Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Dragon Charmer - Jennifer Carson


My tangled portrait of Jen Carson

I'd like to introduce you to one of my heros. Any of you who have written me letters saying things like "You are SO creative. I don't know how you do it all!" - you will be relieved or horrified to know that Jennifer Carson, The Dragon Charmer, does even MORE!! 

Besides chauffering her four sons around to all their activities (that alone would undo me!), she also is working on her degree, writing books, starting a publishing house, sewing and needle-felting amazing fantasy creatures, editing columns in two magazines, writing plays, illustrating, singing, dancing, acting, bringin' home the bacon and fryin' it up in a pan... I'm sure I have forgotten something in that list. As I mentioned, Jen is my hero. Often, when I am faced with a sticky situation, I ask myself "WWJD?" (What would Jen Do?) Unfortunately, the answer is usually more work than I am willing to do. ;-D If you want to read a more accurate description of Jennifer's pathway to fame, be sure to read her Artist Statement.

I'll show you a few of the highlights (in my opinion) of her career(s).  A few years ago, we worked on a Star Wars mural for a Make-a-Wish kid with a nasty brain tumor. We were both so excited to do a Star Wars theme, but had been fantasizing about Ewoks and other cute characters. Stormtroopers, battleships blasting each other... ah well. 
Next time, we'll remember to ask ahead of time. My son, Alex, posed with the murals. You can tell these were done a while ago - my son is still cute and little. And quite the ham.

"Help! My armpit's on fire!   

Jennifer's creatures have changed a lot over the years from really cool felted dragons to every kind of fantasy creature imaginable. And unimaginable. She designs her own creatures and patterns and even dyes her own wool. You can see more of her menagerie at her Etsy store.

One of my favorites, Yuki Frostfoot.
 As for writing, Jennifer's book, To Find a Wonder is a magical adventure with a cast of characters just begging to be stuffed. The illustrations are really gorgeous too, but look what Jen did with the minstrel, Goon, and the dragon, Percival...
 Not enough? Ok, so then she turned it into a play that was performed at the New London Barn Playhouse... Gee, I wonder who made the costumes?
 So now we are getting to the juicey part. Jen decided to start her own publishing company, Pugalicious Press, to release more of her own magical tales, and those of others too, into the ordinary world. She needs to raise $6,000 to print her new book, Hapenny Magick so she has set up a Kickstarter project.

Take a look at the video she made. You can see sketches from the book, a lullaby she wrote, and, of course, Jennifer's gorgeous face!

As you can see, below, she has gotten quite a few pledges! If you click on the image, you will go to the Kickstarter page and you can see all the (highly collectible) items that you can get for your generous pledges. If you decide to pledge an amount that gets you a book, remember that this is a "pre-order" as the books are not printed yet. Personally, I want the $1000 bundle with a couple of those Yuki Yetis thrown in! (But not "thrown" hard. Yuki looks like a real softie.)

Oh, of interest to a lot of you who are teachers... Jen offers teacher guides and activities and even a Knight's Journey Event Kit. And for the rest of you who have patiently read this post all the way through...
A REWARD! Tangles for you! From Jen! Seriously!

Jennifer actually designed these tangles for a book I wrote last year (the one that kind of slipped into a black hole...).  The image I painted of her, at the beginning of this post, was for that book too. Notice the "Dew Drops" on her shirt? Clever, eh? I also drew the Zentangle ("Zendragon"?) combining all three. But I stole the idea from a little sketch that Jen had done.
Anyway, she said I could share them with you all. Even if you don't pledge any money for her book. Really, no guilt at all. I told you, she's my hero. You can even re-post the tangles on your own page and Facebook and Tweet'em and where-ever else you can think of, but PLEASE include the link to Jennifer's Kickstarter Project page, OK?
Now clap your hands and say, "I believe in fairies!"


  1. I love the dragon! I'll need to share it with my students. By the way, if you have a chance, look at my "Dia de los muertos" blog post. I'm featuring a Zentangle skull drawing that I did. You may click on my name to get to it. Hope you enjoy it. Blessings!

  2. I agree! Jen is amazing and I love her work. Her new book is awesome! :)

  3. Arnoldo, the skull is beautiful! And what a great tradition. So having a birthday party for my dead grandmother at her grave - is not as weird as I thought, right? ;-D

  4. Thanks, Sandy! And no, a party for your deceased great grandmother is not weird. I remember being touched by your posting about it. I just know our ancestors are watching us from heaven and enjoy not being forgotten. Blessings!


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