Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pastel Practice- Cirque Face

Cirque Pastel Face
Awhile ago I tried experimenting with Prismacolor pastels; my goal, to see how well it worked for making soft and glowy skin color. 
I started my project on a sheet of 9x12, tan memory book paper, which served nicely for chalk pastels, being that this particular paper has a toothy yet soft surface.

I drew out my face with a dark peach tone, didn't bother starting with pencil first (which in some ways may have helped.) Once I got down a basic outline, I chalked in shaded areas with the same color; then began build up of skin tone by using a light peach, a little white, and a pale gray.
 The gray was very important to making a nice skin with that added glow. It's true that skin has a lot of gray in it, especially very pale skin. 
After a ton of rubbing and tweaking, I got my skin, which I like the look of. Then I added in extra details like hair, eyes, lips, and makeup. 
The eyes and lips had to be the hardest part, next to keeping shape to the nose during blending.
Unfortunately, the final results weren't as great as I hoped, specifically with how the eyes came out, which I tried to redeem with additional makeup. I went for a Cirque Du Soleil look, and had to of course choose two of my favorite colors, green with a hint of teal.
Drawing eyes with square shaped pastel sticks is very tricky, which may partly be why they came out a little off; but there was no changing that once it was done. None the less, I set out to play with making nice skin, added a little blush, and that part came out just fine. ^.^

Hopefully in the future, sketching and coloring faces will improve, till then, enjoy! ^.~

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Journal Insert Experimenrt- Sweet Frank Flier

Sweet Frank Flier Page
When I saw this flier image in the pile of papers on the table, it made me smile. I've always loved what you can do with food and toys for Photography; and the creative image made Frankenstein look like the sweetest monster you could know.

There were several more pages I liked in the Parade flier, specifically ones pertaining to candy or containing cute ideas for October. Since I liked certain pages, I decided I would try something; the idea, to pick and choose images you like in a flier, and create an insert out of the flier itself.

I started off with Mod Podge Paper, a continuation of my experimentation in using the product; first tries can be seen here Mod Podge Paper- Experiment and Review . Once more I faced wrinkling problems here and there, and in theory I do believe it's because the paper I'm gluing is fairly thin, the glue is pretty wet, and I'm still practicing. :P

I made a video of the entire process just for fun, see below.


The final page turned out all right; though I think that next time I'll stick to using Mod Podge for the entire project, rather than experiment with other mediums like double stick  tape for adding my cover.

Truth be told, I might not even advise using glue or tape if you have enough pages that fold, and just sew or staple the flier together, so you can flip through the pages you do like, and still have pages that are just there as part of the flier; that way you won't risk wrinkling problems or tearing of favorite pages, and only have to worry about gluing the very back page of your flier to the scrapbook page. It all depends on the set up of the flier though, some parts would still need gluing if you have loose pages you want to add.

My final scrapbook page came out cute, regardless of the crinkling problem I faced during the the placement of the front cover. I learned a lesson that when you're trying to concentrate, and using very unforgiving sticky materials, it's a wise idea not to make a video and craft while people are home and making noise.....especially if you're like me *twitch, jump at a noise, drop the paper, and scream at the mistake*. O_o 

Additional page details

I completed my page with embossing and Moon jelly, jell pens. 
For the flier page I used a circle chain stamp and white embossing powder; then colored the dots in with matching jell pen colors to pick up on the candy tones in the flier cover. I colored them in a repeating patter going from blue, green, purple, and orange. 

The final step was to write in florescent green, the color which matched the green marshmallows of the picture.

On the other side I drew squiggles and dots with the same jell pen colors, and based it off the candy theme still; which I felt squiggles and polka dots matched the theme best.

 Last detail I'd like to add; the above image is the inner page of candy you see in the video. I scanned my favorite pages in case an accident were to occur, that way the original piece would still be a perfect scan with no wrinkles, bubbling, or tears. 

I'm glad I take the extra step to scan an image before working on a project; for the sake of preserving the original picture in case a problem does occur.

To the left is the original front page image I scanned before facing a mess up in the project making stage. It's still smooth and preserved, showing what it looked like before my little wrinkling accident.

My simple advise as an artist, is to scan favorite images before using the originals; or scan the image and print out a picture of it, still saving the original somewhere in a folder. Not everyone will want to take that extra step, but it does help in preserving the image, and keeps you from feeling completely terrible is something doesn't quite go according to plan.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nouveau Peacock Pumpkin

Noveau Peacock Lit
  Woo! I did it, I completed my first carving for this year; the Nouvea Peacock Pumpkin. I mentioned about the stencil in this post Pumpkin Stencils  and surprised myself when I actually started and completed the project.
Above is the final lit image, had to edit the lighting and color just a bit, since the camera picked up on the light and appeared florescent pink instead of orange.

Final carving without light
The final carving without light looks good on its own, and still remains a surprise, being that I didn't know how well this pumpkin would turn out.

Details on carving process: 

First I took my paper stencil and had to crinkle it over the rounded surface, then I pinned it in place with thumb tacks. 

