Karen Hoepting grew up on a farm in rural Ontario just south of Owen Sound, a small port city on Georgian Bay. Growing up in the country usually meant having a lot of nothing to do, so Hoepting and her siblings would often draw and paint to amuse themselves. Animals were always an important part of her life and these were her favorite subjects. She remembers drawing them as carefully and as realistically as possible. This activity was a particular source of happiness to the young girl.