Tag Archives: sculpture

Art Challenge Days #1-5

Art Challenge: Day #1-5

Welcome to the 30 Day Art Challenge update for days one through five.

Sorry these art pieces are a little belated in terms of getting them out on their specified day. I have been working on these consistently day to day, but I am discovering that the scale of each of my projects are too large for the timeline I have set for myself. Clearly I need to scale everything back just a bit and concentrate on quality over quantity.

For now, here is the first batch of art pieces I have made this month! Enjoy.

Day #1 – Self Portrait

I wanted to start off with something I haven’t done in several weeks, and that was a photoshop piece. No banners do not count. For my self-portrait I chose to do something that is half way between my own style and something a little Tim Burton. The yarn is so that you definitely know it is me.

This piece is one of the main reasons that I fell behind right off the bat. Between the line art and scouring for textures, this piece is not something I could crank out in a short drawing session. Love how it turned out though.

Day #2 – Scenery

When I think of scenery right now I think of the game with some of the most stunning visuals and environments I have played in a long time. Unravel is so very detailed, saturated and immersive that I feel like I could reach out and touch the thistle patch.

Learning from my previous mistakes, I scaled this piece down significantly from my self portrait piece. This was done in water color and gouache, and measures at about 3×5 inches. I’m a little annoyed with the yarn along the bottom, but all in all I really like how this one turned out.

Day #3 – Love

I had a bunch of spare sculpy lying around, so I thought why not? This tiny sculpture is only about as big around as a toonie (for all of my Canadian friends). It is based on a sketch I did back in the summer titled “Until Death Do Us Part”. It was basically a darker take on couples merging into one person as part of the relationship.

This one is technically incomplete as I have no idea what I want the color scheme to be. I plan on finishing this before the end of the challenge. Any thoughts on colors guys??

Day #4 – Tattoo

Day four featured the tattoo challenge, and for some reason everything afterward ended up looking a lot like a tattoo design. This piece is done in black gouache and is 5×7 inches.

I tried to push myself outside of my comfort zone with this piece. Obviously this is not referring to the skull in the middle. We all know how comfortable I am with drawing bones. I actually dislike drawing and painting roses. I am fine with almost any other flower, but my roses always came out looking chunky and awkward. I think these might me some of the favourite roses that I have ever illustrated.

Day #5 – Skeleton

Day five’s skeleton is almost interchangeable with day four. I wanted to steer clear of a purely technical drawing, so I took a lot of artistic licences with the overall design and shape.

The ribcage ended up looking a little more cluttered than I would have liked. It is a little hard to see but the rib bones are meant to be branches full of bleeding hearts. Bleeding hearts are a type of flower that flourishes in heavily shaded areas, which is why I paired it with the moth motif. I may come back to this one a little later and add some splashes of color, but for now I am over all happy with how this turned out.

Next Time:

Tune in later this week for 30 Day Art Challenge Days #6-10. This challenge is making me sweat already, so let’s see how this goes!



Stabbing Things with Needles


Sometimes all a girl needs is a barbed needle and a video camera.

Welcome to Twisted Tales Studio’s first project video of the year! As promised I have been working on a needle felting project. It is a little belated due to some technical issues, but it is finally DONE.

Not gonna lie, at one point in this video I stab myself full force with the needle, and it was about as pleasant as one would expect. It’s not a successful craft project until you screw up and draw blood, now is it?

Up next I was thinking of maybe doing one of the skeleton and muscle diagrams as a project. Thoughts?


Stabbing Things with Barbed Needles

…Otherwise known as needle felting.


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.


Fan Expo Monster Suit

Twisted Tales Studio Presents:

Monster Suit Fan Expo 2014

This is a bit of a throwback from when I was still in school but I am now finally properly set up for video editing. So, better late than never, here is an actual video of our monster suit actually walking around at Fan Expo 2014.

This video was just an opportunity to actually practice cutting footage together on my computer. The video and sound quality are poor because it was shot on my iphone in the middle of the convention center. Even at the best of times, this was not an ideal space to record anything. At one point I was actually sitting on the table of the booth directly across from us, so thank you to the boys selling Doctor Who merch. You were super sweet for helping me!

