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I think the biggest highlight for me was meeting the creator and the writer of my secret project, who were THE NICEST people I have ever met.  Seriously, they took me for ice cream.  Admittedly, I can't have ice cream, but there was apple juice, and it was just such a lovely little break from everything else.  We shared stories and photos (and some video) of our cats. LOL.  I wish I could say names.  *sigh*

The deviantArt booth was pretty tightly packed and as such it was not possible for me to hang out next to my display and meet people.  It was also tucked away back behind all the exciting computer displays, so if you missed it, and me, then many apologies.  psifigirl was the only dA fan I managed to meet, and that was only because she waited for a half hour AND THEN CAME BACK LATER.  And even then, it was pure luck that I ran into her after stopping by for five seconds to grab something from my suitcase.  She gave me the most adorable mini figure she made of Holly and took the only picture of me from the entire day. <3  There was indeed much hugging.

I had a fair adventure getting my art there and back and pretty much everything I took home in my luggage was ruined by a careless cab driver (whereas the TSA, who searched my bags on THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS, managed not to do any damage).  But I sent a lot home by mail, and when it arrives Tuesday or Wednesday, I will start my

Ex-SDCC FREE SHIPPING SALE (US only) at storenvy

I just want to first make sure the package actually DOES make it back to me, haha.

Note me if you are interested and I will send you the details when the sale is ready.  Or you can come back mid-week.  I don't think I will sell out or anything (based on past sales).  I have maybe 12 copies of each comic left, and whatever cards/prints didn't go with me to SDCC.  I want to get rid of all my unsold crap and clean out my attic, so anything that doesn't sell by the end of July is going in the skip, for realsy.  If you order a comic and want some prints or cards, ask.  It depends on weight and availability, but I'll throw in whatever you want for free.  I have a few 11X17ish posters which I'd sell for $5 or so: Middleman, Farscape, there are three Maze posters - the waterfall, the sinking one, and the book 3 cover.  They don't have a page on storenvy right now, so note me if you are interested.  I am busy with other things, and I just want all this stuff out of my life so I can stop feeling morose about it.
Correction: I got a California temporary sellers permit, so I am pretty sure that means I can sell comics at SDCC. So if you are at SDCC on Thursday and come by the deviantArt table, you may be able to buy one! :D


--

If you haven't heard yet, I am going to SDCC this year:
Ayame-Kenoshi.deviantart.com/a…

I am scheduled for Thursday only, and I won't be selling anything (permit issues and all), but I will have a (half) table and you can come by and say hi. :DDD

Being excited is currently fighting with being hugely anxious, but hey, condolulations to me! ;)
The Henry Art Gallery, a contemporary art museum in Seattle, WA, will host a small exhibition about webcomics in 2012.

Vote for your favorite three webcomics!
www.surveymonkey.com/s/henryar…

Voting closes January 5th, 2012, so hop to it!
Very Nerdy Xmas 2011 by mleiv
2011 holiday cards on Storenvy: mleiv.storenvy.com/collections…

I am always hesitant to advertise my store, mostly because issues of stocking and shipping and worrying about quality keep me up at night.  But I ordered some cards to sell at GeekFest ( www.sbcharities.org/events/gee… ) and I thought I'd put them up on storenvy for a few weeks, since I still have some time to reorder in the unlikely event I run out of something.

I also put up some Maze charms: mleiv.storenvy.com/products/18… (although I need better photos).  I have a bunch of other glass charms I made of various designs: morgan's charm, cat in moon, dog in moon, moya, serenity, that sort of thing.  Express interest and I will bother with a photo/link.  But I make the charms mostly because I love glass and metal paint and stuff: they never sell.
GeekGirlCon was the most amazing convention and I felt so honored to have been a part of it (especially after they sold out BOTH DAYS!). I met so many people; I am still digging through business cards and scribbled notes. I sold a bunch of comics (and thanks to Ka-Blam for express shipping my order so it actually got here in time!). I hope most of those comics went to people who like the story: I know I have trouble summarizing it. @okbjgm bought a comic set and took home one of my Middleman posters, which was a huge honor. I was floating all day from that.

