Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Update on the Coloring Books Fundraiser

The 3-week campaign on Kickstarter by Ellen Million Graphics is now coming to the final week!  We've reached four stretch goals so far (At the time of my writing, the total pledge is at $2,827 with 79 supporters.).  A total of 5 new coloring books have been green-lighted for printing with the fund raised.  However, Ellen has lined up a lot of new titles, and many out-of-print titles also wait in the wings for a chance to be reprinted.

On the line right now and keeping me rather anxious is my all dark, solo collection of fantasy images, "Midnight Gardens".  Here's a cover preview.  It is shown here in glorious full color.  When we reach $3,500 total pledge, this volume will be guaranteed to go to print, but with grey scale cover.  We need to reach even further past the $3,500 mark to actually see this book with color cover, but hey, we can dream.  There's nothing wrong with helping our imagination along, I feel. LOL

Cover image courtesy of Ellen Million Graphics
When I first approached Ellen for possible volume 2 of "Gardens & Goddesses", I decided to bring up the idea of another volume dedicated to my darker images.  I figured that the worst case scenario would be that she could turn the idea down, and in that case, I'd be exactly right where I started.  Nothing lost.  So I'm glad I tossed my idea her way.  (Doubly glad I had enough images to fill a book... LOL)

Thanks to the support of my fans, the first "Gardens & Goddesses" coloring book has been very popular.  It was printed a total of 3 times to date since it's debut in late 2011.  And I'm down to the final 6 or 7 copies at my Etsy shop as I write this.  The printed copy is heavy (even with a relatively think paper inside), and costs over $11 to ship internationally.  Still, I'm always amazed that I get a lot of orders from UK and Australia for this book.

Sometimes, we get really nice, profoundly touching e-mails from customers.  Here's one Ellen received about my book.  This lady had bought two copies of "Gardens & Goddesses" and came back to for two more copies.  It made me cry.

"I'm placing another order for a couple of these books. I let my daughter
take them to the hospital for my granddaughter, and they colored pictures
in all of the books. I will email you the picture my daughter finished and
a picture of our beautiful granddaughter. [name withheld] is feeling icky from
chemo this week but she is able to sit up and color. She has AML (acute
myeloid leukemia) They have been unable to find a donor for a bone marrow
transplant but we haven't given up hope. [name withheld] has a 2 year old daughter.
They are living with me until she recovers because she is too ill to handle
a child, cook meals, and all of the other things that go with being a wife
and mother. I have been coloring since I could hold a pencil. We included
[name withheld] when she was about 9. We have been coloring together as often as we
can since then. I'm so happy we have this outlet to give us something to
help pass the long hours in the hospital and to reduce the stress we are all
feeling with monthly chemo in a hospital 125 miles from home. Your books
are wonderful. I'm sure you know how difficult it is to find beautiful
books for adults to color. It is also scary when you type adult coloring
books into search. ;-)
Thank you again for beautiful books."

I do my art for escape and fun.  At least, that's how it started in my childhood, and luckily for the most part, it remains that way for me today.  I'm truly blessed that I get to doodle to earn my living.  I wake up every morning excited about the day's work and generally happy.  I don't have to commute.  I don't have to deal with office politics, idiot or nasty bosses, gossip, backstabbing, and the sorts that make things stressful and unpleasant for so many people.  I don't save lives or make a huge difference in someone's day or life like scientists or doctors do.  But knowing that some people enjoy coloring my images and have fun, and while they're coloring, they can forget about life's unpleasant things, I'm content that in some small ways, I can make people happy.

Kind of got into it a little deeper than I originally planned, but that's what these books mean to me.  I was pretty ecstatic when the first printings of "Gardens & Goddesses" arrived at my house and held a physical copy in my hand.  It was a dream-come-true moment for me.  So, you can imagine, to be able to add two more titles of mine (and have some more collaborative volumes with my images represented) means a LOT to me.  I continue to anxiously check the pledge total... multiple times a day. LOL

Friday, September 19, 2014

Another Update on the Coloring Books Fundraiser

As of this morning, we're more than half way to the next stretch goal of $2,500.  Less than $150 to go before we unlock the next title "Scheherazade's Shimmy" (a multi-artist collaborative collection inspired by Arabian Nights and belly dancers).

