February – Looking Back and Leaning Forward

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I’ve never been a big fan of the month of February, stuck in that no-man’s land between crystal midwinter and the greening of spring. I think that they probably just put Valentine’s Day in there as a distraction to give people something fun to do that involves chocolate.

This year however there was quite a lot going on to keep me busy and smiling.

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It began by dipping my toes into the world of crowd funding with our first Kickstarter campaign. I’ve been producing coloring books, for myself and for other people, for over 15 years now. My first self-published one, The Faerie Garden, came out in 2004 and the fifth one, Fantasy Nouveau is all set to go to print now, as soon as the campaign is finished. We’ve made our primary goal and our stretch goals involve the much-needed reprinting of said Faerie Garden as well as the other three, all of which have been wildly riding the popular “adult coloring” wave of the past year or two. It’s nice to actually be trendy for a change (Are you listening, 13-year-old self?)

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This month also saw the national publication of the ninth children’s book that I’ve illustrated for Pelican Publishing over the past six years, Hercules on the Bayou, by Connie Collins Morgan. Incidentally, I’ve also begun work on book # ten, but more about that later…

In coming out of my winter hibernation I also made my first two “appearances” of the year (don’t I sound like a rock start now?) at public events, and had a delightful time at both.

Riona’s Cave of Treasures gave me the opportunity to bring out all of those mercantile items that have been packed away since last year’s faire season, including much of the actual dust from the last few faires. It also gave me the chance to reconnect with some old friends and meet many charming new ones. Thanks to Riona Abhainn for putting on this event.

 

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The lovely Riona and the not-quite-as-lovely weird guy

The Radcon convention has of course become for me the great pre-spring awakening and the one thing I do regularly look forward to in February, and this year may have been the most fun ever for me. Seeing my geeky tribe again and so many of my dear artist friends, and again, the making of new friendships. The panels were fun and lively, the costumes stunning and inspiring and I loved watching many of the artist demos, as well as doing one of my own about dragon-making with Worbla (See my previous post on this subject).

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A special shout out to just a few of the people who made this the unforgettable experience that it was for me this year: my wife Allyson,  Vandy Hall, Jeff Sturgeon, Doug Herring, Stephanie Law, Elizabeth Vann-Clark, Kamila Miller, Toby Froud and all the others who I may have only waved to in passing in the halls, you were all awesome.

Jeff Sturgeon, Stephanie Law and...well, you know..
Jeff Sturgeon, Stephanie Law and…well, you know…

 

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Kamila, Vandy and a Lad Insane

Okay, so what’s on the agenda for spring?

Photos by Allyson Leonhard