Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Indulging Your Guilty Pleasure

In the sudden free time I found myself in this past month, I've been pushing myself to try new forms of art, different subjects, different mediums, and overall, trying to grow as an artist. But after some of my experiments went awry and I sat frustrated staring at my bin full of supplies, I decided to reach for my pencil again and turn back to something simple and familiar; my guilty pleasure. And if you haven't guessed, or haven't been privy to my artwork over the years, my guilty pleasure has always been. . . dragons.

I'll admit. . . as I pushed into the 'professional' illustration field, I became more and more embarrassed at my sometimes childish need to venture back into drawing things like dragons and monsters. After all they aren't all that 'high brow' as far as artistic expression goes. But as I dug into my drawing, finding myself lost in and loving the simple act of sketching, I realized just how therapeutic and creatively freeing it is to simply draw something I wanted to draw, for no other reason than that. That's when I realized that as an artist, there are many times when you just have to say screw it, I want to draw something and no one can stop me. Having the confidence in yourself to create something for no ones benefit but your own, I believe, makes you a stronger artist.

So I encourage, heck I challenge all of you artists out there, to indulge yourselves. Draw whatever it is YOU want to draw. Spend some time, just you and your favorite subject and/or medium, and get reacquainted with your guilty pleasure. I think you'll find it ignites some sparks you may have forgotten were there.

And with that, I hope everyone has a happy holiday season :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Worst Haircut Experience of my Life.

I know this blog is primarily about my artwork, but this was too terrible, depressing, and I'm sure in a couple years time, laughable not to share.

The salon in question was one I had visited before and since I enjoyed my last cut I saw no reason not to return. I made an appointment and though my former hairdresser wasn't available, I needed a cut before returning home for the holidays so I accepted someone else. A tough decision for me since I tend to have enough pre-haircut anxiety to begin with.

Upon entering the salon I was greeted by the very sweet owner, chatting about the holidays before she asked what I'd like done with my hair. I explained that I was only really wanting a trim and re-layering, nothing crazy or different. That's when my hairdresser, the only one working that day, came around the corner. A small, thin man who apparently, spoke no English at all. Anxiety up a few points. The owner translated to him what I'd like done, and we headed for the chairs.

Within moments he had jumped right in, not even bothering to wet down my hair or even brush it through first. Every cut he made was a flourish, as if he were performing magic tricks for an audience, scissors whipping about, hair being tossed every which way and a bravado that would rival a Japanese steak house chef. This is when I learned that a haircut could be painful, every cut was made by yanking my hair along with the scissors leaving my skull tingling painfully.

This is when I realized that he wasn't making layers, he was THINNING my hair. Now I pride myself on my nice, thick, layered hair, but before I knew it my hair was getting thinner and flatter. I tried to quickly mention that I did not want my hair thinned, I liked the thickness, to which he nodded and muttered a quick "ok ok" at me before continuing on. At this point I am reminding myself to breathe.

As the magic show continued, his flourishes got the better of him when he moved a bit too quick and sliced into his own finger. He quickly leaves the room without a word, leaving me stunned staring at my half-cut, completely frizzed hair in the mirror. A few silent moments passed in which I tried very hard not to panic. The owner returned, smiling as if nothing was wrong, and starting digging for bandages before disappearing once more. Finally he returned, and though I was distinctly more uncomfortable with my hairdresser's qualifications at this point, I had no choice but to let him dive back in and attempt to finish the cut.

Panic level rising with each cut, he finally lead me to the hair washing station. I lay back and try to calm my ever heightening anxiety as he started to wash my hair. When I looked up, to my complete dismay, I was staring straight into his armpit, which hovered an inch from my face, the long black pit-hairs threatening to brush my nose. Closing my eyes, I tried to find my happy place to forget the armpit in my face, when suddenly the calm hair wash transitioned drastically into a spastic, skull-squeezing, almost painful massage. The transition was so sudden I almost yelped out loud, startled by what felt more like an attack at my skull than a wash. Stunned silent, I was lead back to the chair, and sat back down.

At this point my hair dresser had to leave to re-bandage on his finger, and I frantically checked to make sure his last bandage wasn't left clinging to my hair after the wash. He returned, started the drying, and I came to realize that he had not trimmed my hair nor had he layered it. So, after a moment or two of complete miscommunication, I asked him if he could call the owner in to translate. After a few translated requests (Specifically asking NOT to thin my hair any more) he finally trimmed it down.

Once the dust settled on my now flat, thin and lifeless hair, the owner came in and calmly explained to me that although I never asked for my hair to be thinned, it was for my own good, since thick hair would just look 'heavy' and the thin hair would be light. After asking repeatedly "Do You like it?" in a manner that didn't really encourage any answer but 'Yes,' I, somewhat reluctantly, handed over my credit card. I was then asked, right in front of the waiting hairdresser, how much I'd like to leave for tip. Not wanting a confrontation with two individuals, one of which was wielding sharp scissors, I calmly paid a decent (though not generous) tip and left.

So now I'm left with a painfully tingling flat haired skull, praying God will help me grow some back in the next week. As much as I liked my regular hair dresser, I really don't know if I will be able to make myself return.

Perhaps they hoped that if the experience was terrible enough, I would have no choice but to be thankful and happy to simply be free, bad haircut or not.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Modeling Bip

So I decided to jump in and try my hand at making a rubber mold and casting in resin. PLEASE NOTE! This is not a complete tutorial, I skipped some details to keep this Blog from being a mile long. If you're interested in trying this yourself and want a more complete tutorial feel free to contact me. . . but again I'm no expert by any means.

Alright, here we go!

I started with a Baked Sculpey model of 'Bip'

Then I decided to use Foam Core board to make the mold box. This is what I'll be pouring the rubber mold into. I made sure to hot glue the seams and tape the outside to make sure there would be no leaking.

Then came the hardest part. The bottom half of the mold needed to be filled with clay, with the character embedded in it. The top of the rubber mold is actually poured first, so the bottom of the mold has to be filled. . . In hindsight I used the wrong type of clay, as it was too stiff and really hard to work with. I actually managed to break the original sculpt 2-3 times trying to embed him half way in the clay and had to fix him (which left him with a slightly turned head. . . ) But I finally got it all ready to go.

Once I poured the rubber into the mold, and waited 6 hours for it to set, I removed the bottom and one side of my mold box to remove all of the clay, and clean it up (took a while!) I then cut a few triangular holes in the first half of the mold. These will help to 'lock' the mold in place when I finish.

It also took a bit of trimming, as some of the rubber squeezed its way under the clay.

Then after replacing the side of the box, re-gluing, and adding a bottom (just in case there were leaks) I sprayed a releasing agent over the mold (or else the two sides would stick together) and poured my second half. I made sure to add a funnel shaped piece of clay to the back of the character, which will allow a hole to pour the casing material into the mold when finished. After 6 more hours this is what I ended up with!

I then pulled out the original sculpt, re-coated with releasing agent, and stuck it back together. I taped it closed (securely but not so tight as to deform the mold) and gave my first attempt at Resin casting! It took a full 24 hours to cure, and in the end this is what I came up with!

Not bad for a first attempt! Unfortunately the resin did settle (even after adding extra material) leaving a nice hole in his back, and the rocket/arms didn't fill entirely leaving them half empty in the back. There were also a significant amount of bubbles on his back as well. I still need to sand him down, as he's a bit ragged on his seams, but I was shocked to find that my signature on the bottom came out perfectly! So there we go! I definitely want to try this with colored resin, maybe other materials, and get the process down pat!

These guys may also go up for sale on Etsy sometime. . . I plan to number and sign all of them :)

That's all for now!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Woo Blog!

Alright, lets give this a shot! Thanks to everyone who followed my little adventurous(ish) self over to Blogger. But enough with the welcomes, lets just jump right in shall we?

So, in a short re-cap, I've recently gotten back into sculpting. I use primarily Polymer clay (Super Sculpey to be exact) and after attending Designer Con here in L.A. and seeing all the awesome original vinyl-type toys there got me REALLY interested in the possibility of casting my own sculpts.

So, as I had a week or so off work, I decided to jump in. I grabbed some 'Smooth-On' Liquid Rubber for mold making, and some clear resin for casting. I don't know how well they'll work, so I can't give any critique on the products themselves just yet.

And Here are two sculpts that I'm starting with:
The Whale is still a WIP (Modeled from the "Happy Whale" image that can be seen in my Blog Header.) This will be a bit trickier to cast since the fins (that haven't been sculpted yet) Will have to be molded and attached separately.

So instead, I'm starting with something simpler:

This is 'Bip,' a character from my husband's 3D animated Thesis film. He should be a bit easier to start with. I did tweek the design slightly, mostly to the rockets or 'arms' of the character as the small detail would have made those pieces much more brittle in the long run.

SO! There's my start. I plan to bake 'Bip' soon, and once I get everything ready for the mold I'll be jumping in! Wish me luck and thanks again for joining me over here on Blogger!