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Venessa
19 May 2014 @ 09:54 pm
First off, thank you so much to the following people who backed the Starflyer John Jackson Kickstarter Campaign: lunalovepotter , major_dallas , geezer_also , elka78 , lewlinx , hedwig5221 , star54kar , lnalvgd , yaaronet , pili204 and other friends and family on Facebook (whose LJ handles either elude me or do not exist). I am so truly touched by your outpouring of support.

I regret to say that the first iteration of the campaign had to be cancelled before it failed to make its minimum donation goal, so naturally, everyone's contributions were immediately refunded. But it means that Steve now has an opportunity to review his approach and streamline the expenses to match the amount that he DID receive, so that the next attempt is sure to succeed.

So the good news is that he's going to give the project another go on Kickstarter in fairly short order. And that gives me a second chance at an opportunity to illustrate a truly fun story. I promise to update as soon as the campaign is relaunched, and I hope those who contributed the first time around will be willing to give it another go when the time comes.

Thank you guys again for cheerleading and donating! I promise to keep you guys posted!
 
 
Venessa
29 April 2014 @ 11:11 am
More about Starflyer John Jackson  
A couple nights ago, I dropped a bit of info about an upcoming illustration project I'm hopefully going to embark on this summer. It's a children's book called "Starflyer John Jackson" - a picture book about a very special pilot (special, because he's five years old) and his adventures around the universe with his crew as they travel to distant planets and escape from the Zeeps (read: space pirates!).

It's being written by an old friend of mine from high school, Steve Shaw. The last time he and I worked on something together, we were tap dancing in 1950s garb as Mabel and Heinzie in "The Pajama Game", so it's kinda crazy how we reconnected after a gajillion years and decided to dust off this story to get it published.

And having spent time with the manuscript, I can confirm that it's as fun to read as it is to draw. Here's the "Cast" picture:

StarflyerCast

So I used the word "hopefully" because it's not funded yet. As you can imagine, I'm trying to make a living wage as an illustrator, Steve supports a family in his corner of the Bronx, NY, and really the only way to make this project happen is through the interest and contributions of our families, friends, and of course, the Kickstarter community.

If you think you might like to donate, there's an extra incentive for folks who donate by way of my LiveJournal flist. Just drop me a link in the comments saying you helped, and you'll receive one of the following "Old School Mudblood428" prints:

Harry Potter artses behind the cut!Collapse )

Here's where to go: Starflyer John Jackson Kickstarter Campaign

Thank you SO MUCH for any small way you can contribute. As you can seen from the incentives list, there are loads of rewards for those of you who are willing to put your faith in this project. I hope you'll consider supporting Steve and me, and I look forward to sending loads of HP prints to the post office! :D
 
 
Venessa
27 April 2014 @ 11:42 pm

...and I don't need anything. No presents. No cake. I have everything I could possibly want. This makes me both nervous (as though the universe has some unhappy tricks in store, so I'd better enjoy this while it lasts), and incredulous, because it feels a little like winning the lottery after so many years of beginning private entries with the words, "I wish..."

The thing that makes me happiest is the knowledge of how much more there is to look forward to. Skills to polish. People to know. Places to visit. Things to create. And they are, I am grateful to say, within reach in one way or another. But, for so many, happiness, health, and prosperity - the stuff I am trying really hard not to take for granted on a daily basis - are not in the cards.

So this year, I have a request for anyone who would like an excuse to do something awesome. It's my birthday, and my wish is to help more people achieve the kind of good that I and so many others enjoy, and give a little more back to the planet we take so much from. If you have the time, dollars, or interest, here are some things on my wish list.

1) Sign my petition urging the US Government to get the plastics problem under control. Not only is this stuff poisoning our environment, but our country also makes plastics something for other, poorer countries to deal with by sending them our waste, which they have no means to effectively handle without putting their communities at great risk. They deserve better and so do we.

2) Visit "Click to Donate" at Care2.com. It is 100% free. Using pay-per-click sponsorship, your click can save acres of rainforest, rescue wildlife, purify water, and raise dollars for cancer research, among other causes. And did I mention it is FREE?

3) Donate to 350.org. They have taken on the massive task of convincing governments and corporations that our air, our atmosphere, and our climate are worth fighting for.

4) Give to Team J.E.D.I, a leukemia and lymphoma fundraising initiative spearheaded by my friend, Jason, who just won his battle against a rare form of leukemia.

And then, if you feel so inclined, there's a special project I am involved in that, if you can help, comes with rewards. My friend, Steve, has asked me to illustrate a scifi picture book, and being a father of two without the ability to pay for my services out of pocket, he has put his faith in Kickstarter to raise the funds to illustrate and self-publish it. There are a number of incentive levels, but if anyone on here donates you'll get a little extra something from me to thank you for supporting a project that will have my name on the cover as illustrator. Just let me know in the comments if you donated:

Starflyer John Jackson Kickstarter Campaign

And I am now 25 minutes away from being a year older. Thanks so much for reading. Thanks so much for always being here for me. My birthday wishes include the wellbeing and happiness of all you amazing people, who are in great part responsible for so much of what brings me joy in my life. Keep being awesome.

Love,
V

 
 
Venessa
Okay.


I hope you're all well (and warm, all you folks in the northern hemisphere). I've been derelict in my LiveJournal duties - but for good reasons, I swear. 2013 was a doozy and thensome with Harrison turning 1, working more or less full time for the fed, and putting whatever leftover energy I had into a project I've been waiting most of my adult life to accomplish.

Which leads me to the big announcement.

I am art-ing again. Like, a LOT. Introducing my new sole proprietorship for illustrating and filmmaking, Red Admiral Creative Studio.

