Friday, December 30, 2005

A couple of years ago I did Mike and I as Simpson characters. (Mike looked a little more "Homer" back in Savannah, you can tell he's lost weight even in cartoon pictures!) Posted by Picasa

For those that don't watch the show, these are the family guy characters. I tried to use the same color scheme and characteristics... Mike didn't get the guy's chin because they look like... well, anyway he's got the goatee thing, whew... Posted by Picasa

Here I did Mike and I as "Family Guy" characters. I did the drawing in pencil and scanned it and used the "Pen" tool in Adobe Illustrator (which doesn't work at all like a pen, more like a really boring atari game of connect the dots). I like how it came out, especially the bearded dragon. I hope the throw blanket I'm having made looks as good as the picture! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Renamed the Gliders

Just a note that we've renamed Thunder to Topsy and Flash to Turvy. They seem much happier now. They just didn't feel they could live up to their former names since they sounded like comic book heros.

Topsy and Turvy are now cuddled under my sweatshirt snoozing away as I work on various art assignments. When they're up they're nuts and when they're down they are totally out! Kind of bipolar like that :) They're getting more comfortable with us and their surroundings. It'll take a while before they're tame enough to walk around with them when they're awake. Kind of like finger training a bird not to take off. They aren't afraid of our hands, and usually come check them out to see if they're covered in something yummy. It's the rest of the room and our body they're still learning to trust. I was playing with them last night and went to stand up to check on one that had scampered to investigate something and that sort of freaked Topsy out. She calmed down and resumed playing, but for a minute or two I blew her little mind it would seem.

We're still amused at how the chinchilla totally ignored Bilbo the degu, but is very aware of the gliders. He hopped up on the bed for a closer look and barked at them, a sound we'd never heard from him before. He's healthy and not stressed out, but I think part of him is thinking, "Marsupials. Well, there goes the neighborhood..."

Sorry to prattle on about the gliders, but being that I love animals I can't help it.

this was drawn from memory and is pretty true to life. Their hands are pretty large in proportion to their body and look very... manish (Our gliders have "Man-hands!") Their isn't much about that is rodent like. Their teeth are like cat's, their fur is like fleece, their tails curl up like a monkey's, and they sound like dogs when they bark to each other and mini chainsaws when they're crabbing. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 26, 2005

here's a drawing of how Thunder our sugar glider looks inside her sleeping pouch. Her tail corkscrews around and she'll turn her head back under it somehow. The black strip on the left is her black stripe that goes down the middle of her back. They're soooo beautiful. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Thunder and Flash

We've settled on "Thunder" and "Flash" as names for our two sugar gliders. They partly come from "Donder" and "Blitzen" which mean thunder and lightning and will commemorate getting them on Christmas Eve.

Thunder is the noisy one. She's cautious and protective of Flash. She sleeps closest to the exit of the sleeping pouch and investigates noises.

Flash is the curious one that does loops around the cage checking everything out. She's so fast, too. She found and ate the food first last night.

I carried them around in their pouch. They were so snuggly and slept the day away as I carried them around. A couple of times I stuck my finger inside with some honey and yogurt. I got nipped a time or two, but they licked my fingers clean.

We had a great Christmas and had lots of great presents from families and friends. And even better, next Christmas is a whole year away!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Santa's little helpers

Well, Santa must have stopped off at Australia before coming to our house...

But to back up a bit first, we had another pet loss that took us really by surprise. Our degu Bilbo was discovered Thursday morning gasping for air whereas the day before he seemed fine. We rushed him to the animal hospital, but the pneumonia, if that's what it was, was too far along so they put him to sleep. He had stopped chirping for his morning feeding (a habit I was relying on as backup to my snooze button) but we had attributed to the change of food brands and/or change of season. There was nothing concrete we could have gone to a vet with or we would have. It was a blow for us, and, like Twosers, Bilbo kinda set the bar high for degus worldwide...

We had talked about a pet to stand in for our husky and came to the conclusion that at this time neither of us has the time and energy to really devote to a puppy to ensure it doesn't wind up with a basket case dog. When I had Two Sox, I was seventeen and still living at home and going to high school and had time to take her to obedience school, ect... I'm sure later down the road our situation will change, but given that I'm working around the clock and Mike's got extra stuff going on, too... a dog isn't an option.

