but I am enjoying the making of it.

  2. It is tough committing to that project Ruth, but I really like what you have done so far with Hank the Tank. I hope that it brought to the fore lots of happy memories as you were working on your project :)

    1. The eyes are a bit cray cray and there is a line at the top of his ear that's a bit distracting that I might break up now that the deadline has passed and I can spend a bit more time sitting with it!

  3. I think Hank would highly approve of his portrait, and I agree, it's best to enjoy the process. Humphrey is adorable, and I'm sure will bring joy to your family. I hope you will soon have Hank finished and on display for you to enjoy!

  4. I love it; I am so glad you posted it even though it is not yet "done." I agree with you about the process, that is what I love most about this group. It pushes me to take my process in a new direction each time, and to come up with new ideas.
    I have never heard of Ticker Tape and I will have to look it up!

  5. Perfect. What a sweet rendition. Barbara at Cat Patches

  6. This will be a wonderful portrait to remind you of Hank. The ticker tape is a really nice way of portraying him and it's coming together really well :)

  7. I totally agree with you about taking the time you think something will take and trippling it when it comes to making things! I am glad you are enjoying the progress, especially when it's a subject so close to your heart. I'll look forward to seeing finished Hank.

  8. I definitely understand the dithering part! I'm currently in that part of the process on a challenge myself. The dithering is something I seem to be excellent at! You and I can both finish these projects. I just need to find a recipe so I can get the ingredients mixed together for the dry mix and get them off the table. Then I might be able to use it for sewing again.