My next appearance will be at GeekFest ( www.sbcharities.org/events/gee… ) December 4, a holiday geeky craft fair with music. I think that will be my last for the foreseeable future, though. I really want to focus on The Next Project now, and I am sick of having my attic full of boxes of prints and stuff.

I am still posting sketches to my tumblr account ( mleiv.tumblr.com/ ) from the next comic and I've started tentatively pencilling the first pages. I am also working on a set of Geeky Holiday Cards. I've been posting prints and cards on storenvy ( mleiv.storenvy.com/ ), but so far I haven't seen much traffic there so I don't know if I will bother selling the holiday cards there. You will probably have to come to GeekFest to get them. ^^
GeekGirlCon is this Saturday and Sunday (Oct 8th & 9th) people!!! I am on the center aisle, right in the middle. (map: mleiv.com/wp-content/files/por… more directions are here: www.geekgirlcon.com/con/northw… )

I will have lots of Middleman "Pike" posters ( mleiv.deviantart.com/art/Pike-… ) and Firefly and Farscape fanarts and my typical overabundance of prints and charms and stickers. And bookmarks. No one ever buys the bookmarks, you know, so there will always be bookmarks.

And, if that wasn't incentive enough, I will be wearing my Wendy Watson costume on Saturday (Middleman in tow). It is an awesome costume. Seriously. You are going to want to see it. :D

UPDATE 2011-10-09:  I added some photos and a brief gush of my experience to tumblr: mleiv.tumblr.com/post/11258541…

Short version: OMG everyone wants to experience this convention in 2012!
  • Mood: Excited
Just a reminder that Jet City Comic Show ( www.jetcitycomicshow.com/ ) is this Saturday, September 24th.  I will have a table in the Artist Alley full to the brim with comics, charms, posters, cards, bookmarks, and whatever else I can scrounge up.  Please come by!  My table is right between Toilet Genie and Wayfarer's Moon (see map: mleiv.com/jet-city-comic-show/… will be free promo bookmarks while they last and free digital download codes for any purchase over $10.
  • Mood: Excited
COMIC ISSUES PRINTED

I just updated The Locked Maze store with all three issues: thelockedmaze.com/store/

Since I have yet to receive my own preview copy, you may see it before I do.  8P

OTHER PRINT STUFF

And I have boxes and boxes of posters, postcards, bookmarks, trinkets, and more - all ready to go to Spocon on Saturday.  Since I have no clue what people want or how much of it (my first convention... *jittery*), I haven't put them on the site store yet.  BUT I WILL.  Although some of it will have to go on mleiv.com's store since it is not Maze-related.  

TUMBLR

You can see some of the goodies on my tumblr account (mleiv.tumblr.com/).  I'm also posting all my concept sketches and other doodles to tumblr right now.  I don't have the time to post this in-between sketchy stuff on all of my other online sites, so tumblr won because my phone hooks up to it.  = EASY.

SPOCON GIVEAWAY

Some of you were my beta testers, so you already know what the super-secret special giveaway I am bringing to Spocon is.  For the rest of you, just come by my booth and ask for the super-secret special giveaway and I'll give you one.  Otherwise you have to buy something. :P
  • Mood: Excited
It was so awesome to see that yesterday.  I would have left a journal gushing about how happy it made me, but I wanted everyone to keep voting for Toilet Genie.  Today I can say: it was wonderful, and thank you.  Especially to blix-it who recommended the DD (and who makes Toilet Genie; go vote for D00R: Toilet Genie on TWC, srsly - I have yet to move her up the rankings-!).  And I will dig through all the new comments in a few weeks when I have more time.

--

I am currently working on getting the final version of Maze ready for Ka-Blam.  This is the standalone Book III that I am talking about, not the assembled 3-book graphic novel, which will have to wait (because I want to make it fancy with a new cover and stuff).  I am also printing up some art cards and the like for my brief run of conventions coming up.  Speaking of which, it sounds like I will be vendor-ing at Spocon on Saturday August 13.  

SpoCon

Is anyone going to be there?  It looks pretty cool - there are a ton of costume panels I wish I could go to.  Anyway, I will post more information once I know where I will be vendor-ing and whether or not I will have Maze Book III in hand (POD delivery times are notoriously slow).  I am still also scheduled for Jet City, September 24, and GeekGirlCon, October 8-9. And I will definitely have copies of Book III by then.

