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[sticky post] Who is the nut behind the wheel?

Ellen Million: Artist, Writer, Project Enabler, Creative Force of Nature. And, Mom.


Currently in crowdfunding: Sketch Tarot! - Sponsor a card or pre-order a deck at a steep discount today!
Coloring Books - Highly detailed coloring books for grown-ups. (By many artists!)
Sketch Fest - a monthly prompted 48-hour creative jam for artists around the world.
Portrait Adoption - adopt a pre-finished character portrait that will be exclusively yours! (By many artists!)
Ellen's Escape - my personal webpage and an archive of pretty much my entire artistic journey.
Torn World - a shared science-fantasy world.
Etsy - digital stamps (digi stamps) and coloring books.
Patreon - support Ellen and get monthly surprise goodies!

Other links of possible interest:

2015 goals
2014 goals review
Chopping Block of 2010 - an interesting snapshot at all of my projects of that time, including several that did not survive the cull.

Ellen elsewhere:

Ellen Million Graphics at Facebook
Ellen Million, Artistrix at Facebook
Sketch Fest at Facebook
Torn World at Facebook
Ellen Million at Facebook - mostly a feed of this journal.
@ellenmillion at Twitter - almost entirely a feed of this journal. (Has been hijacked by hackers. See my business twitter: @ellen_million)
@torn_world at Twitter - updates for Torn World
ellenmillion at Deviantart - very, very rarely updated
Elfwood gallery - oldest gallery of my work (aside from my personal site, above).

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Wednesdaily with the best birthday!

I'm having an awesome birthday.

I baked a sea monster apple pie yesterday:

And today I made granola and interviewed a new neighborhood girl (and her Mom interviewed me :P) for watching Guppy. (I think both of the girls will work out great, and overlap nicely in terms of availability.) Guppy was shy and terrible by turns, so they know what they're getting into and are willing to come back.

I also released a coloring book today, through the 78 Tarot Nautical Kickstarter (where it has been gleefully received!), and Kayti made me a video (for backers!) that made me sniffle happily, AND my Sea Monster Mini-Coloring Book zoomed past it's commercial printing goal AND the next extra pages goal AND we're only $10.10 from an extra PDF of the sea monster scale chart for everyone and I'm going to have to come up with more amazing stretch goals. Plus, I got a few coloring book orders through Amazon.

There have been so many beautiful birthday wishes and kind messages. It's made my day.

Art to do during naptime (which is being resisted right now...), and for dinner, I have requested a bucket of fried chicken. My life, it is complete.

You may or may not remember me wailing and beating my chest about a particularly difficult art piece several weeks back. The piece in question was the Kind of Swords:

Last year, I had the honor of joining in a group collaboration to produce a deck with 78 Tarot, and this year, I was invited back to do the King of Swords for their nautical-themed deck. This is my write-up for my card:

All of the kings in the tarot deck represent strong, adult, male figures, and the King of Swords is no exception. This fatherly monarch is usually depicted on a throne, with an upraised sword, with symbols that represent his will and judgement. Traditionally, his throne is carved with butterflies and angels. These butterflies are monarchs specifically, and act as both a symbol of metamorphosis, and a play on the word 'monarch,' while the angels appear near his ear to whisper words of wisdom to him. The butterflies are real here, to strength the air aspect of the card (a challenge in a nautical deck!), and his throne is a sea rock adorned with subtle barnacles. The wings of his crown are a nod to the angels shown some decks.

Behind him are crashing waves, chaotic and untamed. Before him, the sea is smooth and uniform, controlled by his will. Likewise, the clouds (more of the suit of sword's air element) are split by the two-edged blade of his sword, revealing serene sky behind. He brings order and direction from a place of balance and serenity. The flying fish in the foreground represent the ability to rise above emotional turmoil and make sound decisions, and the book and blue vestments remind us that the King of Swords is an intellect. The owl pin shows us a glimmer of his wisdom, and the rubies in his sword, crown, and pin are signs of self-confidence and strength.

The Kind of Swords is about order, discipline, and making decisions, and urges transformations using willpower and logic. His sword is two-edged, and while he may be kind and generous with his truth, he may also be over-forceful or judgmental, demanding order and a rigid interpretations of rules.

The deck is in crowdfunding at Kickstarter now, and got past 75% in a week:

But that's not all... Ellen Million Graphics is producing a companion coloring book!

This is a gorgeous coloring book; I am so pleased with the way it has come together. I should be able to order a proof next week, and it will be sent out with the Kickstarter rewards. It will be generally available in the future, but right now, the only way to get one is through the 78 Tarot Nautical Kickstarter itself: - and they are limited to 100 through the campaign!

It's 20 pages, and there are print and PDF options as add-ons.

The Kickstarter will (probably) be the only opportunity to get the PDF version!

Tuesdaily with two hours of time...

I'm sort of in weird limbo shock. I've got someone here watching Guppy for a few hours today, and I'm sitting here looking at my list of things to do trying to figure out... well, what to do. I think I will start with some music (I'm in the basement), move laundry around, and see if I can finish another coloring book page. There is giggling upstairs, so I will assume it is going well...

