Months After I Am A Wolf's Release!

It’s been over two months since I Am a Wolf, my debut picture book, was released and it’s been wild to see it in public! This is my first ever published book and I just can’t get over spotting it while I casually browse a bookstore. It’s so surreal!

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The Book Cellar hosted my very first author event for I Am A Wolf back in June. A portion of the proceeds went to PAWS, the animal shelter where we adopted Frankie, the inspiration for Wolf! If you don’t know about PAWS, it’s a wonderful organization that rescues animals from kill shelters and works with them to have them ready for adoption. The turn out was great and I had a lot of fun meeting all the kids who attended.

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Nowadays…

I’m working on a few more stories that I can’t wait to share! Like I Am A Wolf, they are stories I am both writing and illustrating. Though I can’t say what the book is or what it’s about, my next book comes out in 2020 so keep an eye out for it! Hopefully I’ll be able to release more info about it soon.

In the meantime, did you know that I keep a daily illustrated journal? I am in LOVE with the Hobonichi Techos. I don’t release a lot of the images online mostly because they disclose what projects I’m working on and I haven’t announced those yet, but below are some that I can show!

When I was younger, I used to visual journal all the time. Getting back to that feels amazing. I’m also a lover of check lists and getting things done so I love the planner side to it. Mine is an A6 since I prefer the portability of the small size. I use the daily pages as visual journals and the monthly pages for planning. I also use a weekly insert for my A6 for day to day check lists to keep myself on tasks. This is my third year using a Hobonichi and I think this year, I really figured out the way I prefer to use it!

The new 2020 Hobonichi line up is going to be announced soon and I can’t wait to see what my 2020 one will be!

Since I love their covers so much, I bought one in the A6 size for my small sketchbooks. I’ve started a new ink-only sketchbook to loosen up my work a bit. If you ever feel stiff with your art or want to learn how to keep your hand steady, an ink only sketchbook is the way to go! No pencil is allowed or under-sketching. I’m not super far into my new ink-only sketchbook but I am having fun with it!

For those interested in ink only sketchbooks, here are some tips:

  • Your drawings will start out pretty messy, but you get used to it. The mess is part of the fun and learning experience!

  • If you feel the blank white page might be too intimidating, try to get a sketchbook with a grid or dot pattern. Sometimes having a page that already has something on it makes me less worried about messing up.

  • You can buy a super nice fancy sketchbook, but if you’re afraid you might be intimidated to draw in only ink in it since it is nice and fancy, get a cheaper one! You can even get a composition notebook if you’d like. You don’t always have to draw on fancy paper, especially for this.

  • If you want a steady hand, try brush and ink or a pen and nib. I personally don’t use a pen and nib but I feel like it would teach your hand to stay steady just as much as a brush and ink would.

  • If you want to get looser with your work (which is my current goal for mine,) use pens that glide very nicely. I like pilot pens personally but it doesn’t have to be those. It could be any pen you pick up as long as you can use it for quick gestures. You don’t need fancy pens especially if your goal is to loosen up your drawings.

  • And remember, it will be messy! Don’t get discouraged if your first few pages are filled with messy inky drawings. It’s supposed to go this way! The fun part is when you fill up a full sketchbook to look back at your first few drawings and see how far you’re come and how much you’ve learned!

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO I AM A WOLF!

The day has finally arrived! It’s Wolf’s birthday! You can finally get I Am A Wolf, my debut picture book in stores!!

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This is such an exciting time. I’ve always wanted to have a book published that I illustrated and wrote and the day has finally come! It’s already gotten a few reviews and one of them is my very first starred review!

You can purchase it at your favorite local bookstore or any of these locations online:

B&N: barnesandnoble.com/w/i-am-a-wolf-kelly-leigh-miller/1129423369

IndieBound: indiebound.org/book/9780525553298

Amazon: amazon.com/am-Wolf-Kelly-Leigh-Miller/dp/0525553290

I also have my very first author event coming up! Mark it on your calendar:

The Book Cellar: I Am A Wolf Event!
June 15th at 10:30 AM
4736 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60625

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For every copy sold of I Am A Wolf, The Book Cellar will donate a portion of the proceeds to PAWS Chicago.

As a fun bonus, here are some sample spreads from the book:

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My 2019's 100 Day Project!

I was toying with the idea of doing the 100 Day Project. Last year it got me out of my sketchbook funk and if I was going to do it, I wanted to do something that I could really sink my teeth in and get something big out of it.

