Saturday, March 5, 2016

How I Conjured Up a Brakebills College Jacket

Yes, you guys already know...I'm really enjoying the new TV Series The Magicians on SyFy. Truth is, I really started getting into it because they ordered prints from me to use on the set, (read more here)  (...and here) however now I'm totally sucked into the story and awaiting every new episode! I also downloaded the first book in the series to my tablet which I'm thoroughly enjoying reading in between art and writing. So... I've been wanting to try a cool technique from Pinterest for decorating shirts and I knew I wanted to make, a Brakebills College jacket! I know, in the book it's a graduate school, but they didn't want to end up with a problem with kids aging too quickly to keep up with filming the series, so they changed it to a University. If I couldn't get one from Brakebills College bookstore in Upstate NY (don't tell me it's not real...) I decided to make one myself!

I conjured up a one of a kind Brakebills jacket, and I didn't have to use a series of complex hand gestures or speak incantations in obscure languages! All it took was a $5. sweatshirt jacket on clearance, (I used a Hanes ComfortBlend 50% Cotton 50% Poly) a pack of vinyl poster letters, freezer paper, craft knife, a little spray bottle, and some bleach...and my crafty witchy self!

I loosely based my design of the Brakebills "Key and Bee" shield on a screenshot from the show, I needed to simplify it in order to make a template. I cut the shield outline out separately, then cut out a template for the Key and Bee. Rather than plain paper, I used freezer paper. I drew it out on the papery side-the plastic like coated side was the back.

I didn't want to cut out all those letters too, so I found these easy vinyl letters. They have sticky backs for use on poster board signs, they were perfect!

First I positioned the shield outline, then I ironed it onto the shirt. Freezer paper is perfect, you can iron it on so it leaves a nice clean edge and it won't shift or lift while you're working. When your done, it peels off easily with no problem. After I ironed the shield I positioned the letters, they stuck great with no ironing needed, peeling off easily later.

Next I filled a small spray bottle with straight bleach, (lavender scented, 'cause I'm fancy like that) and spritzed right around the edges of the shield and the letters and watched as the areas I lightly sprayed slowly began to lighten up! Seemed pretty magical! Then I took the top off of the bottle and used the straw part to flick bigger drips and drops of bleach all around, giving it a cool edgy magical look. I was, having so much fun, I forgot to take a pic in between! While I forgot to grab my phone and take a shot, when I was pleased with the way the bleach around the shield was developing, I lifted up the shield template and positioned the key and bee carefully over the black place where the shield had been making sure it was pretty well centered within the black shield outlined with the bleach spray...

I ironed on the key and bee and then sprayed it with my little bleach bottle. I let it sit for a short time, then sprayed more. I probably repeated 3-4 times, I wanted the key and bee a little lighter than the faded outline.

Damn!!! It turned out cooler than I even imagined! I went ahead and added the same design to the back too.  Then I decided to also add the Brakebills letters down one arm like I've seen on college jackets. Before you ask, nope, this will not be for sale... copyrights, intellectual property, and all that,I made this just for my personal use. That's why I'm not sharing this template either, not to say you can't create your own for yourself! In the future I may offer a totally different design of my own and offer a downloadable template and complete instructions. This was a really fun project and I totally want to make more shirts, jackets and stuff!

This process was kind of addictive...much like magic!

...the jacket is addictive too, it's my new fave!

Then...after all that work....I discovered The Magicians Cafe Press store! I could have bought a jacket!! The author of the books Lev Grossman had fans do some really cool designs for shirts, jackets, and other stuff...I think I might need to get a shirt to wear with my new jacket...maybe a sticker for the car...tote sure to check it out here:

I also found this tutorial before I decided to try this technique myself and it was my inspiration for this project. Lots of great practical advice on how to do bleach t-shirt design!

Blessed Be!


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Visit Me at the Authors Booth at St. Louis Pagan Picnic 2016

 Lots of people are asking me if I'll be at St. Louis Pagan Picnic this year, the answer to that question is a resounding "Yes, I will be there!" But please read on, there's an important change that you'll need to know if you want to find me there!

