Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has their candy ready for trick-or-treaters tonight! This is our first Halloween in our current apartment so I don't know if we'll have any kids stopping by or not. We live on the third floor, so they'll have to make a little extra effort to get some of our candy!

It was so long ago that I can barely remember the last time I carved a pumpkin. But this year we attended a pumpkin-carving Halloween party, so we got a chance to relive that childhood experience. Somewhere along the way our pumpkin turned into a Totoro-esque jack-o-lantern. Unfortunately, one day sitting in the sun on our balcony was enough to flatten his ears and widen then gaps between his teeth. So he his toothy smile is a bit diminished in this picture, but you get the idea:
Autumn is my favorite season and I love all of the trappings of the season - colorful leaves, gourds, pine-cones, etc. I stumbled across this "pumpkin tree" (also known as Solanum) at our local Central Market the other day and just couldn't help myself. Apparently it's a relative of the eggplant!Well, now I think I'll go finish off the last of the pumpkin pie. Hope you all have a good Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Autumn Migration

We must be in the flight path of the monarch migrations to Mexico here in Austin because I have seen so many of them over the last few weeks! A couple weeks ago we hiked Commons Ford park which is west of the city and everywhere I looked I'd spot a monarch. They seemed especially fond of one particular type of flower which were quite plentiful in the park. I've seen a a good number of the other 'big butterflies' around too, swallowtails and such. Monarchs are a real childhood favorite of mine!

Every so often I discover that my husband has, unbeknownst to me, lent his hand to my work. Sometimes his little additions go unnoticed for days or weeks until I've come back to the drawing for reworking or reference. I always get a good laugh from these unexpected contributions:
And so I continue to labor under his corrupting influence...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sneak Peek

Well, after a blistering summer it's finally starting to cool down around here. It still gets a bit uncomfortably warm around mid-day, but mornings have actually been a bit chilly. So the past couple weekends, we took advantage of the pleasant mornings and went out for a bit of hiking. First stop was McKinney Falls - three miles on the Onion Creek Trail ending at the falls which were more of a trickle, but with very neat rock formations.

And last weekend we hit three really small parks that all happened to be in the same area. The tower in the picture was at Mayfield Park which seemed to be a popular site for weddings. A young brood of peacocks occupied the grounds. The males seemed to revel in practicing displaying their tails which were not all that grand yet since they were still quite young, but that didn't discourage them in the least.

And the last picture is a view from the top of Mount Bonnell which seems to be something of a tourist site.

Lastly, for the sneak peek of what I'm working on - a couple character design sheets for my current book projects - a follow-up to What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?:

Octavius is only twelve, but he is very big. He's a nervous, worrying type.

Amara is nine years old and somewhat bossy. Her name means "eternal."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Yet Another Orphan Works Update

For those following the issue, I received this e-mail alert this morning:

From the Illustrator's Partnership:

According to our sources


If this Bill is only meant to help libraries and museums, why did they draft it behind closed doors?

Why have the doors been opened wide for commercial infringement of the work of living authors actively licensing their work?

Why do they want to pass it when nobody's looking?

Why do they want to re-write copyright law without an open debate?

Stop this effort to give content to Big Internet firms by undermining copyright law.

Get the word out.

· Light up Washington and home offices of your Congressman.
· Contact the media.
· Deny them cover. Do not let them hide.

Tell them we will hold each of them accountable.

THE MESSAGE for your Congressman, Key Leaders, Aides, Media

· The "Dark Archive" - where infringers can register their paperwork in secret - will not protect our copyrights.

· An "Open Archive" - with orphaned work exposed to to the public - would be a come-and-get-it bank for plagiarists and infringers.

· Artists cannot monitor tens or hundreds of thousands of images every day to see if somebody somewhere has infringed their work.

· There are more than a trillion images subject to orphaning each day.

· If someone can't find me, that doesn't mean I've orphaned my work.

· An unsuccessful search for a property owner should not be a license to steal.

· Artists should not have to digitize their life's work at their own expense to comply with a law they don't want or need.

· The high cost compliance would make compliance prohibitive.

· The loss of exclusive rights would undermine contractual agreements with clients.

· We cannot sell exclusive rights to clients if others can publish our work without our knowledge or consent.

· The loss of exclusive rights would devalue our entire inventories of work.

· Small business owners should not be forced to subsidize the business models of Big Internet firms.

· No rational business owner should have to give access to their inventory, metadata, client contact information, etc. to outside business interests.

Tell lawmakers to prevent passage of this bill until it can be subjected to an open, informed and transparent public examination.

Tell them this is no way to re-write copyright law.

Tell them it will affect millions of rights holders worldwide.

Tell them you would support a true orphan works bill, but this is not it.

Tell them to to consider the amendments presented by the Illustrators' Partnership, Artists Rights Society and Advertising Photographers of America

Phone, fax, email these Congresspeople immediately

DELAHUNT Phone: (202) 225-3111 Fax (202) 225-5658
Phone: (617) 770-3700 Fax: (617) 770-2984

CONYERS Phone: (202) 225-5126 Fax: (202) 225-0072
Phone: (313) 961-5670 Fax: (313) 226-2085

NADLER Phone: (202) 225-5635 Fax: (202) 225-6923
Phone: (212) 367-7350 Fax: (212) 367-7356

BERMAN Phone: (202) 225-4695 Fax: (202) 225-3196
Phone: (818) 994-7200 Fax: (818) 994-1050

Phone: (202) 225-4965 Fax: (202) 225-8259
Phone: (415) 556-4862 Fax: (415) 861-1670

Phone: (202) 225-4131 Fax: (202) 225-4300
Phone: (301) 474-0119 Fax: (301) 474-4697

To find Washington and District Office phone, fax and web forms for your Representative
and enter your zip code

To find the contacts for your Local Media go to
and enter your zip code

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership

Please post or forward this message immediately to any interested party.


For news and information:
Illustrators' Partnership Orphan Works Blog:

Over 75 organizations oppose this bill, representing over half a million creators.

U.S. Creators and the image-making public can email Congress through the Capwiz site: 2 minutes is all it takes to tell the U.S. Congress to uphold copyright protection for the world's artists.

INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS please fax these 4 U.S. State Agencies and appeal to your home representatives for intervention.

CALL CONGRESS: 1-800-828-0498. Tell the U.S. Capitol Switchboard Operator "I would like to leave a message for Congressperson __________ that I oppose the Orphan Works Act." The switchboard operator will patch you through to the lawmaker's office and often take a message which also gets passed on to the lawmaker. Once you're put through tell your Representative the message again.

If you received our mail as a forwarded message, and wish to be added to our mailing list, email us at: Place "Add Name" in the subject line, and provide your name and the email address you want used in the message area. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.