Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Praise for "All My Dogs"

Praise keeps pouring in for "All My Dogs: A Life" written by Bill Henderson and illustrated by me. I particularly like the Publishers' Weekly mention of the "famed artist"!

Interspersed with sketches from his childhood and adult forays into romance and publishing, Henderson reveals how much his dogs taught him about enduring tragedy and enjoying the pleasures of life. Few readers will get through this slender volume of heartwarming portraits and vignettes without reaching for the tissue box.

With dry humor and enviable honesty, this gem by Pushcart Press founder Henderson (His Son) tells his life story through 13 dogs—of different sizes, shapes, breeds, and mixes—that he and his family have owned. His first dog, Trixie (a German Spitz mix) shaped his formative years in suburban Philadelphia. After his friend's father kicked out the mutt Duke, a 10-year-old Henderson took him in. Labrador retriever Sophie saved Henderson's relationship with his future wife and witnessed the couple's daughter, Holly, grow up. Today, Franny and Sedgwick keep Henderson company. Henderson candidly discusses the deaths of his dogs, including the unexpectedly intimate depiction of the time he discovered Ellen and Rocky (a beloved Chesapeake Bay retriever and mutt) floating in a residential swimming pool in his upstate New York neighborhood. While making a solid, yet subtle, argument for why dogs remain man's best friend, Henderson also writes of his Christian upbringing and his "spiritual sojourn." The book is greatly enhanced by famed artist Leslie Moore's line drawings, and the typeface is Minion, which just happens to mean "faithful companion."
Publishers' Weekly

"Just when I thought it would be impossible for a dog memoir to set itself apart from the plethora of similar books on the shelves today, I read All My Dogs, a charming and moving account by Bill Henderson, founder of the Pushcart Press. Similar in scope and sensibility to Elizabeth von Arnim's 1936 classic, All the Dogs of My Life, this narrative chronicles the dogs with whom Henderson has shared his life, and the ways they informed it. . . . Henderson's way of telling an economical, well-crafted tale is similar to the manner in which he leads his life: resourcefully and creatively. His dogs have been invaluable companions, and their stories, as well as his own, make for a memorable read."
— Claudia Kawczynska (Editor-in-chief), The Bark Magazine

"It would be a mistake to dismiss All My Dogs by Bill Henderson as just another entry into the already inflated category of canine books, because this little memoir is masterful. . . . What makes All My Dogs extraordinary is Henderson’s skill at weaving together stories about dogs with the trials and tribulations of his personal life; especially moving is the author’s account of his own bout with breast cancer that coincided with his dog Lulu’s cancer diagnosis. Bill Henderson’s writing is simple yet eloquent, at times poetic and poignant. His descriptions of people, events, and scenes range from the humorous to the dramatic. Henderson well knows how to tell a story. He also knows he is lost without dogs. In a chapter entitled “Dogless Years,” Henderson writes of his first, unsuccessful marriage, lamenting, “The idea of children, or dogs, never came up. Our lives were as empty as a bare ruined choir.” Indeed, Henderson is at his best when a dog is by his side. That’s what All My Dogs is really about. Happily, this story reinforces what most dog lovers already believe—that a dog is the best companion a human could ever have."
 ForeWord Magazine

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Drawings, 2011

10" X 8" colored ink

5" X 7" sepia-colored ink

5" X 7" colored ink

Izzy, Bianca, and Tyson
8" X 10" black ink

Labrador retriever/Border collie mix
10" X 8" black ink

Hound-dog mix
8" X 10" colored ink

Border terrier
8" X 10" black ink

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

One of my labors has finally come to fruition. I spent last summer illustrating All My Dogs: A Life by Bill Henderson, and the book has finally come out this summer! Here’s what David R. Godine, the publisher, says about it:

“It may be true that a dog is a man's best friend, but if you are a serious dog owner, you are probably a serial dog owner, having embraced not one but a succession of canine companions, each of them memorable in their own particular way, and each marking a particular epoch in your own life. . . . In this intimate, moving, and revealing memoir, Bill Henderson, the beloved founder of the Pushcart Press, divides up the stages of his life into canine epochs. There was (and there always is) the first dog, the worst dog, the ones that died untimely deaths, the one who saved a marriage. . . . This is a book to love even if you don't love dogs. (

And here are a few more words of praise for our book:

“Like most great memoirs, All My Dogs contains the diversions readers need to slow their reading pace and savor the richness of the book’s content: triggers for daydreams and contemplation. As Henderson chronicles his life by recounting the lives of the 13 dogs he has owned, he stirs his readers’ memories of their own lives.” (The Ellsworth American, August 4, 2011).

