Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weight, self-image and art

I've never felt qualified to speak about body-shape and image, and the whole 'media is unrealistic' thing... I've been underweight my entire life, and always feel vaguely guilty saying anything expressing dissatisfaction with it.

But, 10 years and 25 pounds later, I have finally hit my pre-established 'ideal weight.' I weigh 140, am 5'8 and I look healthy. I have enough padding on my butt that my legs don't fall asleep when I sit in a hard chair, I don't get weak and bitchy if I go three hours between meals, and I can almost wear standard sizes. My hipbones and elbows are no longer classified as concealed weapons. Finally, my yearly exams don't come with the leading questions about throwing up to be thin.

I'm somewhat ecstatic about this, but I'm also a little unnerved.

Medically, I'm ideal.

Fashionably, not so.

I sit without perfect posture and lo! There is a little roll of flab at my belly. If I suck my head in just the right way I can almost make a double chin. If I poke my thigh, it wibbles! Wibbles!

(Since I don't need to gain another 25 pounds, I've already discontinued my bacon and ice cream diet, and I have 2 cookies instead of 12 if I want sweets. I'm also working out twice a week, but I do that more because I really like how it feels. (I MISS running.) )

I like where I am. I feel hot, and Jake thinks I'm hotter than I've ever been. I'm trying to resolve in my head the pressure to make the belly flab go away, to go back to non-wibbly thighs, with my sheer delight in the fact that I no longer have to carry food with me or risk passing out or coming unglued on some poor bystander. I love how healthy I feel and how much energy I have.

It's a weird dichotomy.

It also makes me think about all the perfect, waif-like figures we see in fantasy art.

Fairies with these fit little flat stomachs and waists that leave no room for internal organs. Tall, shapely elves with Big Boobs and long limbs, who still manage to be perfectly curvy, with no sharp hipbones or bony-looking elbows.

I'm so entirely as guilty of this as anyone else.

So last night, all of this swirling around in my head, I started a new piece of artwork:

I'm not even sure she really qualifies as meaty... but she's definitely plumper than any body types I'm accustomed to drawing. It struck me as natural that a sea creature would have a little padding - look at a lot of sea creatures: seals, walrus, whales... not a hipbone in sight! I still want her to look beautiful, if not our super model style of beautiful, and happy with herself.

It's kind of a tricky thing, being happy with yourself...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Early update for April

New Work

A very warm welcome to the following artist, new to Ellen Million Graphics' Fantasy Art Shop:

Tracy Cornett

We've also got some new work up from other artists! Here are just a few:

A few featured new projects, features and sales!

You get a last chance at the March sale bundle, and an early opportunity at the April sale bundle. This month, it's a book-lover's delight: one of our wonderful tote bags and 4 random bookmarks, for the amazing price of just $15 (regularly $22!). You pick your own design from over 1000 possibilities!

To help you narrow down your choices, I have added a fantastic new feature to the webpage, an advanced search page. Pick a product and a category, and see only the choices in those combined areas.

Tiziano Baracchi brings us a new line of teas: the Dangerous Women Tea Collection. These feisty females are now available on EMG's fine selection of teas.

Michele-Lee Phelan has illustrated this gorgeous new oracle deck, the Mythic Oracle. A gorgeous and insightful deck and book set, with 45 sturdy, oversized cards depicting Greek heroes and gods.

There are a few bars left of the Biting Pear soap. This soap is a test batch - we are testing the scent (pear and clove), the shelf-life, the color (it may lather a bit neon green!) and the general temperment of this soap. Only 10 bars are still available! It is a soap and bookmark combo, for $8.50.

Delays and closure

My apologies, but there may be some shipping delays due to recent volcanic activity in the Anchorage area. All of our mail to (and from!) the rest of the world goes through this area, and when the planes are cancelled, your orders may wait some extra time at the airport.

If the volcano behaves and our plane can get out, my husband and I will be visiting family between April 4 and April 18. The webpage will remain open, but orders will not be shipped during this window of time.

Be well,
Ellen Million
Ellen Million Graphics: http://ellenmilliongraphics.com
Taking the Starving out of Artists since 1993.
Work here includes pieces by Tracy Cornett, Ursula Vernon, Cris Griffin, Misty Benson, Michele-Lee Phelan and Tiziano Baracchi. Be sure to visit the webpage for work by more than 200 artists!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

EMG-Zine needs YOU!

I really wanted to take the time today to remind folks about submitting non-fiction for EMG-Zine. No, we don't pay cash. But we do pay credit, and it can add up to a nice little chunk. Write one tutorial or a simple walk-through, and you can get a free copy of the anthology. Make it a 2-parter, and you throw in the shipping, and a print, and a bookmark. Or whatever it is that you want, from a store that has artwork from more than 200 artists. And feel good about what you got, because yes, artists get their full royalties for anything you pick out. EMG loot makes excellent and much-appreciated gifts, in a time when the gift budget is maybe a little slim.

Don't think you have a skill that's honed enough to share? Do some research, or conduct a product comparison! We're looking for a new columnist to do the artist spotlight! Need some ideas for articles we'd like to see? How about a comparison of writing software for different uses (novels vs. short stories vs. poetry vs. coding)? Maybe a look at how to adjust brushes in Photoshop? Or something on drawing posture? How to package and ship artwork (maybe for 2D and 3D separately!) safely and inexpensively? How to henna! Lamination tricks! Heat press tricks! How are covers selected for novels these days? How has contracting changed with e-books and non-traditional presses? What kind of shortcuts can save time when you're trying to meet a deadline without sacrificing quality? How can you get fur texture out of sculpee or clay? Heck, how can you paint or draw fur texture? Have you recently encountered something useful or unusual dealing with copyright law? How do you teach art to young children with short attention spans?

What's more, due to our new subscription model, you may not receive a 'paycheck', but you are eligible for subscription dollars. For each year-long subscription that is purchased at the site, $22 goes directly to our writers and artists. The subscribers pick their favorite articles, and stories, and can allot their funds to YOU. That's cash. Real, honest, bill-paying money!

We accept reprints, too! The next theme we're collecting for is Fire for May (deadline is April 1). Other upcoming themes include: Spiders, Alice in Wonderland, Wizards and Eastern Indian Mythology. Non-fiction doesn't need to fit these themes (but it's always a plus if it does!).

So, if you've got a little extra time, like to write and create, and would like to contribute to the general community of fantasy and science fiction writers and artists, EMG-Zine needs you: http://ping.fm/zzc0H/guidelines.php

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Locals, I apologize...

Locals, I apologize.

I found out yesterday that we couldn't (easily/affordably) get our hardpack* removed unless the service district called out for another snow removal**. So, I thought to myself, it would be great if we got 12 inches of snow by Sunday!

... and we woke up this morning to find about half of that already!

* Hardpack, for my southern friends, is the layered, solid snow that accumulates in moderate traffic areas - all the loose snow from the year packed down into a driveway glacier. It is very hard, and ours is at least 8 inches thick.

** 'Mobe' (Mobilization) is a big part of the expense of hiring equipment where we live - it can cost as much to GET the equipment here as it does to run it. If the equipment is already right here clearing snow off the roads, though, we can get the job done for much, much less and everybody wins. And the hardpack our driveway is bad enough now that a truck with a plow can't do the job, it will definitely take a loader or bulldozer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Art of the Business of Fantasy Art Vol 2

It's here!

The Art of the Business of Fantasy Art, Vol 2 is in stock now. With a gorgeous cover by Jessica Douglas, this volume includes full color walkthroughs, tutorials, discussion about self-publishing, pricing art, work for hire contracts, dealing with art directors, maximizing your workspace and minimizing your footprint on the earth. The writers include C.E.Murphy, Ursula Vernon, Janet Chui, Theresa Mather, Layla Lawlor, R. Bail, Nicole Cadet, Annie Rodrigue, Melissa Acker, Megan Myers and Ellen Million. The very best of the articles from EMG-Zine 2007, stunningly laid out by Melissa Findley in a 92 page, 8.5 x 11 inch softcover. Currently on sale with subscription packages, bundled with vol 1, and individually.