Last year we didn't vend, but I really love to be involved with Pagan Picnic, we just had too much going on to have time to prepare. Many people don't realize that it takes us literally months to make all the products that we've brought in the past, and with all my growing publishing demands, we just didn't have the time. This year isn’t looking much different, with tons of work on the old wooden art table. I really still want to be involved with Pagan Picnic, but we needed to re-think things to better serve the needs of my family, my deadlines, and my Pagan Picnic friends. We love our St. Louis peeps, let's face it dears, we've all watched our kids grow up over the years, forged friendships, danced to the drums, and made magic together. I absolutely can’t imagine a year of not being there, so this year I AM going to participate, but just in a different capacity than as a vendor. 

Yes, selling our wares has become a big part of my Pagan Picnic experience, but being involved in a spiritual community should never take a back seat to business, that’s just not who we are, or who we ever want to be. That's why I will be joining the Authors Booth at Pagan Picnic instead of doing a vending booth!

Some of my books and decks,; some I've written, some I contributed articles to, some of these I've illustrated. Come see me at the Author's Booth at St. Louis Pagan Picnic and find out what pretties I'm bringing including the new book I wrote that I hope to have there The Witch's Mirror!
I'm also very delighted to be offering free workshops both days as well, something that I’ve been too busy with vending to manage in the last couple of years. I’m excited about having an opportunity to join in more in of the Pagan Picnic activities with everyone, I’m looking forward to having time to attend rituals again, attend a couple workshops, and have more time to chat with the attendees at Picnic instead of just selling. Of course as always, we plan to bring a generous cache of donations for the raffle and I'll have my books and decks for the Authors Table and a few small items  "road show style,"

But Mickie, We Want to Shop For Art!

Of course we don’t want to disappoint anyone who loves to shop with us, so we've worked out a perfect solution. Watch for the ad in the program (and I'll have coupons at the Authors Booth too) with a special coupon code just for Pagan Picnic to all of our online stores so that our Pagan Picnic friends can still get goodies from us with free shipping for the month of June!  Have you ever come by our booth and we didn't have the art you wanted on the product you wanted? This also solves that problem because we'll make exactly what you want just for you while you shop in your pajamas from home. You don't have to haul it all over Tower Grove Park either, it will just magically show up at your front door. When you shop with us online, we have literally everything in stock and even make custom stuff for people. We can add your name to that mug you wanted, personal text to a garden flag, and we don't charge a dime extra for that either....and for Pagan Picnic peeps, free shipping in all throughout June!

Did You Say Free Workshops? Tell me More...

The dates and times for the programming are still TBA but I will be presenting an hour long workshop on Saturday and one on Sunday. Watch the Pagan Picnic website for the schedule, but here's the workshops that I'll be bringing you:

Sacred Coloring, Tips and Tricks

Adult coloring books and coloring pages have become very popular for relaxation, and it’s a great alternative to traditional meditation.  Join Pagan artist Mickie Mueller and learn tips and tricks to maximize the magical aspects of coloring making the experience even more sacred. Mickie will also share colored pencil and marker shading techniques to take your coloring to the next level, as well as the meanings of different colors and how they help you manifest your goals magically through the process of coloring. Will she also have a couple free coloring pages for you to take home and color later on? Of course she will!
Llewellyn's Witch's Coloring Book featuring Llewellyn artists  Mickie Mueller, Elisabeth Alba, Kathleen Edwards, Jennifer Hewitson, Wen Hsu, and Carloyn Vibbart. I'll be using this coloring book and Animal Totem Mandala Coloring Book by Wendy Martin and Natalie Zaman to demonstrate coloring techniques.   

Become a More Powerful Witch through Mirror Magic

Mickie Mueller, the Author of the new book The Witch’s Mirror, discusses the theory and uses of mirrors in magical practice. Everyone will get their own enchanted witch’s mirror to keep. We will use our mirrors as we perform a simple yet powerful spell to connect with your true self, boosting your personal power and thus your magical energy. Mickie will also have a non-reversing mirror on display that shows your face as others see it, not in reverse as we usually see our own reflections; it’s a curiosity of science and magic!
The spell in the mirror workshop is an extra spell that's not in the book...oooohhh...bonus! Won't be in St. Louis for Pagan Picnic? You can pre-order The Witch's Mirror from LlewellynAmazonBarnes & Noble, or watch for it at an IndieBound bookstore near you.
If you plan to be attending St. Louis Pagan Picnic in beautiful Tower Grove Park June 4th and 5th, come by and see me at The Author's Booth at St. Louis Pagan Picnic, I hope to have the very first copies of my brand new book The Witch’s Mirror! I'll also have copies of  Voice of the Trees: A Celtic Ogham Oracle, Mystical Cats Tarot, Llewellyn’s Witch’s Coloring Book, and  I'll a few books I’ve illustrated on hand. 