“I cried at my desk at work, in the staff lunchroom, on the subway (twice), and had the sense to finish it in the privacy of my own home. And if that sounds like the book is a downer, rest assured it’s not. This is a lovely little volume, gentle in tone and a bit artless, telling the story of a life through the dogs who attended it. Bill Henderson, the founder of Pushcart Press and its better-known progeny, the annual Pushcart Prize, hasn’t written his account as an instructional, or a confessional, or even a celebration. Rather, it’s a meditation on the grace notes both dogs and people bring to a life—a hybrid “mutt memoir,” as he calls it.” (
by Lisa Peet on August 16, 2011)

Lisa Peet even mentions me in her review: “The accompanying line drawings by Leslie Moore, appealing portraits of each dog recreated from photos and Henderson’s desriptions, add a nice touch. Lulu really does have the sweetest eyes.”

Finally, my neighbor, Rachel Snow, an active octogenarian, said she sat down to look at the pictures in the book and read the whole darned thing straight through! It kept her from getting all sorts of chores done. Happily so, I hope. “He’s my kind of writer!” she said.

I have copies of the book for sale for $20 + $4 (S & H). They’re signed by Bill Henderson, and I’ll be happy to sign and inscribe copies as well. Please contact me if you’d like to buy one. You won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Summer's Work

Percy & Ellie
8" X 10" pen and ink

5" X 7" pen and ink

8" X 10" colored pen and ink

Jibe at the Helm
8" X 10" colored ink

5" X 7" colored pen and ink

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kaly in Kolor

8" X 10" colored pen and ink

Kalypso, otherwise known as Kaly, is a Teacup Yorkshire Terrier -- 2 1/2 lbs. of sheer energy, able to bring a grown man to his knees in a single play date. I've drawn three portraits of Kaly over the years. This is my first one in color.

10" X 8" pen and ink
8" X 10" pen and ink

A Pancake Pile of Pit Bulls

 Pickles and Peaches
8" X 10" pen and ink

Pickles and Peaches are a cozy pair of Pit Bulls from Santa Barbara, California. They like to sleep pancake style, one on top of the other, usually Peaches on top of Pickles. They belong to a Pullitzer Prize winning cartoonist and I was in a real panic trying to get them just right. I'm glad to report that he was pleased with the portrait. Here's another pose. 

Peaches on Pickles

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More Color Work In Progress

Kahlua in progress

 Kahlua and Keira
8" X 10" colored pen and ink

5" X 7" colored pen and ink

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Furry Nephew

8" X 10" pen and ink

Riley is a bit of a goof ball in real life, full of silly pranks and comic antics. He's a white, not a golden, retriever, and his favorite past time is to find mud puddles and loll in them. On one walk alone he might sample ten mud puddles, the muddier the better! You can imagine what this does to his beautiful white coat, and what my sister-in-law, Sue, a meticulous housekeeper, has to say about that. Riley's nickname is "Mud Bug." Evan, my brother, and Sue wanted a more serious pose, however, for this portrait. So here's Riley, the Magnificent, the Noble, the Wise, and the True! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

San Francisco Photo Shoot

8" X 10" colored ink

Tom and I spent two weeks in California in April visiting family and friends. While there I had a photo shoot with Jackie, a small mix-breed rescue dog with a great big personality, on Baker Beach in San Francisco. A line of multi-million-dollar mansions overlooks the beach and the Golden Gate Bridge provides a spectacular background. I'm hoping all Jackie's Bake Beach buddies will fly me back out to California for another photo shoot and more PenPets portraits!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Two Kitties in Color

7" X 5" colored pen and ink

Charlie Brown
5" X 7" colored pen and ink

These two kitties were fun to conceive and draw in color, especially their eyes--green and golden! Here's how Pam, their person, describes them:

Missy was a little diva. She liked to boss ole Charlie Brown around and she would talk your ear off! She loved to tell you a story or give you her opinion. Charlie Brown is very quiet and laid back. He’s a big old softy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wegman Watch Out!

Xena and Zachariah
7" X 5" pen and ink

William Wegman isn't the only Weimaraner artist in town. These are my first.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

American Water Spaniels X 3

Boy, Georgia, and Princess
8" X 10" colored pen and ink

"OH    MY    GOODNESS!    IT    IS    WONDERFUL!    I    LOVE    IT!

Boy is absolutely wonderful. He looks just like I remember him. Princess, I look at her face and I know it's her without looking at her collar tag! My dear old Georgia, it IS her! I see my wonderful doggies, and smiles and tears of remembrance. Thank you!"

