Sunday, July 31, 2005

This is "If They Were Frogs" and as a gag, I really like it... Posted by Picasa

Two Days Off

Well, the deadline for getting my kid's portfolio for October's Conference is approaching, so I'm spending some time concentrated on getting that ready to go.

I'm also happy to say I've been bit by the writing bug, and have written a new picture book story about a Puffin, and I really like it. It has potential, and can be pretty versatile image-wise. It'll look great in full color, but I could also see it in black and white, too, since puffins are mostly black and white.

And The Day I Won the Zoo is finally revisited and a cover is in production.

I've also done a little frog piece that didn't quite come out like I wanted, but I like the idea anyway...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

That's us at Mom2's surprise birthday bash... I dunno what's going on with my cheeks there... boy do I look healthy, or slightly feverish :) Posted by Picasa


I have an ISBN!!! That's for International Standard Book Number!!!

It's for Little Bunny Kung Fu, and soon I will type it in at work or online and it will pull up my book for any and all to see :).

I realize only I may see the significance of the number, but it's like it went from something I theoretically could print on my printer, to something that can be bought on the market! There's a bunch more less glamorous library of congress stuff, but I deal with ISBNs all the time, so it's another reality check... whoa... little dizzy!

I'm also in the 2005 blooming tree catalog for doing Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy, which I'm also getting really excited about -it'll be a blast to paint, and that's coming out in 06.
My bio reads: Regan Johnson taught herself to draw horses to occupy the time not actually riding them. Now she draws all kinds of things. This is her first book with Blooming Tree Press. (which is true, though LBKF will come out sooner)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

New Site

I've spent part of today setting up a new site.

It's with Children's or

Agents and publishers can go there and hopefully see my stuff. I'm in there with really good talent, and while it wasn't free, I think it's worth it.

Now I'll be getting ready for my conferences this fall: portfolios, website update, Little Bunny Ku Fu Alapoloozaness! Oh yeah, no rest for the wicked :)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

One of my characters for the Manga Bradford and I are creating Posted by Picasa

Big Meetings today...

Had a Manga meeting today and a couple of my "guys" met with approval, and I'll start sequencing a scene soonish...

It's a little "Who leads off with what foot" now with me and the other creator, but I could see it falling into a coordinated dance. Do I wait for the text or do I draw it out and let him decide where the text should go? That kind of thing...

I also got the LBKF Contract today! Yeah, more legalese to read, but Miriam did go through it with me. I'll be a key player in selling the book and getting it out there, so I'll need to figure some time going forth for that big task. I think from here on out, I'll be having big purses that can carry a book or two! Or when we're on vacation "Ooo, honey, can we stop at that bookstore?" Yeeee! I can't wait!

So files are being sent far away to the magical place books are born. It has an ISBN and other fun copyright stuff as well. We talked about the price, and it's still up in the air as we wait to find out if the neato cloth cover will work out. Hopefully around $16ish (which is really good for a hardback book).

Earlier today we had our SCBWI meeting and had a really good speaker talk about the role of children's books. She's an editor for a magazine, and was a preschool teacher for years. It was so encouraging for me to hear her talk about themes and I could think of a book for each theme. I also liked her tough stance on hard issues (fear, death, divorce) in kid's books. Her opinion is that life is freakin' hard, and if a good story can help a child face and deal with the hard stuff in a safe environment, then it better equips the kid for life. One of the other members commented that "Publishers don't like those negative themes, and they don't want things with 'secrets' in them" to which I rolled my eyes. Now, I may be a commercial artist, but I hope to say I'll never completely sell out to what a publisher wants in that kind of way. The speaker did say it was her opinion as an editor she was expressing, but that notion was horse hokey.

Not all of the themes she talked about were negative, some were really inspiring. One theme was about writing your name, how special that really is and how that could become a rite of passage. Another theme is music and how a story can be about how music makes you feel. I liked the idea that simple things, like a cloudy night, could be made into a tradition or a special event.

The other nice thing at that meeting were all the people who knew about LBKF! I think it must've been in a newsletter or something. It was really nice to hear the congrats, and some of those members from a year ago knew that I was trying and when I started writing/illustrating the bunny.

And, lastly, I finally have a wonderful day off for ME! I love Harry Potter and my family, but I am waaaaay overdue for a day to paint my own agenda :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Four Years!

Yesterday was our four year wedding anniversary!

