meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
*HUGS* and very belatedLunar New Year's greetings to you all! I have returned home after a stimulating and much needed séjour in Asia, during which my access to the internet was unexpectedly limited. (Okay, I did kind of expect it in the Philippines, but you'd think TOKYO would have better wi-fi coverage...) Much of the trip wasn't exactly what I'd call a relaxing holiday, but the reprieve from Vancouver's winter rainfall was more than welcome. I saw more family members from both sides of the family than I even knew I had, visited places I'd never seen before, and got to spend time with Julien, so overall it was a pleasant and refreshing vacation. ^_^

I was several weeks late for my regular chiropractic adjustment, and my body clock, which has synchronization problems at the best of times, now seems to think it's a TARDIS, so it's taking me some time to recover from travelling, but I am feeling more creative than I have in a very long time. I am slowly easing back into artmaking with some small sewing projects; putting some inspiring fabric end rolls I picked up to good use. I'm also eager to work on Lorelei Makes a Friend while I still have Japan on the brain so I can picture Tanuki Jiro's environment.

Speaking of Lorelei, [livejournal.com profile] ego_sideways and I took advantage of the cheap production costs in the Philippines to have a small run of shirts made for friends and family. Limited stock and turnaround time prevented me from offering them to a wider audience. Would there be any interest if I were to upload these designs to Zazzle, or the like?

meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
So, [livejournal.com profile] ego_sideways, aka Toast was in Seattle for a few days, and we took advantage of his proximity to Vancouver to exchange some puppets and books! He'd originally planned to come up here to deliver them on Monday, but some of his travel companions thought the Memorial Day lineups at the US border would make a day trip unfeasible. Since it was easier to find overnight accommodations for a single person than for a family travelling with a young child, I got to go on a mini-vacation/business trip instead. :)

There's a shuttle bus that runs between downtown Vancouver and SeaTac airport with a few stops in between, so I took one of those, and was pleased to discover that the coach was equipped with wi-fi! That let me keep in touch via Facebook and e-mail without the usual roaming charges on the other side of the border, which was good, because it did turn out to be an unusually busy day, and I got to Seattle nearly an hour after the scheduled arrival time.

Toast and I had never actually met IRL, but I had my kitty hat on for maximum recognizability and he's tall enough not to disappear in a crowd, so we had no trouble finding each other at the bus stop. We walked a little under a mile from there to get to the hotel, and I think I laughed most of the way there. Those of you who have encountered Toast online will understand when I say he talks just like he types. Really. He says that stuff out loud. I found it both awesome and hilarious. XD

At the hotel, I was introduced to Mrs. Toast, and a happy, giggling Crouton before going to dinner. During which we actually spoke to each other — partly because lurking in an IRL conversation can be surprisingly difficult. :P It was getting late in Toastie's home timezone by the time we finished eating and got my sleeping arrangements sorted (which may or may not have involved some childish squeeing over the novelty of using a debit card with Elder Days Story Time written on it), so we settled in with our respective laptops...and chatted on Skype. The chatroom did have other people in it, but, yeah, we're geeks. :D

I was a bit worried about my ability to fall asleep and wake up at reasonable hours in an unfamiliar environment, but between the long day I'd had, my weighted blanket, and the sunlight streaming through the window the next morning, it fortunately wasn't a problem.

I met Mrs. Toast's parents at breakfast, and the whole family turned out to be mercifully weird. Weird is good; I prefer weird people. It's the ones that consider themselves normal and think everyone else should be too that are frightening. We went out all together to play tourist, and we got on better than I usually do with people I've just met. It may have helped that they were predisposed to like me after I presented them with this ;):

I may colour this and turn it into a promotional poster or something...as if I didn't have enough of a backlog to work on. :P

This couldn't decently be called a business trip unless I actually did some 'work', so Toast and I returned to the hotel after lunch to sort and sign the books for our Kickstarter backers. I had two other reward commissions that I gave to him along with the puppets, and he gave me a box of books to bring back to Canada.

A really big box of books.

The box took up considerably more space than the puppets had, and was a whole lot less squishy, so there was some concern over whether I'd be able to fit it into my suitcase, but thanks to the amazing space-bending abilities of Mrs. Toast, we got it in, blanket and all. :)

I took the monorail to the bus stop with Toast and the now much heavier suitcase, and arrived with a few minutes to spare. The return trip was uneventful, and the Canadian border guards barely glanced at my suitcase (as opposed to their US counterparts, who scanned every piece of luggage, and opened a few to examine the contents.) About the most exciting thing that happened on the way back was passing a field with llamas grazing in it a little after the border. We were moving too fast for me to get a picture of them, though.

In any case, I made it back intact, and more or less on time. And now I have books!

end of a busy day

Monday, April 30th, 2012 09:06 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I got back home on Saturday night after an unexpectedly long trip. My flight from Montreal was cancelled, and I was moved to a later one, which caused me to miss my connection from Toronto to Vancouver. The airline found me a spot on the next flight, so I was really only delayed by a couple of hours — not a major disaster, but I was tired by the time I made it home. Because I was added to the Toronto-Vancouver flight at the last minute, my suitcase did not arrive with me, and I was waken up the next morning by the airport delivery person knocking on my door. I think I managed to scribble something resembling my signature on the receipt before stumbling back to bed for another three hours of sleep.

Surprisingly, the day wasn't a total loss: I got some grocery shopping done, made a loaf of chocolate-chip banana bread, and cleaned the condensation spots off my bathroom ceiling (this always leaves me with a sore neck, so I try to do it shortly before my chiropractic appointments).

Today I have been experimenting with starting a timer as I begin each task, and I think I'm having some success. In the last 12 hours I have:
  • cropped and uploaded thumbnails for ~3 months of artwork
  • added the paintings from Sketchfest 22 to the database
  • actually had breakfast and remembered to eat lunch at lunchtime instead of mid-afternoon
  • done the dishes
  • finished two loads of laundry
  • vacuumed and got rid of most of the dust that accumulated while I was away
  • gone to my chiro appointment and run some errands on the way home
  • given myself a haircut
  • made stew for dinner and
  • started a new Story Sketch while waiting for it to cook
Using a timer seems to help me stay on task because I know I will be free a few minutes later to pursue whatever new item has attracted my attention. Something interesting that I've discovered is that my internal clock seems to run fast. I consistently found myself thinking that 20-30% more time had elapsed than actually had. That's probably a good thing in that I am able to accomplish more than I expected to in the time allotted — as long as I can maintain my focus.

I think I'm going to try working on more art tomorrow, with the goal of making at least one Story Sketch post or update and one book post per week, and finishing at least one painting per month. I'm also slowly moving some of the snippets and random notes I have floating around into Evernote, so I won't be struggling to remember eg. where I filed the description of a character that I need to draw again.
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
April 11th marked the first anniversary of my crowdfunding debut, and it was probably the most consistently busy year I've ever had. I've posted over 150 paintings and sketches, received thousands of feedback comments, unexpectedly won a Rose and Bay award, and met a lot of really creative people. I've sold prints, done private commissions, and received tips from over a dozen generous patrons, including three K-fans, each of whom contributed over $120 to my various art projects over the last year. The Kickstarter campaign for my first picture book exceeded it's funding goal and raised over $11000. Your support and enthusiasm has far surpassed my expectations. Thank you all!

As you have undoubtedly noticed by now, the Story Sketches project has been largely dormant for a couple of months, but fear not! I have no intention of abandoning it. I've been sort of waiting for my workload to lighten, but after taking stock of my plans for the next year, it's become clear that that isn't really going to happen. The challenge is to figure out how to manage more than one ongoing project at a time, and I appreciate the patience you've all shown while I try to work out a solution.

I know that several of you are balancing multiple projects and/or offline jobs and families, and it's encouraging to know that it can be done — I just have to come up with a better workflow than
  • start working on something

  • receive message about another thing to be done, start working on it

  • get distracted by a third thing

  • belatedly remember what I was working on in the first place

  • repeat :P
The best approach for me will probably be to divide tasks by project (e.g. Story Sketches, EDST, Torn World, self-promotion, one-shot commission) and/or by type (e.g. research, drawing, technical, writing, design) and pick one category to focus on at the beginning of each work day, depending on the relative urgency of each and the number and type of spoons I wake up with. This could result in more image-only posts (with text to be added later), or making several posts at once instead of uploading each picture as I finish it.

Participating in SketchFest (run by champion multitasker [livejournal.com profile] ellenmillion —Thanks, Ellen!) has shown that I can be very productive within a limited time period, so I may try to apply this model to other types of activity. Setting a timer while I work on posts like this, for instance, will hopefully stop me from spending days on composing and editing an informal piece of text that my writer friends probably wouldn't spend more than a few minutes on. :P I'm sure I had more to say, but this post has been in-progress for nearly a week(!) which is long even for me, and I expect to be afk for most of tomorrow, so, ah...consider it a 'sketch'? ^_^;

If those of you who are more organized than I am have any advice, I would certainly appreciate it!
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I spent a busy but enjoyable weekend in NJ, attending my cousin's wedding, and visiting with relatives in the area. Now that I'm back, I can finally share a couple of my big projects from the past couple of months.

