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Lifelong Storyteller, Compulsive Doodler...

Before she began kindergarten in 1970 in a tiny northern Michigan town, Patty Hoffman was already making up stories and using crayon drawings to get attention. She was the youngest of seven children and, during her elementary years, her grandparents sometimes lived with her family. Growing up in a house full of teenagers and grandparents, Patty's artwork and storytelling was second nature. It allowed her to create laughter and stand out at home and at school where she wasn't an excellent student. She was extremely pleased to see the stories she told during Show and Tell published in her classroom's First Grade Grit. Unfortunately for Patty's teenage siblings, her reports weren't always flattering. By the time she entered second grade, Patty had already learned that every story she told wouldn't be popular with everyone... particularly the story subjects.

While earning her bachelor's degree at Central Michigan University, Patty fell in love with journalism and  took several drawing, painting and design courses as electives. During the dozen years she worked as a full-time newspaper journalist, Patty continued to attend community drawing and painting groups. Sometimes when a staff illustrator was sick or on vacation, Patty volunteered to illustrate her own feature stories while working for Gannett Newspapers. She spent the last five years of her newspaper career as a K-12 education reporter for the Ann Arbor News.


After the newspaper folded, Patty began working for a former colleague at his family history preservation business in downtown Ann Arbor. She married him and they have a fluffy-four-legged child named Happy, who, along with his miniature dachshund pal Vienna, is a muse for Patty's picture books. While working for Priceless Preservation, Patty became versed in photoshop and restored hundreds of vintage photographs both color and black and white. This skill is helpful in Patty's picture-book work. Although she is comfortable with Photoshop and Procreate, Patty prefers to use gouache paint for her picture book illustrations. Sometimes she touches up her work with pencil, pen, or in Procreate. Her strong preference is toward "handmade" art and illustration.

Patty has received picture book illustration and writing mentorship from Orange Beak Studio in the UK and from NY Times Bestseller Bob Eckstein, a New Yorker cartoonist. She has worked most consistently since winter 2021 with Orange Beak cofounders Ness Wood and Maisie Paradise Shearring and continues to learn from them.

For manuscripts, dummy books and examples of  Patty's finished artwork, please email me at

Follow Patty (and Happy!) on Instagram @happyandpatty 

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