Journal Comics

I've gone back to making some silly journal comics! They're a lot of fun to do and they act as a perfect break from work. I plan on periodically posting them on social media. There isn't a schedule really for them, but I'm hoping to post a few times a week! Here are some of the ones that I've posted:

Lulvul.png
YogaMat.png
NewServer.png

Alphabets, Webcomics, And A Few Changes!

In the past, most of my blog posts have just been updates and alerts on new work that I've added and updates to my working life. I'm thinking of tackling some other subjects that can be useful for artists and writers. If you have any requests, let me know either in the comments or via email (hello@kellyleighmiller.com!)

Of course, I'll still update on new work. For example here are two new additions to my Alphabet series, which I post every Monday though I posted C early this time! I'll still post it this coming Monday on social media though.

B-Boreaspis.png
C-Ceratogaulus.png

I just feel like it might be nice to switch it up a bit! Maybe I'll even illustrate some of the posts. Who knows. 

Another work update: I've been working on a small webcomic! It will be the kind that's a series of short strip comics. Some will be only a few panels while others might be 2-3 pages. They're all short sort of slice of life comics about a little witch character named Baba, who loosely inspired by the old Baba Yaga tales. The story follows her and her friends in the woods. Some of those characters are inspired by actual folklore while others are completely new! My Patreon has already seen some previews of the comics I plan on posting, but for now, this is a little in progress panel you can check out as a preview:

BabaPost1.png

I'm thinking of launching it in July/August. It probably will post about once a week starting out, but it might increase to two times a week after that! I haven't figured out the days yet. I'm thinking of hosting it on my website to make it easy since I like the blog aspects on Squarespace. That might change once it gets closer to launch time but for now, that's what I'm thinking. 

I'll make a post closer to when I plan on launching with all the information laid out as to where to find it and when it will update! I'll also post updates on social media so you can check it out there too.

Hello Summer!

It's been a wild few weeks. My debut book is finally coming together, which means I've been hiding behind my desk and plugging away at it! Alexander and I also tabled at CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) and sold some of our self published work, zines, and prints. We also just showed at Chicago Zine Fest two weeks prior to that. We don't normally do a lot of tabling so to us it feels like quit a lot of tabling in the past few weeks!

A-Alvarezsaurus.png

For once, I caught Animal Alphabet when it started on A so I decided to join in this time! The topic is Extinct animals. I will be posting them every Monday on social media so keep a look out! The first one is an alvarezsaurus. By the end of it, I hope to have a really wonderful alphabet series!

I'm still consistently updating my 100 Day Project! Below are some of the recent ones that I've finished. I try to post them daily but sometimes I draw them so late at night that it would be too late to post for people to see them. When that happens, I just post two the next day. 

I'm thinking of casually creating a webcomic. My 100 Day Project is coming to an end in July and I really enjoyed posting consistently on social media. Most of the work I'm doing now can't really be shown for a while so it is nice to have something that I can post on a regular basis. It won't be an ongoing story, but little comic strips about a witch named Baba, who is loosely inspired by a Baba Yaga. Some tales will be based off of traditional tales and some will be all original to my character Baba. More will come later as I write more but here are a few of the original sketches for the characters:

IMG_0819.JPG

Light Grey Art Lab Foodies Piece!

I'm in Light Grey Art Lab's new show Foodies! It's a show all about sharing recipes. The show opened just last night and you can buy prints of my piece and a full set of recipe cards with my card as well as many other beautifully illustrated cards! If you want some beautifully illustrated recipe cards but can't go to Minneapolis (I know I can't,) you can purchase the recipe cards on Light Grey Art Lab's Online Shop

Below you can see the fully illustrated front. The back of the card has the recipe on it and it's also fully illustrated as well, but you will have to buy it to get the full recipe. I had a lot of fun making this piece!

LGAL_Foodies_KellyLeighMiller.png

I picked a homemade vegetable stew that's roughly inspired by some family recipes and some recipes I found online. I am... not a very good cook so I feel like if I can do this, you all can too! It's a very easy recipe for beginners. It's not necessarily quick, but there are probably other shortcuts you can take to speed up the process. I just like to marinate my beans. This recipe can also be done in a slow cooker or crock pot! 

I'm on Goodreads!

I have a new Goodreads Author page! You can follow me there if you want to review and keep up to date with book specific news! Since I'm still working on the books at the moment, no news is really available, but once things start becoming public, I'll post more updates on there! For now, you can just check out what books I'm reading!

