Monday, December 18, 2017

Mini Christmas Books and Boxes

On Dec. 12 I had found these holiday craft tapes at the Lidl's store. It was my first visit to the store, and I discovered many interesting things in the 'stuff ' section. The main thing that interested me were of course the scrap book items.

I had been wanting some holiday tapes for my Christmas books that I've been working in, so a pack of 8 tapes for two dollars was a great find.

My first craft project using the tapes started on Dec. 13, 2017.

I had a bit of fun tonight with a small project. The craft tape  had these little cardboard ends in them to hold the tape in place. I took those ends and turned them into mini boxes, then decorated them with some of the tapes.

They could serve well for any miniature dessert or gift in the doll world. I love the classy look of the gold trees, and the red Polish country look of those funny reindeer with fur trees.

The gold box came out better than the red because I did the red one first.




On Dec. 18, 2017, I had some fun with making these mini Christmas books. They only measure 4.5x4.5 cm. and are made from the box tabs of some festive Crelando craft tapes.

I used some folding and gluing techniques to makes the pages for these mini books, each only needing one sheet of basic printer paper and a bit of card stock for each book.

It was super simple making these, the spine was formed by gluing two parts of the box tabs together.

On the insides I wanted a bit of interest, so I used the tapes that came from the box to decorate.
There's the starry gold album, and the red reindeer album.

I added closures of ribbon and gold elastic. When open the little books kind of like to splay out.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Seph and Coal Painting

Sephiroth and Coaline, two rebel characters. These characters are from a role play which has the potential to become an actual novel.

I dreamed of this scene multiple times in concept, imagining this to be a moment where Seph is playfully flirting with Coal after she's gotten use to him and doesn't mind him coming around to her sports bar, the "Hot Wing". This scene takes place at the entrance to the business counter and back of the building where Coal's apartment stairs are. On the other half of the bar to the right is where her business kitchen doorway is. That's just the general layout, but I only made a small peek of the place.
I went through some different stages with Seph and his expression. These two versions came before the official one. The one on the right was actually the original.


This project was started back in Novemeber on the fifteenth. I put if off for the longest time because I lacked the motivation and confidence to finish the sketch. Today I finally got back the motivation needed.

I was excited to make the picture, since this is the first time I've tried drawing some characters from the MN-I role play.

After I shared the picture with Tarrok Frost, I got some healthy suggestions on how to improve the piece. He mentioned that Seph looked kind of creepy, like Seph was going to do something terrible. He's meant to look a bit nicer despite his dark history, and does after all want to get on Coal's good side.

I took Tarrok's advise, and adjusted Seph's cheek bone, along with his smile, and eyebrows. The eyebrow part I figured out on my own. After tweaking things and looking back on the original, it made me laugh, because all I could hear when looking at his face was a drunken slur of derpy greeting, "Haiiii thar bootiful. *hick".

He did look spooky, and that was at first how I saw him in a day dream, but then I realized he's a bit smoother than that as a character, while still being half awkward.
My second adjustment to his face ended up as a smaller half grin. I kind of like this version still, seems a bit more mischievous.

During my work process on the piece, I started outline work in Firealpaca, then did the coloring in PSE12. The screen froze at one point, and I took a screen shot to preserve some of the color I had laid down, realizing I didn't save my progress and would have a risk of losing the coloring if the program suddenly crashed.
I made some sketch stage pages, starting with my base sketches and beginning outlines (left), and then made a page of the different outline stages of Seph's adjustments (right).

Tarrok liked the first stages of Seph as a sketch in the upper right corner of the left page. He said I should go with the cheek bone I did there, and the smaller smile. It made me see that I should go with my base instincts during a sketch, and stick to the sketch as much as possible when making the actual art piece.
The final example panel was made to show the different moods of Seph's face in color. I shared this panel with Tarrok for his final opinion. He liked the small grin best, so I went with that one for the main image. Seph is Tarrok's character, so his choice of what Seph looks like in a scene is valued.

A final note, actually a future edit from Feb. 15, 2018.

I wanted to play more with the expressions of the characters, specifically the version of spooky Seph looking at Coal.

I found out where the morphing tool was in PSE, and adjusted their expressions that way to give Coal a "seriously?" face.

I figured Coal would have this look at some point, and in an actual story circumstance would probably have this face if Seph was being weird.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Blue Bubble Book

Started Dec. 3, 2017- completed Dec. 5, 2017. Measures: 12.5 x 11 cm.

The Blue Bubble Book was one of those randomly started mini books made from square tissue boxes.

I had started it with two window pages that were going to be added as free floating pockets in a different island themed journal (the first island themed book I had started in a teal colored binder to be precise). 
I had several other tissue box tops and sides which I had saved and not used. This seemed like a good opportunity to turn them into something, and the whole bubble theme sort of just came together on its own.

I made a few additional pages from white card stock for the book, decorated with scrap book paper strips and security envelopes, added mats and tags here and there including in the front pockets of the cover itself, and did a bit of detail work with a Tim Holtz stamp and stencil.

I inked up my fins, pages, and tags with light blue and also black ink, used Tim Holtz broken china ink for my stamping on the inside, colored on a stencil with a Le-Plume marker, and even had to use a bit of potato starch on the project.

I made a bit of mistake when making the covers. The tape I had added to the fins of the spine overlapped on the edge of the fin, which was still exposed inside the pocket. That little sticky strip still exposed cause my mats to tack slightly. In order to fix this I sprinkled potato starch in the pockets and dusted it around before shaking out the excess. This prevented the sticky from sticking for the most part.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tablet Case Notepads

Started Dec. 1- completed Dec. 3, 2017. Made using notepads, chipboard, paint, elastic cording, and tablet cases.