Cover photo courtesy of Ellen Million Graphics.
12 artists' work are in this volume.  Many are friends of mine from Enchanted Visions Project and Sketch Fest (Ahh, Sketch Fest...  It's been a long time since I've managed to participate and have fun... T_T )
I have my Desert Rose (full version with the window in the background) in this volume.  (Just got the words late yesterday. LOL)  I haven't seen a preview pages of this book, but it should be a fun volume.

The number of coloring book titles available in PDF format has grown to 12 on the most current update that I have seen of this campaign.  A few more of the old out-of-print titles have also been added onto the list.

With official updates numbering 8, it's becoming harder and harder to keep track of what's what at different pledge levels and the option of add-ons.  I feel the easiest way to keep track is by reading the whole campaign home page here.  And I mean, read the entire page all the way to the bottom.  There's so much information.  But if you're a pleding support, please know that your pledge amount can be increased or decreased, or even completely withdrawn before the end of the campaign period.  Kickstarter has it flexible.  I've just increased my pledge yesterday.  And it was super easy.  ^_^

10 days left to go.  Currently counting 73 backers.  Somebody just pledges $100. :D  We should be able to make the $2,500 stretch goal this weekend for sure. ^_^

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Finally Getting Around to

Set up my newsletter campaign! *big sigh of relief* XD  This has been in the back of my head for way too long.  Didn't realize that I had my Mail Chimp account set up in the August of 2013 and it's September of 2014 now!  I shudder to think just how behind I am in some aspects of my professional life.  (Such is the life of an independent, self-represented artist...)

"Better late than never" is the mantra of the year for me. LOL  Seriously though, the intention is there to get things done.  Things just have a tendency of getting pushed aside because, as everyone knows, life dishes out a lot of challenges on top of your best thought out plans.

The good news of the day is that Ellen Million Graphics Kickstarter fundraiser campaign has reached $2,000 in total pledged support, which means that "Gardens & Goddesses 2" is going to print! *happy dance*  At the time of my writing this blog post, the cover is still black & white.  I would love for us to reach some more stretch goals and make this a color cover.  *Universe, hear my prayer!*

Cover image courtesy of Ellen Million Graphics.
I am making this title available as a PDF copy, too, so supporters of this fundraiser can now add the PDF copy for additional $5 pledge. :D  What a bargain!  20 images are in this book!!

Back to the Mail Chimp situation I was talking about earlier.  I have finally managed to get everything set up so that I can start having e-mail campaigns like a real business.  I know, I'm late to the game, but at the same time, timing seemed right, now that the Stamps by AuroraWings facebook group has a membership of over 1,500.  I am making the sign up process relatively easy for everyone by having an app right there on facebook on one of my pages, on my art blog right here to the left, AND right on the homepage of the website.  There also will be a sign-up gift for my subscribers, which will go out with the first mailing of the newsletter during the first week of October (tentatively scheduled for Oct. 2, 2014 to be precise).  So, if you're reading this, and you're interested in the sign-up gift, I suggest that you use the sign-up gadget found in the sidebar to the left right now!  I promise to only send out one newsletter a month - that's all I realistically have time for, and nobody wants a cluttered inbox.

Wrapping things up, I was a little less lazy today to make a pretty advertisement for this weekend's special discount code.  LOL  (It's so good to be feeling almost normal after weeks of being sick and miserable.)

These kids are creeping me out!  Maybe I had a little too much fun making this ad, but full-color pictures are more eye-catching than just text.  As facebook keeps pointing out to me, my posts are more 'engaging' when they contain pictures.  (Actually, when you complain about life's misery, something political, or say something highly opinionated, a whole bunch of people on facebook find that highly 'engaging'.   But I'd like to avoid drama whenever possible.  Who's got time for that?)  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Update on the Coloring Books Fundraiser

As I wrote in my previous post, Ellen Million Graphics is running a Kickstarter campaign to bring some brand new titles of coloring books.  Basically, we have a total of something like 8 titles waiting in the wings.  Each $500 pledge reached means a title will, for sure, go to print.  Although the campaign officially met the goal of $500 as initially set already, and this campaign is technically 'successfully funded', that's just one title, "Fishpond Fantasies" (a coloring book of mermaids) getting printed.  And the cover is still black and white.

At $1,000 pledge amount, we've unlocked the second title going into print, "Apples and Roses" (a coloring book of fairy tales).  The cover is still black and white at this point.  My Rococo Cinderella piece is included in this book.

Remember me working frantically to meet the deadline in mid August?  Well, it made it into the book. :D
As of this writing, we are somewhere between $1,000 and the next stretch goal of $1,500.  The title to be unlocked next is "Brain Celebrations" (a coloring book of zombies).  And I also have a piece in this volume.