And the online store for The Locked Maze should be populated with more stuff in the coming month as well, with comics and bookmarks and cards and such.  I am still working out the digital option - Ka-Blam is teasing me with digital distribution options, but for speed I think I may offer my own.

--

People who have asked what I am doing AFTER Maze (since it has obviously not really moved off my plate yet): I am working on two scripts, one of which involves a 25-year-old idea of mine and includes the characters being considered here.  And I have some fan sketches to do, and general figure/scenery drawing practice.  Because while it is true that I am much more comfortable drawing people straight out of my head at the present than I was when I first started drawing Maze, nonetheless, I still feel like a big clumsy hack and I need to figure some stuff out. :P

--

So that's it.  That's what I'm doing.  Busy.  But I did sleep in on Monday.  It was nice.  I will try it again in ten years.
  • Mood: Euphoric
I know I don't do this much.  My bad.  All the lovely artists on dA deserve more journal entries from me. :)

Kernan Fan Art Sketch by blix-it



For a very limited time, blix-it, the talented creator of Toilet Genie, has a TWC sketch of Kernan.  I encourage you to blast her with votes while it is still up (she changes her sketches often).

Vote For Toilet Genie

She also sent me this fan art of Holly and the Queen, which is awesome.

Harvey Awards for ComfortLove & AdamWithers



dA's own Comfort Love (ComfortLove) and Adam Withers (AdamWithers) were nominated for two Harvey awards this year.  If you are working in the comics industry, I encourage you to vote in the Harvey Awards, and particularly to vote for Adam and Comfort.  You can read more about your eligibility and the talented nominees here: Harvey Awards Nominations.  The deadline is August 6.

- Read The Uniques Tales for free.
- Read The Uniques Issue 1 for free.
- Read Rainbow In The Dark Issue 1 for free.

Comfort and Adam are some of the nicest, most hard-working, and genuinely talented artists in the business.  I love their work! (see my pinup for an issue of Rainbow In The Dark and this Motherboard (from the Uniques) Fan Art)
  • Watching: Farscape (again)
The new website for The Locked Maze went live last night. It has a mobile browsing plugin and caching, so it should be easier to visit now. Also, the archives and galleries have slideshow capability (to skip slideshow and see full-size, click the title below the image). And on any comic page clicking the right of the comic will advance forward and left backward (on iPhone, you can use swipe too). Yay!

The Locked Maze

Since I was up until 2AM last night making it live, and I have worked pretty hard on it for the past several weeks, maybe, uh, keep the criticism and bug reports light for now.  I won't be able to devote myself to agonizing debugging and restyling until next month. :P
  • Reading: A Marked Man
Oh dear me, my third Daily Deviation.  Thank you all SO MUCH.  Although I think the cruelty factor has been going up on each of these.  My fourth DD is going to be that awful school photo from sixth grade, isn't it?  Remind me never to put that on deviantArt!  LMAO. :)

I have a new motivation article today as well.  
Motivation, Part II (Dissatifaction)

And as I mentioned on this week's comic post, I had an amazing time at ECCC.  I am looking forward to my first convention (at a table), Jet City in September.  If you read the last Motivation article, yes, it will supply my yearly quota of fear, including HUMILIATION.  But there will also be bookmarks and hopefully the finished graphic novel (The Locked Maze should be done July-ish).
  • Reading: Blood Maidens
I've been thinking a lot about Motivation lately - that thing that gets me to finish a page every week, even when I am completely sick of this comic and I haven't seen any change in my life or my popularity after years of work and I hate everything I do and I will never be good enough... well, we've all heard this speech.  Usually from ourselves-!

So I've started a series of four essays on motivation and what I've learned over the past two decades as a failed artist who just refuses to quit.  I thought it might interest/inspire some of the rest of you to get back on the horse and try to recapture your childhood ambitions in art.

Motivation: Part I (Fear)

Also, there is a new sketch on TWC - all the fairy costume sketches from Books I & II: topwebcomics.com/vote/11101/de…
  • Reading: Blood Maidens
I do not have a table and I am only signed up to wander the floors on Saturday due to my limited tolerance for crowds.  However, it sounds like a lot of people are going and I was wondering if we wanted to do something social one evening?  Especially for the out-of-towners, might be nice to have dinner or drinks rather than huddle in your hotel room (I say huddle, because getting out and exploring the city implies that it is not rainy, windy, and supremely cold, which is unlikely, sorry).