Next step was to poke holes along the design (did this on the 13'th); I used a pokey tool, and a small pumpkin carving tool to do this. I found the pokey tool takes a little more time, but is superior in results, and provides a very clear outline when finished. At first I started off with a pin, but found the pokey tool is much better to use to prevent hand cramping. 
It took me a total of three hours just to apply the design onto my surface. 
My recommendation for complex pumpkin designs is to do outline transfer one day, and start carving the next day, to provide room for relaxation.

On the 14'th I started the carving process; it took me a total of six hours to complete, and resulted with a neck cramp and tight shoulders (chocolate is much needed after a long session of strenuous slouching and constant standing.) :P I was unable to sit down since I had to be over my pumpkin in order to see what I was doing.

I started my carving every outline with a wood carving knife, then I took the smallest scoop tool and carved out the sections which needed to be exposed. My final results were incredible in my eyes, and this project made me feel I can do more complex things than I thought.
Important detail. Why did I start this pumpkin is such a hurry? Truth is, the pumpkin had a rotten spot forming near its back side which was starting to look like the death star. I decided that I would cut the rotten spot out and the whole would be my spot for gutting the pumpkin and adding a candle.

When I brought the knife to the rotten spot, it sunk in and cut out like butter. The whole piece came out in one smooth slice, and smelled....kind of bad. Had this little white mold spot where it all started, and the surrounding rotten part was kind of a poopy, green brown color.

Gutting it was easy, I just put on a pair of dish gloves and yanked out the seeds, then carved the walls a little with an ice cream scoop. The flesh on the inside was actually pretty solid and fresh still.

I cut my whole out and gutted the pumpkin on the 13'th, the same day I applied my design. 

I covered the hole with plastic wrap for the night, and next day I found a ring of white mold growing around the hole's edge......eeeewww. 

Left image is a slight close up of what this looked like; you can see the white fuzz growing around the edges. It smelled awful, but I dealt with it till I finished taking pictures, and then put the rotting masterpiece outside in the cold.

That's the story and process of my Nouveau Peacock pumpkin. Been wanting to do it since last year, and finally managed to cross it off the list; I'm happy about it.

I found myself questioning, "Am I crazy for starting something like this?" I've noticed I ask myself that question often when I start something complex and time consuming; but in the end I find all that hard work feels pretty satisfying once you reach the finish line. 

This isn't the first time I've made carvings of course. All my other carvings though are themed and geeky; but if you're interested to see more of this art form done by me, just see Gresh and Vorox Pumpkin Lanterns and Bionicle Jack-O-Lanterns   Enjoy! ^.~

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Future Fairy Costume-elements and pattern

 As I mentioned in the Autum Monarch Fairy- costume post, I found a pattern which is very close in style to the design I made. The pattern listed above is what I got for my future costume; a Simplicity pattern based off a fantasy artist's drawings. It's surprising how close the designs of this pattern are to my design; the only different is the top style. 

I was shocked to find the original cost for the pattern was 17.50; but we buy when the patterns go on sale, which means we only payed a dollar for it.

Below are the fairy wings and stocking set I got on sale. Everything from the wings, stockings, and pattern were purchased at our local Johan's store. The wings and stockings were 70% off, which means it only cost about six dollars for the adult set of fairy wings, and about 2.50 for the pantyhose (Yes they are pantyhose, just labeled as stockings. They go all the way on.) 

I love the Maori-like designs on the wings; one problem is how much glitter sheds off. I plan to get on that and seal the glitter on better with some glue spray; till I actually get to that though, I keep the wings in their plastic package.
 In total for the main elements (wings, pantyhose, and pattern) it only cost about ten dollars. The last step is to find material for making the costume, which will likely be the main cost. I plan to use shoes I already own, and I know for sure that jewelry won't be a problem, I have plenty in my collection to choose from. So, till the future and hopefully a new costume, this is what I have so far. 

It comes to show you that if you look in the right places, and wait for sales, making a costume isn't so bad in the end. Just have to use a little creativity here and there for smaller things like jewelry and shoes ^.^

Monday, November 11, 2013

Autumn Monarch Fairy-costume

Autumn Monarch Fairy

 This costume design was inspired off a set of wings and stockings I found on sale near the end of October. I chose the orange and black color scheme over red and black or black with silver glitter, the two other wing sets which were still available. On top of that the stockings matched the orange wings; so I got them to start a costume. The main reason I chose orange and black is because I liked the idea of looking like a Monarch in Autumn.

I designed the outfit so I could have something to wear with my wings and stockings, and as of yesterday, I found a pattern which is almost exact to this design; I might post about that at a later time, with a few pictures of my inspiration elements (wings and stockings).

Though fashion designs don't need backdrops, I like to have multiple options on the art list, so I went ahead and used a nice desktop image, tweaked the color just a tad, and it worked wonderfully with the design; the yellow spot haloing the wings and head of the fashion form was a nice touch, I think it makes a cool postcard.

 I put a sheet of bleed proof paper over my fashion form outline, then drew the design out in pencil first, tracing over the form which showed slightly beneath my paper. Next step was inking (right image above) and I got my official outline.  

