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

ellen with wrench
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.

Other links of possible interest:

Guppy's library
2014 goals
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 - not as frequently updated as it ought to be...
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 rarely updated
Elfwood gallery - oldest gallery of my work (aside from my personal site, above).

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Sketch Fest is on!

Sketch Fest
Go leave prompts and do some sketches!

I've finished one and scribbled a second - not at all sure how this weekend will shape up for getting more done.

My graphic novels class finished up yesterday, and I have very mixed feelings about that. I LOVED it, and feel super inspired and want to DRAW ALL THE THINGS and TELL ALL THE STORIES and I am really going to miss going up to the University with my lunch to hear the lunch concerts and the kids in the class were really quirky and fun and I hope they go on to great things, and it was so energizing and such a nice break from the daily Momotony. But on the other hand, I'm a little worn out and looking forward to a quiet day of cuddles with my daughter and catching up on emails over her naptime, where I'm not cleaning the house after she goes to bed because I didn't get a chance to during the day.

I finished the pencils and lettering for a 9-page mini-comic that I'm really, super happy with. I'm going to complete it in ink (the cover and a page and a half have already been inked!), and then I'll post it for general consumption. There is a lot more of the story to tell, but I don't know if I have the staying power (ie time) for an actual webcomic. It's a LOT of work. Mad props to those of you who do this regularly. Telling little mini-stories, though... I hope I have a chance to do more of that. I have tickling ideas for a Torn World mini, and maybe an RTH fancomic.

Guppy's awake! Off for morning cuddles!

Sketch Tarot update...

dragon hoard
Just a drive-by post to let you you know that for the last day of the 78Tarot Kickstarter, you can choose your (not-)mystery sketch, so you can snag one of those first three originals there! If you do end up adding the $25 add-on to your pledge there, I will send you a deck of the finished Sketch Tarot cards for $25!

Here's the 78 Tarot Kickstarter link:

Also, a reminder that Sketch Fest is on Friday!

Ellen Million's Sketch Tarot!

ellen with wrench
I have always, always wanted to do my own tarot deck, but I knew that I couldn't do 78 polished pieces any time this decade. Or possibly next decade.

But this month, I sat down and did a few sketch cards for the 78 Tarot Kickstarter... and thought "I can do this..."

These are simple ink sketches, not too involved, though I am careful about incorporating actual tarot symbolism. Each one is 2.5 x 3.5 inches, archival ink on acid-free bristol art cards with rounded corners. And they are available for sponsorship!

Early Adopter Pricing - good until August 31!

If you have a personal card you'd like to own the original for - and maybe even dictate your vision! - you may sponsor that card for $50. That nets you a copy of the final deck, AND your original card. Add to cart

A sponsorship of $40 or more will get you a random original* and a copy of the final deck Add to cart

A sponsorship of $30 or more will get you a copy of the final deck. Add to cart

A sponsorship of $10 or more will get you a random draw* - you'll get a printed copy of a card I draw from the deck for you. I will sign your card. Add to cart

A sponsorship of any level will get you a pdf of the final deck that you can print (and color?) for your own personal use. Add to cart

*Random draws will be of fully illustrated cards - if we don't make the stretch goal of illustrating the minor arcana, I won't send one of those!

Stretch goals (not set yet) will include fully-illustrated minor arcana, printed tuck boxes for the decks, a booklet of meanings, and other goodies.

00 The Fool - Part of the 78 Tarot Kickstarter (finished)

01 The Magician - Part of the 78 Tarot Kickstarter (finished)

02 The High Priestess - Part of the 78 Tarot Kickstarter (finished)

03 The Empress - available! (sketch)

All other major arcana and face cards available for claiming! (Minor arcana will be simple counting cards unless we make stretch goals...)

The first three cards are being sent to Kayti Welsh as a mystery original sketch perk! The 78Tarot Kickstarter has just over two days remaining, which is why I'm throwing this up here now instead of some week when I'm not running around like a headless chicken (wait, do I have those?). Your chance to (possibly!) get one of the first three is running out fast...

(The 78 tarot deck IS funded, and we're just a few hundred away from including velvet tarot bags with every deck!)

Please note that it may take me as much as a year to complete the Sketch Tarot project. I am sure it will go faster than that - but I like wiggle room. Check back for updates!

After a week of silence...

Did you miss me?

I was off all week being a full-time student at the Summer Arts Festival! I took Digital Photography, and Intro to Graphic Novels, and I have had So. Much. Fun. not being Just Mom for a week. Monsterus minimus got to bond all week with her grandparents (who report that she has been very good, but also very unavoidably two, and more than a bit on the exhausting side). I got to pack myself a lunch every morning, and ride on the shuttle, and soak up a ton of useful information and be arty and creative for hours at a time. Each lunch hour, there was a 'Lunch Bites' concert with a variety of music and entertainment, and I went home with my head stuffed full of ideas and images and made dinner and washed up and danced a two-year-old to bed. (Then I'd catch up on laundry and scoop the catbox and do a little emergency programming...)

And on Thursday, $1 ice cream scoops on the deck.

Here's just a glimpse at what I'm working on now:

Oh, yeah... it's a thing. I do not know if I have it in me to do an actual long-running webcomic that tells the whole story, but I've got the first 9 pages storyboarded, and am going to try to nail that much out in the time I have allotted next week... at least to the sketch stage on all of those pages and ink for the cover. That seems manageable. Patreon sponsors will get to see a collection of the sketch work I've done, and also get a wallpaper selected from my favorite photos from the class. I have some REALLY neat photographs - I will do a more comprehensive post in the nearish future with some of the best of them. (And I, er, may have purchased a year membership to the botanical gardens...)

