The OwlCat Art Studio

Albert’s Perfect Pet

So, I know I haven’t updated in ages, but I’ve been keeping very busy!  A while back, Dragonfly Publishing offered me the opportunity to illustrate a book for them.  It was quite the learning process, but the book is finally published.

Albert’s Perfect Pet, by Donna M. Zappala, illustrated by Kristin Huxman

I hope you’ll go take a look and give it some consideration.  It’s a marvelous story of a little boy looking for the perfect furry, feathery, or scaly companion.  Which pet will he choose??

There are a lot of reasons I was excited to work on this particular story…

Growing up my family had pets, and I think you learn a different (and in some ways deeper) level of friendship when you’re raised with furry siblings.  Lady, a beautiful English Springer Spaniel was already a few years old when I was born.  She had a litter of puppies around the same time, actually, and I think that really taught her about how to be a good godmother to human children too.  We also had a siamese cat named Sin.  Unfortunately, Sin got sick and I don’t remember her very well. 

Not long after losing Sin we got a siamese kitten named Noel.  Noel could be kind of picky about who she’d put up with and I was one of her chosen few.  After we moved back to Colorado, my bedroom was the surest place to find her.  On cold nights she’d crawl under the covers to snuggle with me, which could be complicated because she wanted to be able to see out but I didn’t want to let the cold air in.  Somehow we usually found a compromise.  🙂  Noel was my best friend for almost 2 decades before her arthritis got bad enough for one very last trip to the vet.  That was May 6, 2006.  I still miss her every day. 

For a short time my brother had a cat, a spunky American Shorthair named Jeff.  He was always entertaining.  Tragically, he got very sick while still pretty young.  We had lost Lady in the late 1990s, age and arthritis.  A few years later we got a new puppy an adorable, if rambunctous, black labrador we named Shadow.  Her whiskers are getting grey now but she’s still pretty sure she’s a puppy.  My parents also have a new cat, Magic.  She’s a matched set with the dog (black) and likes to stretch out next to Shadow and pretend that they’re best buddies.  Shadow mostly ignores her.  After college and after finding my own apartment it was really just a matter of course to find a pet that would suit me.  Of course, my apartment complex gets pretty expensive with either dogs or cats and, frankly, I wouldn’t have time for a dog anyway.  But I’ve always wanted a bird, so last fall I started looking for a feathered friend.  I was lucky enough to find 2. 

Custard and Belinda (named from Ogden Nash’s poem <em>The Tale of Custard the Dragon</em>) are my pintsized roommates.  They’re Celestial Parrotlets and, though they don’t always want much to do with me and they <strong>never </strong>let me sleep in… I’d sure miss them if they were gone.  We’re still working on things like manners and not shouting at me when I’m trying to work on art, but it’s a working relationship.  🙂

By the by, I took a few liberties in designing the cover for Albert’s Perfect Pet.  You can see Noel eyeing the fish on the back cover and Custard & Belinda are hanging around near the top of the page, left of the window.


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