NEW Story: The Fountain
Tzipora is communicating the birthday rune in Upotenne, a warding sigil of good luck.
Today, the subreddit is five years old. A better anniversary for this project would have been July 1st 2022 – the date of my first reddit post – but I missed that anniversary completely. This post is a late 5 year celebration of Vekllei. Next year I’ll celebrate with you properly on International Tzipora Day (July 1st 2023, write it down).
- Number of Vekllei stories: 322
- First Vekllei post: Tzipora has her photo taken at Youth Meet 2063 (July 1, 2017 )
- First post on r/vekllei: The People of Vekllei’s Railway (plus Dog) (August 16, 2019)
- Most upvoted post: Absolute Quiet (August 23, 2020)
- Most recent post: this one
Read them here: www.millmint.net/stories
I write about what Vekllei means to me sometimes, and I usually regret it. Any time I insert myself into the project I regret it. Although Vekllei is deeply personal to me, I don’t belong anywhere near it and I’m learning to keep my mouth shut and let the work speak for itself. In the spirit of ‘killing the author’ (I believe that’s the phrase), I’ve collected some notes in the tradition of resolutions.
- I am better at drawing than I was five years ago. That’s not very impressive – more important is that I’m better than I was a year ago. It’s easy to look at my 2017 scribbles and smile at the silly, naive people I made. It’s much harder to feel that way about your own work a year ago. I should be proud; that’s a testament to the fact I’ve become a better illustrator this year.
- Does Vekllei feel the same as it used to? It was sillier back then; some people might prefer that. I think about that sometimes, but I am convinced that things are evolving as they should. Illustration is the demonstration of an intuition deep within me, and it is still just as authentic as it was in 2017. I think Vekllei is more serious and grounded in part because I am five years older, and boys do a lot of growing between 19 and 24. I love my characters more than ever; Tzipora is a more compelling, dignified and complete person than she was back then. It’s easy to become nostalgic about the lightness of being a beginner.
- In another five years, I’d like to make my living through this work. This is an existential fear of mine – the fear of every artist – but I have the heady confidence of a creative, so I trust that things will work themselves out, so long as I work hard and consider how this project might work as a product people pay for (the comic, for example). I don’t need to make much money, because I don’t spend much money. I’ve paused the Patreon until the first chapter of the comic comes out, so hopefully that will resume soon.
Some other notes:
- I think I am getting close to a basic, commercial standard of art. That’s exciting, as an illustrator – it’s basically technical work. If I was a carpenter, I’d be saying I’m close to making a table people would pay for. Drawings are turning out how I imagine them. If I keep working hard on Stories of the Horizon, I should see my landscapes improve quickly.
- I am working on a Vekllei comic. The whole thing has been a shemozzle; I’ve been ‘working’ on a comic for three years now. I announced it much too early, without realising how unprepared I was to work in that type of illustration. I’m learning to shut my mouth – I’m not promising a release date now. But I am getting better, and it is a critical part of this project. If it took me a decade, I’d still be working on it.
- Although any online community has its stresses, I have made several close friends through the Vekllei Discord, some of whom I’ve now met in real life. Thank you always for your attention and support, it means everything to my confidence in my work.
Finally, thank you for reading. Some of you have been here for years – some of you have only been here for a few hours, after I spammed my shit to some other subs (sorry, that’s just how the game works on reddit). Thank you sincerely for all your comments and affection over the years. This is a small community but it is tremendously insightful and well-meaning, and seeing you enjoy my work makes my day. I’d probably still be working on Vekllei without an audience – but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. It really does mean a lot.