I cannot promise I will be resuming regular blogging next week - I have another week of the graphic novel class, and a LOT to catch up on.

Be sure to jump in on the 78 Tarot Kickstarter! Just five more days, and we're at close to 95%!

Inbox at 149!

Brief Rainy Fridaily

happy bubble fairy
It was cooler today, and drizzling rain, so we went for a little walk well-dressed.

Spent most of naptime hanging tapestry on the wall in my studio in the basement and moving furniture, so I'm out of blogging time - I hear the small monster now!



Number 1 Dog Ribbon
I've updated my Patreon with a mini-lesson on cartooning - in particular, on idea generation. It's part of laylalawlor's cartooning class, which I will be taking next week!

Here is my run-through of the exercise: (With great apologies to the Irish - all I had for historical reference was one Wikipedia stub, and the toddler pushing on my knees discouraged spending a lot of time on research!)

Speaking of toddler, I had been deliberately NOT showing her how to stand on things to reach up. She's not a natural climber, and although she will stand up on furniture, she is cautious when she doesn't have something to hold onto, so she had not really put together the idea of pushing something to stand up on to reach things. Until yesterday, when we came home from the grocery store. She promptly bull-dozed the toilet paper package directly to the sink and did this:

She's SO pleased with herself.

Her memory continuously astonishes me. She was eating macaroni and cheese the other night, and said solemnly, "Macachee nose! Playdoh?" There was nothing up there - I checked with a flashlight. She just remembered clearly the things that had been in her nose.

I asked her to go find her library books before we went to storytime on Monday. She found three (of the four), and I went to her bookshelf to find the last one, scanning for the Berry Room stamp along the page edges. She grabbed one, and held it out to me. "That's not it," I was sure. It didn't have a stamp. But it WAS, on closer inspection - only given away by the Berry sticker on the back. She has probably a hundred books, and she can remember ALL of them. She has a musical player that does Twinkle, Twinkle, and I randomly sang it to her one day. She looked at me, made me sing it three more times, and then said 'Twinkle, twinkle!' and ran to her bookcase, where she found a Mother Goose book I'd never read to her and found the page with the Twinkle, twinkle rhyme.

Color me impressed.

Also, apple pie is even better with bacon. My new goal in life is to figure out how to bake one with a bacon-top lattice.

Wednesdaily beats Tuesdaily, handily

happy baby dance
The monster is far, far less monstery today, there have been no unpleasant surprises in the basement (that I've found...), the cat got to nap contentedly in the sun all day, and the weather was so gorgeous that Guppy and I got in the car and impulsively went to the park:

We were going to get ice cream at Hot Licks, afterwards, but they were closed until noon. So we went to the post office (mailed an order), visited Papa at work, and went shopping briefly. A lady two ahead of me in line was short for her order and trying to figure out what to put back, so I put it on my credit card. It feels stupidly good to do little nice things. Also, we bought a lot of ice cream. (It was on sale!)

I also may have solved that tricky programming issue that I got bad news about yesterday... and what's more, may have fixed a long-time-didn't-think-was-fixable problem for that client. It's even presenting a possible solution to some other problems I had dismissed as 'too complicated/out of my programming league.' It's always rewarding when that happens.

So yes, as a whole, today beats yesterday into the dirt.

I even have another piece of apple pie leftover...

Tuesdaily so far...

I have changed three diapers, weathered six temper tantrums, taken the cat BACK to the vet because the blood we had drawn for $300 worth of tests got LOST by FedEx and delayed too long to be of any use to the lab, changed the baby's shirt twice (watermelon first, then dumping muddy rainwater all over herself), wiped watermelon off the floor in a three-foot radius, found mold in the cat's travel-box and had to clean it out and set up the dehumidifier in the basement because the humidity has been so high that the corners are all damp, got new material up at Torn World (in six 1-minute intervals), got bad news on a programming pickle I'm trying to unravel (it can NEVER be easy), got locked out of the house by the baby while I was trying to talk on the phone (because, SCREAMING), got my period, and am fighting an ice-pick-behind-the-eye headache. Inbox: 108.

On the other hand, I did have homemade apple pie for breakfast, so it's not actually that bad.

Guess who can reach lightswitches now! As well as door locks!

We're having yodeling practice right now, and I've got laundry to fold...



let down hair
Fourth of July weekend was gorgeous and hot! I put Guppy's bath outside yesterday so she could splash in it in the sun (Cheap Mom's pool) and we actually turned on the air conditioner for the first time yesterday evening. Then, last night, I was woken several times by rain so hard that I heard it OVER the noise maker. This was followed by a thunderstorm that scared the 100 lb dog up our very steep steps and had him panting outside the bedroom door, pacing and nosing at the door anxiously. It took some serious finagling (right outside the nursery door) to get him back DOWN those stairs, and when a great clap of thunder had him turning around to flee back up, I threw him out door while I put on my boots and raincoat. I went outside, and he had vanished.

I checked his doghouse - no dog. I called for him. I walked most of the way to the trail, getting soaking wet and cold (I'm not wearing much besides the boots and raincoat, and it's POURING rain), then came back to the house. Okay, he likes to hide UNDER things, so I check under the porch... and spot him underneath the truck. It takes much coaxing and reassuring to get him out from underneath, and finally I got him out and walked him (hand firmly on his collar) to tie him up. He immediately went into his nice, safe house and I went back to warm up in bed in the few moments before the alarm went off.

The baby slept through ALL of it.

I was my version of social this weekend - actually went to a party! Of course, I spent some of that time drawing on the walls...

This is a collaborative piece - I did the sea serpent on the bottom and the flowers and the guppy some time ago, and the krakken and divers this round.

Off to start laundry and check on my trenches...

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July 2014



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