Cartoon and Illustration

Creating a franchise out of nothing but imagination

So almost a month ago I was at the regular cartoonists meeting in Asheville–talking with Daryl Slaton <;

Daryl was telling me about various adventures at marketing shows he’s attended and how it seems that it’s possible to sell all sorts of imagery IF one attaches some sort of narrative to it.

This had to percolate in my head for a while, but then the other day I started thinking about some dragon drawings that I’d done a number of years back and how they’re just sitting around gathering dust (and not gathering interest).  So putting two and two together, here’s what I came up with:


Tales behind the Scales Series One No. 1

This is Humphrey–he’s in charge of collecting all the discarded shells from roasted chestnuts.  While he’s very busy during the Christmas season, he tends to nap through most of summer.

Humphrey has a great affection for butterscotch candies.


Tales behind the Scales

Series One No. 2

This is Tristan.  His main occupations are controlling the melting rate of ice cubes and making certain that all andirons have a nice even coating of soot.

Tristan’s best friend is a rather bulgy black bear who answers to the name “Hereford” (but was actually christened Wallace).

What I actually did was take the old black and white drawings I did of these two dragons and color them.  They had already been previously colored differently for some tee-shirt designs that I worked on, but I only sold the first rights to the line art.  So why not?

The descriptive lines are the sort of thing I often tell my wife as a bedtime story, or to amuse her on long drives.  My usual obscure random stuff–that makes her laugh.  Although I should admit that she supplied the name “Tristan” as a good dragon name.

Of course I’m anticipating that someone will come along and argue that these are obviously Chinese dragons–therefore they’ll claim that the English names are out of place.  I will have to disagree.  I can Anglicize them if I like.  They’re my dragon drawings–I can do what I want with them.  If someone else wants to make up a set of dragons and name them equally inappropriately I won’t argue with them.  I’m not trying to insult anyone, just being silly.

On the practical front:  I have a few unused 8 x 10″ mats designed for 5 x 7″ photo prints, in various colors.  These came out of my father-in-law’s basement stash of unused print paraphernalia, and the colors are decidedly early 80s in hues.  So I designed Humphrey and Tristan to match those, printed out a few proofs and stuck them in said mats.  I’ve got a few shows prior to Christmas, so I’m going to see if they sell.  It can’t hurt to try.

If (by some odd stroke of providence) these sell really well, I’ve got a full dozen more ideas for dragon designs, names, and stories.  Who knows?  It might be the new Cabbage Patch Kids!

Of course I’ve saved the artwork in larger format in case people want posters, tee-shirts and such.  You never can tell.

Which is to say that at present I’m throwing everything I’ve got at the wall to see what sticks!

Tales behind the Scales legends and all related artwork are copyright © James E. Lyle.  All rights reserved.

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