ellenmillion: (Default)
I owe a weekend report! On Thursday night, I drove out to Chena Hot Springs, all by myself in the van. I camped there overnight, soaked in the morning, and met Layla for a plein air watercolor painting class. Yes, I was torturing myself again with Things I Am Not Good At. Patreon patrons will get a look at what I painted! Friday night I camped out with Layla, Saturday was another day of painting outdoors, and then Saturday night Layla drove back in and Jake left Guppy with the grandparents and drove out in his fancy car. We stayed until Sunday afternoon, soaking and enjoying a leisurely breakfast.

It was a gorgeous time. Sunny weather the first day, threatening clouds the second - but no actual rain until we were tucked into bed, long after a lovely fire and marshmallows.



I brought my iPad and keyboard with me, and actually managed to write a few thousand words, as well! Not-a-book is up to 40k, and I've got just another scene (maaaaybe two) and a fluffy epilogue still to write on it. I've mocked up the cover and drafted the blurb. It feels like it's stampeding to the finish line now! It's eating my brain, big time.

Tomorrow: a massage, the farmer's market, a new artwork release, and maybe a thousand new words, if I'm lucky. All the paid #junicorns are mailed except a few I'll take into town with me tomorrow. (And one more original sale would make me over the moon! I made a special folder at my artist Facebook page to show which originals were still available.)
ellenmillion: (Default)
The battle of the dill ended in retreat - I took the single straggly stem that survived their last onslaught and planted it in a hanging basket. TRY TO GET IT NOW, YOU GERBIL WANNABES.

I also got some lettuce starts, and now I have salad baskets that are safely out of their reach. (Last summer, I tried planting lettuce and it was gone in a day.) I also planted a few potato buckets, so hopefully we'll get a few dozen red potatoes in the fall.

The weekend was pretty well lost to a garage sale, which was wonderful for getting rid of stuff and also put a few hundred dollars in my pocket. We could not have picked a better weekend - it was sunny and warm, with just enough of a breeze to keep mosquitoes down but not blow anything around. For clutter reduction, it was absolutely wonderful - I got rid of our crib/toddler bed, a dresser, an old chair, a sleeping bag, a set of skis, a bunch of clothing, shoes I'll never wear... just stuff. So much stuff.

The people-watching was amazing. People bargained much less than I expected.

Today, it rains. I cleaned up Guppy's bedroom, and did my chores, took some trash into town, got a load of water, and picked up the mail. After three days of no writing, I did get a little over 1000 words in an hour, so hopefully I can get caught up again. I have a piece of artwork for finish for a client first, though, and bellydance tonight.

Today's artwork is a serious throwback. Like 21 years, throwback. I did this design in 1996 for Denali Science Camp, where I was a junior counselor. So many awesome memories!



Now I have a pile of dishes to wash, and some chicken to cut up and cook for a pot pie tomorrow.
ellenmillion: (Default)
The last day of preschool was yesterday! *SOBS*

I got my 500 words (and a little bit) written, and I did a bunch of Torn World admin, and I did some errands, and I made some phonecalls and now I'm looking at my to-do list and remembering the things I forgot I needed to do while I was in town. BRILLIANT. It helps if you use the darned list, self.

I forgot them again today, along with a half dozen other minor things, like my earphones for the gym. We went to get the tires inspected on the truck today, but it's first come, first served, and by the time I'd dragged Guppy out of the house, there was a 3.5 hour wait, which didn't exactly fit the schedule. So we went to the gym, and when I picked her up from an hour of gym daycare Guppy burst into tears and said she waited for me the whole! time! and GUILT SOB GUILT.

We met a dad friend of mine at the park for a surprise (to the kids) playdate and picnic lunch, and I got to carve my first wooden spoon, which was great fun and I didn't lose any fingertips, though I do have a blister now. My first spoon is a bit wobbly and I haven't whittled since I was about eight (and it shows) but I love it!



Waiting for it to dry a bit more before I sand it.

No words yet today, but maybe after someone's bedtime.
ellenmillion: (Default)
UGH. This cold! I have wicked sinus congestion now, and my digestive system is protesting the volume of phlegm and cold medicine it's being asked to deal with. On the plus side, the aches are gone and I've got a ton more energy than I had a few days ago. Come ON immune system, let's kick those germs to the curb already.