I just got back from a trip with my family and while I was on it, the day before the 100 Day Project was to start, I doodled parts of the hotel while waiting for everyone to get ready. My initial response was “huh, I really don’t draw a lot of scenery.” Well, actually, if I’m really honest, it was more like “I think I can do better, but I just don’t draw a lot of scenery.” That was my eureka moment. Here’s the sketch that sparked it all:

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I realized while drawing that I don’t really have a language for scenery, still life stuff, and things that are not character centered. I believe that you really don’t figure out your style unless you’ve drawn… A LOT. It’s all about practice and noticing certain things you gravitate towards as well as how you decide to short hand everything. I feel like my style when it comes to character has matured over the years pretty well because I have it the time it needed, but when it comes to scenery non-character centric things, it’s lacking in comparison.

So my 100 Day Project has been born! All the drawings while I was on my trip are just pencil sketches since that’s all I had time to do and all I had with me at the time. I might expand to color work or mixed media work later but for now, I’m keeping it simple. Below are all the ones I’ve posted so far on Instagram and Twitter.

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So far, it’s been a fun challenge. It really shows how little practice I’ve given this stuff over the years in comparison to my character art. My goal is to create my own visual language that could be recognizable.

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In the beginning, I will mostly do observational sketches and sketches from life. This helps me pay attention to my surroundings, angles and other things I might forget or leave out if I were to come up with scenery out of my head immediately. I need to ease into it. I might come up with my own settings towards the end of the project after I’ve practiced but for now, I find it’s best to stick to learning from my surroundings and observations.

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In some of the photos, I was able to also take a photo of the setting I was drawing. Some drawings are rushed due to time limits, but I think the time limits are a good thing. It helps me figure out how I might short hand certain things or easily forgive mistakes I might make while drawing since I don’t have all day to figure it out. I’ve found I like leaving in the mistakes.

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Almost all of these are from direct observation of my surroundings with the exception of the image above. That one was from a photo I found online that I thought was charming. I wanted to see how I would short hand a building with lots of greenery surrounding it.

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I’ve also found settings create fond memories. I’ve found I like drawing all the little tiny details that normally I don’t pay attention to since it gives the surrounding character.

This is still early in the project so I’m curious to see how my drawings change and evolve over time. That’s part of the fun of the 100 Day Project! You get to experiment and see all you’ve learned over the course of 100 Days.

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I personally love this project. It helps to have a clear and simple goal in mind that could be done in 5-10 mins or for much longer if you have the time. Some of these sketches were done in 10 mins just because of how short of time I had to draw them. Having a goal that can be done is such a short amount of time helps you achieve it even during very busy days.

Here’s to the many days ahead of me of drawing scenery and other non-character art! I’m excited to see how everything evolves!

Howl's Moving Castle Series Pt.1

If you follow me on social media, you probably already know this but in the past month or two, I’ve been doing a series of black and white drawings inspired by the novel Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. It is probably one of my favorite novels of all time and I’ve been wanting to beef up my middle grade black and white drawings recently so I thought it would be the perfect fit!

I’ve been adding to it in between work projects and I’m not sure exactly how many will end up being in the series. I have notes on every chapter after a reread I did last year but I’m not sure if I’m going to do one for EVERY chapter. We’ll see though. These are the first few ones I created. They aren’t in any particular order!

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2019 is a BIG YEAR!

Well, 2019 is officially here! That is, it’s been here for quite some time. A few weeks actually. I’m a little late in writing this post as you can tell! 2019 is the year of many things, but it is also Wolf’s birthday! 2019 is the year I Am A Wolf gets released and everyone can read her story! Having this be my debut book is immensely exciting! I can’t wait to share more news related to her and other things!

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As you all know, I Am A Wolf has a release day of May 21, 2019 so keep an eye out for it in bookstores and preorder if you like! In case you missed when I posted about it, I now have a quarterly newsletter! I haven’t sent out the first one as of now (while I write this post) but I’m hoping to be able to send one out soon. I’m waiting for approval to say a few other news related things before I send out my first 2019 newsletter. If you haven’t signed up, you can do that here:

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I promise not to spam! It’s just a quarterly newsletter so you’ll just get about 4 a year if anything. It will have all the news from that quarter collected into one spot and sent directly to you!

My January has been filled with a lot of writing, sketching, and behind the scenes work for a few projects I can’t talk about yet! I can’t wait to tell you more about those once the year progresses though. I can’t really show you all anything from that but I can show you all of my sketchbook doodles I’ve been creating while I read or listen to audiobooks.

Below are sketches from my reading of The Wicked King by Holly Black, which is the sequel to The Cruel Prince, one of my favorite recent reads!