Red Admiral Creative Studio


Red Admiral combines the disciplines that, until recently, I've done in relative privacy. It is so named not only because Red Admirals are a Vanessa species of butterfly (hem, hem), but because butterflies have always inspired me for the way they struggle to come into the world. And starting this enterprise was definitely a struggle - not just because starting a business is a logistical maze for a right-brained person like me, but moreso because I have a personal history of nearsightedness when it comes to the things I think I can do. In many ways, this journal has functioned at times like a dress rehearsal for a life I had only hoped to lead - one defined and propelled by its creative expressions. I sometimes think this is the reason why my departures from LJ are so long - my fanartist appellation started to feel confining because, whether real or imagined, it created borders around what I created, why, and for whom.

While I believe that my Mudblood428 screenname will still live on here as means to share my personal thoughts, experiences, and Harry Potter fan activity (including HP art) I have finally arrived a point where I feel ready to anchor my creative exploits to my real name instead of a tag I made up years ago. From now on, my work will hold as much value to me as it has for those for whom I have worked. And I believe that attitude, ultimately, serves all artists who wish to be valued for the hours, headaches, heartaches, tears, and triumphs we experience at the drawing board, behind the camera, or in the studio. If we don't stand behind our art, how can the world recognize the value of beauty?

Already, things have taken off far faster than I thought they would. As of this writing, I have two children's books in the wings, I've animated several videos (it's gov't stuff, otherwise I'd totally show you guys), and there's now a board game in the wings among other projects that are flowing in. I'm so grateful (and busy!) my heart is fit to burst!

And I have the LJ community to thank for this.

With your encouragement, your comments, your criticisms, and most of all, your friendship, you've helped me build up the confidence to make this leap. I'll crosspost here as often as I can for those who aren't into bookmarking another site, but I hope you'll follow me on the links below:

Website: http://www.redadmiralstudio.com
Twitter: @RedAdmiralStuff
Pinterest: @RedAdmiralPins
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/redadmiralstudio

If you're still reading, you have my gratitude for wading through this TL;DR. lol Anyway, cheers to you all!
 
 
 
Venessa
21 November 2012 @ 11:33 pm
...our gratitude is measured in Harrison's tiny fingers and toes...Collapse )

*Touches wand to her temple, draws out a silvery strand, and watches it fall into the glowing basin*
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Current Mood: thankfulthankful
 
 
Venessa


Six days ago, my son was born at our home in Maryland. The start of active labor to the moment he entered the world took slightly over 50 hours total, culminating in over two hours of pushing. The journey to delivering little Harrison is a miracle all its own, and so the race is on to capture the story of his birth before the details disappear and all I remember about it is how my life was forever changed. So before he wakes up, here goes...

I had no idea what I was in for.Collapse )


Harrison Wilfredo Picard Kelley
Born: September 19th, 2012
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Current Mood: relievedrelieved
 
 
Venessa
01 September 2012 @ 11:14 am
I'm up early on Saturday mornings, usually stirred out of bed by a combination of aching hips and hunger. (These days "getting up" has a different meaning than "waking up" since I'm now waking about 5 times a night from the bathroom breaks or - my favorite - the baby's seemingly endless hiccuping.) This morning, my husband is asleep in bed, leaving me some quiet time to eat some oatmeal and write in case this is my last opportunity to chronicle my end-of-3rd-trimester experiences.

It is Labor Day weekend, after all.

It's like a prenatal celebrity death match.Collapse )

Would love to hear from other LJers about their thoughts on life/work balance. In the meantime, I'll keep you guys posted on the imminent arrival of our little one. Hopefully, he will come sooner than later!
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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
Venessa
05 July 2012 @ 08:22 pm
Week 29 Status Check:
Baby is resting comfortably with his back against Tummy Left (like Stage Left, but in utero), his head down and arms and legs located on Tummy Right. His little feet occasionally like to test the elasticity of my belly by stretching out alllll the wayyyy, jostling whatever I had for dinner/lunch/breakfast before retracting and/or wriggling around like he's pedaling a bicycle. I fear at some point my skin will not retract with his feet. There's just too much kiddie calisthenics going on in there.

Also, TheBump.com says he's the size of an acorn squash. I don't know what that means, considering he feels like an enormous, huge, and also large bowling ball-type thing.

That mated at some point with a halibut.

An evolved halibut with feet.

This is getting pretty darn uncomfortableCollapse )
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Current Mood: thoughtfulwistful
 
 
Venessa
15 June 2012 @ 10:39 pm
Dear LJverse,

We joke that a writer's job is defined by navel contemplation. Hilariously, my navel is now a constant source of distraction from writing. These days there is a teeny something (Foot? Hand?) under it that kicks and punches at it all the time. Ironically, this bellybutton-tastic activity has sort of derailed my writing impulses. Instead of thinking, "I should really chronicle more of my pregnancy on my LiveJournal", I find myself obsessing about the weirdness of my bellybutton's new talents, which include its ability to physically shift off center depending on where the baby's head is resting, stretch to inhuman capacities, and gradually turn itself inside out.

My intellectual assessment of this phenomenon more or less sounds like this:

"Dude... my innie is turning into an outie! Ewwwwwwww..."

For your entertainment (and, someday, my son's): Maternity Musings - Part Two.

A SMALL HUMAN THE SIZE OF A WATERMELON HAS TO FIT INSIDE ME.Collapse )

That's all she wrote for now. I really do want to be back on here soon, albeit Baby Brain has been making that a bigger challenge than I anticipated. I will consult with the Teddy Graham (i.e. baby) and keep you posted. And lastly, to the Daddies (and Daddies-to-be) out there, I hope you have a Happy Father's Day!
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Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful