Comments and feedback are always welcome!

(If I'm not here I'm probably at my photography blog)

Saturday, 8 March 2014

More envelope art

I haven't posted here in a while... taking photos has instant gratification I guess. Now if only I could photograph all the things I imagine in my mind but don't have the skill to create, I'd be happy :)

This was the envelope for a birthday card that I just had to draw on (I couldn't help myself). I drew the "accessories" in the same theme as the card itself. I forgot to photograph the card though... silly me. It said something like "When I grow up I want lots of puppies and ponies", so of sourse I had to make the card a bit more "edgy" seeing as the recipient was celebrating her 15th birthday and the card wasn't age appropriate whatsoever.

Typical chrome and black dub style with paint markers. I don't like the "G" however, but no biggy, I'm not a real writer anyway.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

I'm on the cover of a book!

© Animedia Company

Well, not me exactly, but a drawing that I created for an old Illustration Friday topic was chosen as the cover illustration for a book by Russian author Anton Nechaev.

My drawing!
The book is called Сибирский редактор, or Sibersky redaktor (Siberian Editor). It contains illustrations by poet and artist Arkady Perenov and is published digitally by Animedia Company. Unfortunately I can't read Russian and Google Translate is incredibly choppy with Cyrillic and other non-Latin scripts, so Helen Kichigina (the editor-in-chief over at Animedia) was kind enough to give me a brief outline of the story. To paraphrase her email:

"The novel is all about Russian life, the Russian literary backstage and the relationship between Russian writers narrated in a satirical manner. It's also about the daily work of an editor/literary scout from a provincial town in Siberia who has to read a lot of bad literature and communicate with bad writers who consider themselves incredibly talented."

But how does this relate to my detective?
"The novel is mostly autobiographical. The author said that in those days he really looked like the guy in your illustration and he was just like a detective, trying to find at least one decent work in a sea of bad novels. So, in general, he was a 'private eye' but in literary circles."

They were initially going to use my illustration for a novel by a different author about a private detective, but the author decided to go in a different artistic direction. Fortunately Anton Nechaev liked my drawing and could relate to it on a personal level, which I think is neat. He didn't just think detective drawing = detective story.

I'm now ready for the instant fame and fortune this recognition shall bring... hah! :P

See the novel on Animedia's website!

Many thanks to Helen and the folks over at Animedia Company for obtaining my permission to use my illustration, as well as providing me with a copy of the ebook, and to Anton Nechaev for choosing my illustration to grace the cover of his novel.

Monday, 22 October 2012

So I painted on some bandanas...

This idea is hardly new but, much like my plague doctor mask I just wanted to make them.
I'd seen an Oni bandana on the net before, I also had a couple of plain black bandanas lying around. So naturally I had a go at making my own. And because I don't have a silkscreen printer, nor do I have the space (or any real reason to own one) I painted it by hand.

First things first, sketch a pattern. And because it's me it's ball-point pen on a scrap of paper...

I then re-drew it slightly bigger and on a slightly thicker paper. The bits that were to be painted were cut out with a fine point craft knife.

I transfered the pattern to the bandana by tracing the outline with a white pencil. I traced one half then flipped the paper over to create the other half. Doing it this way meant that the facial features stayed in the correct position (if I cut out the entire pattern, the mouth part would be floating about on its own).

Transfered onto the bandana. And because I'm doing this by hand it's not entirely symmetrical, but that's fine. Next, painting...

I mixed acrylic paint with this GAC 900 fabric painting medium. This makes the paint thinner and more flexible which means that it's less likely to crack and peel when washed.

However it produces formaldehyde when setting, so open a window!

A few thin coats of paint...

...and a few minutes pressed under a hot iron and it's done. In my limited experience of doing this type of thing painting light colours onto dark fabric generally takes more coats than dark paint on light. The paint usually ends up showing on the opposite side due to the amount of paint needed, but since this a one-side only thing it doesn't really matter.

At least this time I can show you what it looks like when worn :P

I also made a skull version. I wanted to paint the skull one first, but because I saw the oni mask version I had to start with that.

I had this stretchy skull tube-scarf-type thing, it looked a lot like this:

In fact this is the exact same design that I bought off of a Bay that starts with an "e". I liked the idea of this, however I didn't realise that the skull was printed IN THE MIDDLE of the scarf. This meant that if you wanted to wear it like the polystyrene foam head is modelling, you have to fold it which meant doubling its thickness and halving its length. I ended up gifting this to my cousin, then bought some plain bandanas to recreate this skull scarf in bandana form.

Anyway the skull one was made with pretty much the same method as the oni mask one, except that the pattern wasn't symmetrical. I found a half-skull picture (the same one printed on that scarf above), created a template from it and traced it onto the bandana. Then hand-painted it, leaving gaps for the contours and outlines.

It ended up a little bigger than I envisioned, but seeing as it only cost a few squid and a few hours of my time I wasn't complaining. In time for Halloween? Yeah, I suppose.

(Back in December!)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Plague doctor mask (WIP, part 4... part done?)

(part3) (part 2) (part 1)

I suppose the main mask is finished now. Here's how it's progressed since the last post:

I painted the mask white to remove the distraction of the news print. This is when I could really see all the bumps and lumps from the cardboard structure.

I rounded off the edge of the face with some scissors. I then added this piece of cardboard to help round off the bottom of the mask. (I also tried to do some of the crossword but I got bored of it.) I then covered this card in some papier mache and a little polyfilla. Now this is the step that I didn't document, but all I did was apply some polyfilla to the entire surface of the mask to intentionally make it bumpier. I decided that trying to smooth the whole thing out would take way too long, considering that I'm not even following a plan and I'm correcting mistakes I find as I go along (and I've spent long enough on this already :P) so I would just mask (pun intended) the bumps with some surface texture.

