How to Grow Your Dragon

I’ll be blunt, last year was not kind to me. Just at the start of an exciting move into licensing, and companies enthusiastic about my art, many exciting projects both for licensing and commission, I was floored with a mysterious health issue, still seeking a diagnosis, that seriously debilitated my ability to work. While it continues to have an impact on my life and my ability to work to the same level that I had before all this began, I’m not letting it get the better of me.

I embark upon a new approach to my art this month with the launch of my Patreon page – but more on that later. Firstly, let me talk a little about the art.

The Book of Flower Dragons

I’ve not finalised names yet, but I’m quite excited about this project. I wanted to get back to my roots. Since I don’t know how much worse my health might get and how much it may further impact my work, I wanted to focus my attention on projects that I’m passionate about. I love painting dragons, as my moniker might suggest, so I wanted to take a fresh look on them.

Growing up, I loved Cicely M. Barker’s Flower Fairy books and I loved the idea of giving dragons a similar treatment. I envision the dragons as guardian spirits for the flowers, embodying the myths and folkloristic symbolism associated with them. I struck upon the idea of doing a collection of paintings to explore this.

I love fantasy worlds and was inspired by the idea of having each picture accompanied with some text from a world in which these dragon flower guardians were real and how this might be written from the point of view of a passionate naturalist of a magical version of our world. Perhaps as extracts from a book of flower dragons.

The Dragon of the Rose

My first painting, Rose Guardian, is an important one to me as it marks the beginning of my journey and a return to some of my favourite art. I love painting dragons and I love painting roses, so it was the logical beginning to my collection.

Rose Guardian preview and text

This should give you an idea of the quality and direction of this new collection. Of course, each dragon will retain its own flavour and draw from the symbolism connected to their flower.

I’ll be showing more about this design, including sketches and some of the process leading towards its completion as well as previews of future designs, on my patrons-only feed on Patreon.

Speaking of which…

Be Involved!

I’m not just painting this collection for love alone, but to make available for licensing, but I’m aware that not all the companies I license with may be able to take the whole collection or be in a position to take them on right away. However, I don’t want this to stop me creating the paintings, but of course this alone isn’t necessarily going to sustain me and my family.

Patreon is a fantastic take on crowd-funding and patronage. Artists and creatives can use it as a platform to gain funding (whether monthly or per creation) to keep doing what they love doing.

I have just launched my own page and would love you to get involved in helping see my flower dragons blossom! 😉

If you’re in doubt as to whether you can afford it, you can support for as little as $1. That’s nothing, really. Since I have opted for “per creation” it means I only collect funding once per design as opposed to every month regardless. Here’s a breakdown of how effective Patreon can be.

  • Currently, I have over 11,800 people following my Facebook page. Without spending any money to promote posts and depending on how many shares a post gets, I can reach between 1,500 – 11,000 people.
  • If only 500 out of the 11k+ people who like my Facebook page pledged $1, that would mean I get paid $500 each time I create a design, which I’m aiming for about once (and no more than twice) a month barring health or life commitments delaying me.
  • For just $1, you get notifications of my public posts and can follow my progress.
  • If half of those 500 upgraded to $3 per creation, I would get $1,000 per creation, and each person supporting me for $3 would get access to my patron-only posts, which include sneak previews of future work, insights into the design process, and maybe even some short tutorials.
  • If half of those 250 $3 patrons upgraded to $5, my patrons would support me with $1,250 per design and those 125 $5 patrons would also get digital wallpapers of the final design and 10% discounted prints.
  • If only 60 people from those 125 patrons upgrade to $10, each design would be worth $1,550. Those $10 patrons would get the same as the $5 patrons but with 20% discounted prints instead.
  • If half of those $10 patrons upgraded to $25, each design would be worth $2,000 and those 30 patrons supporting me for $25 would get prints at half price.
  • The $50 and $120 tiers are limited, so if the maximum 8 patrons upgraded from $25 to $50, they would also get an original hand-drawn mini dragon-head sketch and each design would be worth $2,200.
  • And finally, if two of the remaining $25 patrons upgraded to $120, they would also get a canvas print and make each design worth $2,390!

In that final calculation, 490 of 500 patrons are paying no more than a pizza, of which over 350 are only buying the equivalent of a cup of coffee or two.

And that’s not to mention goals. At different thresholds, various goals are unlocked that include providing you with extra perks. With just 100 patrons at $,1 both of my first goals would be reached:

  • At $50, I’ll add extra content into my patrons-only posts to include sketches, previews of detailed work and more insight into the design process.
  • At $100, I’ll send out postcard prints with a flower dragon & the text on the other side of the design to everyone who supports me at $10 or more.

Please consider chipping in even $1 – $3 on Patreon and encouraging your friends to do the same. The more folks back me at even small amounts, the more great stuff everyone gets! 🙂

Posted in Artwork, General, New Art, News, Patreon, SheBlackDragon, SheWhiteDragon, Work in Progress | Leave a comment

A Long Overdue Update

It’s been quite a while over the course of most of a year, firstly due to the birth of my second daughter and a few complications surrounding that. Then there was the general trying to catch up with work and then moving house at the start of the year, which was sadly also the start of a long ordeal of still ongoing personal health issues. This year has felt like something of an epic battle juggling deadlines and dealing with everything the universe is throwing at me. So a big apology up front to anyone who I’ve not messaged back over the months of chaos. It may take me some time, but I’ll try to get back to as many as I can, though please be patient as my health issues are still ongoing.

Meanwhile, my Facebook page reached over ten thousand Likes without me noticing; quite the milestone and I’m just so grateful to each and every one of you for continuing to Like and share my art and page. I promise I’ll be getting more art posted soon, as and when I can. I’d like to take this opportunity to make a special thanks to a page that has continually shared my work, even in my absence: while there were a lot of pages sharing my art, Ghost’s Wolves & Dragons, Fairies, Witches & Wizards and a little fantasy page really shared so much continually, even digging out some of my really old stuff I’ve not even put on this website. Go follow the link and check out the page, there’s a lot of other fantastic work showcased there.

On the convention front, I did UK Games Expo again this year and it was really, really busy and really good. While this kind of deserves a post on its own, worth mentioning here is that I co-ran my first workshop with Gillian Pearce of Hellion’s Art, which was really fun.

UKGE 15 StandIMAG2097

This month, I’ll be attending Dragondaze in Newport again trading alongside my husband, who will be representing Talking Skull, demoing his card game Faustus, as well as helping me on the stand as usual. Hope to see some of you there! 🙂

preview4-(banishing)

Posted in Conventions, Dragondaze, General, UKGamesExpo | Leave a comment

UK Games Expo

A very late blog post, but better late than never. 🙂

UK Games Expo in Birmingham is a huge games convention with nearly 6,000 people attending across the weekend! I was honoured this year to be the guest artist, marking not only my first year as a guest, but also my first time trading at the convention, though I had attended it for several years as a regular attendee. This was also the first time with new stock from Nemesis Now, a new order of my t-shirts with The Mountain, a selection of prints available on canvas and, freshly collected from customs on the way, playmats and dice bags from my newest licence with Inked Playmats.

This was my largest stand to date at any convention

This was my largest stand to date at any convention

This was also the first time I had such a big backing board of my own, put together with my husband, there were a few teething issues getting it up, but in the end it made for a wonderful display. The Saturday morning also marked my first participation in a seminar in which I joined fellow artists, Gillian Pearce and Vicki Paull, in a panel discussing art in the gaming industry. The seminar was filmed and the room was very hot, luckily we were the first lot there, before it became a sauna later in the day. Regardless of the heat it was great fun though being able to yap away with the ladies about art in the industry and our different experiences. Our host, Paco Jaen of G*M*S Magazine, was very welcoming and a lovely guy to meet. It was nice to be approached afterwards by people in the seminar with follow on with questions regarding the industry from both publishers and aspiring artists.

