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Hi! I’m Jill Kuczmarski, a Designer, Illustrator and Writer living in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I’m also the creator of Happy the Hodag and Buddy the Bulldog, est. 2006.

After spending the past two decades working in the big cities of the midwest and coming home on the weekends —  I’ve finally come home full time. A Creative Director by day, I work virtually with an amazing team of people in the field of  higher education while my weekends and vacations are spent with my family exploring the near, traveling the far and capturing the in-between with photography and sketches. I also create stories and characters for picture books and then subsequently apply those characters and pieces of that artwork to fabrics, paper, and products — usually under the Happy the Hodag brand.

Who is Happy the Hodag?
There are many different depictions of hodags in my hometown of Rhinelander, WI and when I was growing up all of these hodags were shown to be mean and scary. I decided to add a new kind of hodag to the landscape and in 2006 I created Happy the Hodag to be a friendly hodag.

Crafted to exhibit traditional hodag characteristics but in a more accessible style for children, Happy the Hodag stars in my first children's book Tales From The Trees (2006) which is an introduction to the hodag legend for children. I published a second Happy the Hodag book in 2007, a prequel called A Monster Misunderstanding, further expanding on and diffusing the legend of this green beast for little readers and Hodag enthusiasts.

Happy the Hodag is sharp as a tack, chill as a snow cone, and doesn't let much harsh his hodag mellow.

HODAG, my third Happy the Hodag book, was released in 2016 for Happy's 10th birthday, and is dedicated to hodags everywhere. A departure from the linear storyline of my two previous books, Hodag is a book I had been thinking about for a long time and I finally executed in 2015 for Happy the Hodag's 10th birthday in 2016, it's a hodag homage.

Keep up with Happy the Hodag at:


"...the books... offer the message of understanding and breaking stereotypes in a colorful way children will understand and enjoy."

"Tales from the Trees is a fun rhythmic book with great illustrations. The pages are durable and made for little hands. A fast favorite."  -Dr. Tami Brady , "Whole Health Therapist"

"A Monster Misunderstanding reminds us all that appearances can be deceiving. In order to have a friend we have to be willing to be a friend."  -TCM Review



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