Before I colored my image, I went through several color schemes digitally to get a feel for what I wanted. Below is the panel of each color scheme I tried from first design starting on the left end, to last design ending on the right end. I ended up settling with the color scheme of second version.

I tried to find colors which cooperated with orange and black; purple with yellow orange, along with some brown, did the trick. 

Last step was for me to color my final image with Prismacolor markers, which did a radiant job. Then I used hints of jell pen to make the black bead fringe on the upper skirt part, add purple  metallic swirls to the corset piece and ribbons, highlight the black with white, color the hair decor with gold, and dot the wings with clear sparkle. Final results were very bright, satisfying, and more radiant in color scheme (left image above next to outline). 

At first I did the backdrop version as a flat mat (above); but felt it looked far better with a black frame surrounding it, so I went ahead and made two version; one with and without a frame.

The final results were satisfying and helped add some life to the fashion design; made to be like a postcard more than a display for the outfit.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mod Podge Paper, experiment and review

Recently I got myself a bottle of Mod Podge Paper formula glue. This is the first time I've touched any Mod Podge brand glue since a certain point in time where I used the original formula and faced a disappointing first time experience.
      A long time ago I used original formula Mod Podge to stick down and seal paper onto some journal covers; the dry results were sticky and stuck to everything, still do to this day. No worries though, at some point I plan to coat over those journals with a better sealant like Liquitex glazing medium; or maybe even the Mod Podge paper glue, and maybe someday I'll make a video on it.

Before I go any further, I'd like to thank Amy Anderson for making her extremely helpful blog
Mod Podge Rocks! which provided all the information I needed to finally touch Mod Podge again. Mod Podge has made lots of different formulas since the time I touched it, and I was glad to find out what all they had to offer through the Formula Guide section of the "Mod Podge Rocks!" website.
       After reading all about the different formulas and how to use Mod Podge, I was exited and wanted to once more, give it a try . 

My project pile has been increasing quickly, and I wanted a glue that I could use for multiple purposes, and be a fairly runny consistency so I could paint it on and get my gluing done at a smoother rate. The glue that seemed fit for the job was Mod Podge.

My reasoning for getting Mod Podge Paper formula is because it seemed to be the most logical choice for the sort of crafts I do. 
    The paper formula is a little more expensive than original formula, but with a coupon it costs the same price as a regular bottle, so it's not a problem. 
    I chose it because the formula was made to be acid free, in other words, scrapbook friendly. For me that's great, because I do both acidic and acid free projects, usually combining elements of the two together; like putting advertisements onto scrapbook paper, and adding  acidic elements to journal pages. I figure, use the acid free glue and have no worries of what project I'm working on, knowing that the acid free projects will continue to last, and the acidic elements may last longer than before if they were backed with acidic glue on top of their already acidic makeup. This glue seems to be a win in both directions.

I'm still experimenting, and I'm only explaining what I've experienced so far with the glue; no doubt experiences will differ from person to person. I've listed a few of my experiences below from my experimentation so far.

  1. From my experiments I've discovered the Mod Podge Paper formula dries smooth, and isn't sticky. It works well as a glue and a sealant.
  2.  It's good for paper gluing, but doesn't seem quite strong enough for gluing together heavier elements like four layers of thin cardboard. I noticed it doesn't cling well to heavier elements, and the layers will pull from each other while the glue is still wet; I had to put a weight on the projects to keep them together during drying time. I'm not sure if regular Mod Podge formula would work better for this since I haven't used that kind yet, so I settled with using tacky glue for heavier elements as of the moment.
  3. The paper formula takes up to two hours to dry if you use it as a sealant; so if you have a lot of projects, you may want to do things in batches.
 I made this video above to get my opinion and experience out on using Mod Podge paper formula. One thing I will add is that I now know bubbles and crinkling are just something which take practice to avoid. If you watch the how to videos on the Mod Podge Rocks website, you'll find out all the things you need to know about using the glue correctly...probably something I should have done beforehand, but was in too big of a hurry to just sit down and get to work, so I just found out how to do stuff before watching the videos;either way I guess it just takes practice to get smooth pages.

To be really honest, my first try came out smooth; my second try had a few bubbles but was still pretty good; and my third try had some wrinkling problems...but  I still like it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pumpkin Stencils

I haven't done my carving this year. No big deal as long as they're still selling pumpkins, just in time for lighting up November.

Above are the stencils I plan to use for my pumpkins this year, or maybe next.
      On the left is a Nouveau peacock motif which I enlarged, then turned into an outline. I included a thumbnail of the actual image so I have a guide line to work by as I carve.
      On the right is a mask from a comic book character I like. I included a thumb nail (in the bottom left corner) of the image I used to make this stencil. Again, it serves as a guide line, same as the peacock. 

For all details on how I made the mask stencil, just see Tahu Nuva Mask Stencil post here. 

These stencils can not only serve as a s guide for pumpkin caving, but can also make great additions to your journal and book projects, simply by cutting out the shapes, and using paint to apply them. Nice way to add an interesting touch to a book cover or journal page.

I've already printed out my designs on paper, and they're ready to go.

More projects to come, having so much fun! ^.~