Have more new art:



This is Olarali, of Torn World, writing secret coded notes in her journal.

I did this from a prompt at the March Muse Fusion, and we've got another Muse Fusion coming up NEXT WEEK! It will be hosted at the Torn World webpage, but there is also a Facebook event you can join for updates and reminders: https://www.facebook.com/events/1931588110397486/

See you there!
ellenmillion: (Default)
This is my fourth deck with 78Tarot, an artist collaborative project. (And you know me and collaborative projects... :))

The twos in tarot are all about balance. The two of pentacles, in particular, is about balance of earthly things – wealth, business, and communication most specifically. Here we have an astronaut who is balanced in space, indicating the rich-looking, pentacle-adorned space ship she is attached to, and a satellite, which represents communication and more spiritual needs. It can be a tricky balance, complicated even further by blazing rocket boots! The infinity symbol from the traditional Rider Waite deck is hinted at in the curve of her tether, implying that the figure in question can handle an unlimited number of problems. Below her, a cold-war Russia and Alaska face each other under aurora-lit skies, representing outside conflicts.

This card cautions us to manage our time well, and encourages us to remember that if we do, we can handle all the things life throws at us.



This piece was an experiment from start to finish. I wanted a crisp, vintage look, and painted over my linework with acrylic before realizing that I had completely obscured my lines. Not daunted, I printed out my linework scan and colored it with Copic markers, then cut it carefully out by hand. That was the really sharp feeling I was going for! A few touches with colored pencil and gelpen were made at the very end. The original is 9x12, acrylic, marker, ink, and the kitchen sink (including glittler glue), and it's available for $200, US shipping included.

The Kickstarter to fund this deck is on NOW! It only runs one more week, and has already funded, so if you want to snag one of these gorgeous decks, this is your best chance: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayti/78-tarot-astral
ellenmillion: (Default)
I went in to have a tooth cleaning today, and found out I had a cavity. It's better to fix cavities before you have to start talking crowns and such, so I said 'do it,' and they said, 'right now?' There was just enough time before I picked up Guppy to get it done, so I did, and then had a droopy face and aching jaw. I ditched the rest of the running around I was thinking about doing, and am honestly super grumpy right now. I floss every day, dammit. It was a crack, from grinding my teeth, apparently. And since I wear a night guard, religiously, it's daytime grinding.

Anyway.

Here's the artwork currently on my desk. I'm finishing two coloring pages for a magazine feature, then I'll have one or two more to do. I couldn't pick SIMPLE things to do while on deadline, could I. No, I had to do tricky perspective, architecture, and insanely detailed pieces with multiple figures.



(I've made a few adjustments since this photo, and begun the inking...)

I'm also getting a little writing done nearly every day. Sometimes that's just a few hundred words. Yesterday, I got about 1200... by getting up at 4 AM. Though to be fair, I thought I was getting up at 5 AM, because I hadn't set my watch to Alaska time yet. And also, I went back to bed and got another hour of sleep.

Now I'm going to go attempt to do both of those things, while Guppy tries to get out of quiet time by 'having to go potty. For an hour.'
ellenmillion: (juggle)
I spent all of yesterday convinced it was Tuesday, which means I'm already a day behind on this week and I have deadlines breathing down my neck. Fortunately, practice means I've gotten faster at doing artwork, which is something I had actively despaired of. Also fortunately, one of my deadlines was pushed until the middle of next month. Thank goodness!

I did finish this (literal!) monster:


That puts me at 8 pictures for the sea monster mini-coloring book, and just two to go! Horrah!

The crowdfunding dribbles along - every order does add up, though, and we're about $70 from bookmarks in the $15+ sponsorships. Just $70 to the professional printing, which - have I mentioned once or twice? - I'd really like to get to. :)

http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1515101.html

I've also been leaning on the marketing machine - I designed a new postcard and made a big postcard order to go off to Kayti, who is organizing the 78 Tarot Kickstarter. I'm working on some adspace in a pagan magazine, and debating how teeny an ad will be effective:


Too teeny?

