It All Started with a Little Girl Who Loved Art

Howdy!  I’m AJ Wanegar, I create beautiful illustrations for children’s books and a variety of products in my studio on our Tennessee farm.  I am a wife, mother, and animal lover.  I am especially fond of my rescue dogs, one of which is the muse of my studio’s name and logo… he is my farm dog!

I’ve been creating art for as long as I can remember.  In the late 1970s I created the first piece of art I was truly happy with.  My art teacher entered it into a regional children’s art contest – I took first place.  It was at that moment, in fifth grade, that I began to tell anyone and everyone, “I want to be an artist when I grow up”.

Over high school and college I devoted my time to 14 full courses in art and design.  I could not get enough of art!  I took pottery, drafting, fashion design, portraiture, anything and everything I could learn about art – I did.  All this exposure is what made ma a well rounded artist!  After trying all the different mediums under the sun I settled on my favorites – watercolor, pastel/chalk, pen & ink and scratch board.  I started making use of a computer for layout in the mid 1990s but I did not pick up digital illustration until after 2009.

I’ll Take That Challenge

In 2009 I was met with a challenge.  I suffered a major setback in my artistic career.  I was walking on the side of a street in my hometown when I was struck by a moving vehicle.  As a left-handed artist, to be struck by the car on my left side would prove to be a disaster.  In addition to other serious injuries, I lost quite a bit of the fine motor skills in my left hand and arm.  Several doctors and specialists told me to give up my art career when months of physical therapy failed to restore my steady hand.  All seemed lost but I refused to give up.

I took an office job to pay my bills while I continued to work on rehabilitating myself.  It would take 2 full years just to be able to do some light design and layout work without pain.  More than 6 years after the accident, I  fully recovered my fine motor skills and returned to design. My love of design and art kept me working towards my recovery.  That same love is what I pour into every illustration and design project I touch.

The Foundation of Farm Dog Design

Originally, as a stand alone designer, I founded Illustration Girl in 1998.  I have worked freelance illustrating and designing since then.  But in 2016 it became apparent that my business name would need to change when my Daughter, MH DeLisle, joined the team – Illustration Girl was no longer alone.  Since I we love our dogs so much and we donate part of our annual revenue to no kill dog rescues it seemed fitting to rename our business to reflect that.  That is when Farm Dog Design was born.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m glad that I’m getting to know you, AJ (Illustration Girl). We’re going to have fun with our project!

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