Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall: My Favorite Time of Year. Here's Why!?!

As soon as the temperature drops and the leaves show even a hint of change, my imagination soars more than usual. It's a great time to get out of my studio and look around at the bounty before us. This year, the adventure began with a "date" with my sweet Louise to the NC State Fair followed by a weekend at the glorious Blackberry Farm near Knoxville, TN. Both were inspirational, in their own way, but definitely different.

The Fair provided a hokey kind of whimsy from varied perspectives. We laughed at the Moo-ternity Ward where baby calves arrived exactly as planned for families to "ooh and ah" at during Fair week. But then we fell in love with L'il Paul, a baby llama born on 9/11, the day before our visit.

A little girl with a heart on her T-shirt, sitting astride a Shetland, was bittersweet. The art reminded us a bit of our BrokenHeart Pets as Scooter and Boots always wear their (broken) hearts on their chest. And the pony looked sad, too. But the little girl was thrilled and she may very well show up as a Wispenwood Whimsie. And, the view from above when we rode the cable cars brought a breathtaking panorama and fond memories of the fairs we visited as children.

As always, I shared stories of childhood with Louise including thoughts of soft ice cream, funnel cakes and turkey legs. We smelled "fried" ourselves just walking through the midway and resisted treats until the very end. Swirled chocolate and vanilla soft serve, of course!

Our weekend trip to Blackberry Farm, just 2 1/2 hours from home (3 1/2 hrs. if you followed Louise's directions!) was inspiring in a totally different way. At the top of any travel experience, this glorious resort brought beautiful vistas, peace and quiet, flowers, food and lodging at the top of its class (*****, all the way). The gardens, all organic, were so lovely that they looked like they had bloomed especially for us. John Coykendahl, master gardener, gave us the inside scoop on heirloom seeds, with a wonderful story to go with each in his collection. Louise asked about the picturesque wagon and large sugar kettle out in the field as they looked perfectly "placed" for a landscape painting. He laughed and called them countrified "eye candy," but it all felt authentic to us. Keep watching for the wagon and animals to show up in Wispenwood.

But this is just the beginning of my annual "affair" with fall. When I walk Sheba each night, I see just a bit of color change on our beautiful Biltmore Lake trails. Last night, we saw a tiny salamander with varying shades of flourescent orange. Sheba loves to chase the bunnies on our trails. She tracks them slowly, s-l-o-w-l-y... and always thinks she might be able to catch one to play with. Our gal has "stamina," and never gives up the thrill of the game!

There will be lots of fall art showing up on our social media pages and plenty already on our website. In fact, I'm working on something new right now with Scooter and Boots. They like autumn, too!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BrokenHeart Pets in Vegas

I have spent a few days creating ancillary art to promote two of my characters that received a lot of interest at the Licensing Expo 2013 in Las Vegas this past June. Man, it was hot outside in Vegas! But inside, it was way "cool" with exhibitors from Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, Jim Henson. You name it! They were there! And, of course, US at Tails of Whimsy. Anyway, it was quite intimidating, just looking around during set up day on Monday. But even then, we felt a good vibe. A few of the other licensors came by and commented with words like "NEW," "Cool Characters," and the one we really liked, "Did one artist create all these properties?"

When the show opened, people came by our booth in the Art and Design section. We want to give a "shout out" to some of the special new friends we met: Leo Valencia at Radio Days, Missy Vaughan at Hamilton Collection, Emily Brenner at Harper Collins, David Wollos at The Think Tank and Frank Saperstein at Surprise Bag. Our book agent Jeanette Smith was there and we found out she has a special affinity for margaritas, especially when they came FREE from our friends at the Frieda Kahlo Licensing Group one aisle over! And Advanstar event manager Kelli Couchee cheered us on as "newbies" to Licensing Expo, making us feel comfortable, capable and creatively ready to take on the challenges of such a big show.

Anyway, two characters of the characters that received a lot of attention are Scooter & Boots, the BrokenHeart Pets. They are sad because they are homeless and nobody loves them. But they are optimistic and funny in their outlooks as they constantly "reinvent themselves" to find a forever home. They both have broken heart "tattoos," which show up as a graphic in their logo.

The first children's book manuscript for BrokenHeart Pets is in revision and the proposal even includes games. Check out Scooter and Boots at both the animation links (two videos) and images available for licensing. There on our website. And, let us know whether they make you smile, laugh or cry!!!

We are building our followers across many social media platforms. That's keeping Louise busy along with our specialist and new BFF, Tina Wolfe. When we get enough followers on Scooter and Boots, we plan to give them their own fan club site!!! Like us on Facebook and this will help us bring the BrokenHeart pets to the next stage.