Here are links for more information about St. Louis Pagan Picnic:

Blessed Be!

Mickie Mueller

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Catch Up on The Magicians and Catch a Sighting of My Art!

Well, we're up to episode 3 of SyFy's The Magicians and my art has bee sighted on the actual set! In a scene! Things are happening! On actual TV!
I was watching and said, "Ooooh, oooh, I 'think' I see Drawing Down the Moon!" That's Art of Magic in the corner too, I had to zoom in on the screenshot to see it, but now we know where it's placed on the set. But wait, there's more...

Quentin and Alice have been moved to the Physical Kids house, you remember, the place with the cool decor, where there's always a party happening and Eliot mixes fabulous cocktails?
As Eliot explains in episode 1, “Physical kids; telekinesis, move shit,  lift shit, most can fly, also magnificent partiers. Do not come by our house if you have anything important to do the next morning.” And that, my friends, is where my prints "Drawing Down the Moon" and "The Art of Magic" have found their home at Brakebills University! I couldn't be happier!

Right before they were shipped off to the set designers. Art of Magic  &  Drawing Down the Moon.  If you want to decorate your sacred space like the Physical Kids house at Brakebills, they're available in two sizes in our Etsy Shop.

Yes!!! That's definitely it! Eeeeeee!!! It's cool, I'm ok. Eliot, I'm gonna need one of those green glowy drinks dear.
I'm seriously enjoying this series, seeing my art is just icing on the cake.  You don't have to take my word for it, because I love you guys, I'll share a discovery: They have the first three episodes on SyFy's website right now for your viewing pleasure! I don't know how long they'll have it up, so be sure to check it out this weekend! Here's the link:
They are also available with Spanish Subtitles.

Ok, one more screen shot. Yes!!!!
Ok, yes, the art is in the background, a bit blurry and all, but hey, it's not actually a show about my art...wha?! LOL Seriously, I'm digging the story lines, it really pulls you in, I wonder if they'll show us how to do that "money coming out of the ATM" spell! Anyway, I can't wait for episode 4 on Monday! If you haven't watched yet, now is your chance to catch up on the SyFy website, here's that link again, it won't be an active link forever, so watch while you can:

Blessed Be!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Night Magical Movie, er, Series,The Magicians Premier Tonight!

"I can't just go to Yale if I know this place exists!" 


The magic is back in Mondays! Back in July, some of you may remember, a set designer contacted me about using some of my artwork as part of the set decoration for the SyFy series they were filming, The Magicians. The Magicians is based upon the popular series of epoch fantasy books written by Lev Grossman. I watched the pilot last night on the SyFy website, (it's airing tonight, so the video is off the website now) and I was totally delighted, this is going to be a really cool series, and they used the art of a real witch on their set, so how could they fail?! My art. On TV. OMGs!  And the show? It's sexy, edgy, great music, basically, if Harry Potter took place at a Grad School in NY, that's what's going on.

This is a release form for the set designer of the upcoming SyFy series The Magicians so that they may use a couple of prints of mine as part of the set decor! Dan said, "I guess we'll be ordering this series on BluRay." Yes we will Dan, oh yes, we will. 

Ok, I didn't see any of my art in the pilot, but I wouldn't have because they filmed it before they ordered the prints, unless they really have time-travel magic! But you can bet I'll be watching every episode several times, once for the story, and the second time scanning the background on an Easter egg hunt for my prints.
The actual prints right before I packaged them up and sent them off! These are to ones to watch for in the background. Again, we won't see them in the first episode, but with a little luck and some magic, we might be lucky enough to see them in one (or more) of the other episodes!

Will one be over the top of a main characters desk and appear in every episode? Gasp! Will they be a blur in the background while people are running down a hallway? Very possible. No idea. That being said I would watch this series anyway after seeing the pilot.  I watched that first episode and loved the characters, the magic was stunning, and the story has me very curious about what happens next! They ended the pilot with one hell of a cliffhanger!

