And now to the continuation of my life story up to this point. Next time we’ll get into the fun dragony stuff.
When we left off Hayhouse had just emailed me....
They had been looking for a dragon artist for their new dragon based oracle deck and were having a hard time finding one that dealt with more esoteric dragons. They thought my work fit the bill. I was super excited. The issue, the deck was completely written and they wanted it to go to print in 6 months. 44 paintings in Six...Months… how could I say no though, what an amazing opportunity. I agreed to the contract and started, dropping down from working full time to working part time and cutting out a couple of shows. I worked my tail off for that deck. I’ll admit, it’s not my finest work, but, again...44 paintings in 6 months. Less because I did all the drawings first and had to wait for approval on them before I could start the paintings. The last 2 months I painted from the moment I woke till I went to bed. Taking off an hour here and there for food and some time with my husband. When it was done though...oh man I felt so good. I had put my deck on hold for those 6 months and was eager to not only finish it, but I had ideas for others.
I eagerly went back to painting my own deck, and after I finished around the 35th card I sent the collection to my agent so he could show it around. Within a couple of weeks he had a publisher that loved the idea and the work so far. Blue Angel publishing was ready to take the deck whole hog, with no changes and our visions matched perfectly. I said yes and got in gear with finishing it up. I had picked up another day at work, so I dropped that again and put my head down. Luckily I had most of the cards finished and managed to finish the rest and get the book written in another 4 months. Easy complained to the 6 for the previous deck!
During the course of making the deck I had the idea of also creating an illustrated version of the actual Language of Flowers dictionary and got to work with that project once the deck was off and away. I had planned on running it as a Kickstarter, and it came close. I needed a huge amount of money and in the end it didn’t quite make it. Which was totally ok because Blue Angel contacted me saying they were interested in publishing the book as well. I was shell shocked, and humbled. And wholeheartedly agreed. They asked for one thing...another oracle deck, And they wanted to done, ASAP. I put the book on hold and started on a 3rd oracle deck. THREE oracle decks in THREE years. I calculated it out and figured out that I have painted just over 200 paintings in less than 4 years. Holy cow. That’s over 200 dragons. Included is 3 decks, 2 calendars, several stand alone paintings, 4 78 Tarot Project cards, and exclusives for Patreon, not to mention the early work on the Language of Flowers book.
With 2 oracle decks published and a third on the way I started looking into metaphysical type shows. I messaged a friend of mine (who was the head of the 78 tarot project at the time) and asked how those types of shows were. She had done a few showcasing the 78 tarot deck. She let me know that with the type of work I do, and the fact that I had 2 published decks that I should absolutely do them and would have a blast. In late 2019 I signed up for my first Body, Mind, Spirit Expo.
Now, honestly, WHY I hadn’t done any of these shows before was a total mystery to me. I have been pagan since I was 13, and my work is very skewed towards pagany people, and I’m often asked at all my shows in hushed tones with hands at mouths, “are you pagan too?”. There is a lot of symbolism in my work, and...well… I work with dragons. That’s a lot less crazy sounding to the metaphysical and pagan crowd than the comic book crowd which were the main bulk of shows till that point. So I took a shot and went for it…
It was like going home. I had never felt so relaxed and welcome at a show before. I had so much fun with 1/10th the amount of people. It was EASY. I have done comic and anime cons since 2008, even had an artist alley table at GenCon back when it was easy to get in. I did a lot of ren fairs too, but with them being outdoors and needing much more for setup I only did a couple a year. With the comic con boom I was seeing upwards of 100k people in a weekend, and having to compete for attention with huge booths with huge lights and huge signs, most selling fan related gear. Something that became more and more difficult as the years went on and just stressed me out more and more. They were daunting and draining. I was actually planning on cutting it down to a few shows a year when I finally did the Body Mind Spirit Expo, and it changed my world! Not to mention the fact that apparently I was a big name there and didn’t even know it. People were bouncing in the isles when they realized who I was because they had one, or both, of my decks. Other vendors were coming over asking who I was, and a few vendors there who carried my work came by for signatures. It was amazing and I promptly got home and signed up for many more shows like that. I’m dropping almost all comic and anime cons and shifting over to metaphysical shows. More so with a 3rd deck coming out. In doing metaphysical shows I have received requests from metaphysical and pagan shops to come sign at their stores, which I’m super excited to do. Once we can gather in larger groups again this is an avenue I’ll explore with gusto. I love small local shops and will support as many as I can!
So now we come to today and what's next.
Well, As of right now I am in the middle of correcting the book edits on the third oracle deck, then i'll get back to the Language of Flowers coffee table book. I have plans to have the book finished by the end of March 2021, and I’m going to try and stick to that. If not then by the end of April, since 2020 put everyone in the world behind and we're all still playing catch up. For 2021 in general I have really massive plans that include starting yet another oracle (based on the hanafudda Japanese cards deck and the Koi dragons), finishing the illustrations for the children’s book about the Little Wings Dragons, updating their website to match, and expanding their product line. I also have plans for a couple of coloring books to launch on Amazon, a pin Kickstarter for January 20th based on the Dragon Oracle art, and special positivity and beginners book of shadows journals. There will also be another pair of dragon calendars launched on Kickstarter in May or June based on the Enchanted Blossoms Deck and the Universal Dragons Guide Deck out next year. NONE of this is on a deadline however (other than the calendars and the coffee table book ) and it’ll take as long as it takes. I swore after being under some deadline or another since 2014, it take on as few as possible. I have a whole slew of projects planned for the next several years and remove/add projects as things move along, but those I’ll mention another time. Let’s get through this year first.
And I’m starting a blog. This blog. Not sure if 2021 is a good time with the internet flooded with them, but we’ll see. I have a few things to say and some info to get out into the world and I’m curious to see what happens.
Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride!
~Carla Morrow, The DragonLady