Sometimes it's just nice to paint a rabbit. This little guy's standing at the edge of the water trying to use the branches behind him to make his reflection look like a jackalope. He just wants to take a nice selfie.
There are obviously all kinds of factors that influence how a display is designed, and how it works. These include things like lighting requirements, durability, intuitive user experience, target audience, localization, accessibility… the list is super long.
However, there are three simple rules that I’ve discovered must be followed in order to ensure that any interactive display is as successful and engaging as possible.Read More
For the past few years, I've been following a young artist named Santani. She's a Russian woman, born in 1990, who's been making realistic fantasy animals since she was 14. Her work is unbelievably good. Her fantasy animals are so realistic, they're often used as thumbnails for clickbait articles.
I've been deeply inspired by her work, and as a result I've decided to make some of the weirder creatures I draw into stuffed toys. Ultimately, I'm hoping to create a programmable animatronic animal, but for my first attempt I just wanted to try a few techniques and get a feel for some different materials. It will take a long time before I develop the skills to match Santani's incredible attention to detail (if I ever do), but with time I'm sure I'll find my own quirky style.
The first thing I did was craft claws, teeth, and a nose from Sculpey. This is a material used a lot in the construction of fantasy art dolls, because of its incredible versatility and the way it holds paint and other coatings.
Rather then try to make super detailed pieces, I opted for simpler, larger claws and teeth, and chose to sew the face instead of moulding it. I used acrylic paint and nail polish to coat the finished pieces. Each Sculpey piece had a single hole to help me secure it in place later on.
The claws for the hands were simply four little spikes, but I added little toe pads to the back feet because toes are so freaking cute.
At this point I still had no idea what the actual creature was going to look like in the end. I was just making parts.
One of the things I wanted to do was paint my own glass eyes. I spent a lot of time on Ebay and Etsy looking at glass eyes, but in the end I ordered simple, half-dome glass cabochons (this word was super useful in Google searches).
Since painting directly on glass is a bit tricky, I made little disks of Sculpey that were the same size as the glass, and painted those. I included a little wire loop at the back of each disk, to help me secure the eyes later. I used the same acrylic paint and nail polish, and attached the glass to the Sculpey with super glue.
I decided to use leather scraps to make my little friend's body. I found some leather ends at a nearby craft store, and used the more textured parts to attach leather to the feet using super glue. At this point, I learned how effective super glue is on leather - it's got basically the same impact on leather that it has on your skin. After glueing my fingers together a few times, I got the hang of it.
I glued the leather really carefully around the hands and feet, and tried to figure out how to attach the feet to a body. I still wasn't sure how it was all going to fit together, but it was fun making it up as I went.
I used a simple leather awl to sew the leather scraps, and added some fun fur for accents and a tail. Fun sidenote: I was travelling overseas while I worked on this part, so this little animal came together across several countries. The picture below was taken in Singapore.
Once the arms and legs were attached, I started slowly working on a face. This was the hardest part. I still wasn't entirely sure what I wanted the face to look like, so I cut out a lot of shapes and arranged them as I went. A lot of super glue was used for this part, too.
I discovered that you can easily mould leather into simple shapes by soaking it in super glue, which is how I made the ears hod their shape. I'm not sure how well this'll hold up to time... maybe it'll weather badly. But it was pretty great for making ears that held their shape. I also scraped the leather inside the ears a bit to give his ears some depth. Finally, I used fun fur to give my little guy a nice hairstyle.
Making his head the right shape was pretty challenging, and I'm not sure I succeeded... in the end his teeth stuck out a lot more than I wanted them to. But I did succeed in adding firmly secured whiskers (harvested from my broom).
At about this point, I named this little guy Chupacabra, after the legendary goat sucking creature from central and south america. One of the fascinating things about this legend is how recent it is. Until I chose this name, I assumed Chupacabras had been part of a rich human mythology for hundreds of years, but this particular legend is less than 20 years old.