~Mary from Cedar, Minnesota

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Couple of Cool Cats

Cali and Earl
8" X 10" colored ink

I love this description of Cali and Earl from Nancy, their person: "Earl is a one-year-old long-haired tuxedo that I adopted from the Greater Cat Resuce. He was feral but now owns my home. Cali is an eight-year-old Calico who has accepted her adopted brother with the grace of an older woman." Perfect! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Spectacular Springer

Abigail Elizabeth Garafalo
8" X 10" colored ink

Abby, a Springer Spaniel, lived a long life and she was well loved. A loving, loyal, and playful companion, Abby liked drinking water from the bathtub faucet and she trained every member of her family, including Grandma, to cater to her need for fresh bathtub water.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Magic, The Boss (left)
Hopkins, The Kisser (top)
Sam, The Devil (bottom)
10 X 8 colored pen and ink

These three little live-wires--two Yorkies and a Shih Tzu--keep things hopping in their household. They also fill it with a lot of love.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lulu in Living Color

7" X 5" colored pen

I don’t think my color portrait of Lulu is destined to appear in the book I’ve illustrated – “All My Dogs: A Life” by Bill Henderson. So I’ll give you a sneak preview of Bill’s favorite. Bill thinks Lulu was a mismatched mixed breed: “She was about eighty-five pounds of shagginess. Perhaps a committee had pieced her together–a German shepherd face, floppy dreadlocked Afghan ears, a golden retriever body. Her face and muzzle said ferocious, her eyes indicated kind, her tail wagged like a puppy’s for friend and stranger alike.”

Lulu in Life

I think Lulu may have been a noble Leonberger, a German water dog created by Mayor Heinrich Essig of Leonberg in the 1800’s by crossing Newfoundlands with St. Bernards. Whatever flavor Lulu was, she was Bill’s love. “I have known few animals,” he writes, “–and fewer humans–with such a natural, unself-conscious dignity. She accepted me and I her with no question. We walked and thought in tandem.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eustace Tilley Dozen

The New Yorker finally announced the winners of its Eustace Tilley contest in the February 14 & 21, 2011, issue--all twelve of them. Guess what? MY Eustace Tilley was not among them. I suppose my Steig Larsson/Lisbeth Salander slant was not New Yorkish enough.

Eustace Tilley with a Dragon Tattoo

Click here if you'd like to see a slide-show of the chosen twelve.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Showcases PenPets

PenPets moved into the world of high fashion this week with an interview in Swide, the online magazine of Dolce and Gabbana of Milan, Italy. I was interviewed by Peter Pan, a handsome black Labrador retriever, who writes a regular column for the fashion magazine.

I owe this all to Yigit Turhan, my favorite student from the Koc School in Turkey (I taught high school English there from 2001-2003). Yigit went on to college at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, then to graduate school at Universita Bocconi in Milan, Italy. He's been on an upward trajectory ever since and is now the creative genius behind Dolce and Gabbana's online presence--Director of Digital Marketing. And he's not even 25 yet!

 Thank you Yigit!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Let it snow . . .

Let it snow,

Let it snow!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Color

5" X 7" colored pen & ink

I'm having fun with my new colored inks. Lexi is a whippet-hound mix rescued from Alabama by the Coastal Humane Society of Brunswick, Maine. From the looks of it, she's settling in just fine in her new home.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kitty Heaven

5" X 7" pen and ink

Although Kitty lived most of his long life in Worcester, Massachusetts, he spent one glorious summer here in Maine at his grandperson Nancy’s camp—catching mice, stalking bats, and bedeviling squirrels. Nancy, my sister-in-law, thinks nothing of throwing a cat in her car and driving six hours from Central Massachusetts to Downeast Maine for the summer. She likes the company of cats and she’s convinced that the cats like the good life in Maine. The exhilaration of dispatching rodents all summer long compensates for the humiliation of the long car ride for the cats. And Nancy’s cabin benefits from their rigorous vermin extermination campaigns. Nancy has brought three cats to her summer camp, just down the drive from our house—Kitty, Gregory (her own cat), and Boomer (another grandcat).



Alas! None of Nancy’s consorts are still with us. They’re all in kitty heaven, which looks and feels a lot like the camp in Brooksville, Maine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Eustace Tilley Knock-Off

Eustace Tilley by Rea Irvin, 1925

This Eustace Tilley was drawn by Rea Irvin, the magazine’s first art editor, for the cover of the first issue of The New Yorker, in 1925, and has returned for nearly every anniversary issue since. For the past two decades, the magazine has invited contributing artists to reinterpret this iconic dandy, and in 2008, 2009, and 2010, readers have contributed to the Eustace Tilley Contest. The magazine is hosting the contest again in 2011, with a twist: This year, it’s the Eustace Tilley Book-Bag Contest. To celebrate The New Yorkers's 86th anniversary, the editors have invited readers to create a book-bag version of their iconic dandy. Twelve winners will be featured in a slide show curated by The New Yorker’s art editor, Fran├žoise Mouly. One grand-prize winner will get his/her design printed on a Strand Bookstore tote bag and a $1,000 Strand shopping spree.

So, with great expectations and a tip of my mohawk to Steig Larsson, the late author of the Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest) I’ve uploaded my portrait of the famous New Yorker.

Eustace Tilley with a Dragon Tattoo by Leslie Moore, 2011

Click here if you’d like to see my Tilley in The New Yorker’s Gallery of Contestants, and check out the competition while you’re there!

Fingers crossed!