Tag Archives: cute

Art Challenge – Day #6-10

30 Day Art Challenge

Day #6-10

Welcome back everyone to the better late than never post! All the art more or less got done, I am simply horrible at documenting my work. So let’s get on with this shall we? Here are another five installments of the art challenge:

Day #6 – Microscopic

Day six was a weird day for me. This part of the challenge just so happened to fall during the worst days of a flu which wrecked everyone in my household.

So, high on cold medicine, I scoured the internet for microscopic organisms. I ended up combining three or four types of organisms into one psychedelic freak of nature that probably should not exist. I think what I am trying to say is don’t do drugs kids.

*Watercolor and gouache 

Day #7 – Anatomy

On day 7 I think I was coming off of the drugs, but I was in a dark place. We all know this point of being sick where the symptoms begin to fade but we are still not well enough to actually be productive. My face felt like it was on fire from blowing my nose, and I couldn’t breathe to save my life.

Sadly, I took out my frustration at being confined to my couch on this poor teddy bear. I wanted to know what made him tick, and what made him so damn happy and cute all the time. I am probably one of the few people on this planet that finds the idea of a teddy skeleton adorable.

*Gouache 

Day #8 – Fungi

Day eight I painted the fungi zombies from the video game The Last of Us so I could tie this challenge in with my fungi study article. The Last of Us article ended up being pushed back anyway, which contributed to both of these posts being unforgivably late.

For those of you not familiar with the game, the zombie hoards in this universe are created by a parasitic fungi. There are different stages of infection ranging from the early stage “runner” (bottom), and the deadly “clicker” (top). I wanted a brighter color palette so they ended up looking a little psychedelic. Don’t do drugs kids.

*Watercolor and gouache

Day #9 – Hate

I struggled with day 9 well past the deadline where I was supposed to have finished this piece. I thought I would maybe tie it into the “love” day’s sculpture, but I felt I just could not translate hate properly. Finally I settled on another painting, this time of a cute little voodoo doll that resembles Lilo’s doll from Lilo and Stitch.

In the end this piece really came together in the end. It is actually one of my favourites so far in the challenge.

*Gouache

Day #10 – Comic

Day 10 was another one that really gave me a tough time, which is not what I expected. When I cobbled the list together I expected that I would do a tiny three panel comic of some sort, but for some reason nothing came to mind.

Then it occurred to me that it has been years since I have done a traditional India Ink comic book style illustration. This is another multi-day project that put me farther behind, but it was worth the effort!

Say hello to one of my favourite comic book protagonists, Cassie Hack from Hack/Slash, dressed as my favourite villain Freddy Krueger. I’m a huge fan of pin-ups and pretty burlesque girls, and Cassie is no stranger to seductive posing.

Next Time

Thanks for joining me again. Come visit next time for days #11-15 … hopefully in a timely manner, but at this point I make no guarantees.

The List - LINK
Days #1-5 - LINK

Cheers,

Starchip13

Stabbing Things with Needles – Twisted Stitches

Raiding the Stash

I have been putting a lot of emphasis on my Youtube channel and Let’s Play series this week, but fear not I have been working on some crafty things in the background. My artistic projects take a little more time to complete well, so these posts will probably be once a week or so.

Continuing with this month’s theme of stabbing things with needles, I came across my old embroidery hoops while cleaning my room. I have been on a mission to use up some of the crafting supplies I already own, so I decided to pull out my embroidery thread and see exactly how rusty I have become.

I love embroidery for the fact that with a few basic tricks and stitches you can make some pretty stunning compositions. Whether it is a pattern or more illustrative the entire picture is made up of a series of chain or cross stitches.

Wretched Resources

Gone are the days of your Gran’s “Home Sweet Home” framed cross stitches and heirloom embroidered table cloths. This should go without saying, but if you can draw or download a simple image from the internet you can turn pretty much anything into needlework.

Cross stitch makes this particularly easy because as long as you can line up an image to grid paper you can translate it into a sewing pattern. Same goes for embroidery, for which I play fast and loose and do much of my work free hand. I guess I am just a rebel like that…

For everything else there are literally endless resources for patterns on the internet or in books. Take for example my favourite: Twisted Stitches: 30 Corrupt Cross Stitch and Embroidery Designs.twisted-stitches As the title might suggest, this book does not contain any traditional cross stitch designs. Unless you think traditional cross stitch would have been better served with bunny roadkill imagery, in which case I would wholeheartedly agree.