This is the finished product. Chupa's neck is a little crooked, and he looks like he always needs a hug. I'm really proud of how solid he is, even if I had to stuff his butt with pennies to make sure he could sit up, and there are a few stitches showing. I can't wait to make the next one. :)
I doodle to remember. But I don't always remember to doodle. So today, I made sure to bring a pen to TEDx Toronto 2016. Here's what I learned.
Opera Singing Is Weird
Some Lizards Can Make Water From Dew In The Desert
Different Generations Communicate in Different Ways... And All Of Them Are Good
Making Patients Come to Doctors is Often Unnecessary and Unsustainable
Open Science Should Be The Only Science
Break for Meditation Music
The Gaming World Still Sucks At Diversity (But It's Getting Better)
You're Probably a Hacker
Taking Freedom For Granted Ruins It For Everyone Else
It's Okay To Have a Conversation That's Entirely Questions
You Didn't Pick Your Name, But You Get To Own It
Humans Developed The Ability To Interpret Art Before Symbols
The Hyper Loop. Fuck Ya.
The Way To Bring Innovation Into Big Companies Is To Take Down The Immune System
There Are Pills To Make Women Hornier That Also Make Them Sick
You Can Rewire Your Brain To Learn Hard Things Much More Easily If You Focus On Your Uniqueness
It's oddly appropriate that the event ended with awesome dancing, something I am painfully bad at. But I'm definitely inspired to try again. In fact, I'm inspired in about a million ways. Thanks, TEDx Toronto!
Recently I moved into what might be the most grownup place I've ever lived. Unlike my long-term-artist-work-in-progess home in Winnipeg (the one with missing walls, half finished murals, and a Darwinian experiment of a garden), or the commune style warehouse at the Brewery Artist Loft in Los Angeles that was my world last year, my new place in Toronto is insanely respectable. What's more, it has neither roaches nor mice, and I'm sharing it with only one other adult, who may be eccentric but definitely isn't subject to the same moody, defiantly antisocial tendencies as myself, and the other artists I've traditionally shared space with.
I consider this levelling up, in most ways. But I definitely needed to add something personal to the new home. And for the first time in my life, scrawling all over the walls wasn't allowed.
One of the first things we did was get a bed and duvet. The feather duvet had no cover, so except for a little window of time about 2.5 minutes immediately after sweeping, it looked like chickens had recently exploded.
A duvet cover seemed like a pretty cool way to express myself, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone (so to speak - there was evidence of dead birds all over the place already) and design my own duvet cover.
A quick Google search for 'design your own duvet' turned up a cool site called Deny Designs that seemed pretty legit and reasonably priced. Although they didn't have templates, it was pretty easy to Google 'king duvet size' and get the aspect ratio I needed. After that, it was all Photoshop.
My concept was Minecraft, since my boyfriend AC and I both have a pretty hardcore obsession with that particular virtual world. And since I often doodle us as a rabbit and a bear, it made sense to do a couple cute Minecraft animals.
I composited these together roughly in Photoshop, projected them on the wall, traced the projection, and painted the tracing in watercolors.
Once that was done, I scanned the watercolor, and combined it with the original reference are and some texture layers to complete the composition. AC located and/or drew all the little item icons.
This technique allowed me to increase the resolution of the original sampled images by a great deal, because I could blend them with the high res scan of the watercolor and woth a bit of blur, they blended really well. The compositing of paint and 3D renders gives the whole thing a more organic, textured look and feel. Once I'd guessed a bit at the size of the borders and how much space to leave at the too for a folded over sheet, I sent the design to Deny and waited.
It took about a week (they're based in Colorado). Overall, I'm really happy with the result. The fabric's super soft, the print quality is great (I've washed it once and it didn't fade at all), and the colors are really vibrant.
My only change would be to increase the border area at the bottom.
I'll definitely be using Deny Designs in the future. It's a great service. :)
8 important lessons JLo taught me, which I have since included in my presentations (and sometimes also while ordering take-out and giving directions to tourists).Read More
This is a sketch from my book. I scanned it and imported it into Photoshop and coloured it. Here's the final: