Art des fans (numérique): de Downton Abbey à Houndton Tabby

Since there are only so many hours in the day, I try to limit the amount of time I spend watching television, focusing instead on, well, just about anything else that you could conceive of. But I do have a few shows that I DVR for when I need some down-time, or just some background noise while I work on a project in my living room. But I really get a kick out of my friends who are head-over-heels about specific shows that they fall in love with.

There’s no denying that the PBS series Downton Abbey falls into that category. While I’ve yet to watch an episode (I know, I know–I’ve heard it’s amazing!), I can appreciate the passion of those who faithfully tune in. That’s why I so adore this digital art by Kim Parkhurst (featured below).

Houndton Tabby (Downton Abbey) art series |

Anna Greyhound Portrait (digital art) by Kim Parkhurst (Click here to pin this on Pinterest.) Visit to see more of the artist’s work.

Keeping Up Appearances by Michael Woodson
Originally published in The Artist’s Magazine (Share this on Facebook)

The characters on PBS Masterpiece’s historical drama Downton Abbey leap off the screen and onto our laps. In her collection of images aptly titled Houndton Tabby, digital artist Kim Parkhurst portrays the iconic characters as their furry doppelgänger. “I’d been doing animal portraits in historically accurate costumes for a few years,” she says. “Of course they’re silly and poke fun at us serious, dignified humans, but I think these pieces can’t happen without affection. I fall in love a little with everything I paint.”

Houndton Tabby (Downton Abbey) art series |

Lady Sybil Burmese Cat Portrait (digital art) by Kim Parkhurst

To begin the process, Parkhurst focuses on the characters individually and the traits each embodies, both physically and emotionally. “I referred to face shape and coloring,” the artist says, “and the features most distinctive to each person: the Dowager’s cool appraisal and exquisite cheekbones; Daisy’s sweet, wide-eyed expression; Mrs. Patmore’s fiery hair and distracted agitation, to name a few.”

Parkhurst uses a program called Corel Painter, which simulates a variety of nondigital media, and a Wacom drawing tablet with a wireless stylus. “It functions a bit like a computer mouse; each pen stroke on the tablet makes a corresponding stroke on the screen,” says Parkhurst. “The stylus is pressure sensitive, so drawing with firm pressure or a light touch varies the line weight as a brush or a pencil would.” One of the many benefits she finds in creating digital imagery is the unlimited options it provides her. “I can draw chalk on coarse concrete and paint watercolor washes onto fine linen,” she says. “I can draw my picture entirely on one surface or draw some elements onto transparent layers if I think I’ll want to reposition them. I can erase as many times as I want. And of course, I have the ‘undo’ option. The possibilities are limitless.” ~M.W.

Each issue of The Artist’s Magazine includes art and artists who not only teach, but also charm with their interpretations and creations, like Parkhurst and her digital art. Subscribe to The Artist’s Magazine here, and browse more fine art magazines here. You’re about to find one that speaks to you as much as, dare I say, a favorite television series does for so many?

Until next time,

Cherie Haas, online editor
**Subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and ideas, and score a free download > 3 Lessons on How to Draw Animals: Facial Features of Pets.

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