We had been scoping out alternate pets over the last couple of months, and well, with Bilbo checking out, we were both like, "Ok. Done with the grieving of the pets, already!" Bilbo and Twosers were loved, but enough with the empty feeling!

So Santa's delivered two female Sugar Gliders.

Yes, if I can't go to Australia, I will bring the marsupials to me! Sugar Gliders are a popular pet and they are marsupials, not rodents. They are most like flying squirrels and are very social which makes them very fun to have as pets. Starting tomorrow I get to "bond" with them, meaning I wear the fleece pouch they sleep in during the day for a couple of hours inside my shirt so they get my scent and know my voice. I also made some purees of foods they eat (baby food and yogurt along with a dry pet food).

They're pretty freaked out, understandably, and are "crabbing" at us. It's a sound no mammal could make, it sounds like a very small lawn mower not quite turning over. We got two because one alone can die of loneliness. One's an extrovert, the other a shy introvert but both have nice dispositions and are healthy. We're still knocking around names: I like Topsy and Turvy. The extrovert was out tonight checking things out and moved SO FAST! I mean, like an alien or something. She also liked my cooking.

We thought about a bird, but the surround sound Mike and I love so much could've come between us and the bird.

Sugar Gliders take an investment of time to tame and care for, but Mike and I are looking forward to it. We'll get some pictures soon... oh my gosh they're cute! (yes, I know I think my pink corn snake is cute, but this is CONVENTIONAL cute).

I like the fact that, as I pointed out to Mike, with the bearded dragon and the gliders, the Aussies now outnumber us :)

Friday, December 23, 2005

this was in the Austin American Stateman newspaper last week... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I've just finished a five page list of events for the SCBWI (society I'm in) for 2006. Man, time flies. Scheduling things for next winter when I can hardly believe this fall is over is a little mind boggeling.

I'm excited about being the illustration chair and trying to start up some new workshops and activities though. I'm planning some website workshops, and dummy book storytimes where unpublished books can get read to kids. I don't know what kind of turnout we'll get, but at least there are some things out there that are available.

I've also gotta get going on planning our group art show. That's where I want to show my Tree of Life that has been on the back burner for a couple of months.

So much to do... so little time...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Yesterday was a blur...

Well... The blog is to write about the goings-on inside an artist's head and yesterday I threw my mental hands in the air.

Retail is a dog-eat-dog business and during the holiday season it's dog-eat-dog-and-then-same-dog-eats-friends-of-first-dog business. Tempers are short and I have eye strain from NOT rolling my eyes. I try to be cheerful and positive, and having my book on the shelf is encouraging, but it boils down to the fact that, to quote Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, "I'm too old for this sh*t."

I'm pretty sure I'll be doing something else this time next year. I don't know what, but things are progressing in a way that I can see me starting something new. Santa, if you're listening... hint, hint.

Well, it was a combination of me having to run around all day, then I got to go have a root canal. The other root canals I don't recall being so... um... intrusive. I felt like they were drilling for Texas gold. I gagged on the bitter tasting astringent they were flushing my canals with, then I choked on my spit they didn't suck up in time, and when my nerves finally shorted out, I just cried there in the dentists chair. I didn't boo hoo, my eyes just leaked for a while. I didn't even realize it at first because half my face was numb and I was closing my eyes.

I like the dentist, only she won't prescribe anything stronger than an advil. Mike suggested such helpful ideas as handcuffing myself to the chair and holding out for the good stuff or even generic knock off good stuff. But I knew there was no getting blood from a turnip, so when I got home I gave myself a home remedy: tequila.

When Mike came home he saw the salt shaker, a sliced lemon, and a nearly empty bottle next to my ADPi shot glass. He found me in the shower where the alcohol had sped through my hot blood. I didn't have that much, but it was enough. Mike told me today I came up to him after the shower worried about how much after shower spray I used because I "zoned out" while I was spraying. When I came back around I took some advil for the inflammation and went to bed.

