Oliver Oil

Back in January, I began a private commission for painting an olive oil label featuring an owner’s cat… aptly named Oliver. Cats? Puns? Food? I’m so on board.


When working with a client of any kind, I have a consultation with them first to discuss subject matter, timeline, and budget. I try to absorb as much info as I can about what they're envisioning, and then I get to sketchin'. I had received quite a few reference pictures of Oliver, who is one of those floofy cats that sometimes gets a hilarious lion cut. His face also conveys a lot of what I like to call "judgemental attitude." It's like he's peering directly into your soul and judging what he finds.

My client enjoyed all three sketches, but we both felt like it needed more oomph. For round two of the sketches, I suggested we pull in super tight around the cat’s face so we could really convey that facial expression.

We both really liked the one with the olive branch in his mouth, so it really helped sell the "Oliver Oil" concept. After all, this bottle is meant to sit next to a stove and be used, we'd better be sure what's inside! Once the sketch was approved, it was time to move to color comps. We chose option #2, and I began to paint!

I've painted a lot of fuzzy characters in my time, but I've never really, y'know, painted fur. Like in detail. It was actually quite fun to do, once I'd figured out a technique that worked for me. Once the painting and hand-painted text was buttoned up, my client had the challenge of "how to put it on a bottle." The issue with a label like this is that you need for it to be waterproof so the oil doesn't ruin the design. It takes a special sort of paper, and most "custom" olive oil label printing services require you get at least 10.

And so this is the solution my client came up with! The bottle ended up being a different shape than the one we'd planned for, but I still think it turned out quite cute. I'd like to come up with my own solution to printing olive oil (and wine!) labels, because I want to design more!

Interested in me painting your pet (or something else) for a custom wine or olive oil label? Feel free to email me!