Everyone knows vampires are hot these days. Who doesn’t fall prey to the sparkly allure of the undead, right? But Jackula the Vampire Dog (written by local author and radio host Ian Punnett, who we profiled around this time last year) puts a spin on the genre that’s much more cute than creepy.
Jackula was inspired by the author’s dog, Jack, who came from Minnesota Boston Terrier Club. “He’s a mutant Boston terrier. At 35 pounds, he looks like a mini Boxer,” Ian says. “I got him because every time I would go to [the rescue's] website, he looked so pathetic. He always had a guilty look on his face.”
The children’s book paints a portrait of a “Transylvanian Terrier” who watches over a little girl and makes his meals of squirrels. And thanks to a set of stunning illustrations by local gal D.C. Ice, Jackula comes to life as the sweetest little bloodsucker you ever did see. We got the spooky scoop on the book from the artist herself.
Sidewalk Dog: How long have you been doing illustrations?
D.C. Ice: I’ve been drawing and painting since I can remember; I actually wanted to illustrate the dictionary when I was about 10. I started creating art professionally right after graduating from The College of Visual Arts in 2003.
SD: How would you describe your aesthetic?
DC: My art is sinister but sweet. My characters all have an edge to them but are simultaneously sensitive.
SD: Have you illustrated other books with dogs in them?
DC: I have! Dizzy the Mutt with the Propeller Butt, which is also by Ian Punnett, has a dog as the main character who flies around with the help of his tail. I also illustrated The Table, by Russell Gontarek. The dog character in that book chews up The Table’s legs.
SD: Do you have a dog of your own?
DC: I don’t have a dog right now but had dogs while growing up. The funny thing is that my parents always named our dogs the same name, Duke. One would die and soon after we would get another Duke. My childhood is filled with intertwined memories of Duke 1, Duke 2, Duke 3 … They were all mid-sized, brown, outdoor watch dogs. Images of the many sweet Dukes come up in my art quite frequently.
SD: How did you get involved with Jackula the Vampire Dog?
DC: I am a co-op member at AZ Gallery in St. Paul. One day, Margery Punnett from My Talk 107.1 walked in; she liked my work and thought about Dizzy, the story her husband, Ian, had written years before. I was very lucky to have worked with the Punnetts on these two book projects. If you listen to their morning show, you know how hilarious and nice they are.
SD: What’s your favorite part of that story?
DC: My favorite part of the book has to be when Jackula is hanging upside-down at the vet. In the background are items like: I-PUP-profen, Dand-RUFF-RUFF Shampoo, PUPto-bismal, etc. Very funny.
Jackula the Vampire Dog, Dizzy the Mutt with the Propeller Butt and The Table are available at AZ Gallery in Lowertown St. Paul. If you want to see fresh art from D.C. (including one or more Dukes!) she’ll be showing in studio 400 at the Northrup King building in Northeast Minneapolis during Art Attack, Nov. 4-6.