Cartoons for a cause

Local artist draws to raise money to help stop her dog’s blindness

Ciara Parizek/MDN Wendy Weiss Voeller and “Buddy”.

Art serves different purposes to each individual artist. It can give them something else to focus on, provide release as an outlet, a way to express their creativeness and too many others to be named. However, it currently serves as a way for Wendy Weiss Voeller to raise money for her four-legged friend, Buddy.

Buddy is a Brittany mix that has glaucoma in both eyes, slowly causing him to go blind. A vet from Idaho visits Fargo once a month, and Weiss Voeller is hoping to take Buddy there to stop his sight from getting any worse.

To raise funds for him, Weiss Voeller has started making cartoon drawings, mainly using Prismacolor alcohol markers. Most are done in color, but some are done in black and white with varying shades of grey using charcoal. The idea to make cartoons came from a piece she had been working on of black and grey jellyfish silhouettes.

A lady bought some of her cartoon prints and was delighted with her purchases. “She said they brought her so much joy,” Weiss Voeller said, “so I continued to make them.” The world is going through hardships in the face of COVID-19, and she wanted to bring some light and happiness.

More recently, she has started taking commissions for cartoons. One lady wanted caricatures done of her grandchildren. One of her granddaughters really likes cows and puppies, so that is what Weiss Voeller drew. Another is of one of the grandsons who likes trains and John Deere.

Wendy Weiss Voeller drew her furry friend Buddy in the middle of a group of dogs and birds. Ciara Parizek/MDN

Artmain in downtown Minot bought several of her cartoon drawings and will be putting them up for sale. Weiss Voeller mentioned that the staff will be giving customers that buy Weiss Voeller’s work a discount on the mounting and framing.

She has been an artist her whole life. It had been more of a hobby for her rather than a source of income. While she was in college, she didn’t take any art classes the first time around. She decided to be an addiction counselor to help people who were struggling.

Unfortunately, she had to stop counseling because she started having dizzy spells and became disabled. To find out what was going on, she went to the doctor and they did an MRI scan. The results came back showing brain lesions.

Despite her disability, she continues to draw and paint. A couple new methods she has picked up are woodworking and alabaster carving.

The media that Weiss Voeller likes to work with the most is plain black charcoal on paper. She used her finger to blend it for the longest time before she found blending stumps. “Now I can’t live without them,” she said.

One of the cartoon drawings she did with charcoal is of a basset hound watching birds lift and play with its ears.

In other instances, she uses paint, watercolor and pastels. Lately she has been playing around with the pastels on a surface that has the same texture as sandpaper. It seems to trap the medium, making the colors bolder and brighter.

The art method she is well known for is digital photography. Weiss Voeller started by taking pictures at Minot High School basketball games. “The parents liked it,” she said. Other sports she added to her MHS photography schedule were football, soccer, tennis and track. The only sport she covered that wasn’t an MHS team was hockey.

“My grandson is a good subject for photos, too,” she added.

Some of her other artworks have been religiously inspired. After she had to give up counseling, she started copying the Bible word for word with black marker. She figured out that she could make shapes or images in the middle of the verses by circling words and punctuation.

One such drawing was named “Ephesian’s Doves,” after the section of the Bible she wrote from.

With her long history and extensive experience with art, she is making many different cartoons including dogs, cats, dragons and a wide variety of animals. In the hopes of helping Buddy keep what little sight he has left, Weiss Voeller makes new cartoons and puts them up for sale online and spreads the word to all animal lovers.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today