Tablet case measures: 11.5x 19 cm. / notepad board measures: 18.5x 10.5 cm.

On Dec. 1, 2017 I started this simple project. I've had a couple tablet cases in my pile for some time now, both of which didn't work for the tablets we had, but were too much trouble to send back.

I took the cases with another idea in mind, that being to turn them into notepad holders. My experimental idea was relatively successful, and I think this will make a great purse notepad.

The case is a navy blue, and I've always liked the additional pen holder of the cases. This specific case was wide enough to house a standard grocery list booklet width wise. Length wise to make it work, I had to cut the pad down to size. This step could be skipped if you're making your own paper pad with hot glue and basic printer paper.
I may have to make a custom notepad for the smaller, black case I have.

To make this, all I did was cut a piece of chipboard to the size of a tablet meant to fit the case, and rounded the corners to make sliding it in easier. You could use any form of card stock for this (cardboard, cereal box, or chipboard). 

I wanted to make my holding board pretty, so I painted it a blue color, then stenciled it with some silver paint. Stencil painting has never been a a thing I'm very good at. 
You could decorate the board however you like, with paint, stamps, scrapbook paper, or collage.

After that was done, I hammered two holes into the board and fed elastic thread through them. The ends were knotted in the back, and then I simply slipped the back of the notepad over the band, and put the holding board into the case.
 
Here's the case as is. Navy blue is a nice color, but it could be decorated with stick on gems, rub ons, paint, or maybe even iron on embellishments. I even considered adding some stickers to the spots where the chip board peeks through the camera lens hole of the case.

















 Dec. 3, 2017 (speaking from the next day).

I manged to finish both the tablet case notepads in two days. The navy one has slightly nicer quality  like the fact it's a bit heavier, and includes an elastic pen holder which makes it ideal for turning into a notepad. Since that was my first one as an experiment, I learned a few things which I applied to the second version, which is black, smaller, lighter, excludes a pen holder, but got a better working notepad.

I discovered that with the elastic strap design for hanging things over the band, fridge notepads don't fully agree with it because the elastic band presses against the light glue at the top of the pad, and tears pages apart because of that. 

I made the following instructions to show what I did for the second version, which I call the black clock pad. Despite the lighter weight of the case, I like the feel of it.

Instructions, step by step

First I measure the full height and width of the tablet case, specifically the part inside which holds the board.

Tablet case measures: 11.5x19.5 cm. / notepad board measures: 11x19 cm.

I measured my lines on the chipboard, then trimmed it down using a craft knife and metal ruler.










  

Next you want to round the corners, much like a tablet, so the board slips in and out smoothly.

Because this is chipboard, I can't use a corner rounding punch, so I used a circle stencil instead.

First I compared the circles to the roundness of the case corners itself. 






After finding the right curve shape, I used that stencil and drew a curve on the corners of my board.












 
Cut the corners with scissors, and the final results may not be perfect, but good enough.
 
 Slide board into case to make sure no snagging or tightness occurs.
 
 Next I decorated the board by using a bit of scrapbook paper and black acrylic paint.

First I painted my board, not worrying too much about the middle because that part was getting covered.
 
 I folded the 6x6 7 Gypsy's clock paper over the edges of the board, then used fabri tac to glue down the front, proceeding to do the same thing for the tabs which fold and glue down to the back side.
 
Final results are simple, yet fun. You could leave it like that and go straight to the next step, but I like to glaze my papers to protect them. I gave the pad board one coat of satin Liquitex varnish.
 
After the varnish was completely dry, I marked where the holes for my elastic would be, just within the tablet case frame. I then used my hole making tool and hammered on those marks.
 
Final results are two small holes.
  
Next I knotted one end of some elastic thread, measured the piece just long enough for the width, fed it through one hole from the back, and then down the other from the front.
 
 Secure the other end with a knot, and you get your notepad band.
  
After making the board, I decided to make a small notepad which doesn't have tear out pages. but works better with the design. 

To start, I just used standard, cheap sketch paper.
 
First I folded a sheet in half one way, and then folded it again the other way.
 
 The results when unfolded look like this.
 
 I then measured the width inside my case window, and marked the size on my paper.
  
I kept my paper folded, and cut it down to size.
Next I unfolded it, and cut it down the middle. The results gave me two pages from one sheet of paper.
 
 I stacked those pages on top of each other and got my notepad.
  
 I could have used staples or glue to hold the pages together, but I decided to use thread.

All I needed was a pokey tool, a needle, and some black cording.
  
I measured and marked three holes, one in the center, and two on each end a centimeter from the edge. Then I poked my holes all the way through.
 
If you want a bow on the outside, bring the needle and thread down through the middle hole starting from the outside (left).
Come up through the second hole from the inside, then back down again through the middle hole (right).
 
Come up through the third hole from the inside (left). Tie threads together at the center and make a knot (right).
 
You can choose to skip making a bow, or tie one and knot the bow in place.
 
Trim the ends of the notepad to make it clean and to ensure it fits properly in the case frame (left).
Slip the back page of the notepad under the elastic band (right).
 
 The results look like this.
 
Slip the notepad board into the case and secure it. The results are simple, and useful.

I like the idea of using solid notepads like this because I can write, draw, glue, and do whatever else on an eight page notepad, then take it out of the holder and put it into a pocket of a journal when I'm all done using it. 
The fun part is that I can make as many of these replaceable notepads as I want, and have a place to work in them on the go.
 
The case from the outside, smooth, black, purse friendly in size.