I've also made a lot of progress on my April Favorites, as seen below! Check out all the recent ones that have been released:

I've also been keeping up with my 100 Days Project and am pretty excited with how it's turning out. It's nice to make time for fun daily sketchbook experiments. I've always found I learned the most from experimenting in my sketchbook and it's a key contributing factor into my style today.

I've had some people ask what type of sketchbook I've been using since I'm able to use a lot of different mediums in it with minimal visibility through the page. I use a blank A5 Leuchtturm 1917 book with notebook paper. I know they have a sketchbook version, but I like their notebook paper a little better since it's thinner, which helps me be less precious about my drawings in there. If I get too precious, I just won't end up drawing in it or finishing it! I also like these notebooks since they come in such a nice variety of bright colors and I like to celebrate a change in a sketchbook by choosing a different color when it's finally time for a new sketchbook. My current one is the lime green!

Small Projects Galore!

I've started many different small projects this month while I work on some much bigger projects that I can't quite post too much about yet. The first project is my Favorite Small Things project that I'll be posting throughout all of April on Instagram and Twitter. They are little black and white drawings that I'll be posting daily of small everyday things that I like and that make every day more enjoyable! Here are the ones I've posted so far:

Books.png
Coffee.png
New_Art_Supplies.png
Spooky_Things.png
Watching_Rain.png
Pet_Cuddles.png

The second project I'm doing that will be going on for much longer than just the month of April is The 100 Days Project! The 100 Days Project is all about doing one thing for 100 days and seeing how you improve, become creative with your decisions, or just make time for something that you haven't been able to in a while! For mine, I'm finishing a sketchbook spread a day with whatever materials I want to use and of whatever subject I feel like drawing! I'll also be posting this on my Twitter and Instagram.

For more general info on the 100 Days Project, check out their website here: the100dayproject.org

IMG_0207.JPG
IMG_0216.JPG
IMG_0237.JPG
IMG_0241.JPG

Into the Unknown!

Ever feel like when you start on a new journey in your career or life, you're jumping into the unknown blindfolded? No matter how much I prepare, I still feel that sense! I've worked freelance on the side before but full-time is still so new to me. It took me about a month and a half of trial and error to figure out how I personally work best and how to maximize my productivity while not feeling burnt out! The occasional burn out may seem ok for a sprint, but if you're in it for the long haul like me, it's not a viable solution. 

The-Unknown.png

I'm in between deadlines at the moment so I decided to take this time to do some of the busier business stuff that I needed to take care of like website maintenance, updating my shops (there's a brand new shop page on my website!), boring stuff like managing quickbooks, and some of the more fun stuff like checking in with you all!

Another thing I did was take time to dive back into one of my favorite business books for artists: Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon. I originally bought and read this book at an ICON conference back in the day and now that I'm a full-time artist/illustrator/author, I decided to give it a reread to brush up on ways to better my business! If you're an artist who wants to make your art your full-time job or even just a side job, this book is for you! 

108004273.jpg

I've been reading a few other books for fun. There are three that stand out the most for me: Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark, Olga and The Smelly Thing From Nowhere by Elise Gravel, and Olga We're Out Of Here! by Elise Gravel. They're all visual novels with alternative graphic novel layouts that I find very inspiring! You should check them out at your local bookstore!

blogpostbooks.png

Mock Book Cover Series

I did a series of mock book covers for my portfolio recently since I would love to do some book covers in the future and I realized I had no examples with my current work!

Students and anyone else learning illustration: If you want to do something, you have to have examples because how else will the client know what to expect? You also learn along the way good methods to use so you can get rid of the bad ones and expand the good ones. It's best to learn this stuff on your personal work so when professional work comes around for that topic, you are prepared! 

Here's the series of book covers I created for this project.

LibraryofSecrets.png
The_Dragons_Vault.png
Winter-Storm-Final.png
The_Frost_Dance.png
Witch_In_The_Stars.png

Printmaking Party! Pt.1

So I used to be big into printmaking. Mostly linocuts and screen printing in the past but recently I decided to get back into it and try a few different methods! The first was Risograph! I took a class in it a few weeks ago.

IMG_8557.JPG

I went to a local Chicago print making studio called Spudnik Press, which if you haven't been to Spudnik and you are in Chicago, you should check it out! They have an assortment of amazing classes! 

I went through a class where they taught me the basics of the Risograph machine and how to use it. I really want to use this for zines later and hopefully will have at least one riso printed zine for Chicago Zine Fest this year

Now the Risograph machine isn't the only new print making device in my life now...You will NEVER believe what I found!

FullSizeRender.jpg

THAT'S RIGHT! IT'S A GOCCO PRESS! I've wanted one of these for YEARS, but unfortunately since they don't make new ones, finding one has been rather difficult. Well, not necessarily finding one, but finding one for a decent price. This one came with a bunch of different inks as well as one screen. I still had to get the lightbulbs separately and a few more screens, which can be a little annoying but hey, not the worst thing! I'm just surprised I was able to buy all of this together for a reasonable price!

FullSizeRender.jpg

If you don't know much about Gocco, they are machines that both burn designs into screens as well as act like the press for the screens. They make screen printing at home super easy. 

So not only did it come with the ink and a screen but also a booklet on how to use the Gocco with example prints and a set of sample cards that you could use to make screens. Some of them were hilariously weird and others were absolutely adorable. Here are the highlights:

IMG_8458.JPG
IMG_8459.JPG

I can't wait to get back into this! This isn't the first time I've used a Gocco before. Back in school, one of my teachers had a workshop with one so I already know the basics. I just have to refresh my memory a bit. It has been years since I last used one.

One of the screens I plan on making will be one of this piece! It's already just straight black and white so I think it will be a good for practice!

Into The Woods

If you follow me on social media, you've probably seen this new piece by now! It's my most recent personal piece I've finished.  

IMG_8562.JPG

What you may not know is that I'm starting to post process videos! For now it will probably only be for some of my digital pieces since that's what I have the capabilities for but maybe later I will set up something to record my more traditional pieces! I made a Vimeo account to post all of them on. Here's the one for this piece!  

Happy Valentines Day!

Hope all of you are having a lovely Valentines Day! I send my love to all of you!

So far I'm doing well on this whole blogging thing. Two posts in a few days from each other? Always good, right? I hope so! I want to write regular entries here. I also want to make time for personal paintings and pieces each week even if they are small like these.

I'm getting new glasses! They are on the way and should arrive sometime this week. They're my first Warby Parker glasses so I'll let you all know how those go! A Warby Parker store opened up pretty close to me so I thought I would give them a shot! I haven't changed my glasses in a few years so I'm pretty excited about this change. I also bought prescription sunglasses. Oh yeah, that's right. Seeing in the extreme sunlight for the win! I'm so ready. 

I really enjoy making new profile pics mostly because it gives me an excuse to experiment with different techniques I've been playing with or different ways to depict the same thing. This time I experimented more with mixed media. I'm really enjoying playing around with this! My Valentines Day drawing is also mixed media. 

Do you all enjoy making new profile pics just as much as I do? What materials and techniques have you been experimening with recently?

First Blog Post!

Hey everyone! This is my first blog post. For a while I was using Tumblr for a blog then it was Wordpress, which for some reason I wasn't as into as other people, and now I'm trying out the Squarespace blog! I've tested it before while posting my webcomic POWER NAP, which is sort of on hiatus even though it's only been a few months since I started it. I tried making a webcomic thinking I would like the whole web comic experience, but for some reason I ran into a lot of pressure to be funny and all of a sudden my fun short comics I would do in my spare time became stressful.

I have been doing that a lot recently. Trying new things to branch out and finding they might not be for me. Don't get me wrong, I still plan on posting comics from time to time, but in a more casual way.

But back to trying new things: I recently tried something new where I took my usual gouache medium and added some colored pencils to them for a sort of mixed media play. It was a lot of fun and I found myself getting excited to work on it rather than getting excited for the finished piece, which is something I haven't felt in a while when it comes to art. I get that way when I'm writing, but I think I've gotten into a bit of a rut when it comes to personal art projects. Here's the finished piece I'm taking about:

Do you all get that way? I don't always but usually when I do, it's a sign of something. I took it as a sign I needed to evolve my art and branch into new techniques. Maybe my work became too stagnant and I wasn't challenging myself enough. I'm not sure. What I do know is switching up my medium and not exactly knowing what the piece wold look like when it was finished was exactly what I needed!

Working this way seems much more intuitive, which resonates with me a lot. I find that to be the most fun way to work. If you believe in the whole Myers Briggs thing, the personality type I test as (INFP) seems to match with this idea as well. If you don't, that's fine too! I just seem to mesh better with more intuitive ways of working than exact more planned out ways.

Do you all like to work more intuitive or more planned? What do you all do when you feel like you're in a rut?