Four years, but really we're coming up on seven together. Mike really is my driving force. I guess people figure we're both artists so we're like painting by candlelight and stuff, but that's not true. Mike's creative force is making me laugh I think. He makes me laugh and smile and it's just easier to draw and paint in that frame of mind.

Now, his funniness is elusive and pervasive... He's a lot like the Warner Bros. frog in that respect. You have to be in the inner circle to see him in action. It's usually me telling people things he's said or done with just me, and they look at me funny thinking "Mike?"

So I guess I have Mike all to myself untapped. I look forward to many giggly years!

Oh I love that Man-0-Mine Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Fanbloodytastic Party!

The party was a hit! We've heard other stores had bigger crowds, but nobody had as many things to do and see as we did, and those things they did and saw were way cooler than everybody else's, too!

For those not present we had...
The Mirror of Erised which you could look into then write what you saw next to it...
A Patronus Charm game where you had to flip over two cards to match the patronus animal you would have (keep in mind we're in Texas...)
We had a photo booth where you could have your picture made with a standee thing the company sent, OR with one of two owls (most kids went for the owl... and it isn't real, I painted it )
We also had a Magical Creature Identification game where I had 8 of my paintings with mythological creatures and the fans had to look them up and turn in a ballot to see if they won a prize. It got dicey when I realized my Sphinx, being that she had leopard spots, meant she could have been another mythological animal and some books said shinxes only had lion's bodies. I also had to put on a feathered bra on my harpy... sigh... The winner chose the Phoenix I had done as his prize, and he has to be pretty young, his handwriting was adorable.

I had a potions touch and feel where you put your hand in a box and get all grossed out... there was eye of newt (corn hominy), flubberworms (lasagna noodles), gillyweed (rubber bands), and dragon hide (sandpaper)... And for some reason no one threw it out after I left, I guess because they know how much I love moldy noodles and slimy hominy (now it's really scary!)

And I had a whole owl art exhibit with little step by step how to draw owls sheets so kids drew me owls and I pinned them up with my art. That was the favorite of the activities, I think, the kids drew their own owls and named them...

Then we had "Stump the Wizard" where the fans tried to outsmart the experts with trivia questions,
And at 11 we had a Wizard's Duel where we had two lines of people and they had to draw a spell from a hat, then bow and stand back to back as I counted to five and they cast their spells... I lost my voice but it was great!

And on the art biz side, I've just about sold the entire show out! Which is good cause I don't know what I'd done with 30 framed owl paintings/drawings! I'm getting offers to go to schools and talk about owls to kids, which would be a real kick.

And the best volunteers there were my Mom and Dad! They both were such a big help and I'm so glad I got to share the craziness with them. My favorite quote from the evening was hearing my mother repeatedly say "Hi there, Honey, let's get you a tattoo..." Dad also saw he and mom out on Eden Isle when he looked in the Mirror of Erised. I have such fun folks!

We ate at one of the best restaurants I can remember. It was Hudson's on the Bend, and wowsers, it was good!

All in all, I was wiped out, strung out, now I'm nearly sold out and mom's cleaned out (private joke!). when's the next one coming out? :)

Here I am as the "Care and Keeping of Magical Creatures" Professor holding Hedwig (it's really a blow up version of the owl in my big owl painting...) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Here's an acrylic baby owlet I did the other morning... I learned alot about intentional gesture displays, which the owlet here is doing... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Oh, these owls are great!

I sold two today and overall I've sold 8! And each person who has bought one had a great story about an owl and their family. The nice lady today had rehabilitated one and was able to release it back into the wild where it learned to hunt and feed itself. Another man had more of an owl fiasco when his pet lovebird was hanging out on the patio at dusk and was mistaken for a happy meal by a neighboring owl (the lovebird made it through the attack on it's protective cage, but the owl hangs out and looks through the windows at it from time to time... creepy but funny). One lady was getting them for her husband's birthday present, and seemed genuinely relieved to have gotten him something original. And my patrons are telling me they'll be sending in their friends.

I was able to meet Frances the wildlife keeper at the Austin Science & Nature center and she supplied me with some brochures about their adoption program. I'm going to take a portion of the proceeds and adopt an owl. I've got to make a little display that shows that the sales will go toward helping take care of real owls. I figure if I sell the bookmarks I had printed for a dollar each... we could end up sponsoring several owls!

