Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Challenges Force Us To Grow...

The internal soul-searching that I’ve done over the past few weeks as the book gets ready to go to press has stayed out of the blogs, which is why I’ve been quiet, until I drove myself crazy with self-doubt this past week and technology kept making things more difficult.

I have drawn by hand and taken that seriously since I was 11.  That’s now 34 years of experience feeling the pen or pencil in my hand and working digitally with a tablet still feels so different.  When I watch what some of the younger artists are capable of doing digitally with a tablet and layers in Photoshop, I feel strangely left behind.

The book cover for Emily Finds A Dragon is done after a very hectic week and I shared all the details about the process on my Doodling Dragons blog.

This is the shorter version for those of you who just wanted a quick peek at the final cover for the book.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Dragon Finds Her Voice Again...

Every now and then, milestones happen in your life that cause you to radically change the way you think, act or look at the world.

Our visit to Japan to watch 2010 become 2011 and the Year of the Rabbit begin was one of those moments.

It was an incredible journey that took our whole family halfway around the world to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Tokyo for 9 wonderful, amazing days.

We welcomed in the new year at the temple closest to their house...

We listened to the Emperor give his New Year’s Speech at the Imperial Palace...

We crossed at Shibuya...

We visited Shinjuku and Senso-ji...

Nick posed in front of the crowds at Harajuku to show how much we stood out...

We tried new foods, made new friends and fell in love with the country and the culture.  I came home, however,  profoundly changed by the public and consumeristic nature of our North American culture.  Until you get away from it, you often don’t realize how “in your face” it can be.  We tend to share everything without a filter.  We upload, download, youtube, blog, Facebook and tweet almost anything instantly.

I needed time to wrestle with that and how it affects my life, especially when I’ve been doing so much self-discovery and recovery in the past year.  Marking the 1 year anniversary of my father’s passing was more difficult that I anticipated.  Juggling 3 careers at once is a bit overwhelming sometimes and began to wonder if the private angstings of my soul had any place in a blog instead of in my own journal.  I admired the public privacy and inner stillness that so many of the people I met in Japan seemed to carry with them, even though I knew that I couldn’t suddenly transform my outgoing, talkative, extrovert self... nor did I really want to.  I am still working on finding the right balance between the private and public persona I need to maintain as an artist, but it isn’t easy.

I’m not even sure this explanation makes sense, but many of you were wondering where the dragon was and if I was OK.

The answer is a profound and joyful... YES!

Sometimes bigger things happen to put everything in perspective and give you a jolt.

Waking up on March 11th to the news of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan was one of the scariest moments that I’ve experienced in years!  My sister sent off an e-mail to family and friends as soon as she could so that we’d know she and Yoshi were OK...but watching the news and seeing scenes of buildings where we’d been swaying in the quake was astounding.  Watching the destruction of parts of a country we’d just visited 9 weeks earlier made our hearts ache right now for what that proud nation is going through!  Listening to the North American media sensationalize some details and cause more panic than was needed made me angry!  We aren’t seeing most of the heroic and uplifting stories... only the scary ones!

If you want to see just one astounding example of how diligent, hardworking and determined the Japanese people are,  check out the photos in this car blog.  

If you want a cartoon explanation of what is going on with the nuclear power plants, you can check out this subtitled clip on youtube.  It doesn't deny the seriousness of the event, but it does to explain it and put it in perspective...

If any nation knows how to deal with the effects of radiation, it is the country that survived having 2 nuclear bombs dropped on them, but they need our help to rebuild in the areas that are hardest hit by all these disasters.

On my Dragon Dreams website, you will find a special Dragon of Compassion to stitch up.  If you enjoy this design, I implore you make some kind of donation... even a small one... to the Red Cross in your country for Japan Relief.

Our planet has become too small for us to just ignore the cries from around the world for help.  The price of gas and groceries remind us on a daily basis that we are all interconnected and that each of us can make a difference in changing our world for the better.

While I will continue to explore some of these musings in public, I’ve also decided that some of my journey in the next few years has to be a private one.  I’d rather not muse so deeply in public anymore.  I need my blogs to be uplifting or informative rather than depressing because we can see enough of that in any media.

Dragons sometimes take a long time to think things through, so thank you for your patience.  I think now that the snow is finally melting here, it is time to crawl out of my cozy cave!