Rescued as a pup from Dublin, 15-year-old Buddy lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and stars in his own coloring books: A Dog Called Buddy and Buddy Goes to University. Final-year art student and Irish-American (Mum’s an American and Dad is Irish) Tara McCullough was inspired by her “15-year-old best companion and family pet” to create the books.

Tara specializes in painting at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, but she also does illustration and graphic design on the side. “I’ve fully documented Buddy’s personality and characteristics in my coloring books,” she shares. “I’ve illustrated all of Buddy’s adventures — from becoming a seasoned yogi, a trip to the Bahamas for a getaway with my brother Conor, to joining an a cappella group and graduating from Pawbridge University. Not to mention all of his most favorite activities — eating, singing, snoozing, peeing, begging for treats and walking up the Cave Hill Belfast.”

Tara created the Buddy Coloring Book in 2014 as a surprise gift for her sister, Erin. “The book was adored by all our family and friends,” says Tara, “so I decided, last year, to make a follow-up coloring book Buddy Goes to University. This book was dedicated to my sister Erin again, as she had just graduated from college and I am very proud of her.”

Digitizing the book was the most challenging part, says Tara, which took a lot longer than making the original drawings.

“I had to adapt my original drawings to minimal line work that would be suitable for childrens coloring in. The project has been so much fun.”

Although Tara’s studies at university take up most of her time these days, she does sell artwork on the side, by painting people’s dogs, cats, birds, fish and “you name it!” And plans for a future Buddy coloring book …

“I hope to make another bigger and better interactive coloring book,” says Tara, “now that I’ve gotten to know how it all works: Buddy visits the USA!

Follow Tara @taramcc_art and