This book is a nice combination of cross stitch pattern, sewing pattern and how-to book. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for completing 30 projects from start to finish. That way you don’t end up like me as a kid with a million useless patches of fabric that aren’t actually sewed into anything, but damn don’t they just look pretty. I still sometimes refer to this book when I need a refresher on certain types of finishes or stitches.

I got my copy on Amazon.ca but my friends in the states can also find it on Amazon.com. If graphic is not your thing Subversive Cross Stitch is another go-to of mine when I’m feeling particularly sassy.

What are your favourite unconventional stitching resources?

What I’ve Been Messing With

Over this past holiday Monday my friends and I had ourselves a good ol’ fashioned stitch-and-bitch party. Each of of brought our respective projects and sat around drinking ungodly amounts of caffeine and sugar.

As mentioned in the beginning, I decided to give embroidery another go. Lacking any patterns (I had not been able to dig out my copy of Twisted Stitches before I left the house) I did everything entirely freehand, which explains the horrid lettering in my first attempt. Oh well, at least the ventricles in my anatomical heart look pretty.

 

My second attempt yielded much more attractive results. They aren’t creepy exactly, but they are darn cute, and it also falls under the category of geeky. If it is not obvious I have Unravel on the brain. Unravel is a new platforming game out just this past week for xbox one and ps4. The main character being made of yarn lends itself well to being embroidered.

IMG_0380

It’s nowhere near finished yet, I am currently working on adding a background to match the style of the game. I aim to have it finished before the end of my Let’s Play. There may even be a speed-embroidery video in the coming weeks…

Starchip13

LET’S PLAY – Unravel

I finally found a game that combines two of my loves in life: gaming and crafting. Unravel is a platformer game developed by Coldwood Interactive and published by EA.

My first thoughts starting up this game were “gosh darn it this game is pretty”, which is an accurate description. High quality of the animation aside (it deserves to be said again that is is amazing) the art style of Unravel is eye catching. The environments are so saturated with colour I wish real life was this lovely every day.

I will of course be doing a full review on the game play aspect once all parts of this Let’s Play have been posted, so stay tuned.

Also, new idea for a drinking game. Every time I say “ok” take a drink. I can’t guarantee you will live to see the end of the episode.

Starchip13

The Science of Cute and Creepy

Happy February first everyone! I will be participating in blogging 201 this month, so let’s get started shall we? This challenge is “what is my angle?” so I decided to take the theme a little bit literal.

The question of the day is: what makes something cute vs. creepy. The short answer is that it is all in the angles.

Cute Curves Vs. Harsh Angles

mushrooms
Using Fungus Fairies as an Example…

Let us take a look at the ultimate example of cuteness: babies. What makes infants so darn cute? The secret is in the circles. From their big round eyes to their stumpy little legs, babies and infants are made up almost entirely of circles and curves. Subconsciously in our minds, particularly in women, we associate soft lines with babies. This means that any product or design that has proportions similar to an infant is perceived as “cute”. A lot of cartoons, particularly chibis, use these proportions.

Another instance of the use of curves is when it is meant to reference the female form. The curve of the breasts and hips are used as inspiration for products ranging from cars to cell phones. Anything meant to be “sexy” is typically slim in design with few sharp angles.

mushrooms
Changing lines ages the little fungus friend…

On the other end of the spectrum characters who are meant to be evil or creepy are designed with rougher edges in mind. Good examples of this principal are seen in pretty much every Tim Burton movie where he uses strange proportions, pointy faces and spindly limbs to purposely make his characters creepy. You’ll also notice that villainous characters are either unusually thin or have overemphasized masculine traits.

Simple Symmetry Vs. Just off Center 

moresketches
This guy looks like a proper gentleman

There is a basic formula for the proportions we find attractive in another human being. A symmetrical face is usually a sign of favorable genes and good health. While few faces are truly symmetrical, characters or creatures that are meant to be “good” will often have perfectly symmetrical designs.

moresketches
This guy will probably eat your face

Traditionally a face with glaringly obvious asymmetry is a sign of injury or disease. Back in the other corner with our friend Mister Burton, his designs are rarely symmetrical. Putting the nose slightly off center or making the eyes two different sizes can vastly change the look of a character. High levels of asymmetry can invoke feelings of fear or distrust, even if there is no actual danger.