So, tonight the SyFy channel will be airing a Double Episode premier at 9/8c. So you don't have to sit breathlessly for a week to see what happens after the first episode cliff hanger! Thanks SyFy, much appreciated by those of us who love a good binge-watch, two episodes is definitely better than one!

Here's more about the series, trailers, interviews with the author and actors, bits and bobs of sneak peeks for you while we anxiously wait for the premier tonight!

Watch the background of The Magicians for Drawing Down the Moon by Mickie Mueller, read more about this art here
Watch the background of The Magicians The Art of Magic by Mickie Mueller from The Hidden Path Oracle deck, read more about the art here

Oh, did I mention, they did some car-aaazy mirror magic in the pilot!

Who wrote the book about mirror magic coming out this June? Oh, just yours truly! The Witch's Mirror does not contain the spell they performed though...

11:43 AM 1/25/2016 My friend Kathy Jo on Facebook just found this promo pic of Penny in a flaming chair with not only one, but BOTH of my prints on the wall behind him! Holy cow! I can't even believe it! Bonus, I frikkin love his character, he won me over in the pilot! Dubstep. heheh.

Blessed Be!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Badass Logo for Some Badass Roller Girls

I designed a logo for a local Roller Derby team that my friend Tanya is on recently, I just found out that it's been approved! Whoo-hoo! I present the official logo for Franklin County Fury!

I'm really excited, can't wait to go watch them sometime! This was a really fun project, I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the "work in progress" shots of this fun piece.

First, I submitted a sketch to make sure I was going in the right direction for what they wanted. They had shown me a couple examples of stuff they liked, and told me it should be a fierce roller derby girl with flames coming from her skates, so I went from there.

Once I had sketch approval, I hand inked the derby girl...

Then I scanned it and added the font digitally. 

Then I colored it on the computer in Photoshop using some techniques that I used to use back in my days of comic book color fill when I worked for Network Color. I turned the ink drawing into a transparency and traced each section out using the lasso tool. One by one I added color to a layer behind the inked art.

We used to add color to comic books for DC, Marvel, Disney, and Darkhorse to name a few, it was a really fun job. I met my husband Dan at that job, back then we were just friends, so when I finished up the coloring, I surprised him with it and asked, "Hey Dan, can you check my page?" It was just like the good ole days, we had a laugh over that!

I knew the ladies would want a full color version, but I figured that for some merchandise, newspapers, etc. they might need a black and white version as well, so I made sure to save an uncolored black and white version also.

What they need was a tough as nails but sexy roller girl. I had fun researching the proper protective gear, accurate poses, and wild clothing they wear. These gals proudly wear their war wounds like medals of honor, so I just had to include a band aid on her cheek and a tear in her fishnets! I wanted her to be sexy but not demure in any way, she had to "own" it, fierce and strong. 

When we talked about color, they told me that red is their team color, but they wanted some other colors in there too. Since flames was a "must-have" for all the team members, I decided to add some of that "hot blue" into the flames that you so often see and pull that color up into the roller girls outfit as well.

If you live in Franklin County and want an amazing night of fun, come check out the Franklin County Fury, also watch for t-shirts and other cool merchandise with the logo I designed for them coming soon!

Click here for Franklin County Fury Facebook Page

Want to know more about Roller Derby? Check out the Franklin County Fury FAQ

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice at the Cottage

The winter solstice and the celebration of Yule marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night.  The days get shorter and shorter in the winter and this day marks the mid-point the that some call the first day of winter, or more accurately, midwinter. After the solstice, the days will begin to get longer again.

Many people celebrate in many different ways, pilgrimages to sacred sites alligning with the rising sun like Stonehenge or New Grange, many do big group rituals and parties, or solemn solitary observances of the rebirth of the sun. Yesterday I celebrated quietly at our new small town cottage.