And Frances told a friend about my artwork, and she's contacted me, too. What's even cooler is this person might bring in a real live owl! Oh, it would be soooooo cool! I would have the coolest party in town!

Friday, July 08, 2005

The new kid friendly harpy! Before and after... Posted by Picasa

Here's my sphinx in a bookstore... People always know it's a BN store because of that trademark chair fabric... I'm also glad I didn't have to make her kid friendly like I did the harpy :) Posted by Picasa

Magical Creature Detail

Part of the activities for the Harry Potter Party will be to identify 8 "Magical Creatures." These 8 creatures just happen to creatures I've drawn (again, shameless self promotion to hundreds of people!). The winner will be the first one drawn that has all the correct answer, and they will win a print of their choice of one of the magical creatures (BN will pay me for the print, yippee!).

So far I've got: a sphinx, a maverick Minotaur, a harpy (with a new feather bra!), and a fairy.

So now I have to do one special LBKF dragon piece which I can use to further promote the book, a phoenix which is still poplar for Harry Potter fans, and then two more creatures that I'll pick out of the JK Rowling book The Care and Keeping of Magical Creatures. Cant' make them all too easy, and I wanted them to have to dig in and do a little research while they're waiting for midnight.

And I should have extra prints on hand that night, and will hopefully even take orders for more (wouldn't that be nice). I've sold 3 owl prints, and the figure study I had in the window that had nothing to do with the owls or the show. I've talked with a few people, too, that are planning to come to the art reception just for me, not for Harry Potter! I could view that as "Hey, I've upstaged the richest woman in England," but I don't think my ego could take it...

This show has been a real moral booster, too. I hear people talking about it, and the kids like it, too. I'm getting calls from people about the itinerary we've handed out, and they aren't asking about Harry Potter, they want to know more about the "Get your photo made with a celebrity owl" and the "Owl activities and art demonstration" stuff.

Well, off to paint me a phoenix... I have a glass of water nearby just in case...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

These are two of the black and white owls I have sold in my show... and this is before my Reception and the Harry Potter Fans show up! Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 04, 2005

So a bird falls from the nest our backyard. It's a cardinal, because the parents are in the tree above freaking out. The chick is flapping around, but can't get up.

So the humans try to help. We try. We try again. We go on the stupid internet, and try again. We're told not to adopt it, just to get the thing out of reach of chick-eaters.

Then it just becomes too much for me. Maybe I'm living too good, that the plight of a baby cardinal can just knock me on my ass. But I tried, I tried to get it to stay on the branch, to stay in the bush, to stay on the roof, just to effing stay effing put!

But it flaps away. It can fly the way handgliders can fly... fly downward. So it fluttered from the branch, and it fluttered down from the hedges and fluttered down from the roof. I was too afraid to try to hand feed it, they can't really make it in the wild after that, and all the wildlife websites say not to do it...

And God help me, looking at the little thing, I didn't honestly think I had it in me to pull it off. And that's what's broken my heart.

All this during my freaking owl exhibit, I mean how diabolically ironic, huh?

Sunday, July 03, 2005


For our country's birthday, we've treated ourselves to a new gas grill! And to go with it, a state of the art bug zapper that should free us of all pesky bitey things that fly.

Mike and I have actually turned over a new leaf, meat wise, over the last couple of months. We're abstaining from "mainstream" meat, and the meat we do eat fewer portions of is organic/natural type meat. We've seen one too many films/documentaries about what goes on in the food processing system. If it were the fifties, we'd eat any kind of meat, but now that they're pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, we're passing it up. So no more fast food, frozen meat, and most of the meat in the grocery store (but not all!).

It's not that big of a change, and it is more expensive, but it tastes better and it's better for us, too. So, we're buying organic milk (which doesn't expire near as fast, what does that tell about the other stuff?), organic eggs (from chickens that were free range and fed a veggie diet, as opposed to other chickens), and even our ground sirlion for burgers tomorrow is organic.

And it tastes noticeably better. I mean, why all the chemicals? People didn't starve fifty years ago because the cow down the street wasn't making enough milk.

I feel better with this diet, and feeling better makes me paint all the better!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

it's 107!

Who can work with this heat?

I'll be inside, all cozy and cool, full of great ideas and images, then I walk outside...

Wait, what was I going to do?

What was that image? Something with a racoon... no... uh....

Man, it's hot...

Too hot...

I'm going to go lie down now...