The actor in our suit is the husband of my teacher, Fred, who did an amazing job! There are very few people who would put up wearing all the fur, while walking on stilts, in the middle of an insanely crowded convention center. Also, at one point the fan for the cooling unit shorted out, so the poor guy was sweating buckets under all there.

Also featured in this video are two of my teachers helping our actor get into the costume and on his feet. A few of my classmates can also be seen in the background acting as human pylons so nobody accidentally bumped into the stilts.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. Our group had the opportunity to get into the con in exchange for working at the booth and promoting the school. I was able to make my rounds of all the vendors, as well as get a photo op with one of my favourite horror franchise actors!

Fan Expo 2014 will forever be my favourite year!


November 2014 Featured Artist: Mythic Articulations

Featured Artist: Mythic Articulations

Jackalope by Mythic Creations
Jackalope by Mythic Creations
Website: Link
Etsy: Link
Facebook: Link
Twitter: Link
Tumblr: Link

My second featured artist for November I found while clicking around on etsy. Naturally, I spend my time looking up skeletons and mythical creatures, which took me to the Mythic Articulations shop.

Opened in 2013, the goal of mythic articulations is to create what nature won’t. Mythic articulations offers a variety of skeletons and skulls of all of the mythic creatures you could ever think of … and maybe some you have not.

With technology growing and becoming accessible there are new opportunities for makers to create things that would be impossible or impractical to make with traditional methods. The skeletons of Mythic Articulations are created with a 3D modeling program, which is then made into the final product with a 3D printer. Like traditional methods, this process is meticulous and time consuming in its own way, but the results are stunning. Check out the product for yourself.

Obviously one of the biggest advantages of 3D printing technology is that Mythic Articulations artists can create one digital “master” with incredibly small and fine pieces. Some of the items in this shop contain some crazy intricate detail. I am a huge fan of the 3D tribal skull!

For those interested in one of these pieces please visit the Mythic Articulations Etsy store. Please ensure that you order before the end of November if this is to be a Christmas gift … if you have someone in your life like me who would love a skeleton for Christmas. That is normal right? Skeletons are cool.

If anyone has a suggestion for the next featured artist please feel free to comment.



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.



Jackalope Skull

Some of you probably recall me posting about my rabbit skull and skeleton studies a while back. For those of you just now joining me, the project currently holding my attention is a study on mythical creature anatomy and skeletons. To be specific, in this instance I have decided to begin my journey with something small and simple in design. Say hello to the mighty majestic Jackalope … or at least the rough base for what will be a jackalope.

Roughed out sculpt
Roughed out sculpt

The jackalope was made famous as a hoax in the 1930s when a couple of clever gentlemen grafted deer antlers to the head of a taxidermy hair. It has some basis in a disease known to cause abnormal bone growth in rabbits, but it was mostly just a way to rope in tourists as far as I can tell.

You can begin your jackalope journey here on the jackalope wiki page if you would like more information on the cutest hoax of the 1930s.

Moving onto the project proper, I of course began this journey by staring at a model rabbit skull for a few hours. To get a true sense of proper proportions I drew some preliminary sketches from side, bottom and top views. That is what professional artists do, right?

For this sculpt, I am using chavant (also known as monster clay). It is an oil based clay which behaves a lot like Plasticine. It is commonly used for sculpting movie makeup prosthetics because it does not dry out, it can be easily reheated and reused, and it is incredible for holding detail. It comes in three densities: soft, medium and hard. I prefer to use medium for my projects as soft holds less detail (and gets damaged easier when casting) and the hard version is a pain to work with (literally, it is killer on my wrists). One of these days perhaps I will do a sculpting tutorial with chavant to demonstrate different ways to sculpt with this material.

I happened to have a tub of recycled chavant left over from making my zombie makeup. Since the scale is going to be about one half of a true sized rabbit I decided I had more than enough for this project. It is refreshing to work on something small scale after spending weeks building a nine foot fur monster.

