Happy New Year! While I realize there is not really much of a difference between December 31st and January 1st in reality, the changing of the calendar makes one reminisce about the past and consider the future.
2018 was a mixed year. Mostly good with only a few disappointments but no real regrets. I consider myself quite lucky to be doing what I’m doing professionally and I’m also a very happy person. This past year I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my first book (see my post about I’m Looking For A Monster!) and I celebrated the release of two new books, If You Give the Puffin a Muffin and More Creatures and Characters: Drawing Awesomely Wild, Wacky and Funny Animals.
In the spring I visited a lot of schools. Actually it started in early January with a visit to a school in upstate New York a bit north of Syracuse. It’s about a 6 hour drive and the middle of winter is a crazy time to drive that far north but I’ll visit any school anywhere if they want me to come. I took a leisurely drive through some interesting back roads to get there the night before. If I have the time, Id rather drive through interesting places I have never been instead of driving 80 on a super highway. It’s much more relaxing. Anyway, the Friday of my visit went very well but a big snowstorm was predicted for that afternoon. I jumped in my car as soon as I was done and drove south as fast as I could. I made it to Allentown PA, which was just below the path of the storm. I was trying to decide whether to find a place to stay or continue home. I met my friend Tom at a restaurant in town and when I pulled into the parking lot my decision was made for me. My tire picked up a screw and I got a flat. So I enjoyed a nice dinner while waiting for roadside assistance. They put on my spare and I found a hotel for the night. On the plus side, I got to spend a nice evening hanging with Tom. I found a tire place that opened early, they fixed my flat and I was on the road home by 8 am.
The rest of my author visits were less dramatic but no less fun. I really can’t believe I get to do this. I get to go to a school and stand in front of a room full of hundreds of kids. I read some of my books, tell some funny stories, show them some drawing techniques and other cool stuff and by the end of the day they are treating me like I’m a rock star. I get high fives, fist bumps, and the occasional hug and they send me drawings and thank you letters.
My hope for 2019 is to book more schools in more places. I have a bunch in late February and early March. I would gladly do many more. Since I work at home my schedule is completely my own and I could happily book 2 or 3 a week for the entire school year.
My other exciting upcoming event is the release of my next book, untitled, in late May. I’ll write more about this book in the coming months. Which brings me to this, my blog. I wasn’t intending for this to be a long post but I find I have stories I want to tell about the stuff I’ve gotten to do. I intend to post at least weekly if not more often. One of the pleasures of presenting to students at school visits is that I get to tell them some pretty cool stories. If someone asks a question about art or toys or animation or any of a hundred subjects I can tell them interesting tales from my long, fun career in the arts. This blog is a chance to get these stories out to (hopefully) a wider audience.
So, happy new year one and all, see you back here soon.