Warm and Welcoming Vs. Green and Ghastly

sketches
This guy is colour coded to be a hero

This one is pretty obvious. Warm colours are associated with light and flowers and all those good things. Heroic characters will usually be associated with a warm primary colours (go Gryffindor!).

sketches
According to Disney this guy is probably a villain

Dark and cool colours, particularly green (Slytherin), are associated with villainous characters. Green has a dual association with plant life or with sickness. Disney has abused the heck out of the colour green to represent their villains. Black, the western colour of mourning, is also paired with villains.

The Uncanny Valley

sketches
Wall-E doesn’t look very human but is super adorable

Sometimes animated characters and non-human objects are given a few human characteristics. This is done mainly for the purposes of animated movies to give characters expressions and to tell a story. A staple of this principal is giving robots big expressive eyes and eyebrows. A good example of this is Brave Little Toaster or Wall-E.

sketches
Put human eyes in a metal skull and you have a murder machine

The uncanny valley is when an animated character or non-human object is given enough human characteristics to no longer be “cute” but is not accurate enough to be considered “realistic”. The result is something rather unsettling. This can be used intentionally like in Terminator when poor Arnold’s face is slowly being peeled away to reveal a machine, but the eyes remain more or less intact. Or it can be completely unintentional like when animation intended to look realistic ends up looking like a melted Barbie Doll.

Now these rules are obviously not the be-all-end-all character design traits in every story. There are plenty of stories that intentionally break these rules, either to better serve the story, or to raise tension. It is fun to play around with proportions and see what kind of personality a character can adopt.

Starchip13

Stabbing Things with Barbed Needles

…Otherwise known as needle felting.

IMG_0367

For those not familiar with the craft, it is the art of stabbing various coloured wool with a barbed needle for hours on end. It is actually quite therapeutic after a bad day. Right up until the point when you stab yourself in the hand hard enough to draw blood. That may or may not have happened once in the making of this project already, but a teacher of mine once told me a project is not real until you bleed on it. That’s the rule.

I got into needle felting while in college when one of my textiles classmates literally blew my mind with a super adorable needle felt dragon in a tiny bird’s nest. I ended up making a ton of fun things a few years ago, including an shenani-goat for my D&D group (yes I do that too). Since then though I have seriously let it fall by the wayside and all of my rather expensive needle felting wool has been living in a tote under my bed.  IMG_0368

For my first video of the year has been seriously belated thus far and I was hoping to finish filming today, but a combination of my camera battery dying and losing the good natural light in my house has put it on hold for the night. I shall continue tomorrow with daylight and fresh batteries.

I hope to have this video up sometime early this week. Until then, here are some selfies with a white felted worm-looking-thing.

Starchip13

January 2015 Featured Artist: Curious Cephalopods (Kirstie Williams)

Featured Artist: Curious Cephalopods

Deviantart Account: Deeed
Etsy Shop: CuriousCephalopods

I am glad to be back with this month’s round of featured artists for January 2015! This year we are starting with Curious Cephalopods, a curious nautical artist from Deviantart. Let’s get this year started on a good note.

Whilst clicking around on the internet for new and interesting things these cute little hair accessories caught my eye and I just had to share them. I see these pieces being ideal for fans of steampunk or anyone who wants to feel a little Lovecraftian. Need a hairpiece to spice up a wig or something to wear to a masquerade at a con? Or perhaps something interesting to wear any old day as an interesting conversation piece? Look no further.

I have always been a huge fan of process and new mediums, and these hairpieces make me feel inspired. Each piece is made with a ridged foam base with hair layered over top and styled with hairspray and paint. I give two thumbs up for this level of creativity. I have not come across anything like this before!

I highly recommend anyone looking to add some flare to a steampunk or fantasy cosplay to come to this shop. Just imagine one of these hair pieces putting the figurative bow on the top of a steampunk mermaid. Go ahead, I will wait.

These pieces can be purchased at the Curiouscephalopods etsy. The shop is looking a little empty at the moment, but the artist assures me that she is in the process of posting more pieces. If anyone is interested in purchasing a hairpiece in a particular colour, she does take requests. Simply send your request through the etsy shop or deviantart account.

If anyone has any suggestions for future featured artists please leave their name/shop in the comments. In the meantime I will continue to search the internet for curious, cute and creepy things!