Me and Rimmer from Red Dwarf

Me and Rimmer from Red Dwarf

There were a number of exciting guests attending the convention also, but the one I was  particularly keen on meeting was Chris Barrie, having met Hattie Hayridge and Danny John Jules at Cardiff Comic Con. There was loads of fantastic costumes and I got to try some tasty muffins and wonderful lemon drizzle cake made by the Third Doctor! 🙂

With myself only a month away from our second child’s due date, I was limited in what I could do physically and it was so busy, my husband barely had a chance to sit down while Morty was his usual good-looking lazy-bones self. On Saturday, we were busier than most of our other cons over the whole time and Sunday was nearly as busy, though with time to breathe once in a while. It was really great meeting fans of my art, especially people discovering it for the first time and seeing their reactions to my work, and chatting with some really nice people. It’s what really makes these conventions worthwhile for me.

The UKGE 2014 program cover

The UKGE 2014 program cover

My art also graced the cover of the program, which was really cool! The organisers are really big fans of the roleplaying game, Call of Cthulhu, based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft. While I took the time to add some extra art onto the cover, the main image is taken from a commission I had with the game’s publishers, Chaosium, for their forthcoming Investigator’s Handbook, a supplement for the game, who were kind enough to let me use it as an advanced preview. Some fun trivia about the picture: the blonde in the bottom right is me, featuring for the first time in one of my own pieces. The other three people are my friends — Miriam, Alan and Adam — who form my regular gaming group along with my husband, the evil cultist holding the dagger to the left of the image. 😉

I was also asked if I would help with the treasure hunt they organised for the kids. It involved several of my cat images dotted about the location into which I had hidden a letter. The kids had to find the letters and work out what word they spelled out and there was a prize in it for the winner. It was very nice being visited by the families with the kids who had been spotting and liking my cats.

Hot and exhausting as it was, it was all loads of fun (even though I barely got to see anything else of it beyond my stand) and it was a very worth while convention. With many thanks again to the organisers for having me along. 🙂

Posted in Conventions, General, UKGamesExpo | Leave a comment

License Agreement with InkedPlaymats

SheBlackDragon is pleased to announce a licensing agreement with InkedPlaymats Inc. for the purposes of playmats and dice bags.

inkedplaymats_logoInkedPlaymats Inc. are a US-based company providing high quality dice bags and custom and artist designed playmats for use with card games such as CCGs.

Posted in Dice bags, InkedPlaymats, Licences, Licensing, News, Playmats, SheBlackDragon, SheWhiteDragon | 1 Comment

License Agreement with Wild Star Hearts UK

SheBlackDragon is pleased to announce a licensing agreement with Wild Star Hearts UK for the purposes of bedding.

Wild Star Hearts UK are a well established mail order company that have been trading since 2004 providing high wildhearts-logoquality apparel and giftware, emblazoned with high quality images at a price that offers value for money.

Posted in Bedding, Licences, Licensing, News, SheBlackDragon, SheWhiteDragon, Wild Star Hearts UK | 1 Comment

Cardiff Comic Con

Despite living in Cardiff for several years, I’ve never had the chance to attend Cardiff Comic Con. This year, I was able to make the time. They had the Adam West Batman car and an array of guests, some of which I really couldn’t pass up meeting.

Me and Cat from Red Dwarf

Cat from Red Dwarf

Me and Holly from Red Dwarf

Holly from Red Dwarf

Hodor? Hodor!

Hodor? Hodor!

Me and my husband, also had the assistance of our new helper, Morty, though he didn’t really do much more than stand around looking fantastic, attracting all the attention.

Me and my stand

Me and my stand

What a suave gentleman is Morty!

What a suave gentleman is Morty!

It was a really busy couple of days. On Saturday, the queues went round the back of the building until nearly the end of the day. Meanwhile, there were some great cosplay and dressing up from people walking about. I only got to snap a few of them.

Cardiff Comic Con was really different from the conventions I’m used to doing, but has been on my radar for some time as part of my desire to expand what types of conventions and events I attend. It was really great to see a brand new set of faces appreciating my art and see people’s reaction. This lady was walking around with the t-shirt she’d just bought and was kind enough to pose for me.

It was also great seeing so many other talented artists, and proved a chance for me to make new artist friends as well as catch up with some old ones.