After a liberal application of polyfilla and some gesso. Getting ready to paint!

I added some cardboard rings to the eyes to make them less jagged. This also gave the eye pieces a ridge. I also fixed the beak tip with some card and polyfilla so that it's a bit more pointed. Without this the tip looked flat like the front of a ballerina's shoe.

A brighter day and the painting is done (acrylic paint, finished a couple of weeks ago). I experimented with a an earthy brown-yellow to to try and emulate leather or old cloth but it looked weird, less plague doctor and more Big Bird from Sesame Street. I then ended up sticking with white, but mixed in a tiny bit of black in places to break up the uniform whiteness of it.

Eyes were painted dark brown and black. Dry brushed on some grey/black around the eyes to make it look worn out and grubby. I found a really crappy pair of cheap sunglasses and cut out a couple of circles from the lenses to fit into the eyes. It took a little bodging with some scissors but I managed to get them to fit. Held in place with a dab of superglue on the reverse, and also friction (they were a very tight fit!)

I would have preferred them to be tinted brown rather than black, but seeing as the sunglasses were free I'm not really complaining.

I also dry brushed a dark line along the top, the sides and the bottom to give the impression of some kind of join or seam.

The side ones end up emphasising the whole beakyness of the mask.

I suppose I could call it done, the only problem with that is that there's no way to actually wear the damn thing. It's too heavy to use normal elastic like on the V mask I modelled this on, so I'll have to make some kind of tie, or a strap with adjustable buckle (I have a big ol' head). At least the creative part of the process is done.

There are probably much better instructions out there on the internet to make one of these masks quickly and easily. I just made this because I wanted to have a go. I had no idea what I was going to make it out of, and how I was going to make it. I experimented ON the mask rather than on scraps of card or paper. I made things on the fly, adjusted on the fly, readjusted on the fly. There were no exact measurements, just my eye and a lot of guesswork.

If you're thinking about making a mask like this, don't do what I did. It'll probably drive you bananas unless you have a lot of patience. Plan out what you want to do beforehand and get your materials ready in advance. Oh, and use a ruler! Otherwise you'll also end your last post 4 months from the first one. And note that I didn't spend 4 months entirely on this mask. I also left it well alone for long periods of time too ;)

I have a couple more mask-like things to post which I made a few days ago, but those can wait. I'm just glad that this mask is finally done*.

*or is it? I might update this post with the final head strap or whatever I end up putting on it, but since that's not really creative it might end up being sidelined.

Friday, 10 August 2012

So I made another blog...

I dabbled with the idea of a blog where I would post photos for a while now. I couldn't decide whether to incorporate it into this blog or create a whole new one. I ended up doing the latter. The link should be over on the right, or if you can't see it, go to Or if you're in the UK, or .ca if you're in Canada, or... well you get the idea.

I called it "point, shoot, delete" because I point the camera at something, shoot a picture, delete it, then repeat these steps until the desired outcome is achieved*. I could have called it "point, shoot, delete, repeat" but 3 words is catchier.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
Stop, look, listen.
Please, no photos.

I also liked how there's a photo blog called click flash whirr with the pretty girl who takes a daily self-portrait, so it's a bit of a play on those types of names (I dunno if there's a car blog called vroom vroom squeal).

So, you know, stop by there as well if you want.

*I also called it "pointxshoot" for a time and went back and forth with these 2 names, which is why some images have a pointxshoot watermark on them. I couldn't decide. I may update those watermarks one day. RAW files and original jpegs are always good to have.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Plague doctor mask (WIP, part 3)

Starting to look a little creepy now, particularly with the big round eyes... O_O

 More papier mache added to the beak, fixed the eyes (kind of) so they're big and not so wonky anymore.

I need to clean up that table.

Because the cardboard structure underneath the newspaper wasn't completely smooth, I also have to build up layers of paper to smooth some of the bumps on the surface. This is the long part, pasting glue and paper strips, waiting for them to dry, add more paper, wait for that to dry... It's long but in a way theraputic too.

All that's left is building up more layers, fixing up the bumps and crooked parts, making the face part a little stronger, and finally paint!

More: (part 4) (part 3) (part 2) (part 1)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Plague doctor mask (WIP, part 2)

Just a quick post to show you that even though my first mask WIP post was extremely unimpressive (all words, no mask), it has come along in leaps and bounds.

Centre piece of scrap card (thanks, Amazon!) added and glued on, just to get a rough idea of what it will look like and how big the final beak will be. And a messy table.

Centre piece of scrap card was too wide and too short, so I cut it and added the excess piece to the end. Also added some side pieces to form the beginnings of a 3-dimensional shape. Didn't try any of those puzzles.

 More scrap card, this time thinner and not corrugated (taken from a chicken pie box, yum), wrapped around the thicker cardboard beak. Also cut eyeholes, but these are temporary as 1) they should really be round and 2) they are hilariously wonky.

Added some more card to fill in the main beaky part (held in place by rubber bands and clothes pegs while the glue dries). Glued on some card strips to hold the sides of the beak to the sides of the face. They also help to fill in the huge gap. Started papier mache on the front of the beak. Still didn't try any of those puzzles.

Still to do:

Add more card on the top of the beak where it meets the mask.
Create more rounded eyes, decide on clear or tinted eyeholes.
Add breathing holes (nose, mouth)
Maybe make the bottom part of the mask a little bit longer so it fits under the chin? I dunno yet.
Papier mache the hell out of it, to make it much more solid than it already is.
Paint it!

But before all of that:
Get more UHU glue.

There are a few more progress pics still on my camera but they really just show some more paper mache goodness, so I'll save those for the next update.

More: (part 4) (part 3) (part 2) (part 1)