For Rebecca’s graduation, I made her a card with some imagined characters: Porcupine and Cat. Unfortunately, I did not scan the image before giving it to her, so I had to re-draw it for Picture Book Club.
The illustration was inspired by the time when Rebecca, Babacar and I went to the #1 highlight in Senegal according to Lonely Planet: the Desert de Lompoul. We went there during Ramadan and missed the morning car into town, not an uncommon mishap for us in this country. So we were trapped at the desert all day with no food and nothing to do but play cards, take a nap, and tap on the djembes. In spite of being in a desert, we enjoyed the post-rain breeze under the shady trees. To satisfy our hunger, we made up songs about our favorite Senegalese foods to the melody of I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder.
Based on this image, I have been thinking about these characters, imagining some life for them. I named them Porcupine Piddy and Honey the Cat, because I think it would sound really cute if my almost-2-yr-old niece said their names that way.
This image is how I imagined Porcupine Piddy would learn how there is no replacement for family, no matter how spiky they were. Alternatively…. how she learned to love her spiky nature.
It may seem sort of backward, but I find it easier to develop a story based on an image, as opposed to doing it the other way around. My procrastination led me to shamefully work on these illustrations the morning of our monthly PBC meeting.