Speaking of Kickstarter, it is Kickstarter season, apparently. Here are a few you may be interested in:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayti/78-tarot-nautical
This is the 78 Tarot Nautical project! I have artwork in this deck, which I will do a formal reveal of... at some point involving free time.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dragonladyart/little-wings-dragon-plush-a-baby-dragon-to-cuddle
Carla is crowdfunding an adorable dragon plush!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/436212567/the-omen-limited-edition-kirin-print
Jessica is Kickstarting high quality prints of her kirin multi-media piece, The Omen.


Aaaaaand, Guppy is waking up - I have to get dressed asap and hustle us out of the house to do some time-critical errands and DEADLINES and all the stuff because today is Thursday, not Wednesday, and there is stuff to be done.


ETA: Since I put gardening in the subject, I have to follow through with actual news. My lilacs came back! I transplanted about 8 of them from my sister's yard, and all of them have healthy leaves coming in like crazy! Horrah! Also, what I thought was a strawberry was actually the delphinium propagating. Which surprised me because it was So Very Sad last year.
ellenmillion: (baby kitty)
I have new art!



I've also been writing - I've got a great chunk of a story I've wanted to write for a LONG time now, and I'm very pleased with how it's going. (30 minutes here, a few hundred words there, it'll add up to a whole story eventually.)

Programming to tackle during naptime today. Crossed several things off my list this morning, including cleaning the bathroom, a trip to first care (no ear infection, horrah!), and a bucket of ladybugs. My poor delphiniums are being eaten to nubs.

On the topic of Guppy:
This. So much of this.
ellenmillion: (elsa's tongue)
It's May! My favorite month of the year! And not just because it's spring and the sun is back and snow is going away and we've got birthdays and family coming!



May is Sea Monster month, and I'm awfully excited. I have a new project to unleash at you next week, and we'll have lots of sea monster goodness at the site. You can catch up with things from previous years here, and I've got a new comic on the topic up here. Last year, I did 24 art cards, this year will be a bit different... you'll see on Monday!

I showered and went out in public today, which was both awesome and exhausting. I still have a bit of a cough, but seem to be otherwise pulling back to health. We went to the library (libarry!) and got books (books!) and went to the post office and did a little shopping.


The artist in me deplores the composition here - they aren't facing each other, she's running out of the frame, the log in the middle adds nothing, should have cropped out the white chair blob in the corner... but it's so much fun, who cares?

Inbox is at 61, which makes me grind my teeth until I remember that about a month ago it was at 600. I can handle this. I can.

Now, a snack, and then... something awesome. (I don't know what, but whatever it is, it will be awesome.)
ellenmillion: (ellen with wrench)


I "accidentally" funded four coloring books through Kickstarter last May.

I've been running a very small art business for the last 20 years, and one of my best-selling products has been coloring books, mostly aimed at grown-ups. I printed a solo coloring book in 2005 called Dotminatrix, and I had finally gotten enough work together for a second solo book.

Unfortunately, the company I used to print with changed their cover format to a really thin stock that I was utterly dissatisfied with. I found a local printing company that could do what I wanted, but to get the pricing down to something I could afford to sell wholesale, I'd need to buy at least fifty at a time - 100 was much better.

Did I mention I was a really small art business? I usually ordered 25 or 30 of a title to start with, then got 10 or so more at a time as I needed to. This was a gulp-worthy investment! I figured this was a good test of the Kickstarter site; it was a safe way to see if there were enough people interested in the coloring book to make it worth a purchase like that, and it saved me the hassle of having to store a whole bunch of books I didn't sell.

So, I set up a very modest little 30 day campaign for $385, which would just cover a run of 50 coloring books after expenses and fees. To my astonishment, my Kickstarter ended at $4735, which was a little over 12x my goal, and I ended up promising four coloring books, instead of just one! One great campaign hardly makes me an expert on the system, but I learned a lot at every step of the way, and I've had the good fortune to watch several friends run their own successful campaigns. I'm very happy to share my observations with you and hope that they help if you decide to run your own. Read more... )




Did you find this useful? Would you like to see a followup article? Comment or donate to keep content like this coming!







ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
This is a first glimpse at a project I am incredibly happy to be involved in, Seventy Eight Tarot. 78 artists! 78 cards!



Mine is the 3 of pentacles: the completion of a project, teamwork, leadership, planning, and skill. The meta levels of this card are pretty amusing, and I've snuck in a deck of cards that will represent the 78 tarot project itself... :)

But that's not the only art!

