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I was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the back woods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like a television set or running water, I spent my time drawing, whittling, and throwing dirt clods at my cousins. Having been born into a family with a flair for racing, I had hoped to be the next Bobby Allison or Richard Petty. But after dismantling my grandfather's lawn mower engine, and without a clue on how to get it back together, I soon realized that I did not have an automotive Russbone in my body. Back to the drawing board I went with my pencil and paper (and sometimes the barn wall), drawing for hours. When not drawing, I would watch endless hours of monster movies, Warner Brothers cartoons, and reading comic books. Wyle E. Coyete and Daffy Duck provided me with new ways to torment my evil cousins. While in high school, I developed an interest in graphic design and a passion for music. Upon hearing this news, the school's automotive shop teacher threw a celebration party. After graduating high school, I got a degree at a local art school. With a portfolio in my hand, I ventured into the world of design and illustration where I worked for various design and advertising agencies until coming to my senses. With my wife giving me a swift kick-start in the rump, I opened my own studio, Smiling Otis Studio, where I presently specialize in illustration for the children's market and children's books. I also found time to teach various classes at Pennyslvania College of Art & Design for several years. Recently me and ma packed up the wagon and headed to the wilderness of Maine where we have setup a homestead in Pittsfield. When not drawing, running amok in the snow, or training our four cats to yodel Slim Whitman's greatest hits, I enjoy some quiet time with my banjo while taking in the beauty of Maine. My poor wife would prefer me to play the triangle or build a sound proof room.

 


Otis is our cat. Well, was our cat. He has long since parted to romp in the catnip fields in the sky. He was big and burly, who looked like he could roar, but only squeaked when he opened his mouth. He drank a lot of milk and had an addiction to mice. Often he would sleep (or passed out from his milk induced stupor) on his back with a big Cheshire Cat grin. Our kids would always say "look at Otis smiling." I, too, have a love for milk and catnip, so as tribute to Otis and to my kids, Smiling Otis Studio was christened.

Otis
 
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