Don’t miss out on the mighty Mousekin prints and notecards.
Remember when you used flashcards to help memorize multiplication tables? Nancy Pi-Sunyer has brought those little guys back in style with her latest product, a notecard series featuring the lovable Mousekin.
It all started six years ago, when she taught in the Forestry School at the University of Florida. In order to help her students understand ecosystems, Pi-Sunyer created her own card game called “Copy-Cology.” The cards, which her students often used as a memory game, had different colors and drawings to help them identify plants and animals.
Her latest project, The Mouse Project, evolved out of Copy-Cology, as well as a desire to improve her drawing skills. Pi-Sunyer had been trying to get a children’s book published for years without success. The main character of the book was a mouse. So, on the first day of 2016, Pi-Sunyer promised herself that she would paint, draw or collage a mouse every day of the coming 366-day leap year. The impact was far greater than she expected. Word of mouth and social media promoted “Mousekin” faster than Pi-Sunyer thought possible.
Her Facebook friends began to request Mousekin products for themselves or to use as gifts. “My one friend asked for a mouse with a tiara, because it was her birthday,” said Pi-Sunyer. As Pi-Sunyer was looking for inspiration, she came across Diego Velazquez’s 1656 “Las Meninas” (or “little princesses”) oil painting. She drew Mousekin in a similar style for her friend, and the birthday girl loved her present. “After that, I thought to myself, what else can I do?”
She began to research other artists’ styles that she could imitate. One week she focused on Van Gogh, and the next on Salvador Dali. When the inspiration ran dry, as it does for even the best artists, Pi-Sunyer researched “This Day in History” and based her mouse of the day off of what she found. On Roy Roger’s birthday, for example, she drew Mousekin singing “Happy Trails.” She drew Mousekin into holidays or occasions that often go unnoticed; Mousekin holds a stick over a campfire in “National Toasted Marshmallow Day” in one drawing, crouches next to a moose in “National Wildlife Day” and stares at the owl Hedwig on “Harry Potter’s Birthday.”
Pi-Sunyer has sold several Mousekin prints, but now she is embarking on a new task for her cute companion. She has decided to print Mousekin notecards, in three series: Fine Arts Mice, Native American Mice, and Christmas Mice. The notecards should be available for sale by the end of this week. One can also purchase picture puzzles, which feature Mousekin’s 100th, 200th and 300th reunion (with the appropriate number of mice in each one, no less!).
Pi-Sunyer has received several commissions from her church and her friends. She says that her drawings have improved, and looking at her artwork, the patience and precision evident in every piece has only grown with time. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I think the thing I love best is that I have proven to myself that I can do something every day if I put my mind to it.”
Pi-Sunyer is excited for more people to visit her website – which already has around 8,000 hits – and send her requests for Mousekin products, because she loves creating her furry little friend. At the end of this year, she hopes to hold an event so she can showcase all 366 mice.