Here is a photo from this weekend, with gratuitous shot of the husbands 'fancy new car.' Happy birthday, sweetie. :)

About ready to order proofs of the Secret Project, which will be revealed TOMORROW!

Remember, that you've only got until Sunday to sponsor a monster as part of Sea Monster Month:


May. 25th, 2015

I am working feverishly on a project I can't share with you yet. Two Sea monster coloring book pages and an illustration also to do (before the end of this galloping month!!). This week, I've got some neighborhood girls coming over to do test runs watching Guppy while I try to get actual work done. I have really high hopes about getting some hours of dedicated time for things at least a few days a week this summer; right now, I can get things done, but it's hopelessly piecemeal. I get some naptime to work, but the rest of what I get done I must be able to Drop Instantly, or do badly distracted. This is highly non-conducive to writing, for example... and case in point, someone just woke up from her nap unexpectedly, so I don't get to blog right now after all!

Have a photo, I'm off to mom.

(Guess what we'll be watching tonight!)


Justice League addendum

I thought it worth a mention that Guppy loves the animated Justice League, and that particular coloring book is one of her favorites. Superman! Batman! Who's that guy? Green Lantern! Hot girl!

Wait, what?

Hot girl!

No, Honey, Hawkgirl.

Hot girl!

Here we are getting water at the fillup a few days ago:


Fridaily, feeling like my icon.

I ran across another of those "15 Awesome coloring books for grownups!" articles that had a bunch of selections that I'm not impressed by (celebrities? really? Badly-drawn celebrities?) and was feeling discouraged, so I cleaned my house. I rolled up the winter mud rug and took out the wood holder and trimmed and watered the plants and got a load of laundry together (though I haven't actually started it yet because we had to run to swimming). I washed the dishes and picked up some of the corners that drift in with kids toys because they are out of the way, and filtered the coloring books (though I couldn't throw away the dog-eared Justice League coloring book because Guppy still loves it passionately). I scooped the catbox and swept and vacuumed.

And after that, we ran to swimming, and when I discovered that what I thought was a Clif Bar in the swimbag was only an empty wrapper, we decided to stop by Jake's work to crash his barbeque. (I had actually been invited, but it sounds cooler to say we crashed a party. And this blog is So. All. About. me being cool.)

Three plates of food and a 'bubble juice' later, I've got Guppy down for her nap and I can barely move from swimming and food coma.

I'm still a tad discouraged, but my house looks lovely, at least.

I've got two more sea monsters to draw for my mini-coloring book, and I've got the sketch finalized for my anthology illustration. I'm booked for a show tonight at the last minute (see you there, apparently, laylalawlor!) and will be selling coloring books to the geekiest of the locals:

Off to prep for that. At least my show prep is super easy these days. And everything at my table is $10, which makes things SO simple.

Still too teeny?

Running around accomplished, though I can't assemble more of the grill without a second set of hands. Guppy hands don't count. Except for losing the nuts and bolts and running away with the screwdriver and the instructions.

I am still poking at those ads - the last one was voted too teeny, but I'm wondering if these are better. I could use color, but I feel like that wouldn't tell you, at a glance, about the coloring books. See if you like these:

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. :)

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:
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.
Carla is crowdfunding an adorable dragon plush!
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.

Tuesdaily with garden report

Remember how we still had banks of snow a few weeks ago?

BAM, summer.

The violets are out and blooming and trying once again to take over the garden plot. I pull them out with abandon, because they are hardy, and the voles apparently don't like them. My delphiniums are also up, and I've spotted aphids already. I bought ladybugs on Friday to combat them early, but came home to discover that they were all quite dead. I traded them in for more lively insects on Monday. (They suspect the fridge by the register got turned up too cold and the poor girls got frozen...)

One lone strawberry plant (out of a dozen) seems to have survived the voles over the winter. There are several sprouts that may be violas (very exciting!) and a handful that look shockingly like cilantro, which shouldn't reseed here one year, let alone two in a row!

I was concerned that all of my baby trees had gotten munched by moose, but two of them are putting out excellent buds - one of the maples and one of the apples. The other two look sadly like dead sticks, but it's early days yet.

REALLY early days. Our rule of thumb has always been that you don't plant anything outside until after Memorial Day. This year, it's been in the 70s every afternoon, all sunny and gorgeous and all the trees are green and covered in leaves. Everything is unfurling as fast as it can.

Guppy and I went to Alaskaland today with laylalawlor, and it was GORGEOUS. Most of the shops aren't open yet (because it's ridiculously early in the season), but Souvlaki was, so we had a delicious lunch (Guppy devoured a hot dog), and then sketched for a while as Guppy ran around at the train station and decapitated dandelions.

A trip to the hardware store, then gas, groceries, bagels, and a tank of water before we came home. Guppy ate Even More, and went down for a late nap.

I've got World Domination tasks, and Sketch Fest payments to get off, now. Plus another sea monster to scan!

I'll leave you with a photograph of my underwear. (Not on me, of course! This is what I tie-dyed this weekend!)

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May 2015



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