Suzy Spafford, also known as Suzy Spafford Lidstrom (born 1945), is an American cartoonist best known for drawing whimsical animal characters. Her "Suzy's Zoo" line of greeting cards, stickers, stationery, calendars, and similar products is sold in thousands of stores all over the world. She has also written several dozen books for children, including the Tales from Duckport series.
Her "Suzy's Zoo" greeting card company was launched in 1968, while she was still an undergraduate at San Diego State University working toward her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1999 she added a line of products for babies and toddlers, called Little Suzy's Zoo.
Her often humorous drawings feature more than 200 animal characters such as rabbits, turtles, snails and ostriches. The animals are drawn in bright colors, wearing clothes, shoes, and happy expressions. Her first fully developed animal character was a cross between a chicken and a duck, a cheerful extrovert known as Suzy Ducken. Each character has a personality and backstory; they all live in a fictional town called Duckport. At first she drew all of the characters herself, but she quickly needed to hire assistants to keep up with the growing business. As of 2002 the Suzy's Zoo retail business had 50 employees and generated $50 million in annual revenue.
Born 1945 in Toledo, Ohio, Spafford grew up in San Diego, California and still lives there with her husband Ray Lidstrom, president of her company, Suzy's Zoo Studios. She graduated from Point Loma High School and San Diego State University. She is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority.
She has been drawing since she was 3 years old. She was especially inspired by the fanciful drawing of Ted Geisel, "Dr. Seuss," whom she describes as "one of my heroes." Her parents supported her talent by enrolling her in painting classes and later private lessons in watercolor painting. By the time she was in college she was selling watercolor landscapes at art fairs. During slow times at the fairs she drew little cartoons of animals doing things like playing golf or fishing. Customers snapped up the animal drawings, so that her work became more and more focused on the style that became Suzy's Zoo.
She is a founding member of the San Diego Watercolor Society. She sits on the boards of directors of several charities including the Rees-Stealy Research Foundation and the San Diego/Imperial Council of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Spafford won the National Cartoonist Society Greeting Card Award in 1996.
She was presented with the Kappa Delta Woman of Achievement Award in 1997.
In 2003 the local Girl Scout council honored her with their annual "Cool Women" award, given to local women who serve as outstanding role models for girls as they balance work, family, friends and service.
A animated series of Suzy's Zoo entitled "Suzy's Zoo: A Day with Witzy" co produced by Suzy's Zoo Film Partners and the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) network began broadcasting on BabyFirstTV on March 23, 2015 starring Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld as Witzy.