The "Ghost Bride" is included in the "Brain Celebrations" coloring book.
The next stretch goal of $2,000 will actually bring my solo sequel to the "Gardens & Goddesses", titled "Gardens & Goddesses 2"!!  Here's a look at the black and white cover...

The cover image courtesy of Ellen Million Graphics.  
Meeting further stretch goals (as she has done in her past campaigns) will mean that the cover could look like this!

But it could be in color if we make it to more stretch goals. So much better.  Don't you think? :D
And somewhere down the list of the 8 titles, there's a volume of my darker fantasy art collection "Midnight Gardens".  I would so love to see this title come to be, too.

There are many support levels from just $7 (You'll receive a PDF copy of one of the coloring books that go to print after this campaign, plus whatever titles previously published that are available in this format.  A list is available at the Kickstarter page.) all the way up to $500.  We'd love to get as many supporters from all over the world on this.  Please check out the campaign here.  Thanks!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fundraiser for Coloring Books Has Begun

It's been nearly three weeks since my last update on my art blog.  Well, shortly after I finished "Angel of Sympathy", I came down with something that felt like a food poisoning or a stomach flu.  Before I was fully recovered from that (with 1500 member celebration and what not probably stressing me out further more...), my daughter brought home a bug from school to share. ^^;  This one progressed from being a head cold to a full blown bronchitis in under three days.  I'm still feeling the last bit of it.  It has not been a kind summer for me as far as health is concerned.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this is my subconscious' way of taking a 'break'.  I've been working non stop, with no vacation, for over a year.  And every time I push for a deadline and stay up later than usual (I'm not even talking about pulling an all-nighter.  I'm not that young anymore. lol) even for a little bit, I just don't do well the next day and seem to become susceptible for cold, flu, what have you...

On a more exciting note, the Kickstarter fundraiser to try to get multiple coloring books (some multi-artist collaborative books, some solo books) published by Ellen Million Graphics has started.  The campaign is on its third day, and it's already reached the initial funding goal for one coloring book and about to reach the first stretch goal of the second coloring book, which will have one of my line drawings included.

Reprint of my first coloring book has been confirmed... *happy dance*

Further stretch goals will have many more titles - two of which are my solo books, a sequel to a highly successful "Gardens & Goddesses", "Gardens & Goddesses vol. 2", and a collection of my darker fantasy art "Midnight Gardens".  Exciting! :D *fingers and toes crossed*

I did receive an e-mail from Ellen today, and was reassured that the original "Gardens & Goddesses" will be reprinted (yet again!).  *happy dance*  I'm down to 9 copies at my Etsy shop, so it's good to know more will become available.

The Kickstarter is getting updated frequently by Ellen whenever the figure approaches the next stretch goal or more information becomes available as she takes inventory and talks to more artists.  There are many levels of support available starting at just $7 pledge.  I am making the "Gardens & Goddesses" coloring book (as well as my other two solo titles) available as a PDF download for this campaign, which means that when you pledge the lowest amount $7 for this fundraiser, you can request to receive a PDF copy of my coloring book as the "backer reward". ^_^

I also have confirmation that I have an artwork in the "Zombie Celebrations" coloring book, which has just been announced as the stretch goal at $1,500.  I assume more titles will be added at each $500 stretch goal. Lots of interesting titles, as these books are meant for grown-ups' entertainment, are coming up - "Fantasy Isn't Always Pretty 2 (a collection of dark fantasy images)", "Sheherazade's Shimmy (Arabian Nights and belly dancing beauties)".  And there will be reprints of old, out of prints titles if the supporters keep reaching these stretch goals.  

I'm looking forward to updaing my blog with the good news of "Gardens & Goddesses vol. 2 has been confirmed for publication!"  Can you picture me doing a happy dance already?  Hehe.

EDIT (Sept 11, 2014): As of this morning, two titles "Fishpond Fantasies" and "Apples and Roses" (I have my Rococo Cinderella in this multi-artist collabrative coloring book.) are both going to print now that we've reached $1,000 in pledged support. :D  How awesome is that!  You can see the up-to-date pledge total in the little gadget on the sidebar of this blog. ^_^

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Angel of Sympathy

The original sketch of this was done on June 13.  I just looked back at the blog post and confirmed.  So almost 10 weeks had gone by before I finally got around to inking it. T_T  Better late than never!  Not always, but for most anything that I start out doing, this saying definitely fits.  So, I'm happy that I managed to get around to it.