I also finished the last not-Kickstarter custom card I promised for that project (ETA: Er, no, I have one more, but still haven't received references for that one...):



But I know why you're here:

ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
My inbox is at 74! Rah! Rah!

There are three new portraits, by two new artists, up at Portrait Adoption!

I have new artwork up at Torn World!



And, two photos of kitties:


Piled with stolen dishtowels...



I got nothing done today that I wanted to. Except shopping. Tomorrow: bread! And catbox! And taxes! And mailing of things!

Thursdaily

Dec. 5th, 2013 02:03 pm
ellenmillion: (ellen portrait)
I am triumphant! I have taken the coding project I have been poking at, beaten it sideways into shape, cleaned it up, and have turned it into something elegant and clever. All a day ahead of schedule! I feel quite chuffed with myself. I have also leveled up in loops. Significantly.

Tomorrow, locals can see some of my work and buy my coloring books at the First Friday at the Alaska Center for Natural Medicine. I will not be able to attend in person, but the lovely folks at the center will have a table with my work available. (There will be at one other artist featured, as well!)

Tomorrow is also Sketch Fest: http://ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/

If I can manage two sketches, I will have made my year's goal for getting two for each Sketch Fest in 2013.  That is admittedly a modest goal, but one I feel pretty good about accomplishing.

On that same list of goals, I have a whole lot of unmet writing goals. One I think I can reasonably still make is the short story count: "25 short stories - at least 15 of which should be Torn World Big Plot stories and 2 of which should NOT be Torn World stories." I currently have 19, all of the Torn World Big Plot stories. I did exactly NO writing in October or November.  I was pretty burnt out on the series and got some legitimate but discouraging feedback that the last bits weren't much of a page-turner.  I have gone back and found a few nice comments that were left throughout the earlier installments, and refreshed myself on the plot, so I hope to get back in and spice them up a little, as well as get the rest done, but I'm not going to tackle that until next year.  That leaves me 6 stories - 2 of which should NOT be Torn World.  I could count the story I wrote for RTH that ended up being set in the wrong time and all backwards-like... if I do, there are still 5 due. I am going to aim for some flash fiction - maybe even drabbles. Maybe Jenny/Bjorn things? I feel writing-rusty. Any requests? I won't do anything formal like a prompt call, but if there's a sequel, prequel, fandom or anything that you'd like to see something short in, just ask!

In Guppy-stories, she's started saying "EW" when she wants her diaper changed, which is silly and funny, but totally appropriate.  We count everything now, but she's sort of stuck on two and five, with the occasional guess of nine. Also, she doesn't like ham. This may be the first meat she doesn't like.

ellenmillion: (dreamstate)
What's your favorite zucchini recipe? I made a lovely bread with chocolate chips that I will do again, and I'm planning to try Turkish Zucchini Pancakes - what else have you got for me? Savory, sweet, anything! We aren't lacking in zucchini to experiment with!

Progress has been made on my last Fantastrix piece - I erased the three dragons in the foreground entirely and scaled them up to give the piece more of a sense of depth, and I like it a lot more now. Some experimentation with dragonscales, but I think that's a blind alley - I'm not really happy with the results and will probably fall back on stuff I know works better.

There's a blizzard in Atigun pass and it's raining like crazy here today. Thank HEAVENS for driveway rock. Also, the signs of fall are making me pouty. On my walk last night, I spotted several branches with leaves turning colors already. The raspberries that are left on the plants are getting well past ideal, and the cranberries are turning brilliant red.

Our garage is underway! The slab is nearly ready for concrete, though the rain is keeping the contractors away today. I should take photos, but it's raining and I'm warm inside.

Okay, I need more food and it's time to get more done.
ellenmillion: (Default)

Lack of sleep seems compatible with creativity... This time!

ellenmillion: (Default)

Did this last night to play with my new pens before falling into bed.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

ellenmillion: (tremble puny mortals)
Yesterday was an unexpected weekend day, because Jake's calendar said so.

Woe! < /sarcasm >

Productive weekend, if not a lot to show for it - lots of little repairs... we installed a light above the kitchen counter, I fixed the handle on the chest freezer and re-repaired the KitchenAid. Much cleaning, good food, and a long walk for me and Norway. It's colder today - under zero! - so there's a cheerful woodfire in the stove.