I should make the disclaimer that I hate social gatherings and I have in fact ended social lunches with the entire table rushing en masse out of the room to get away from me and my depressing and alienating conversation topics.  So if I say nothing all night, that is a good social event in my book.  :P  I would, however, be happy to supply free comic books/stickers/whatever other print goods are desired to anyone who came.  Can I bribe people to be my friend? Ha.

I am busy Friday night and Saturday early evening (Browncoats Movie!), but any other time, weigh in via comments below.  Tap House and Gordon Biersch are near the convention hall and have adequate liquor and desserts.  There's also the requisite million Starbucks in a one block radius, if we are feeling poor and sober.  I can spike my own coffee, after all. :P
  • Reading: Otherland
I am going to try to update my TWC incentive more often this year.  Right now, we have sketches of Kernan.  Some from back when he had dread-style horns.  Yipee.

topwebcomics.com/vote/11101/de…
  • Reading: Blood Maidens
Wow, what a surreal year this has been.  Back in 2009 I started Book II of my comic (in oh-so-difficult *color*) and still had readers in the single digits. This year, I am 1/3 of the way through my final book and have an ARMY of wonderful dA readers. :P  And I am actually roughing out my next comic projects.  Or I was before I got distracted doing things like my halloween costume, my xmas card, and THIS.  I feel like a completely different artist.  In fact, one of my projects before the new year is to finally do the ubiquitous dA "Progression" meme and show y'all some of my early drawings my mom mailed awhile back (this is the 1970s and 1980s, people, so there is A LOT of progression to be had, and yes, you can point and laugh: I do :P ).  I think I have experienced some serious (!) highs and lows during 2010 and I admit to being a little sleep-deprived for most of it.  Maybe a lot sleep-deprived.  Like, I need to sleep for a month straight to catch up.  But most of the truly awful moments are behind me and the past three months have been an idyllic dream of artistic productivity.  If I were the least bit musical I would lean out a window and sing and fat little Disney birds would join in and tie ribbons in my hair.  Ermm.  Thank god that is not the case. :P

I expect 2011 to be filled with all sorts of cool new stuff, including more painting (yay!) and some test-the-waters etsy-esque commercial ideas.  I have about 35-40 pages left in LTM Book III, so it is definitely slated for its big conclusion in the next 10 months.  ^^  This is going to be the best year ever!  Hrmph: not hard to say, given the decade it is following up; the Oughts were the worst decade ever.  Good riddance!  Don't let the door hit yer ass on the way out.  Although tomorrow is the 10-year anniversary of the worst day of my life, and I felt exactly this way (yunno, OPTOMISTIC) in 2000 on Dec 24th, so we'll see if Fate deals me a major reversal in the next 24 hours.  In the meantime, there is lots of booze and cookies and candy to be had and until my cheery self is forcibly smacked down by misfortune, I look forward to what the future brings. :)

May 2011 be filled with awesome new art projects and opportunities for all of us!
  • Mood: Excited
  • Eating: EVERYTHING
  • Drinking: BUBBLY STUFF
I've been paring down my time commitments the past two weeks, and yet I am busier than ever.  Halloween is always crunch time for me, between costumes and pumpkin carving and gingerbread cookies and it being MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY EVER.  But when I look at my schedule, it just gets worse after October.  Much worse.  Oh my god so much extra work.