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And here are some quick character doodles of the Six of Crows crew! I drew this while I was listening to the audiobook. Since King of Scars is coming out soon, I wanted to reread all of the Grisha books beforehand. I started with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom (all by Leigh Bardugo) since I’ve never reread those before despite loving them. I didn’t have as long to doodle while listening to those so I was only able to do a few quick ones of the characters. I’ve since moved onto Shadow and Bone and now I’m on Siege and Storm. Soon I will be on Ruin and Rising and, much like the title, it will destroy me! It’s such a good series. I highly recommend both series if you like new takes on fantasy worlds and an interesting crew of characters. Hopefully I’ll have some time to doodle characters from those books soon!

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Hopefully I’ll have more I can show other than sketchbook doodles soon! Maybe I’ll do some themed blog posts in the future. If there’s any topic you’d like me to cover, you can let me know either through the comments on this blog, through my email, or on social media! Until next time!

I Am A Wolf Cover Reveal!

It’s been a while since I blogged but I feel like today is the best day to pick it back up since today I Am A Wolf’s cover has been revealed!

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For those who may not know the story of my debut picture book, here is a summary:

In this pet adoption story that's as laugh-out-loud funny as it is heart-tugging, a dog who insists she's a wolf finds the perfect home with a young girl who sees past her prickly personality.

When a particularly growly pup finds herself in an animal shelter, she insists that she is a wolf--a lone wolf. After all, she's not sweet, she's not cute, and she is just fine on her own! Luckily, there's one little girl at the shelter who knows that sometimes, good dogs act bad when they feel afraid and that extending a little kindness can help even the most wolfish pup at the pound let down her guard.

The official publishing date is May 21, 2019! Here are some links to add it to Goodreads as well as pre-order it:

Leading up to the cover reveal, I created some GIFs to celebrate the release:

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I can’t wait for you all to meet Wolf!

End Of Summer and New Events Ahoy!

Hello, hello! If you are new to this, I am Kelly Leigh Miller, full-time illustrator and author of I Am A Wolf, which is a picture book that will debut in Summer 2019 from Dial! My background is originally in editorial illustration and for a while, I designed packaging for toys. At the moment, my main focus is publishing, but I am always looking for new editorial jobs and clients! This is where I post all my main updates on both my current books, events, personal work, and other client work.

Summer is coming to an end and I've started working on book 2, which is still a secret other than the fact I can say I'm working on it. I can't wait until I can release more info on it and I Am A Wolf, which is hopefully soon! For the time being, I have a nice summertime inspired piece:

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I've recently added an events page to my website so you can check to see if I'm coming anywhere close to you. The only event left scheduled in 2018 is SPX in Bethesda, MD, where Alexander Sloves and I will be selling our zines at table C11A. That's not until September 15-16. If you're in the area, you should check it out. I've tabled at SPX two other times and I've always had a blast!

Aside from the mentioned book stuff, I'm also working on some other pitches for the future, but much like my current book work, I can't say anything about that either yet. If I'm lucky, maybe my next update will have a cover reveal for I Am A Wolf! Who knows! For now though, here's a gathering of raccoon friends! 

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Shakespeare Poster and Alphabets!

Hey! Hope you all are doing well. Most of my days have been taken up with book work at the moment. I'm working on a secret project other than I Am A Wolf, which hopefully I'll be able to talk about more thoroughly soon. I really can't wait for the cover reveal for I Am A Wolf since it will be my first ever cover reveal! I am a publishing baby. Everything is new to me. 

What I CAN talk about though is I was also recently commissioned by the Kentucky Shakespeare group to create a poster highlighting the whole cast for their 58th year! It was a lot of fun to create. It's been a while since I've made a poster with this many people in it so it was like a puzzle to fit everyone in a natural way.

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I've also added more alphabet letters to my Animal Alphabet! I update it every Monday on my social media and my website so you can keep up there if you like. Now we are all the way to I.

Since I've been making way more short journal comics, I decided to dedicate a page on my website to them. It's the one marked Webcomics. I probably won't update them on here after this so there isn't repeat content but I update that about 2 times a week or so. You can check back in over there for updates! For now though, if you click to the left or right, you can scroll through the ones I've posted here:

For non business people, in case you missed, I opened some personal profile pic commissions! Below are some examples. If you like what you see, you can always order one off my shop: Profile Pic Commissions. These are, of course, for personal use only like on your social media or a wall hanging. Not necessarily for anything that would be used commercially. 

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:

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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 quite a lot of tabling in the past few weeks!

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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.