Zo’s origins are to be found in the mysterious nights of my undergraduate college years. Those began one August in the mid 1990s. It was the first time I had been away from home for an extended period, much like so many others there with me. Comfort could be found in having a roommate I knew from home and all of my things around me that I could pack. Also, I brought my sense of humor.
On a particularly silly and sleepless night, I did a whole duck shadow puppet show. Thus, Zo was born. Later, I found a stuffed animal in my possession that would fit the bill, no pun intended. Form met funny and what you see in the drawings is the culmination of these two aspects, inspired by puppeteers of the past. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to build a Zo puppet of my own? Until then, I will content myself with drawing her and continuing the silliness with simple pencil drawings on plain white paper.
There’s something to say about illustrating in such a simple manner. The drawings retain the intended whimsy and simplicity of bygone days. Just as she was on that night, Zo remains a comfort in the midst of stressful days. Therefore, I think this birthday tribute is fitting this month, almost 30 years on.
Happiest of birthdays, little Zo.