kickstarter_jdillon

On my bedroom wall is a an art print called Life in Motion, by an incredibly talented artist named Julie Dillon. I’ve been a fan of her work for years, so when I heard tell that she had created a kickstarter to fund the first book of her Imagined Realm series, I was ecstatic to pledge.

This campaign isn’t just great because it showcases Julie’s amazing artwork, it is also an incredible for another reason: “‘Imagined Realms’ gives me the opportunity to spend more time creating my own illustrations and projects, and also gives me the chance to create more illustrations that feature positive and diverse representations of women.” Every piece of artwork in this book is of a beautiful, empowered, diverse and unique woman, all set in a fantasy world all her own. The end product is breath-taking.

I am incredibly excited to share with you an interview with Julie Dillon herself. She has graciously taken the time to answer a few questions about her artwork and her already-funded Kickstarter campaign.

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Interview with Artist Julie Dillon

01. Your kickstarter only just launched and it’s already exceeded your goal. How do you feel with having such an amazing success already?

I feel relieved! This whole process has been really stressful, and it’s a big weight off my shoulders to know that I was able to get it funded. There’s still a ways to go to reach the stretch goals, and I have a lot of stuff to add on if the kickstarter gets to that level. Of course, while I want this to be as successful as possible, I’m also very aware of the fact that the higher it goes, the more work I’ll have to do to pack and ship everything. It’s just a big undertaking in general.

02. Tell us a little about what your process was for launching your kickstarter.

There was a lot more preparation work than I realized. At first I was only focused on making the art for the book, which was a big enough task in itself and took up several months. But as I got ready to launch, I realized I had to make all the site graphics, write up the press release, create a video (which I’d never done before), shop around for printers, price everything out, etc. I tried to stay on top of everything and not get too overwhelmed. If you just take it one small task at a time, it’s not so bad.

03. I adore that you’re focusing on empowered and diverse women. Is there a female person (fiction or non) that has inspired you in your work?

I don’t know that I can point to one individual person. I think rather I take inspiration from most women I meet, in some way or form. Their perseverance, how they handle adversity, their joy and love and how they express that in different ways.

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04. Your work is so wonderfully colorful! Do you have a favorite color palette you enjoy working with the most?

I noticed a while back that the purple and gold combo tends to show up a lot in my work. I’m partial to anything with a complimentary color scheme, since that tends to be a very eye-catching and dynamic. Sometimes I try to do something with a more subtle or desaturated palette, but I always end up making it more bright and colorful in the end.

05. What advice would you give another artist who is hoping to launch a kickstarter for their own work?

Get as much prepared beforehand as possible, and plan your promotion strategy long before you launch. You need to get the word out, or it’ll be a lot harder to get funded. Avoid promotional services that you have to pay for; I tried a few and so far they have done absolutely nothing, whereas working with my existing contacts and networks led to most of my traffic. Think about what kind of blogs and websites might be interested in your project, and send them your press release and ask if they’d be interested in featuring you or maybe even interviewing you. Many won’t respond, but some might, and every little bit helps. Be prepared emotionally if the kickstarter doesn’t go well, but also be prepared logistically if it ends up being really successful. Lots of people get overwhelmed in the order fulfillment stage because they didn’t plan properly. But, also bear in mind that at the time I’ve written this, I’m only about a week and a half into my first kickstarter, and I still have a lot of learning to do myself. :)

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Pledge to this Kickstarter!

You can pledge to Julie’s Imagined Realms: Book 1 Kickstarter by going to that page and donating at any pledge level. She has some great rewards and some even better stretch goals! So pledge, share, and celebrate in the awesome crowdfunding abilities of art lovers!

Anna Akana is an actress and YouTuber extraordinaire, and while she says she’s still trying to find her voice, I think she’s pretty solidly found it, if this recent video of hers has anything to say about it.

