Nice to meet you and thank you for stopping by! I am Gin, an aspiring illustrator and merch designer and I do lots of pet and people portraits. I moved to Japan as a teenager and lived there for 17 years before returning to Rehoboth Beach in the USA. I spent a lot of my time in Japan helping folks overseas get anime and video game merch. I started Sunny Critters in March of 2020 to help overcome a traumatic event. I have big plans for my life with Sunny Critters, so please support me if you like my work!
WHY "NOODLE" PETS?
I think my art style looks noodley, so I call my pet portraits Noodle Pets!
Before you read, this story mentions details about abuse (physical and mental) and effects from abuse, such as physical and mental trauma and mental illness, and pet death. Proceed only if you feel comfortable doing so.
Please note: Due to the severity of the trauma it is difficult for me to talk about this situation without warning so please do not DM or message me privately to discuss it or ask questions. Parts of the story are missing as it is not yet safe to discuss them. Thank you for your understanding.
In November 2019, I became a victim of police brutality and wrongful incarceration due to a case of mistaken identity.
Early one morning police tricked their way into my home by having one pose as a construction worker. Twenty officers stormed my home, terrorized my friend and I, then took me to be arrested. I was wrongfully incarcerated for 9 days, during which I was restrained so tightly around my waist that I could not breathe and almost passed out, handcuffed until I bled, threatened, dehumanized, denied medication, and forced to witness the torture of disabled and elderly inmates. One day I was locked alone in a small cell with only a bench and restrained by the hands and waist for over 12 hours. In 9 days I lost 13 pounds and slept roughly 2 hours a night. We were not allowed outside and only let out of our cells to brush our teeth and get/put away our futons(during the day, cells were completely bare of anyplace to sit or lay down but the floor).
By the second day the prosecutor and police knew from my confiscated phone and computer that they had mistakenly arrested the wrong person, but my incarceration and torture continued until they could find and arrest their actual target.
We do not receive "one phone call" so it was three days before I knew if there was any movement to help me on the outside. Many of my fellow prisoners were mourning dogs and cats left to die in their homes. In their months-long incarcerations while awaiting trial, no family had been contacted in time to save their animals and one cellmate wept in my arms from missing her cat. She had left some food for her, but that was three months ago, and she had no family or friends to help. (Note: I knew my five pets would be okay as a friend was staying with me and had witnessed my abduction and would care for them.)
Drawing was strictly forbidden and we were watched on all sides except one small corner, where I huddled and began to draw animals once I was allowed a paper and pen. I drew my cellmates as animals and it made them more happy than I had ever seen them. I drew many dogs and cats, and only drawing animals could calm me down. The drawings brought myself and my cellmates joy.
One morning I was shackled and put into a van and taken to the prosecutor, who promptly showed me that my phone had proven my innocence. They had arrested their actual target and I was free to go. The police and prosecutor were careful to label the reason for my release as "lack of evidence of guilt" rather than "innocence", so they could never be held liable for their wrongdoing.
I was left with severe PTSD and traumatized too badly to function normally for months. My family and I were also saddled with a 20,000$ loss to legal fees. I am a toy collector, and quickly began to dissolve my collections and sell off large chunks to earn some money. I was desperate to find a way to change my life and earn money back at the same time, and finally in March I asked my friends to send photos of their dogs to me so I could draw them.
I got over a hundred photos and began drawing the dogs. And I was happy again and calm while drawing them. I found peace like I had in my cell comforting my cellmates with illegal animal drawings. While posting the dog art, someone asked if I would take commissions, and I suddenly realized I could earn some of my losses back while healing my trauma and PTSD.
That is what I am doing now with Sunny Critters & Noodlepets. So to all my friends and Twitter family who wondered about the sudden shift in my priorities and obsession with drawing animals, now you know. And to all who have come along for the ride to cheer me on or even commission me to draw something for them, I am really grateful. All of it contributes to healing my trauma and keeping the PTSD at bay while also earning back some of the financial losses incurred.
1. Turn Sunny Critters into a thriving small business
2. Sharpen dog training skills while working at a shelter and fostering
3. Successfully train a Therapy Dog
4. Become certified and trusted enough to take Therapy Dogs into prisons to comfort prisoners
I hope to turn Sunny Critters & Noodlepets into a thriving small business. I find peace picturing myself working at or volunteering at a shelter and fostering dogs and cats while painting pets every day. I also hope to use my art to create a merchandise line featuring dogs and cats and other critters you love from the internet!
That is my short term goal to pay the bills. My bigger dream is to become an expert dog trainer, successfully train therapy dogs, and eventually be able to take them into prisons to comfort those suffering there.
If you want to support my dream, you can help me by sharing my paintings with anyone who might be interested, retweeting my tweets or sharing my Instagram posts. I only get commissions due to people sharing my work. If you want to financially aid me, I would love to paint animals for you, your pets, your OCs, or anything you like. I also have a ko-fi tip jar if you want to contribute but have nothing for me to paint.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for reading my story.
My Ko-fi Tip Jar