Friday, April 29, 2011

Vanessa Cabban & Ellie and Douglas

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Vanessa Cabban. I am an artist and illustrator.

Learn more about my work at my website and blog.

My dogs names are Ellie (a girl of 7 years old), and Douglas (a boy of six and a half years old). They have the same father, but different mothers! They are Miniature Wire-Haired Dachshunds.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee at 11 a.m. every day is our usual routine. We take a break from our busy schedules -- theirs of snoozing after a walk, mine of working. Unfortunately the cafe is the very unglamorous location of home. If we had infinite means, it would be a trip by helicopter to Laduree, on the Rue Royale, in Paris every day.

What's brewing?

Illy coffee is brewing. A smallish amount of strong coffee made in a cafetiere, added to a bowl shaped mug filled with steaming hot milk.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

On work days a morning coffee wouldn't be accompanied by anything, on days off, well.............. no, nothing on those days either. One can dream. If this was an afternoon coffee (and coffee that had turned into tea), well that's an entirely different matter. It would be biscuits (or cookies as you say in America), or even a Snickers bar. Anything that is hiding in "the chocolate box".

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

No treats for little Dachshunds I'm afraid, not at 11 a.m in the morning. They have to wait till lunch time, when they get snacks like carrot sticks.

How were you and your dogs united?

After years of searching out what type of dog would be our ideal dog, we bought Ellie from a breeder whose two dogs only have one litter each a year, so she's very reputable. Ellie, seemed to need the company of her own kind, so we then got Douglas. They are inseparable.

Have your dogs had any influence on your writing and illustrating?

Not directly, definitely indirectly. They have never appeared in any of my books, paintings or sculptures, but their constant presence, and our voicing of the thoughts they communicate to us through their eyes, actions and body language, has an influence on my life as a whole, so that must insinuate its way into my work, don't you think?

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Our dogs have official human names, by which they are addressed in public.

But in private, Douglas [photo right] is often addressed as Mr. Boogles, Baby Boy, Beautiful Baby Boy, or just, You're So Cute!

Ellie is often just Ellie, or Aren't You Independent, or No Ellie Stop Snarling At Me, and sometimes it's, Oh Ellie You're So Small And Sweet.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Postman for Douglas.

Ellie would just wag her tail at any stranger, she has this public persona where she looks adorable to complete strangers.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Ellie has Duckie. She likes to suck Duckie, and use him as a pillow. He occasionally goes in the wash.

Douglas just cuddles up to us; unless it's edible he's not interested in toys.

Where is Ellie and Douglas' favorite places for outings?

Anywhere people have dropped edible things.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Ellie [photo left] doesn't have best pet pals.

Douglas sometimes gets crushes on other boy doggies, and follows them around everywhere.

What is each dog's best quality?

Ellie is very independent, but it's lovely when she softens and allows you to give her a cuddle.

Douglas is the most loving ball of need, quite a contrast to Ellie.

What is each dog's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

Douglas saved a fish on the beach.

Ellie did a poo in the bank.

Vanessa Cabban is an artist and illustrator best known for her children’s book illustrations. She has illustrated more than 25 books, published in 23 countries and 20 languages.

She also exhibits and sells paintings, prints and sculpture in various galleries around the United Kingdom.

Vanessa Cabban's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue