As a child, Deborah Hocking dreamed of becoming an artist, and of having a menagerie of animals. Her path to becoming a picture book illustrator, though, was long and circuitous. She first moved to Indiana, where she completed four majors in college—Painting, Illustration, Graphic Design, and Spanish—and then studied abroad in Madrid and Central America. Next, she and her husband, Jay, moved to France for six years to work in a chateau, and while there took a two and a half month, 1,100-mile hiking/backpacking trip from Paris to the Atlantic coast of Spain where she did a sketch-a-day during their journey. Now, she feels like the luckiest person in the world to spend her days drawing, painting, and creating books for children, back in her hometown of drizzly but charming Portland, from a tiny attic studio in her 100-year-old cottage. So far, the only animals in her menagerie are a fat raccoon under her porch, and a very silly spotted dog named Luna, but it’s a start.