I left Rails alone all weekend, though I moped about it whenever I remembered it, and opened it with trepidation again this morning... to find that it's not at ALL as bad as I'd built it up to be in my head. I made a few cosmetic changes, tweaked a few conversations just a little, and decided it worked. Is it perfect? No. But I don't think I got far from the mark I was aiming at, and it's engaging. It's totally set up for a sequel or two, it ties up just exactly what it HAS to, and I think it does the characters justice. Done! Just need to ebook it up and think about Kickstarting a print copy. The next section is up to the public in Railbrakes.

Muse Fusion is this weekend, Sketch Fest is next weekend!

Have some art and photos:



+4 more photos )

And, artwork! +5 )
ellenmillion: (stupid people)
Lizard brain is winning. Going to put away Rails for the weekend and hit it with fresh eyes on Monday. Not done yet. Must not let my frustration keep me from pushing forward on other writing, either. (Over-hearing harsh criticism that probably wouldn't have been issued to my face kept me from writing for three-odd years once. I need to not do that again.)

However! I'm going to take a brief media switch and do some artwork to clear out the cobwebs. I finished a commission, which I need to get scanned, and then I have some painting to do. (Color, must do more color!) One of the things on my 2013 goals list is to do more work for PA, and I have a fun crowd-sourced idea for that to pursue next week.

Guppy's down for a nap - my chance to paint!
ellenmillion: (Kativa2)


I hope your day is lovely, warm and full of love and all the best things in life.

Waiting for Elsa to wake up so we can open presents. She went to bed reeeeaaaalllly early last night... then decided to wake up about the time we would have gone to bed, and then we were up really late... and way too early this morning. Bacon and pancakes for breakfast, cherry pie in the oven, reindeer casserole planned for dinner. (Mmmm... Rudolph is tasty!)
ellenmillion: (thud)
Woke up weirdly and am not exactly on top of things yet. Should be coding or writing while the young wookie is asleep, but my brain is really not moving yet.

Sketch Fest was great fun this weekend. I did four sketches and a GIANT painting. I put down a wet coat of paint from Guppy's nursery walls and planned to do a fast abstract with the prompt 'Water Dragon,' but lo, one of the spots of paint turned into an actual dragon, and I sat down and picked out details for the rest of the hour allotted to me:


(Not for sale - would not want to ship it, and Jake really likes it and wants to hang it in our house!)

It's actually the second piece I did for that same prompt - the first was this one:

I plan to finish this one in ink. (Click for sale details)

This is my favorite of the sketches - 'Wonderland Laundromat.' I plan to finish this in ink:

(Click for sale details)

The new bits of code at Sketch Fest seem to have functioned all correctly. I added a 'cancel' function to my admin page for dangling sales that never come through (which will change the count on the product correctly, too), and set it up so I can assign a sale to a registered user, in case they weren't logged in. Working on a 'pay by credits instead' function for buyers who accidentally picked the wrong kind payment method. I have some more sales to approve and some payments to send today - I'll do those as soon as I'm finished here.

A bit stalled on writing. Got big chunks of the LAST two installments written, then got some feedback on one of the bits in the queue that it really didn't work, so I may have to go back and fill in a scene that I was hoping I wouldn't have to (equal parts laziness and wanting to do a reveal from a specific POV). So now I have TWO parts of story that I really really need to go write before I finish, and my muse (and bruised ego) is digging in her heels.

It was coooold this weekend, about -30 most of the time, and that following a big dump of snow (18-20 inches). We got the driveway cleared before the it cooled down too badly, and uncovered the wood. So, we're perfectly cozy inside, at least. I got orders out, and Christmas cards printed (but not yet mailed), and generally had a nice weekend.

Here's a photo of snow:

In the lower right hand corner is the weather station, piled high with snow, and Norway is the dark speck by the tree in the back.

Guppy is doing awesome. We added lettuce to her diet last night, and she thought that was great fun and ate it all. I gave her some of my pork the day before, and she gobbled that up, too. I'm a big fan of these finger foods where she feeds and entertains herself all at once. Her fine motor skills are doing great and the faces she makes are wonderful. (Didn't have my camera handy, you'll have to imagine them.) I LOVE being able to eat while she does.

Alright, brain may be working now, ought to do something productive while Guppy is still sleeping.

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