Cheers,

Starchip13

Featured Artist: J Shook

November 2014 Featured Artist: J Shook (B00ts)

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheDenTree
Tumblr: http://maskshop.tumblr.com/
Deviantart: http://b00ts.deviantart.com/
Asmodee by b00ts
Asmodee by b00ts

Welcome everyone to my very first featured artist section! As most of my readers can guess I love monsters and I love all things hand made. November’s first featured artist just so happens to fall into both of these categories.

Anybody who appreciates soft sculpture and craft will be drawn to these little monsters. I first stumbled across these cute little dolls on Deviantart.com under the screen name B00ts and I was instantly in love! Also, bonus points for the use of sculpy to make horns and embroidery detailing that gives them their personality.

J Shook (or B00ts) is also active on Tumblr and has an etsy shop where her patterns are available for purchase. Of course, I encourage anyone who enjoys sewing and doll making to check out her shop and make something of their own to add to the great online art community. Please give credit where credit is due! If you use these patterns please credit the artist! I know she would also love to see what everyone is making with her patterns, so pass along a quick picture to her tumblr or DA.

These types of dolls are accessible to all skill levels. Felt is an easy type of fabric to sew and work. Dolls can range from exceedingly simple to elaborate and complicated (see B00ts for examples of the latter). Add add as much or as little detail as you want, and make it your own.

Private commissions are also available, but do keep in mind that one-off dolls take a lot of time and energy, which means they are not cheap! An artist also has to be paid for their efforts, so keep this in mind when considering a commission. Please see her FAQ page for more information.

Fan Expo Monster

The Monster

After long hours of work our monster is finally done! This guy was a big hit at Fan Expo 2014. There were many photo ops and high fives to be had that weekend.

This monster (unofficially called the furby) was about 6 weeks of fabrication work done by a team of six students and three members of Sheridan faculty. Every piece of this monster was specially made for the fan expo event from the hand sculpted face to the body suit and the cooling unit built in for our actor.

The structural parts of the body were built out of sheets of 3/4 inch reticulated foam and hooping wire (similar to the kind used in corsets). The fur for this suit was patterned from scratch, hand sewn, and punched with about a million feather plugs … or at least it felt like a million at the time.

This monster has two pairs of legs, one normal sized for easy wear, and one set built to accommodate a pair of drywall stilts. The stilts ended up being one of the beast features of this costume. In a crowded convention center it can be very difficult to see a person standing more than a few feet away. At an incredible eight and a half feet tall, nobody at Fan Expo was missing this big friendly monster!

I will also post videos of this guy once I can figure out how to convert file types. This guy was surprisingly difficult to film and photograph due to the crowds and the narrow space between booths in which to move. I actually ended up sitting on the table across from our booth to take some of these pictures. Thankfully the vendors selling the Doctor Who merch were good sports about it!

I would like to thank Fred Stinson for wearing this insanely hot fur suit while wearing stilts. It made me happy to see my monster walking around and interacting at the con. I would also like to thank all my teachers who helped us make the suit. They contributed so much of their free time to this project!

The Booth

For being part of the team I was offered a pass into Fan Expo for a couple of the days so long as I helped attend the booth. My major responsibility was plugging the school to potential new students, I spent a mass majority of the time painting faces and applying airbrush tattoos. The airbrush tattoos actually ended up being a huge hit because my teacher brought a laser printer so we could make custom stencils on the spot.

We all assisted our monster getting ready, and just generally moving around the booth. Inside the suit the visibility was limited, and there was a danger of people bumping into the stilts and knocking him over. I got to act as a human pylon to make sure there were no accidents.

The Con

I did have some time to myself to wonder around the con. We had plenty of volunteers to run the booth, so it wasn’t hard to sneak around and see what there was in the vendor’s hall. A few good friends of mine were also selling their wares in artist’s ally, so I couldn’t be at Fan Expo and not stop by to say hello. Artist’s Alley is always one of my favourite parts of any con, and I almost never leave without buying at least one thing.

I also purchased a photo opportunity with Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) which made my weekend. I have been a fan of the series since I was most definitely too young to be watching them. As a horror fan I could not miss the chance to meet the man who is Freddy Krueger.

