The people behind Paper Dragon Farms—Robert and Julia Biales, their son Nicholas and Nick’s godfather Dan Busha—have been together as friends since 1987, housemates since 1992, and partners, homeowners and farmers in an intentional community since 1995. Our careers, finances and goals have changed over time—but at its heart, Paper Dragon Farms follows the principle of synergy—by combining our abilities, effort and energy, we accomplish more by working together than we could separately. In other words, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.
We work together and look out for each other.
Robert is our fix-it man, head computer guru, magician/clown, roadie for our conventions and trade shows (we sell comic books and other related material at shows at least twice a year), father to Nick and a 2nd degree black belt/martial arts instructor in Tae Kwon Do.
Julia does the really heavy lifting—the thinking! Over time, she has lifted our farm up from a near-desolate sandpit to a place filled with green, growing life. The planning and layout of the farm, planting schedules, design of the garden areas and the household—and much more—began from her ideas, plans and dreams. She is also an artist’s model, a long-time writer, current blogger and advice goddess for the homeschooler community and parents of people with autism.
Nick became a comic-book artist during our turns as vendors at many conventions—he noticed that many of the guest artists weren’t that much older than himself…so why not give it a try? He began with mini-comics printed at home and earned enough money from other work to have a professionally-printed book of his own. He has made many friends and contacts in the field of comics—Sid Couchey (an artist since the 1950’s, he’s best known for his work at Harvey Comics—remember Richie Rich, Little Lotta and Little Dot?) and Ken Wheaton (artist for Simpsons comics, the Phantom and many others—and a good friend, too), to name but two.
Our travels to the conventions work as a system of mutual support—Nick gets the lessons he needs to improve his work and the creators know that there will be people who will continue on in the field after them (in the manner of adepts or apprentices). In addition to learning the best ways to market himself and his books—Slice of Life (a romance comic) and Yojimbo (an action-adventure science-fiction drama)--Nick is also a 2nd Degree Black Belt like his father.
Nick’s perseverance is amazing and his artwork skills continue to improve—and he’s busy at work on the novelization of Yojimbo, too.
Finally, there’s Dan Busha. Dan has been a fan of cartoons and comic books about as long as he's been able to talk—which is something he's good at, given an appropriate subject. His interest in the medium of sequential art ranges from classic comics such as Little Nemo in Slumberland to basic superhero books—and everything in between! His hobbies and intellectual pursuits also include origami, jazz, science fiction, mysteries, films of all kinds and writing. That last one, writing, has allowed him to run an eBay business with some success and make a steady financial contribution to Paper Dragon Farms—and add a little bit of much-needed joy and nostalgia to people’s lives, around the world (and provide some extra income for Sid Couchey, since he also help him sell old comic books and movie stills). In Dan's secret identity, he operates as a chef at Longfellows and the artist’s retreat at Yaddo, both located in Saratoga Springs.
That’s the quick overview. Below is more information about us and what we look like — or you can look around here, see what our place looks like, etc.
Hope we get a chance to hear from you soon!
Practical solutions for complex problems.
I have a love for magic and juggling and will perform them when I can. I also perform and direct plays several times a year.
In May of 2003 I earned a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Through the purchase of the farm I have found that I have some talents as a handy man and quite enjoy myself as well. Being a computer geek, this is a surprise to me. However, I find much thrill in using a chain saw to farm the timber we use for our wood stove.
I grew up in suburbia and always thought that yuppie-dom was my destiny. Yet I have found a happiness and peace with this farm. It is real to me. Now I am unlearning some of the beliefs with which I grew up. Before I felt that credit cards were the only way to live. Now, I am striving to live a debt-free and prosperous life and still own a Jacuzzi.
Emergency-reserve hot-head and dreamer.
When someone calls on our group for leadership and everyone else takes a step back, I'm the one who usually takes the lead, though often bewildered. And, things normally turn out well, too. I find myself thinking smugly, "I meant to do that!", and then laughing at myself. Being able to look at the big picture (or being too adamant to back down) and carry through is my strongest ability.
When there is no crisis and everything is flowing along smoothly (this is most of the time), it's because the much more mild-mannered Robert is in charge, and I'm off writing columns, drawing cartoons, and in general finding all there is in life to laugh about and collecting these for all to see.
Pool of chaos and delight.
A future mad scientist, if things are taken apart in this house, I did it. If there's someone getting enthusiastically greeted and taken around, our biggest promoter and general glad hand is on the job. I love comic books and publish three different series of my own making. I sell these at conventions around the state and someday, nationwide. I intend to support my parents in the style they are accustomed with my fame and success as a comic artist, just like Todd MacFarlane.