As you can see from the above picture, I have the size and overall shape of the skull mapped out. The next step in the process will be to add the horns and then start in with the details. I don’t use any sort of special tools for this job. Mainly I stick with a pin tool and a pointed wooden sculpting tool you can find in any beginner sculpting kit. For the final texturing I will be using a course sponge to give the illusion of porous bone. The sponge will also get rid of any unusual ridges or burs from the sculpting process.

From here it will be on to casting. I have personally never made a mold of something this small, and I am a little concerned about bubbles forming either in the silicone or in the plastic I will be using to make the copies.

I will post progress pictures as this project gets underway. There will likely be a delay in updates for the jackalope skull as my due date for my large monster project is fast approaching. If this turns out well perhaps I will start sculpting skulls for creatures of my own design. That could be a lot of fun!



Fury Monster Faces

Our FanExpo monster continues along its long road to completion with Labor Day weekend looming ever closer in the horizon.

Face Cast in Silicone
Face Cast in Silicone

I thought I would take this moment to share a special moment of seeing the first pull of the monster face cast for our fury monster.For those of you joining me for the first time, a small group of students in my class were commissioned by the school to work on display pieces for Sheridan’s booth at FanExpo 2014. My teacher only specified that he wanted a large furry bear-like monster to walk around at the convention, and it was my job to draw up the concept art for this project. The original sculpture for this face was a tag team effort between myself and my classmate Carson.

The molding and casting was done by our TA Aprile, and she even put on a first layer of colour to give us an idea of what the final flesh tone will look like. We started off with cool colours, and the warmer flesh tones will be added over top later. We didn’t want him to be too tan toned right away because his fur is caramel.

The beak was cut off of the original sculpt and cast separately. In this photo is the first version pulled in bone coloured acrylic for a nice translucent effect. We are currently debating adding a little colour to the beak as well. Some darker tones will likely be dry brushed on for a little depth.

The body is underway as well, although it doesn’t look like much since he is still a million little pieces. The structural part of the under suit is made up of 3/4 inch foam and hooping wire typically used for corsets and big dress skirts. You can actually kind of see the random pieces of foam in the mirror in the background of this picture. You can’t miss it as it is bright yellow. When everything is glued together and reinforced it will have to be patterned for a skin as well (I’ve never patterned something this complicated from scratch before, ahhh!). The the endless hand sewing will begin. There is nothing like sitting on the classroom floor sewing, gluing and leather working together.

We are actually doing two sets of legs: one normal set, and one set made for stilts. The attach like a belt separately from the body and then the actor will slide into the body from underneath. With the stilts and ears included this guy will stand around eight feet tall, which will be eye catching at the convention I am sure.

I will continue to post updates as they become available. This early in the game there really is not much that is recognizable as a monster. His body actually looks like something more akin to a large yellow jellybean at the moment. Once the fur and the cowl/face are complete it will look far more impressive.

If any of my readers are in the Toronto Canada area, I encourage you to come out to the convention! Giant furby-monster aside, FanExpo is a good time for pretty much everything nerdy.

Jessie Mc

Sketching Animal Skulls

I’ve always loved skeletons and skulls so I thought it might be fun to sculpt some mythical creature skeletons and cast them. That way I can make multiples in plastic to sell. My first idea is mainly just to do the skull, but with extended plans to do an entire skeleton once I work out the technical bits. Maybe for Christmas I will make them with little Santa hats included. You know, to be festive.

I like to be fully prepared and do my research before starting any project so I have been staring long and hard at rabbit skulls for the past couple of weeks. I’ve done some rotation drawings to try and get a grasp of all the different shapes and sutures involved. While I don’t expect to include every single bone in the body, I do intend to keep them as accurate as possible. I fully intend on counting ribs and vertebrae to acheive a realist feel.

Here are some of the sketches I have come up with so far. Can anyone guess what the first mythical animal is going to be?

Yes, it is the majestic jackalope of North American folklore. The fluffy bunny rabbit with antelope horns. One of the more well-known hoaxes of the 1930s, the “authentic stuffed jackalope” was made by grafting horns to a stuffed taxidermy rabbit. For a full description of the origin of the jackalope and its role in popular culture a very informative wiki page can be found here.