If you follow my social media you might know that we recently moved our home and studio from the country house of Aelfheim to the 115 year old small town house, Oak Haven Cottage. We love our charming new home and workspace, but between the move, illustration deadlines, and making sure our Etsy orders continued to go out regularly, I haven't had much time to blog.  I thought the quiet peace of the winter solstice was a perfect time to catch up here.
Miss Freya likes it here too, she's having a moment of zen, doing a little doggie yoga on the couch under the light of the Yule Tree.
At sunset I lit a candle that I crafted myself using recycled wax, magical oils, herbs and positive intentions. I placed it in a pretty glass tumbler with gold decorations and surrounded it with holly, ivy, and oak. One of my favorite Yule observances is to light a vigil candle at sunset to burn all through the longest night, symbolically keeping the light of the sun during its longest rest.  I had some interesting dreams through the night, all guiding me into the newly growing light ahead.
Our Yule tree is decorated differently than usual. My standard traditional decorations are in the very back of our storage shed, and tons of random stuff is piled in front and in top of it. I could have dug it all out, but in an effort to simplify, I opted instead to "make do" with some red and gold dollar store decorations this year. I found some bells to represent the ringing in of good vibrations. Various stars on the tree represent magic and the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Glittering pine cones hold new life within and remind us of the vibrancy that remains even though the darkest night and the coldest winter. 
After I lit my vigil candle, I went outside to see the sunset and look around, connecting with the spirits of the land. I walked around observing quietly in the early evening on this sacred sabbat.
The light glowed merrily from the window of the attic studio, Dan was up there working on orders for our Etsy customers, I would go up and assist him shortly. The big white oak offers its energy to this turn of the century house. I wonder about the past residents and imagine their faces gazing out of that window, how the sights have changed over the years.
My cauldron of sage has taken up residence on the front porch, it's still got some life in it here at midwinter, I wonder if the green will last until spring.
We have no outlets outside, so solar lights frame the doorway. I like the symbolism of gathering the sunlight all day so that the lights glow with that energy at night. As a bonus, my electric bill doesn't increase because of adding holiday lights, very earth friendly. I'm planning to get more strings of solar lights for next year! 
This fairy is camped out by another solar light in a garden bed. I think she's wondering if there are bulbs or other annuals beneath the earth resting and dreaming of the coming spring. I'm looking forward to discovering what wildflowers will spring up in the yard, which birds will browse at the bird feeders, how the sunlight will fall so I can decide where to plant a a few things in the spring and summer. 

Until then, I'll spend time getting to know the rhythms of small town life.

Blessed Be,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A New Deck Project for Mickie and Dan!

I have a big announcement:  I have a new contract to illustrate and co-author a brand new tarot deck for Llewellyn! Who is my co-author? Some of you might be familiar with him, Dan Mueller, the new member of the Llewellyn family of authors! 

Contracts for a new Tarot deck, one for me and one for Dan! 

Many of you know him as my husband, or as the craftsman who produces, manages, and ships my art products, but many people don’t know, Dan is a hell of a writer.  He was writing short stories back when I met him, and we even worked together briefly on several test pages for a graphic novel style adaptation of one of his stories.  With tons of AP English and creative writing classes under his belt, his wordsmithery had remained previously unreleased, but not for long.  When the concept for this new deck came about, we spent hours brainstorming ideas, pouring over the concepts for cards, and the next thing I knew, I had a writing partner! Happily, after they reviewed our sample art and text the good folks at Llewellyn agreed, and we’re now joining forces on this new project. Wonder-Spouse powers unite!! 

Lighting up the night like a mirror in the sky!
A deck of 78 cards takes about 24 months to complete, so hang in there.  The subject and title is top secret at this point, but I think you guys will be really pleased with this new project we’re teaming up on just for you! I know you're wondering what the theme of this tarot deck is going to be. well, it's kind of innovative, so I can't reveal it's secrets at this time, but we will let you know as soon as we can. For those of you who know Dan personally, no, it's NOT a J.R.R. Tolkien Tarot deck, nor is it a Dune deck! 
A spectral snake conjured out of thin air.

Dan and I have a great mental shorthand, he describes things and I totally get it. He can interpret my roughest sketches to know if I'm getting what he's describing, so it's working out to be a great partnership. 
Smudge to purify your space.
He and I dug through tarot symbolism and meanings together like mad and came up with a great deal of the concepts for what each card will look like already.  Most of the first chapter is done, so that leaves me currently working through the art for the major arcana while Dan and I write through the text for each one as they're completed.  He's doing the lions share of the writing at this point which leaves me time to work on the art. I've included a couple detail shots of the cards for you to get the tiniest glimpse, we will keep working diligently so that hopefully we can have this project completed for you as soon as possible.
This one should brighten up your day!

I hope you enjoyed this really sneaky sneak peek!

Blessed Be!