I woke up today and felt GREAT! I was expecting a hangover or dehydrated achiness, but it was like I hibernated. All my settings were recalibrated and I had energy. I have to say I may have had the perfect circumstances required for a medicinal Deeeeeerunk.

So, yes, Christmas can drive you to drink. But family and friends need not worry about this becoming a habit. I'm not one of those artists who can work while plastered. I guess I just needed a night off my rocker to get me through the rest of this week. If anything it has added another level of mystery and mystique for my husband to puzzle over.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bunny News

Well, LBKF is going to be found under several Christmas trees this season. The book signing at the Arboretum BN went great, though the size of that store made me feel pretty dinky. It's like a train station layout, two stories. We had a great crowd for storytime, too.

And now LBKF does show up as a picture book and the cover is available to look at in the store and online, which is a big plus since the cover looks so neato.

It helps that the book is so Cocacola red and the autograph BN stickers are green, very festive!

It's still my #1 bestseller in kids, and in the top 50 for the store. My goal is to beat out the O'Reilly Factor for Kids book (I read the sex advice chapter and how to go exfoliate... sorry, Fox News fans). I'm still surprised how many kids who can read it themselves want to buy it, too. It must be the same element that people my age like the book for. Some of my favorite picture books are ageless: Old Turtle, Giving Tree, Quiltmakers Gift...

Now this week I need to shove some books out the door and off to the Caldecott people just to have said I did it, but it would be awesome to win!

Here's the black and white version of a character sketch for a new picture book by Blooming Tree. It's still in the planning stage, but they really liked the ferret I came up with. He's from Scotland and yes, he's ringing a doorbell :) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 08, 2005

One of my favorite scenes where Mr. Tumnus finds Lucy... Posted by Picasa

Detail of Narnian painting... Posted by Picasa

here's a big watercolor I did in celebration of the Narnia movie coming out this weekend. I've always loved the books and I haven't attempted to illustrate up till now because I wanted to do it a certain way. I like how it came out. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Book Signing on the 3rd

My first Austin book signing went great considering it was the same time as the big UT game. We sold around a dozen (approx 52% of customers in the store at the time!). The kids really liked the storytime reading. I read in my comentary-type way ("oooh... do you think he's going to listen to monkey? hmmm?" that kinda thing). Afterwards I did something fun, I had 4 big sheets of white paper taped up on the wall and I told the kids to shout out who I'm drawing from the story. They won a lifesaver for guess. Then we colored and I handed out fortune cookies which I also had at my signing table up at the front of the store.

Several of my regulars came and got one, as well as the walk by's (they walk by and take 3 steps and stop with that "What was that?!" expression and come back and pick it up). A really nice Chinese lady and I had a chat about the book and she bought one for herself. That was a neat opportunity to talk to someone from China about it. She was a Budhist and is now a Christian and she really liked how the message of "do unto others" is present in the book. She at first thought the rabbit and the dragon were going to do a David and Goliath, and I had to explain how little bunny foo foo was an American nursery tale that I placed in China. Rabbits and dragons are big over there, too, she told me. Her English was a little choppy, but I loved when she said, "I keep this at my house and show to people who need lesson on respect." That makes me smile even typing it! Maybe that can be a quote for the website ;)

There was a twelve year old girl who was in cheerleading practice clothes that I got to talking to, also. I told her how I played basketball but wished I could go in at halftime and come out and cheer the other half. She asked about how I drew it and I showed her the shapes that make up LBKF and then signed and let her keep the sketch. That made her smile.

I've sold several at the store, though I haven't smoothed out how I'll present myself. It's hard when they ask me, "What do you recommend" or "What book do you really like?" I mean, have I lost all objectivity now or what?! Sometimes I introduce myself as the author, and sometimes I just say the author's local and had a booksigning her this past weekend. I cringe at the thought of me doing the later way and they go up to the cashier and they say, "Oh, yeah, Regan's the one who helped you..." Of course this is the kind of "problem" I've dreamed of having!

Looking forward to the siging next Wed at the biggest store in town. Their storytime crowd will be bigger, more like the Savannah crowd. That should be fun. It's kinda like being a commedian, I work better with a lively room.