This is the best “make-up” video I’ve ever seen. Be confident. Be bold. Be the most beautiful You you can be. (And there ain’t nothing wrong or anti-feminist about wanting to look good to give yourself that extra confidence and happiness boost – I’ve had THAT conversation way more times than I can count.)

As Anna says, “The power of make up is incredible, but the power of you is cray cray.”

So it has recently come to my attention that there’s an anti-feminist Tumblr out there solely dedicated to pictures of women holding up signs about why they don’t need feminism. At first, this made me become SHE-HULK AND SHE-HULK SMASH THINGS. Thankfully it’s rare when I let things on the internet make me this angry. But after awhile, my anger subsided and instead it was replaced with sadness. Hurt. Heartbreak. I want to hug each of these lost women and hand them a copy of The Feminine Mystique and enlighten them. But I suppose, in the end, that’s what feminism is attempting to do. Not just reform the “equality” of men and women. But also to educate. We just need to keep trying. Anyway, I took to Facebook to voice my thoughts and I figured I’d share them here as well.

“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.”
- Madeleine K. Albright.

I actually debated on whether or not I wanted to share this. Normally, when I read something that makes me this angry, I don’t share it because I try to keep this place as positive as I can. But this. THIS. I’m making an exception because this is important. These women think that they are above feminism. That they don’t need it because they aren’t victims. Because they don’t want to devalue men. GIRLS! YOU ARE DEVALUING YOURSELVES. How do you think the rights of women got as far as it has? Right now, you are using your voices, posting pictures of yourselves online, acting as strong women with opinions – BECAUSE OF FEMINISM. Because women continue to fight for our – FOR YOUR – rights. Feminism isn’t about playing the victim. It’s not about victimizing women AT ALL. It’s the damn opposite of that. And it’s certainly not about devaluing men – it’s about being treated as equals. It’s about getting paid as much, it’s about being able to have our say on an equal platform, it’s about owning our own bodies and being proud to have a voice. Which you have because of the feminists fighting for you.

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print by dothandmade

Your ignorance isn’t just shameful, it’s hurtful and detrimental to women everywhere. It’s a slap in the face to women in other countries who don’t have your rights – who are forced to succumb to the will of a man every day in more ways than one simply because they are seen as inferior. Those women are not allowed to speak up. You can and you do. You’re showing that right now. But your message is extremely misguided. Just because we are lucky enough to have been born into a country where women have as much power as we do, does not mean that our job is done. Women are still paid less than men in the work place simply because of our gender. The opinions of women in many male-dominated industries are not taken into consideration… simply because of what’s (not) between our legs. Even in our society, women are still not seen as equals by the government. But we could be. If we keep fighting. If we keep working for a better world. If we continue to educate others and welcome people – women and men and every variation – into the fold of feminism. Don’t shut it out. It’s why you’re able to do what you’re doing now.

This tumblr and these girls are doing far more damage to the cause than they realize. And their ignorance is so… heartbreaking. They have no idea. Their eyes are closed. And that is why feminism will continue to be needed for a long time.

Anyway. There’s my two cents. I’m going to go watch some kick-ass feminist Sailor Moon because I can.

don’t grow older. grow bolder.

be bold

I woke up at seven this morning and couldn’t get back to bed. I had this weird urge to get out of the house so I took Rose on a walk around the block. I love how quiet my neighborhood is in the morning and also how friendly. There were two older women working in a garden by the sidewalk, chatting as they dug into the ground. They greeted us warmly and went back to the conversation. As we were passing I heard one of them say, “Don’t grow older. Grow bolder.” I stopped in my tracks, turned around, and told her that was the best thing I’d ever heard. I think she could see on my face that it really had made an impact because she stood up, came over to me, and gave me a big hug. “It took me 70 years to learn that. Start now while you’re still young and you’re gonna change the world.” I thanked her and hugged her again (and tried not to lose it). Walking back home, I felt like my whole body was filled with electricity.

Every single thing in this universe happens for a reason. Today is going to be an amazing day.