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. 

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!

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I picked a homemade vegetable stew that's roughly inspired by some family recipes and a few other recipes I use. 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!