12-Year-Old Lakewood Ranch Delivers Comic Book Twists With Pet Rat ‘Pretzel’ | Eastern County

No surface is safe from Lakewood Ranch’s Lily Wojtkowski.

The 12-year-old boy, who lives in the Park East neighborhood of Azario, will literally doodle anywhere.

When she was younger, she would draw on the walls or lie under the kitchen table and doodle on the underside of it.

Her mother, Kate Wojtkowski, said her daughter has been drawing since she could hold a pencil.

“I walked away from my desk a few times and came back to a little dragon or a little doodle,” Kate Wojtkowski said.

“I’m not safe with empty papers,” Lily Wojtkowski said.

Lily Wojtkowski has found a new way to use her artistic talents. She self-published a comic, “Pretzel Rat” on Amazon. The hand-drawn comic features the adventures of his pet rat, Pretzel, who works as a postman.

She is working on her second book, “Pretzel Rat, the New Era”, which will continue to feature Pretzel as well as her new rat, Baxter, and other characters she has developed.

In his second comic, Pretzel stumbles across a new swamp and explores the area.

Lily Wojtkowski remembers being in first grade and wanting to do animation but she didn’t have the necessary equipment. She had to find another creative outlet.

Lily Wojtkowski of Lakewood Ranch, who is 12, loves her pet rat, Pretzel. She didn’t want to be away from him at school, so she started drawing him. Now she has a comic based on him. (Photo by Liz Ramos)

She had access to plenty of paper and markers, so she started creating comics.

“I fell in love with the concept of doing comics,” she said. “You are able to draw a story without writing any detail. It’s more interesting because you can watch the pictures if you don’t like to read a chapter book. They can be funny, they can be adventurous.

Kate Wojtkowski said her daughter has always been whimsical and imaginative. Lily Wojtkowski could channel that imagination into her comics, having Pretzel live in a swamp and traveling to different places.

“She started making this comic so he could have a more adventurous life than he has now,” Kate Wojtkowski said.

Lily Wojtkowski started working on Pretzel-based comics when she returned to school after buying the gray and white rat from a pet store in January 2020. She didn’t want to go back to school after summer vacation. winter because she wanted to spend more time with Bretzel.

Whenever she had the chance, Wojtkowski scribbled it down on paper. His doodles later turned into comics.

“Every day I would do a comic and come home to Pretzel,” she said. “It felt like I could have it both at school and at home.”

Lily Wojtkowski decided to get a rat after her mother suggested a rat as a pet. Kate Wojtkowski owned a rat when she was a child.

So the Wojtkowskis went to a pet store and met Pretzel.

“I fell in love with them,” Lily Wojtkowski said. “I had never met a rat in real life. I’ve only seen them on videos, but I’ve never been afraid to see a rat. I just didn’t know what they looked like.

The family went shopping for Pretzel in January 2020. Wojtkowski remembers the day vividly. She was wearing a green sweater, and Pretzel immediately climbed up her sweater sleeve. He just sat there calmly.

“I thought he was lovely and was thrilled to meet him,” she said.

Since then, she’s learned more about rats, including that if she leaves a pet rat in her room outside of a cage and isn’t careful, the rate may tear the curtains. She said a rat is sweet, kind and smart. Teaching a rat to do tricks is not as easy as it seems. Lily Wojtkowski said Pretzel figured out how to get a treat out of her hand before a trick was completed.

Lily Wojtkowski said Pretzel is adventurous and always wants to try something new. Her adventurous nature rubbed off on her brother, Dots, whom the family purchased shortly after Pretzel.

In the comics, Pretzel works as a postman while Dots works at the post office. Pretzel roams the swamp delivering mail and interacting with various characters including Guppie, a fish, a pair of dragons (Sprinkle and Leaf), Buterscotch, a gray fox. He goes to a cafe, convention, festival, markets and more.

Pretzel likes a variety of treats, including pretzels. (Photo by Liz Ramos)

The final page of the comic features real-life photos of Pretzel and Dots, so readers can see how his drawings compare to real rats.

Lily Wojtkowski said drawing Pretzel was difficult because she wanted to make sure her character actually looked and acted like her pet. For example, she wondered if Pretzel would ask for food or if he would just take it.

“Sometimes I think I don’t know if it makes sense for the character,” she said. “Other times I look at Pretzel and I’m like, no, he would do that.”

Lily Wojtkowski said she was excited when she saw the final comic strip put together in a book. Her dream of publishing a comic came true, and now she could entertain people while sharing about her rats.

Kate Wojtkowski, an entrepreneur, said she was proud of her daughter for creating a comic. She said she often had to remind herself that Lily Wojtkowski was only 12, and sometimes she just wanted to be a kid rather than focusing on how she could market her comic or make other products like as character stickers.

Although she isn’t sure what career she would like to do, she does know that she wants to work with animals and continue to draw, perhaps combining the two and drawing the animals she would work with in her own life. work.

In Lily Wojtkowski’s comic, her pet rat, Pretzel, works as a postman. She included photos of Pretzel on the back of the comic so readers can see the character in real life. (Courtesy picture)

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