Off to work on more stuff... huff, huff... sigh :D

Saturday, December 03, 2005

This is what a pyrenees looks like, though not the one in the story :) Posted by Picasa

An AMAZING dog story

Kathleen is a super bubbly fun lady I work with and she has the most amazing dog story that I've been lucky enough to been present for as the story unfolded over the last few weeks...

Kathleen is a size -2 if that's possible, a very petite lady yet she has a grand pyrenees dog which weighs in somewhere in the 170 lbs range. I mean they are like polar bears, huge dogs! She's always talked about how gentle and sweet her dog is and how it will try to crawl up on your lap because he thinks he's the size of a toaster.

A while back Kathleen came to work with a grizzly story. She had been staying with her elderly parents who live on a fenced in ranch outside of town. She called in her dogs who had spent the night outside and was horrified to see her pyrenees and her other big dog both covered in blood. She couldn't imagine at first how they could be so bloody and still be able to walk, but after inspecting them thoroughly she discovered it wasn't their blood. *insert creepy music*

She also found a scrap of some denim on the pyrenees and a scrap of maybe a shirt on the other dog which led to the chilling possibility that they may have attacked a human. Showing more civic responsibility than say I would, she called the police and told them what she knew. She also called the hospitals and nearby clinics to see if anyone had been checked in for a dog bite or mauling.

All the while it seemed off to her because her dogs were so used to people and had never bit anyone. The police showed up and began interviewing Kathleen and then her parents. After finding where the attack happened and what her mother later remembered, here's what we think happened...

Earlier in the week one day two men rang Kathleen's mom's doorbell. First that's odd because their property is all gated and the gate was closed so they somehow got through it and walked about a quarter mile all the way to where the house is tucked away. They told her that there was a dead tree near the property line that they saw and offered to cut it down and haul it off for them.

Well Kathleen's mom is the traditional little old lady who seemed to be living alone (her father was bed ridden), and these two fellas appeared to have tried to pull an "In Cold Blood" on her. According to police, the two then returned in the dead of night probably thinking she had a mattress full of cash and no one would witness a robbery. The police found where they had parked a truck in the back of their property by the gate and scaled over the fence. They also found where Kathleen's two dogs went to town on them, too. Spread out over an area was more blood, more bits of clothes and 2 pairs of abandoned shoes (can you imagine a dog fight that knocked you out of your shoes?!). A trail of blood led back over the gate and to the car, so they were well enough to drive but they didn't check themselves in anywhere.

Thankfully the police were of the opinion that if they still handed out medals to dogs, Kathleen's two dogs would be decorated for valor. She still can't believe her dogs knew to attack them. Could they smell crime? Did they try to hurt the dogs when they came upon them? Did two angels posses the dogs and do some righteous ass kicking?!

I just thought the story was worth sharing. Hopefully the police will be able to track down two dead tree volunteers with massive scars!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Light of Nor

We're movin' along on the Manga. The image is a temporary cover image for the catalog for Blooming Tree. Kind of a teaser cover. We're not quite sure where the first book'll stop so the cover will come later.

I really, REALLY, like this cover and the characters. It's surprising for me. And in a way I feel kinda goofy about it. Those who knew me back in high school knew how I liked to draw Disney characters. This is similar but much more creative than being an animator couldv'e been.

It's really neat to start with a script and a blank page. All I need is a folding chair, a megaphone, a riding crop and a berret. It's like a movie in my head and I'm storyboarding it. I can see this getting addictive. I don't even know how exactly I'm doing it. I keep drawing and drawing and the characters just start forming like a ceramic bowl coming up out of the spinning goo.

I did base the guy character on Clive Owen, if only in an inspirational way. His nose if you look close has been broken, his eyes go up in a little in the middle giving him a slightly sad expression and his lips are a cupid's bow: hence, Clive Owen.

The female characters a bit of a wild child. She's a bit feral looking with harsh edges to her features, but still beautiful in that "she's gonna eat me" way, but that's ok 'cause they're both warriors.

First Look at Light of Nor! Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2005


Some days are like this...

I'm coughing and sputtering in the ole artistic energy engine. The brain is working, but I'm feeling hollow and empty inside. I can still work and get things done, but there's something missing.

I think part of it is stress. I'm aware that there are things out of my control (and everyone else's apparently) and that I shouldn't worry, but my body doesn't seem to heed my brain lately. Might be the Cinimapretzel incindent last month...

I have a booksigning this Saturday and instead of being excited, I'm freaking about the distributor dropping the ball and causing me to spend hours on the phone wondering where the books are and why they're not where they should be. And even though there's a backup plan and no way for me to be without books for the signing... my stomache still churns in knots.

Maybe it's a "first author" type syndrome. That'd be nice so next time I sail through it all without a care.

But it's like the theater... It's incompetance, and man, stupidity is really starting to piss me off. At least I'm not Miriam the publisher. She's gotta be having kittens and wanting scalps as war trophies. It's actually really comforting that I know she's somewhere plotting an attack on these dimwits that are screwing with me and my book. I only hope that I have more books come out with them before she makes good on a threat and has to leave the country until the heat dies down...

The non art related part of it is I don't have much of an emotional cushion. It's good to write about it, because when the art thing is askew it does effect the rest of my life. Mike took me to get a cherry limeade at Sonic and we went through the drivethru. There was a truck in front of us and it had a siberian husky in the back. Now, they're not real common in Texas, and while this one had reddish coloring, the head and face was identical to Two Sox.
At first I was all, "Ahhh, look... A husky... She's got brown eyes and some red in her fur..." and at first it made me happy, and then a second later like some irrational idiot female I was crying. Mike at first thought it was because I wanted a new dog, but that's not it really. I do still miss Twosers, but it was just that my nerves are sort of shot.

I've got heartburn and I'm tired more than I think I should be even with Christmas upon us. My face broke out, so while I feel like I'm 50+, I can pass for a 7th grader if all they see is my complexion. The tooth saga continues in a couple of weeks, too.

I know I'll get my second wind and turn my frown upsidedown. Just got to get through the valley... sigh...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

yes, that's another one of our non-conformist pets, a bearded dragon who developed an unhealthy attachment to the singing snowman. We found him just like that. The snow-woman took it pretty hard... Posted by Picasa

Decked the hall

This is the weirdest weather year...

We played croquet outside in shorts on thanksgiving and set up our christmas tree with the AC on tonight. I mean I know it's Texas, but yeesh!

We have our little tree by the fireplace with all the cool ornaments our family has sent us. Our manger scene has been crashed by the usual well meaning TV/movie theme toys (Jay and Silent Bob stopped off at the Quick Stop for their offerings, heehee). Mike may get all Clark Griswold and put up some Christmas lights. After getting snubbed for Halloween, we're out to prove something now.

More meetings this week with publisher and authors. Turning in tonight though so I can get an early start in the morning. It's funny when friends ask when my day off is and I just laugh. No rest for the wicked or artistically endowed!

Just a camel to add to the holiday cheer... sadly it's rider fell off a mile or two back, but he landed in soft sand... Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 25, 2005

Stupidity Abounds...

So Mike and I go to see Jarhead at the 8:00pm showtime tonight. We know what kind of movie it is because we know the director, the cinematographer, even the composer. We know it's a serious movie about the inner struggle a soldier faced with realities of life and war has to deal with...

Ok, everyone else in the theater thought it was a fun comedic "buddy" flick. All the girls were giggling cause you saw some cute hinnie in the showers, and the men were cracking up everytime someone barked a loud profanity at a private. No one got what the movie was really about. In fact someone brought an effing 8 year old to the R rated movie, and there were some scenes that made me uncomfortable because that kid was right in front of me and I wanted to give her a fiver and send her for some popcorn.

There were some lighter moments, but those were to offset the serious drama that everyone ignored but Mike and I. You saw soldiers lose it, like have a meltdown and people laughed at them, and I wanted to stand up and yell, "Don't you stupid people get it?! There are soldiers out there having experiences we can't understand all so you can buy a ticket to watch a movie based on a true account of a solider's tour of duty and just yuck it up and totally miss the point of the whole thing!"

And it was a great movie, too. It had no political agenda, not pro war/ not anti war. I think every war has soldiers that were made for it and others that realize that war wasn't what they thought it would be. It's not that they couldn't cut it either. In this war the soldier was trained and trained to be a sniper, but when the war ended he hadn't gotten to actually fight anyone. What does a marine trained to kill do alone in the desert with no one to fight while he worries his girlfriend is screwing around back at home?

It reminded me more of Full Metal Jacket and Apocolypse Now. There was some fighting, but mostly it was about the preparaiton of a soldier and what that soldier undergoes in war.

I recommend seeing it... just rent out the theater so you don't have the cheezy laugh track ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I'm finally a Woman!

I mean a Bozeman Woman!

Ok, that may still need some clarifying:

You see the women on my mother's side of the family have this fabulous recipe for "Coca-Cola Salad" and whenever there is a sit down dinner, someone makes it or brings it. It's cherry jello, cream cheese, pecans, black cherries and pineapple.

I have tried before to make it myself and couldn't get it to solidify,


That's something to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Hap-hap-happiest season of all...

Or the Cr-cr-craziest!

For the first time I've had to turn down commissions for Christmas in November because I couldn't guarantee they would get done in time. I was bummed out about it, too. I really love working on things that will be gifts for Christmas, but this year just got so busy and my freetime vanished. I break out in a cold sweat at the thought of me telling someone, "Oh, sure I can get it done" when later I find out I can't. That's why I'm having to take no more jobs for christmas... sigh...

On the up side, at least it's because I'm too busy doing the illustration thing that I've been working so hard to get rolling. I've got the manga coming along, and some stories to illustrate for a summer anthology. I'm also collaborating with a new author who's written a story about a tarantula, which I used to own as a pet (anybody wanna see some pictures! hehehe).

These holiday santas are part of some new items I have in my little online gift store. If I can't do commissions, at least I can offer some christmas merchandise.

The site is:

another Santa  Posted by Picasa

I had problems uploading pictures for a while, so sorry people had to stare at the snake so long :) Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 14, 2005

A word about snakes...

If you hear a high pitch scream, it's probably those scardy-snake people who've just seen the image of me with my new pet albino corn snake, Capote. Don't worry, I won't flood my blog with snake shots, so please come back and check on my blog, but maybe I can use this as a "confront your fear" opportunity for those with snake issues.

I know snakes are predatory, sneaky little cold-blooded creatures. When I come across them on a nature walk I give them a wide berth, especially when I don't know what kind they are. But that doesn't take away from my fascination of them. I love lizards for many of the same characteristics they share with snakes: calculating eyes, beautiful patterns, quick speed and agility... But snakes just have that elegant grace and poise I guess you just have to missing appendages to attain.

It's unfortunate that snakes got a bum wrap in Genesis. I've heard it said that the term the Bible used for"serpent" may not mean the same animal as "snake." I haven't been tempted with the two snakes living here... yet... Our other snake Morty is great fun to watch, he's a ribbon snake, but he's not holding material. We got Capote because he would be a "lap snake" as he got bigger.

A funny note on corn snakes is that they have the most bizarre names for different color variations, and most sound like food. Our albino could fall under the "candy corn" type corn snake which includes "candy cane" corn snakes, "butter" corn snakes, "orange cream-sicle" corn snakes, and "caramel" corn snakes. There's also mocha, sunburst, lavender and a Miami phase corn snake.

And we named him Capote because... well... he is very pink and he'll be eating "In Cold Blood" har har har ;) And if he talked I could imagine a very sibilant "SSssssssss"

WARNING: Images may cause my mother to never check my blog again... C'mon, Mom! He's pink and red! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Back to Work

The signings went GREAT! I sold books to people I've known all my life and people I met just 5 seconds earlier.

I owe a ton of thanks to my Mom aka my Biologically Assigned Publicist who handled the craziness with grace and candor. And her Conway friends Susie who hosted the party, and Janet and Janie who wrangled customers and took their money were a Godsend. Little Rock's party was less hectic because I didn't have to meet all the people first, so having them at the Conway party was great. And Afton in Little Rock hosted a wonderful party complete with birthday cake for me, and going through her house brought back a whole lot of memories. So thanks, thanks, and more thanks!