This was the painting I made as a wedding present:

It was inspired by the library scene in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which my cousin and I once watched together over twenty times in a single week, and is set in the Barnes and Noble store where she and her husband met for their first date. Eagle-eyed viewers may notice a bit of subtle advertising on one of the tables in the background ;) I had this printed on the same watercolour paper as the Salt and Pepper painting that I did for my aunt and uncle last year, and presented it to the new couple in a frame 'wrapped' with a translucent overlay that I also decorated with a Beauty and the Beast inspired image, and the words "May you live happily ever after..."

The wedding, of course, presented me with the recurring problem of finding sensory-friendly formalwear...and this time I decided to solve the issue once and for all by sewing my own dress!

fabric & lace detail:


Unsurprisingly, my sensibilities lie more toward costume design than fashion design, so the pattern was heavily influenced by renaissance gowns and Disney princess movies. In a stroke of pure luck, the fabric I found happened to be an exact colour match for a shirt I already had, so I didn't have to sew the sleeves. I'm quite pleased that the full skirt allowed me to add unobtrusive in-seam pockets, and let me walk without getting tangled around my legs, but the best part is what you can't see in the photo. The bodice is lined with plain cotton cut from a bed sheet that I got at the local thrift store, so I can wear it sleeveless without irritating my skin, and under the skirt is a hybrid petticoat with a skirt made from the same cotton bed sheet attached to the waistline of a pair of short pants! I think this was the first time in my life that I've been able to wear a dress all day without squirming.

In EDST news, we've begun distributing rewards to our Kickstarter backers! I took advantage of my visit to the US to pick up the puppets for those backers who chose them as rewards, and I will be adding eyeglasses to them over the next few weeks. [livejournal.com profile] ego_sideways also sent me a few copies of the book to give to my family, and everyone who has seen them so far has been impressed with the quality. :) We are still working on arranging large-scale distribution, but in the meantime, copies can be ordered from Elder Days Story Time (Only US addresses for now, sorry! Still working out the details for international shipping.) My sample set of cards from moo.com arrived as well, and I'm very happy with it, so I'll probably be placing an order with them soon.
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I've been working on bringing my tracking up-to-date, and I've realized that Teddy is fully funded, I've missed several months of linkback updates, and I forgot to pick icon winners again yesterday. :P In other words, I haven't done a very good job at keeping organized.

[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith recently requested that I post a list of StorySketches in the queue, to help my regular prompters keep track of what they've submitted. I'm going to expand that idea to include all the art and art-related tasks on my to-do list, which will probably be more efficient than my current method of scribbling in my notebook and sketchpad. That'll probably go up later today, and I'll add it to the memories for my journal. I just have to figure out what information to include and how I want to format it.

This week's icon winners (before I forget to do it again :P) are [personal profile] the_vulture and [personal profile] dulcinbradbury! Congratulations! I'll PM you after I post this.

The sketch of Chevenga that I posted yesterday is already up to 22 comments (including mine)! I love it when my audience responds with both enthusiasm and specific feedback! :D

status

Monday, February 6th, 2012 02:52 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
The big news from this weekend, of course is that Lorelei's kickstarter project has exceeded its goal! Many, many thanks to everyone who has supported us! We have enough now for a basic print run, but the project is open until February 11, and we can still use all the pledges we can get! Additional funds will go toward shipping your rewards, better quality printing, and book promotion.

Karen obligingly posted a detailed description of Chevenga's armour yesterday in response to my request, and I got a bit carried away trying to incorporate it in my sketch of him from The Philosopher in Arms. It's been a while since I've done a new Story Sketch, and I'm delighted to be working on this one. PA has been nominated for a Rose and Bay award for fiction this year, and is well worth the read, though at 640 chapters, it may take some time to get through the archives!

Speaking of the Rose and Bay, Story Sketches is currently leading in the art category. I don't expect this to continue for very long, but it's still very flattering! Thanks to everyone who has voted for me!

In other art news, I have a Portrait Adoption piece open in ArtRage, and I'm planning to participate in the Amazing Critters contest currently running at [livejournal.com profile] torn_world. It also looks like I will have a number of commissions coming in from kickstarter backers, so I'm going to be busy!

Which probably means I should wrap this up and stop avoiding all the admin stuff that's been piling up. :P


Story Sketches:
updated this week:
Teddy's Terrific Travels
Mother-Tongue

Tips: $10



Click to get an



Lorelei has a Dream:
$11058/$9000 (Funded!!)

February already?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 01:26 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
The number of new pictures I have to add to my database (not to mention the state of my sent mail folder) would seem to indicate that I've been far from idle over the past month...but I've failed miserably at tracking and delivering perks for StorySketches. Urk. I must fix that!

I posted an update to Teddy's Travels yesterday (which no one has commented on *sadface*), and I should have an update to Mother-Tongue sometime tomorrow. The next new sketch will be from Karen Wehrstein's Philosopher in Arms. Next icon draw will be held...er, actually, I might as well just do it now. Congrats to [personal profile] alee_grrl and [livejournal.com profile] wyld_dandelyon! I'll PM you after I post this in case you don't see it.

Something else I'm far behind on is reading the entries on my reading/friends page, but I notice that voting has started for several categories of this year's Rose and Bay awards. I also notice that one of you[personal profile] aldersprig nominated me for the art category. *blushes* Thank you!

Go vote for your favourite crowdfunded projects in the categories of:
Fiction
Art
Poetry
Webcomic
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
It's been quite an eventful day. When last I posted, Lorelei's kickstarter project was halfway through the allotted time, and just 36% of the way to its goal. It didn't go up by much yesterday, and [livejournal.com profile] ego_sideways and I were getting just a teensy bit nervous.

Well, last night, a patron who chooses to remain anonymous contacted us with a generous offer: they will match all pledges and increases in pledges made in the next week, up to a total of $3000. The announcement this morning prompted a flurry of activity, and I'm happy to say that we're back on track, with $4859 pledged! That's over $1600 dollars in one day.

That also means we need just a little over one thousand dollars in new pledges over the rest of this week to make it to our goal. If you know anyone who has been considering backing this project, but has not yet done so, please encourage them to do so now!


In related news, Lorelei's friend Tanuki Jiro (seen in my previous post wearing a dragon mask for new year) now has his own Facebook page! Lorelei herself also has a page, in case you haven't seen it. :)

And finally, as tempting as it was to spend the day mashing the refresh button to see if the kickstarter total had gone up, I did manage to finish and upload a second painting to EMG Portrait Adoption. Ellen says that her goal of 12 new portraits this month has already been met (and far surpassed!) so I think I'll put the third one I'm planning on hold for a few days to do some long overdue Story Sketch updates.

meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
First, here's the Portrait Adoption piece I mentioned last night:


It's not visible to the public yet, but those of you with PA accounts should be able to see it if you login. I've got another portrait half done, and a third one planned by the end of the month.

My task for today was supposed to be finishing up this picture of Jiro, Hippo-Birdy, and Lorelei to send out with the kickstarter update I'm planning to e-mail tomorrow. I haven't done that (yet! I will get to it!) Instead, I got started on it, and then thought to myself "It would be really useful to have a 3D model of that dragon mask to use as reference..."

Whups.

Out came the fimo...and away went my work day, so instead of a finished illustration, I now have this (apologies for the grainy phone pic):


And I wonder why my to-do list never shrinks. :P
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I really love that SketchFest has been extended to 48 hours. It keeps me from panicking if I can't get started on it right away. ^.^ I'm getting a late start this time because I wanted to get this done from the last session before starting a new batch:



I'm back home now, with no plans to leave again until April, so it's back to regularly scheduled posting for the next couple of months! I've got plenty of stuff to catch up on, but if you have any new prompts you've been holding on to, feel free to post them!

Project update:

The kickstarter campaign for Lorelei has a Dream is at nearly a third of it's $9000 goal, after one week. Many thanks to everyone who has backed the project so far! Reminder: I am offering bonus Lorelei sketches to readers of my blog who pledge $35 or more. Just PM or e-mail to let me know who you are. We still have a long way to go, so please keep boosting the signal!

status: back up!

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 02:18 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
Yesterday's outage was apparently caused by a major drive failure, and my host informs me that the problem should now be resolved. :) They did say that some recent data was lost, since they had to restore from a backup, but I hadn't made any changes since then. Please let me know if you encounter any further problems.

status: offline

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 02:29 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
If anyone else is having problems loading mikaspace.net, or viewing any of my images, I am aware of the problem, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I've been unable to access anything on the server, including my e-mail, and the website of my host (qualserv.net) since I got back online after my flight.

My image links all use a forwarding url that I set up to point to my off-site storage space, so if the issue isn't resolved soon, I can change them so the pictures will display here, at least. In the meantime, my latest batch of paintings can all be viewed at my Sketch Fest artist page.

Sorry for the downtime!
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I will be boarding a plane later tonight to go visit my family, and will be returning on Jan 18. As usual, I will be bringing my laptop, but I may be a bit slower to respond to messages due to the presence of live people.

The 48-hour SketchFest was quite a success! I did 12 paintings for it — enough to make up for missing last month. Coat of Arms has already sold, so I'll be cleaning it up to print, and copies of all the others are available through the SketchFest site.

lots of pictures under cut )

In case you missed it, I did a guest post at [community profile] poetree On Illustrating Poetry on Friday last week, with some commentary on each of the poem-based Story Sketches I've done so far. Comments on this post will be counted toward this week's icon draw! (Which I'm postponing for a couple of days since I didn't give you any art to comment on until now. :P)

Signal boost!

The [community profile] crowdfunding community is seeking nominations in six categories for this year's Rose & Bay awards. If you know of any great crowdfunding projects, feel free to suggest them! Personally, I'd love to see more people and projects from outside lj/dreamwidth get involved in this!

Speaking of crowdfunding, [personal profile] aldersprig has a new idea for a project involving mini-stories on postcards!

[personal profile] ariestess 's monthly one-card-draw is open for a couple more hours (until 8PM PST). She's got a few decks to choose from, and donors are entered into a draw for a more in-depth reading.

Updates from my own projects:

My Inkling fundraiser is now at 40%! Thanks to all who have contributed so far! :)


Story Sketches tips: $10
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
Night is day and....I'm too sleepy to think of a rhyme :P

Go read my post over at [community profile] poetree, and I'll see you later for Sketch Fest!
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had a pleasant holiday period.

It looks like it's going to be a busy month here in mikaspace; I did a painting for a friend over the holidays that I have to finish detailing for print, and there are a number of portfolio projects and Story Sketch updates in the queue. There will be two Sketch Fests in January, and I've been invited to do a guest post at [community profile] poetree later this week.

The weekly icon draw is back on, and this year's first winner is [livejournal.com profile] robling_t!

My Inkling fundraiser is still going on, and is now at 35% of the first goal! If you got some Christmas money and want a sketch from me, please do check it out. :)


Here's a list of art posted in the last month:
Mother-Tongue
Creeped Right Out
Igor's Creature
Aurora's World
Hallelujah Dreaming CD cover
Lorelei in Winter
And a few Icons
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I love the proliferation of peppermint and chocolate-mint flavoured treats at this time of year. They're the one point of sensory joy amidst the flashing lights and cacophony of jingling bells, cheesy repetitive christmas carols, and shouted greetings. And cup of hot chocolate, stirred with a candy cane is a perfect accompaniment to a warm heavy blanket and a good book while I avoid the throngs of stressed out holiday shoppers. ^.^

It's Monday, so I guess I should do a summary post...

Icons are temporarily on hold while much of my audience is off for the holidays and will resume in January. In the meantime, if you do happen to be online, and you've prompted or tipped me this year, feel free to request one as a holiday present. :)

I started a fundraiser this week to buy a Wacom Inkling. If you've ever wanted an original sketch from me, but were prevented from getting it by my all-digital workflow, now's your chance to fix that!

Art from this week:
Mother-Tongue
Creeped Right Out
Igor's Creature
Aurora's World

Tips this month: $35

status

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 07:46 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
Urk. I've really gotten out of the habit of writing these. Unlike most people on my various friends-lists, I don't have any holiday plans (by choice, SPD and festivities don't mix well), but there are a few projects I hope to find some time for while most people are offline celebrating. I have a commission piece that I'm working on this week, and I have to sort out my e-mail to see what needs updating.

Hmm...I also need to get back into the habit of taking note of links to share so I can distract you with people more exciting than I am! :P

health update

Sunday, December 4th, 2011 11:17 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I think I'm mostly over the virus, though I'm still rather tired, and badly in need of a chiro adjustment. There was a bit of coughing again before I went to sleep yesterday, and when I got up, but it stopped after a cup of tea. My creative energy is still low (I had to skip sketchfest >.<), but I expect it will come back gradually as I resume normal activity levels. Thank you all for your patience and good wishes. ^_^

status: kind of lost

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 12:31 pm
meeks: meeks and lorelei (Default)
I forgot to pick new icon winners on Monday, and I slept through most of yesterday and this morning, so with much delay, congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] minor_architect and [personal profile] aldersprig!

I'm still kinda loopy, and I should probably go find something to eat...

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