The Bear Studio Celebrates Body Positivity Through Illustration

Body positivity is something we have always championed at Bear World which is why one we found out about The Bear Studio (thanks to Mr. LisbonBearPride 2024), we had to investigate.

Doug Djuritsheck is the creator of this magnificent project that features nude, colorful illustrations of 100 men and nonbinary big-bodied folks in all their naked glory. Be sure to get your copy here and find out more about this fantastic visionary and artist below.

BWM: Tell us a bit about your background, where you’re from, how you started creating art?

Doug Djuritschek (DD): My name is Doug [Djuritschek] and I’m a graphic designer and illustrator based in London, UK. When I was very much a child I would sit playing Pokemon on my Game Boy Colour and watch The Cartoon Network where I was fascinated by their storytelling through fun, colourful visuals. It sparked my creativity.

It took me until I was about 14 to decide what my professional path would be.  I was an academic young lad, but I knew where my passions lied. I studied graphic design at both college and university, then later further specialised in illustration, where I took the style I had enhanced through the years and learnt different processes that enabled me to refine concepts into pieces of work, and through different mediums at that.  

Eight years after graduating, I am now a self-employed graphic designer who works mostly with print media and advertising, but I always appreciate any briefs which come my way that allow me to fully apply my art style.

Doug Djuritsheck, Creator of The Bear Studio

BWM: What made you want to create The Bear Studio? How did you go about creating and selecting the featured drawings?

DD: My ultimate passion in life is body positivity and highlighting the beauty in forms of guys just like myself and those that I see more beautiful than anybody. No two bodies are the same – everyone has different curves and different appearing features, so I wanted to create a project which highlights not only the physiques, but the things that make us all stand out against one another.

Influenced by the life drawing classes I took part in through my studies, I wanted to create refined pieces of sketched nude drawings which don’t focus entirely on realism. They’re Renaissance style portraits, but with a more bold and unique interpretation through thick strokes and brushes.

My goal was to draw 100 different men and non-binary plus size people who were willing to take part, which I was told at the time was quite a high target to reach, but I had no doubt in my mind that I could reach my target. I had about 30 people put themselves forward at first to be drawn – my partner, friends, followers on social media accounts – and it meant so much to me to see people happy to be drawn in all their glory- by me! I would ask for three pictures of them to draw, ideally in different positions so a 360 perspective of their body could be showcased. Once each figure had been sketched, I would refine the strokes with fine-liners and marker pens before taking them onto Illustrator and adding a few more coloured strokes for rough detail. Each page would be a different colour to the next, as I personally think colour is what makes the world so exciting.

The reactions that came from everybody who had been drawn is what makes what I do so worth the work, as I am my own worst critic. But it really does give one validation, and knowing I’ve helped enhance some people’s perspective on their own beauty is more rewarding than words can say.


BWM: What initially drew you into the bear community? And what keeps you there?

DD: I knew when I was young that I was gay, and it wasn’t other boys I was surrounded by that made me know, it was the big, hairy guys I would see around and on TV that were my gay awakening. Along with this, I have always been a stocky lad, and I knew that despite how the world makes plus size people feel, that I was always going to like what I like. It was just knowing that it could be celebrated that was not something that I had hope for when I was young. As the years went by and I discovered that the bear community was something that existed, suddenly my views seemed validated, and when I became of age and started going out and meeting other plus size gay men, it felt so homely. I always say to people, I live in a fat guy’s world, and I aim to spread that energy wherever I go!

Saying this, I have had my fair share of experiences with people who make you feel less welcome in the community, whether it’d be that you’re too young and inexperienced (around the time I was 18-24), or too loud/quiet/weird. One thing that’s important to note to anyone else who feels the same, it’s only individuals who have that sort of personality complex rather than the community itself, which is an easy one to mix up when they’re the ones who are on the scene more visibly. I encourage anyone who felt how I used to feel to stay true to themselves, as I now have such a great network of bear friends across not only the country, but the world, who love and appreciate me.

BWM: Tell us about your artistic process and style of drawing. You seem to have a signature way you draw your eyes, what informed that?

DD: My art style is heavily influenced by American and Japanese cartoons and video games I was exposed to while growing up. Those kind of visuals really appealed to me, which is why features like the eyes became something I learned to refine into my own sort of style.

I love working with both traditional and digital mediums for different reasons – traditional because there’s nothing more refreshing than drawing by hand on a piece of high quality paper, plus the refinement of figures and addition of detail is much easier to achieve. However, digital software such as Illustrator has such an interesting array of tools, brushes and techniques to create such striking artwork that it makes for a great way to create portraits of people, animals, and all sorts of creatures as well!


BWM: Who are some of your artistic inspirations?

DD: Aside from being inspired by throwback cartoons and video games (Pokemon being the main example), I was always heavily inspired by street art. Being from a town with quite the platform for street art, I loved seeing people’s expressions come through from their personalities, as they always managed to tell a story or have a message. The key thing both my style and street art style share is the bold colours and fun visuals, which shows influence from existing art, but also from concepts that aren’t necessarily in the mold of the mainstream.

BWM: In addition to bears what else do you like to draw? What other types of art do you create?

DD: I absolutely love to draw animals – I prefer animals to people, hands down! Dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, ducks, you name it, especially zebras as they’re my favourite animal (and I relate to them a lot). If I can find a reason to draw animals, then I always run with it.

I also draw a lot of landscape artwork, as when experiencing artist block, it always makes a great option and I have refined my technique of drawing trees and buildings through the years. They always go down a storm on social media, so they’ll always be something that I create and show to the world.

BWM: What big projects are you working on? What is coming next? Will there be another volume of The Bear Studio?

DD: I have a few ideas of projects to pursue in the future, but they are all just ideas. Currently I’m taking a small break to promote The Bear Studio as well as focusing on having a fun filled summer. However, a few people have come forward saying that they’d love to be in a second edition of The Bear Studio, so why not?! I may try something different with this issue to showcase more of my techniques, but I wouldn’t stray too far away from the original.

A long-term goal of mine is to create my own clothing brand with designs that I would create and make myself, as plus size fashion is something that really needs attention in the world. To see other people wearing my designs would be the most rewarding thing ever, and once my sewing skills are refined and I have access to printing my own fabric designs, I’ll be all set to make my dreams a reality! Watch this space!


BWM: Sounds great! And where can we see/ purchase your work?

DD: Instagram – @dougandcolour

Etsy –

Website –

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