Me, David Bircham and Matt Dixon

Me, David Bircham and Matt Dixon

I’d certainly love to go again if I’m able. Exhausting as it was, it was a lot of fun.

Posted in Cardiff Comic Con, Conventions, SheBlackDragon, SheWhiteDragon | 1 Comment

Autumn Appearances

Autumn is typically very busy for both myself and my husband with a string of conventions we attend.

OddConUK (11th – 13th Oct) is a friendly roleplay gaming convention for which my husband runs the website and is generally co-organiser. I did the website art when the site was given an overhaul and I’ve been attending for a few years now, showing my art and selling t-shirts. Although generally I don’t expect to do much trade there, I’m always pleasantly surprised at how much attention my stand gets and my new art went down a real treat. This year was really busy and I was very pleased with the responses.

Indiecon-2013IndieCon (7th – 10th Nov) is another roleplay convention primarily focussed at independently published games (often referred to as “indie games”). I’m usually quite busy at IndieCon, though this year attendance was down. Nonetheless, it was a fun convention and I got to catch up with a lot of people I don’t see at OddConUK.

Dragonmeet (7th Dec) is a very big and very different convention to the others. There’s a lot more focus on traders and the industry, with panels and seminars also taking place. Of course, as well as buy stuff, attendees can play games just as with other conventions. In its time, Dragonmeet has attracted quite an array of impressive guests, including industry professionals and prominent artists. I’ve been a guest at Dragonmeet four times previously, but after a break I’m returning as a guest artist alongside the talents of Ralph Horsely, Matt Dixon and Andy Hepworth to name just a few. Very excited to be a guest at Dragonmeet showing off my new stuff. If you’re in London (or can easily or willing travel to it), come by and say ‘hi’ and maybe pick up a print or t-shirt. I’ll also be taking orders for some of my other licensed products.

Posted in Conventions, Dragonmeet, Indiecon, OddConUK | 1 Comment

My Cross Stitch Sample Arrived Today

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy sample for the Blue Moon Dragon cross stitch kit arrived today from GeckoRouge. Check it out! That’s a lot of thread!

It’s a beautifully put together kit and it really does have everything you need. Aside from the loads of nicely organised floss for you to quickly find, you get a 42 page booklet of instructions on how to create it (at least it’s 42 pages with this version; it may be more or less with other designs and sizes) and the needle (it’s tucked away under that paper with the pretty bow).

I was also kindly provided with a small practice piece to learn with. Now I just need to find the time to learn how to even do cross stitch so I can contemplate making my own design. 😉

Posted in Cross Stitch, Gecko Rouge, General, Licences, SheBlackDragon | Leave a comment

License Agreement with Skin Your Skunk

SheBlackDragon is pleased to announce a licensing agreement with Skin Your Skunk for the purposes of guitar skins. My designs will initially launch as part of their Hallosys-master-logo-004ween Special, two horror images seeing their licensing début in this collection.

Skin Your Skunk‘s high gloss vinyl skins are sized to match your guitar with an adhesive backing that is attached to and trimmed to fit. These skins can be applied to electrical and acoustic guitars, include bass guitars. Each skin comes with detailed instructions to allow you to professionally install your skin.

Posted in Artwork, Licences, Licensing, News, SheBlackDragon, Skin Your Skunk, Skins | Leave a comment

License Agreement with Nemesis Now

nemesis-now-logoSheBlackDragon is pleased to announce a licensing agreement with Nemesis Now for the purposes of a large variety of premium, high quality giftware. My designs will appear under both SheBlackDragon and the new sub-brand SheWhiteDragon.

Nemesis Now‘s unique product range is created working closely with a network of renowned UK artists, in house designers and artists. Nemesis Now are market leaders in fantasy giftware and collectable gifts, supplying gift shops, online retailers, tourism and leisure attractions, garden centres, department stores and more throughout UK, Europe and USA.

I’m so incredibly excited about having my art licensed to Nemesis Now, and it was a lot of fun going up to Stoke-on-Trent to meet the team. I’m really looking forward working with them to get my art available on their awesome products.

Posted in Giftware, Licences, Licensing, Nemesis Now, News, SheBlackDragon, SheWhiteDragon | Leave a comment