So I'm having to cut back on my online time, and that includes dA.  I probably won't be responding much to comments or journals for awhile.  Sorry.  In return I promise a lot more art by the end of the year.  Paintings, tshirts, paper dolls: I have a lot of things on my list!  And there will even be some of this: mleiv.deviantart.com/art/2010-…
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: The Middle
2010-06-26: Timely BoingBoing regarding fair debate online: www.boingboing.net/2010/06/16/…

When I was checking my poll numbers last week I almost fell out of my chair to realize that I have over 100 people who actually give a damn about my little project, this comic book.  And now I have been awarded my second DD! (Which, incidentally, I didn't even know was possible back when I got the first one, ha.)  You guys are so awesome!  All the favorites I've received, and the wonderful, supportive comments over the past two and a half years has really just meant the world to me.  I met my favorite writer a few weeks ago at a convention, and I commented that I didn't want to be a crazy fan glomming on to her or anything, and her response was that no, of course it wasn't like that, because we've spoken online and she felt like I was a friend.  That was the most awesome thing in the whole world to hear.  And all of my deviantArt friends (both the official and unofficial variety) - you are all the same way.  If I met you in person, we would be friends.  I admit, my crippling social anxieties may not make that immediately apparent, but if I stuttered and got nervous shakes and ended up throwing up later, it would all be with the utmost affection. ;)

This DD (recommended by lutrasilvereye) has been a lit more choppy than the last, because they ended up selectinh my drawing of perhaps the most iconic mormon building in Salt Lake City, the temple.  OMG CONTROVERSY!  It's okay.  Frankly, I always expected that kind of response when I started The Locked Maze.  The only reason I ever even started posting it online was because no one ever visited my website, so I thought I was safe.  The fact that I've had anything BUT the negative comments is really what baffles me (did I mention how awesome y'all are?  I think I did.  :) ).  And if Neil Gaiman gets hate mail and Oingo Boingo was viciously reviewed by the critics, well, I guess it's part and parcel of the artistic world.  I mean, if your work isn't displaying all your vulnerabilities and personal pain and deepest secrets for the world to scorn, then you aren't doing it right.  ;)
  • Mood: Amazed
  • Watching: Firefly (again)
UPDATE 2010-04-29:  My CSTS Seattle 2010 tshirts and totes are now on sale from the Seattle Browncoats.  No profits go to me, but I think they're real purdy! :)

I am about 5 pages away from the *thrilling* end of Book II.  I am more into the comic right now than I have ever been - I have trouble dragging my head away from it for work/home.  Which is good, I guess, since the pages are taking forever to finish so it is consuming pretty much ever second of spare time I have (and some I *don't*).  But I keep thinking about Book III and all the things I can't draw yet.  I don't want to lose my momentum (or my readers), but I think I am going to have to take a month or two off when finish Book II to organize the printing, finalize all my new characters and the rest of the script, practice some figure drawing, and learn how to draw trees.  :P  I will post some of my sketches as I go, but yeah, I am totally expecting to come back in July and find dA abandoned with the sound of crickets chirping mournfully from the page margins.

Oh, and I got some postcards made for Conduit since I won't have Book II in print form by then: www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid… are purdy and I love them.  :)

And I just wanted to tell y'all to watch The MiddleMan if you haven't seen it.   Can't believe that show was cancelled - so very awesome.  I am going back to listen to the commentary now.  Also, YEAH, *another* reason I'm pissed I missed the 2009 SDCC.  Not that I would have known about the show then and so would have missed their performance anyway. #iamlame
  • Mood: Excited
  • Watching: MiddleMan!
Yeah, so Emerald City was really not my kind of thing.  Big crowds.  Boring panels.  And Kate Beaton's line was so long that I couldn't even figure out where to go to stand in it.  So I didn't get a fat pony and I am sad.

I did get to meet dA's own :iconblix-it: blix-it/Cari, who was the *nicest* person and whose gorgeous prints, bookmarks, and comic were the best booty I took home by far.  Oh - and I acquired a lovely Serenity tshirt from jasonpal   

And I managed to give away exactly 4 of my sketch cards.  Well, 3.  And 1 left abandoned in a strategic location. (And yes, that means I still have a huge pile of them sitting around, unwanted. *self-pitying sniff*)

I am now reconsidering Conduit, though.  I recalculated my remaining pages and in some Sisyphean punishment, no matter how many pages I finish, I always have 10 more to go.  So there is no way I will have the Locked Maze II done by May for printing.  And subjecting myself to ECCC10-type crowds + Mormons + difficulty of obtaining liquor + no pet sitter - well, it all just makes it less appealing than ever.  Maybe I will feel better next week.  Or maybe I will crawl under the bed and declare April "Antisocial Loons Stay Home" month.  My cats would be pleased with that.
  • Mood: Grumpy