According to Lauren Yingling ’21, her mom, Lori, was “never really a dog person” until last summer when she got the family’s first puppy, Puddles Barkley.  As Puddles became part of the family, Lori decided to write a book about him in which the book’s proceeds are donated to the annual fund at Upland Country Day School (UCDS), a private school for students in grades Pre-K through 9 in Kennett Square, Pa. where Lori is the Director of Admissions and Marketing.

With a story idea in place, Lori needed to find an illustrator.  She did not have to look far.

“As an alumna of UCDS who enjoys drawing and painting as a hobby, I was more than eager to help my mom with this project,” Lauren explained.

The book, Puddles Barkley and the Great Race, tells the story of Puddles’ participation in Tails on Trails, an event in which dogs take a leisurely stroll through the countryside.  Puddles, however, doesn’t understand that it is just a walk and makes it a race, running through the course and causing chaos. 

Lauren intends to illustrate between 10 and 15 pages for the book as her H-Term project.  To assist her, the School provided her with access to iPad-compatible Adobe software, which she uses to create the digital artwork.

Learning how to digitally illustrate cartoons has been a challenging adjustment for Lauren, but she has found plenty of rewarding experiences throughout the process, too.

“The most challenging aspect has been learning how to cartoon and capture the expressions and form of Puddles,” Lauren said.  “I’ve never cartooned prior to this and I find myself sometimes adding more detail than what is necessary.  However, I’m still adapting and have become good at recognizing when I need to step back, look at the piece, and find where I can simplify to create the image I have in mind.

“Seeing the look on my mom or sister’s face anytime I complete a page has been the most rewarding part,” Lauren continued.  “I’m proud anytime I’m able to capture the joy and flamboyance of our little dog in picture form and to see my family’s reaction to it.”

Lauren hopes the skills she gains and hones during H-Term will help her as an artist later in life.

“I don’t know if I want to be an illustrator, but the ability to work with my mom in a new dynamic rather than mother-daughter has been eye-opening,” she explained.  “I’ve learned to meet her vision for the book without having to diminish my creativity and image as well.  I think the ability to communicate with someone in a formal setting about a project is one that will be very helpful to me in the future.”