Yes, I will admit I am doing this one simply because I wanted an excuse to draw bunnies (and bunny skulls). The jackalope is truly the cutest of all mythical creatures.

As far as construction for my purposes goes, the references are rabbit and deer. The placement of the horns is a little awkward as a rabbit skull is not sloped in the same way as a deer. I also discovered I actually hate drawing antlers.

As of right now I have started blocking out a miniature skull in monster clay. If nothing else it is good anatomy practice.

The casting process for this project is going to be a major hurtle. Either this will have to be strategically posed, or this will have to be cast as separate pieces and glued together later. Regardless, the antlers of this project will be done separately. Having it be hollow verses solid plastic is also something to consider seeing as the ribs will be delicate if cast as a hollow sculpture.

These are all things to consider. I simply wanted to share my thought process as I go along so I have a record of each step. As I go along I will share was does and does not work, and I will post updates when (and if) I decide to include this in an Etsy store. If I can figure out a way to make these with any sort of efficiency you can bet I will make it available in a variety of fun colours! That is festive, right?



Book Review: The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation

After a long grueling week I have managed to work my way through the second book that I ordered a few weeks ago: The Advanced Art of Stop Motion Animation by Ken A Priebe.

The Advanced Art of Stop Motion Animation
The Advanced Art of Stop Motion Animation

I’ve always had a soft spot for stop motion movies, and as part of my classes at school we got a mini lesson on the basics of stop-motion puppet building. On my long list of things that I eventually want to build is my own stop-motion puppet, but I like to do my research first before I dive into a project. I had an inkling that making these puppets is a time consuming process, and as it turns out I was correct. There are a lot of steps between designing the character to painting the finished product. I wanted a book that outlined all my steps and all my different options for puppet building, and in this book my money was well spent.

The Advanced Book of Stop Motion Animation has a long comprehensive chapter on the building of stop-motion puppets from design, to armature, to finishing. It also outlines the use of different building materials for different applications. Some stop-motion puppets are sculpted and cast in silicone or latex, while some are clay and latex buildup. Depending on the complexity of the puppet any number of materials can be used.

There is no one way alone to build the armature inside the puppet, and a couple methods are simple enough that a person on their own time could build it without the steep cost of machined parts. On the advanced end of the spectrum this book also goes over the minute details involved in making expressions with head armatures. The latter is probably a little beyond my skill level at this point, but one must always have long-term goals.

Also casting, casting, and more casting. Stop motion puppets often need to be repaired or replaced so casting the puppet is probably a good idea. If anyone is planning on making one of these puppets read this part of the book carefully. Casting an molding provides multiple opportunities for screw-ups, so don’t skim this part. I know this from personal experience.

The part of the book that admittedly goes a little over my head is the actual animation of the puppet. I have only a little knowledge on cinematography and the art of using a camera, but I did find this section easy to follow. Having visual examples of what all the settings on the camera do is definitely helpful. This section covers everything from camera settings to visual effects and compositing.

Of course, this book goes through the process of actually animating using a stop motion puppet. This part is actually more time consuming than making the puppet itself. A stop motion movie is comprised completely of a series of still images. A standard high resolution contains 24 frames per second, so its not hard to imagine how much time it takes to create even a minute of footage. There is a reason these movies take years to complete. This book gives all sorts of tips and tricks for realistic movement and efficient work. This is the only part of the process I have little to no experience with, so this book is likely going to end up being an invaluable resource.

If it is not clear by my overview of this book’s contents I clearly have the mind of a builder and not an animator. I spent a lot more time going over every detail of sculpting and casting, but someone who prefers the animation side of this art would also get a lot out of this book. Even a builder should know what types of movements will be required of the stop-motion puppet to get a better end result. This book makes for an excellent start-to-finish how-to manual. As a person who does tend toward building I think I will search for something more specialized in my next book order. Does anyone have suggestions on stop-motion building books? I would love to hear them!

I think next up will be a comic book. Perhaps Fables or Sandman? Also coming up soon are some more illustrations and some technical drawings I have been working on for a new side-project I have in the works. Things were a little tight this week between school and my internship, but I will get back to the making portion of my blog I swear!