Oh, and I do have one funny con story to help wrap up this post! As I was sitting at the booth eating my pizza between tattoos I some very large men in suits came hustling past. They were pushing the crowd aside for one of the celebrity guests. I looked up from my foot and who else do I see but Stan Lee walk by not more than three feet from me. I can’t say that I met the man, but I can now say that I was close enough for his body guard to justify breaking my arm if I got any funny ideas…

The End

The end of this project also marks the end of my college career. This is the first September since 1996 that I will not be going back to school. Next comes the question of what the heck I’m going to do with myself now. I guess I will just continue to make stuff. Maybe something on a little smaller scale.

Cheers,

Starchip13

Monster Booty and Feather Factory

Fan expo is fast approaching and I still feel as though there is so much to do! We have been making feather plugs and hand sewing fur for days.

The body of the monster is finally coming along well. It is best appreciate from a side view because I just can’t get enough of that booty! This bodacious body is made entirely of 3/4 inch foam and hooping wire. The actor will be strapped into the legs first and then side into the body from the bottom.

dat ass though
dat ass though

To give our big hairy beast a bit more bounce when he moves, we have opted to give him millions of feather hair plugs on his head and body. This is a common trick used by puppet makers to help their puppets look more animated. If you look at many of the muppets or the fraggles you’ll see many of them have dyed ostrich feathers incorporated in the design. This is a long tedious process that involves dying feather boas and then cutting them up so that the feathers can be glued together in little tufts.

I have literally spent the last two days straight sitting with a hot glue gun and gluing together feathers about 5 at a time. I credit my skills in knitting for my infinite patience that has helped me through this week.As a result of this project I am also shedding ruined ostrich feathers everywhere I go. The way these feathers stick to my clothes, it is almost as  bad as working with carving Styrofoam.

Just one day of work is shown in the buckets above, and we need to fill those buckets to have enough for this monster! Oh dear. Something tells me we will be at this for a while. Just a hunch.

When the buckets are filled with feathers the process does not get less time consuming. Each little tuft of five feathers must be manually plugged into the fur by cutting a tiny hole into the fabric. Each plug is then placed in the hole and secured with fabric glue. Repeat a few hundred times until your monster is sufficiently feathery and fabulous.

FanExpo is so close now I have jitters just thinking about it! If any of my readers are in the area you should totally come by and say hello!

Cheers,

Starchip13

Fur, Feet and Foam

My life for the last several weeks has been a blur of fur, feet and foam. Hello, everyone! It is time for one of my periodic updates on the projects I have been making.

It is frustrating when you do so much work over the course of a couple of weeks but for various reasons can’t post pictures and show the world. Our big furry furry FanExpo monster is still in several dozen pieces. As explained in the previous post, the unders suit is completely comprised of 3/4 inch foam. As of this post, most of the structural components have been completed, but it does not yet have any fur.

Testing some monster feet
Testing some monster feet

We are currently in phase two of monster making, which is learning how to pattern our monster bits so we can sew a fur skin to fit over top. We stared with the smaller, more complex pieces, such as the feet. In the picture above I am modeling these large monster does on my small girly feet.

The feet consist of a foam structure built around a pair of men size 11 shoes. Using a sponge we stippled liquid latex coloured with acrylic paint for a skin affect. The claws were originally sculpted in monster clay (chavant) and made into silicone molds. We were then able to make multiple identical claws from bone coloured liquid acrylic.

I was the group member who patterned the fur for this particular part of the project, which was all sorts of frustrating. These feet have all sorts of weird curves, so I was glad my teacher was there to walk me through the process of creating darts in the fabric that actually made sense. Thankfully, the fur for this project is long, and hides a multitude of sins.

Keeping in theme with feet this week I also got the chance to help a teacher work on making a Sasquatch costume for a kid’s TV show. Since the episode has not yet aired I won’t be posting a picture of the full costume, but here are the feet (the part I actually worked on) as a preview.

just a couple of feet I worked on
just a couple of feet I worked on

These feet were build more or less exactly the same as the feet for the FanExpo monster. The foam structure is built around large men’s shoes, and the toes were sculpt and run in foam latex. My teacher patterned the fur for the feet and I was tasked with hand sewing the pieces together. There was a lot of pressure to get these done right the first time since the budget for fur on this project was super tight. I had to do some interesting piece work to get the amount of coverage we needed. Under this fur the fabric is actually cut into twice as many pieces as strictly necessary. Like I said before, fur hides a multitude of sins.

The full sasquatch costume photo will be posted sometime late in the summer after the episode airs on TV.

Cheers,

Starchip13