My second angel.  I'm going ahead and releasing her as a digital stamp without the fanfare of the showcase.  After all, I feel it's kind of depressing to color an image that's primarily for sympathy cards.  Also, you just never know when someone might need it.  I feel better to make her available sooner than later.

Ink on paper, 8.5" x 11".  While I was working on sprites (They can be easily drawn in a space smaller than a sheet of paper one fourth of this size.), this just seemed like an enormous task and I danced around it until it got buried under other projects.  Once I finished these two monster line drawings for the collaborative coloring book projects, this one seemed like a nice easy walk in a park.  Funny how a change of perspective is all it takes sometimes to remove the fear and trepidation from something.  ^^;  Like I've said before many times, cleaning lines as I ink is not a meditative, pleasant undertaking.  It's simply nerve-racking and stressful.  Requires much concentration, focus, and control.  At the end of a session (as I tend to work in a really long stretch unless someone/something comes up to bother me), my eyes are tired and my right shoulder definitely holds a lot of tension.  Not fun. LOL  I need to learn to take small breaks.  (The reason I can't take breaks is that despite all this complaining I do, I'm having FUN with all this!)

Over all, pretty happy with it.  Don't know if I ever get to color it with the work load lined up already...  I still haven't had a chance to finish the colored version of "Leanne's Angel"...

Anyhow, I'm just happy that I'm feeling almost back to normal after something like a food poisoning on Sunday.  Today was the first time I could comfortably sit at my drawing table and work. :)  It feels good to get one of the almost-forgotten pieces finished.  Always a good feeling.

UPDATE:  "Angel of Sympathy" is now at my Etsy shop here and at the AW web shop here.  The digi comes at 2100 x 2700 pixels at 300 dpi (7"x 9"/17.8 x22.9 cm), large enough if you want to color the angel for framing, or size down for any card project.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Made the Deadline with Time to Spare

Yippee!  Managed to get the inking done on this monster piece after all! *HAPPY*  I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make the deadline with the print-ready file.  The deadline is 3 am my time tonight.  It's 12:15 right now!  Woot!

I thought my "Desert Rose" had a fair amount of details, but oh boy, this one sets the new standard, even for me. XD  I guess I've been craving to do work like this after months of producing simple pieces to be released straight to digis.  Sprites and mer-tots are fun in a different way, but it's "Rococo Cinderella" type of work that I can really put my personal stamp on.  I love taking my time figuring out mind-boggling details (usually in a format a little too small), just to push myself and see it finished.

When I had the figure inked, I felt a little overwhelmed about the pumpkin carriage (I generally don't like drawing things like circles, straight lines, arches, etc.).  This one required design details to be worked out before I could ink, so it was extra slow going, cleaning the lines as I inked.

"Rococo Cinderella" WIP 1
I even took a break to see who won the "Last Comic Standing".  Not the lady I was rooting for, so that was anticlimactic - two hours of dillydallying programming and then ...disappointment. ^^;  Oh, well.  Came back to my desk to finish up the woods and rose bushes in the background.  Relentless.

As Jr. remarked, this is probably the most I've ever done of the background.  I feel it's a bit of an overkill, but hey, the whole Rococo style is all about overkill.  I like researching the period costumes of most any kind.  But this era in particular is about as fun as Japan's Heian period.  Excessively decorative garments among the highborn in both cultures.  It's outrageous and impractical as he**, but that's what makes it FUN!

"Rococo Cinderella" line art for submission
 I am submitting this piece to Ellen Million Graphics call for submissions of the Fairy Tales coloring book.  These volumes (Dark Fantasy, Mermaids, Arabian Nights, Zombies, and Fairy Tales) will be multi-artist collaborative compilations.  I wish I could have submitted a few more, but this is the minimum I wanted to (hopefully) contribute this time, so I have to be pretty happy that I made the deadline. ^_^

I have two volumes (not one, but two) of coloring books of my own in the works with Ellen.  I hope she's about ready to finalize the selections for the above mentioned titles, so we can get ready to proceed. :D  The deadline was extended several times, but each extension by progressively shorter duration.  First extension was by 6 month, then 1 month, and then 2 weeks, and now 1 day.  I hope I'm not the only one who procrastinated... ^^;

It would be so wonderful if the books can go into print well before this Christmas. *fingers crossed*  Coloring books are fun and they do well in my shop.  It'll also be so fun to color my artist friends' works when these compilation titles come out. :D