As soon as I got back I got to thinking that my old "light box" wasn't going to cut it as I now delve into Manga work. What I am going to attempt first is to sketch out the pages 100% to scale, then scan those and plot out where I'll have my dividing frames and do those in the computer (yes, I do hate using a ruler that much). I'll then enlarge them about 150% and use the new light box I just bought to redraw them in detail first in pencil and then trace with the new pen set. They will then get rescanned again to do tonal work and add the type. And I'll only have to do that say 200+ times! Yeehaw!

It's a lot, but I'm surprisingly very geared up for it. Must be that whole "rising to the challenge" thing. Well, off to bed so I can get up and get to work!

Here are some shots from my Arkansas book signings... the first of many I hope, they were fun! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 06, 2005

here's a random assortment of photos. The top has the store window at BN in Westlake, all China themed with a banner for my book coming soon... There's an actual little bunny kung fu lookalike with the black ears and white body. And yes, I'm holding a pig! Siooooue! Posted by Picasa

Hopping to Arkansas

I hit the road tomorrow for two book signings in my home state. I'm so grateful to everyone who's helped pull all this together. I'm looking forward to seeing people I haven't seen in years. Now if only I can get over this sinus infection, I'll be set.

There are more requests and offers for visits and signings coming in. My social card will be full of engagements and thus justify the existence of my organizer!

I'm going to have to think carefully about how many christmas commissions I can realistically do this year. I can't help wanting to do them, I mean I love helping people get the perfect gift.

In other news...

I heard through an email a really amazing story. A private school in Austin was given a 3 million dollar donation by an obvious wealthy family if the school and the school library would remove Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx from it's optional reading list because it contained homosexual references. Rather than cave to the family's demands, the school returned the donation, saying they couldn't accept contributions with conditions attached. That amazes me. That's a lot of money for a school to return, and I applaud them. Annie Proulx won several literary awards including the Pulitzer, and I think the family only tried this because the movie is coming out this fall that's based on the book. Now I have my own views on censorship and homosexuality, as does everyone else, and I truly feel those with the most money in this country shouldn't be the ones deciding things for everyone else.

Well, I gotta pack every outfit I own since I'm not sure what I'll end up wearing...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Thoughts on the Festival

Well, the festival wrapped up today and I've caught my breath. WOW! I'm just blown away with the reception my book received. We sold around 65 copies, way more than we anticipated. In fact when we broke down the booth there were only 10 books left that the publisher brought for the festival. And all but five or six of those 65 books were bought by complete strangers.

I guess I'm going to have to get used to that shock, that people will buy my book! It's a very gratifying feeling, but part of me is like, "Are these people ever going to find out I was painting this book in my penguin pjs while watching Kill Bill?"

And while I probably talked to more parents, it was the kid's reactions that I was really excited about. I mean the parents can appreciate the aesthetic of the Chinese brush paintings and things like that on a mature level, but the kids were the true critics. In fact the kids scared me to death! That nervous part of me was waiting for them to pull a "children of the corn" and come after me, but the kids all loved it.

I was surprised with the range of ages, too. I had little 3 year olds all excited about the kung fu kicks and chops, and I had early readers around 7 and 8 who liked reading it and the cuteness of the characters. That's a plus about the size being more narrow, it doesn't look like a kiddie picture book for the early readers.

And not a single person passed on it because it wasn't in color. In fact a lot of people commented on how beautiful the illustrations were then later realized it was done in black and white. I've always thought that if black and white is done right, you don't even notice that it's missing color because the black and white are so rich. And the book was printed so well, that there is wonderful range in the grays and blacks.

Eric Rohmann was one of the highlight author/artists and I had him sign a couple of books, and showed him my book since his rabbit book won him a Caldecott medal. He was so encouraging and thought my book was "fantastic." He also liked that it was in black and white, and told me the next hurdle is dealing with the critics.

Well, now to plan my school and library visits (yikes!). I've also got a couple of storytime engagements in December at several Barnes and Nobles. Whew!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

For the Story to make sense, read from top to bottom, thanks! Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa