Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The silence will be broken...

As those of you with a keen eye may have noticed it has been quite a while since I last updated this page...
I have been going through a few difficult things lately, but I have still been doing some creative work which you will be able to view soon when I get around to uploading it in a long rambling stupidity-filled Blog Post.
For now, please enjoy this image of me riding a magical flying giraffe...
I'll explain what this is all about...
I promise.
In the meantime, if anyone would like anything drawn or made in exchange for metal coins or paper with numbers on it just send me an email!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Guns, girls, spaceships, food and Super-Heroes.

Hello once again my loyal followers!
I hope that both of you have not missed me in recent months due to my frankly criminal lack of posts...
It occurred to me that not only have I not made a Blog post in over a month, but I also missed out several events in some of my previous posts.
And so, once again I must form one of my (ridiculously long) short versions of the last few months.
First up, Super-Heroes.
As those of you with keen eyes may have seen, my last post mentioned a Super-Hero themed event happening in Hobbycraft, I showed you my poster for the event, but never revealed my costume, and so, here it is...
I find it insanely difficult to find masks that fit due to having glasses, and so after much faffing about in shops not buying costumes or masks I decided to make my own.
I started out with a rough Batman mask shape edited slightly from a design that I found online, I made sure that the eye spacing and width were perfect to accommodate my glasses.
I then added little flaps inside the mask that actually grip the glasses rather than relying on elastic or my ears to hold the mask on.
To finish I made Bats' classic utility belt and cuffs from a thick black paper.

Here's the finished result:
The costume was supposed to be a Gotham City Impostor, one of those insane morons who wants to be Batman, so clips on a belt and goes out into Gotham to get beaten up by thugs in an alley.
Due to Super-Hero Day and the fact that I was making a Batman (ish) costume, I felt that it was necessary to buy the Batman: Arkham City game to get into character.
Upon playing the game and finding it to be not only visually stunning but also having one of the best stories I have played in recent months I went on eBay and found myself some Bat-toys.
In the game you play as Bats about 70% of the time and Catwoman 30% of the time, so I wanted to get both as cheaply as possible... I found an Arkham City Batman for relatively cheap, and a Catwoman/ Batman pack that was acceptable, but the Batman in the pack was a 1970's Batman, not the Arkham one...
And so I faced a dilemma.
-Random Intermission-
Well, it's sort of random, you'll understand in a minute, I promise.
Going back quite some time now to when I made my Assassin costume I wanted to make or buy some weapons.
Thanks to a law (I am unsure when it was instated or what it's called) realistic gun toys can no longer be sold in the UK, even old guns like Flintlock pistols must be produced to look unrealistic.
I looked everywhere, but I couldn't buy a Flintlock pistol without it costing a ludicrous amount of money or looking utterly terrible, and so I purchased a terrible one.
A broken terrible one.
For a pound.

I then set about fixing and painting it to look more realistic, laying a base coat of matte brown Crafter's Acrylic (a much smoother, flatter acrylic with less pigment than artist's acrylic) and then a metallic silver for the barrel.
To finish I rubbed watered-down black paint into the cracks and brushed certain areas to make it look older.
I'm pretty happy with the results:

I think you see where this was going...
I decided to go with the 1970's Bat/ Cat pack and paint the figure/s to match the game, firstly because I thought it would be good practice for when I finally got around to painting my Fiora Cavazza model (more on this later in this post) and secondly because it was easier and much cheaper than buying several different packs.
I used Americana and DecoArt Crafter's Acrylics to paint the cape, mask and any other parts that were blue, I also mixed a little metallic paint with the black to create some nice effects on the panels on his boots and arms.

Luckily painting both the gun and Batman figure gave me the much needed confidence boost to continue working on my Fiora model.
I had stopped this for two reasons; one, the artist's acrylic looked horrible, it made her look sweaty and shiny, which wasn't what I wanted... and two, after slicing my finger open while making her boots I appeared to have developed a slight fear of my flat edged scalpel.
The Crafter's Acrylic sorted one of these problems, giving a beautiful, smooth, flat finish that I needed for the skin and flat fabrics, though I still used the artist's acrylic for the shinier fabric on her skirt and dress.
I also told my inner self to buck up and stop being such a pansy about knives.
After this, I managed to finish pretty much all of the carving in a day.
I also decided to get rid of the upper clothing that I had made from leather and paint it on instead as many figures do, which made her look a lot longer and thinner like her in-game counterpart.
Lastly I made her hair from Sculpey Bake & Bend clay; this time I cooled it slightly so that it was less sticky, and used cling film over the head to stop any residue sticking to the face sculpt.
Here's what she looks like now:

Afterwards I decided to make a sword for one of my other Assassin's Creed figures, it was supposed to be the sword of Altair... it's not bad for a first go, but I will more than likely re-make it at some point.
As for the Fiora model, she still needs more work, but I am happy with what I have so far.
Moving on.
As some of you may remember, a while ago I made a promotional Viking end for work, and in the same vein my colleagues and I were given a particular product or place to make more appealing in the same sort of way... mine was Revell Star Wars models.
Obviously, having no prior knowledge of "Star Wars" this was a daunting task.
Okay, that was a lie.
In every way.
So naturally as soon as I got home I started making my giant epic space battle scene between the CIS (droids for those of you with only general geek knowledge, or robot thingies for those of you with lives) vs. The Republic (clones for those of you with only general geek knowledge, or those guys in white helmets for those of you with lives) over the gigantic city planet Coruscant...
I stuck far away ships and explosions onto the base layer and then close ships and exploding ship pieces on top of them to create perspective.
I used a healthy amount of found images of the ships, a mixture between Jedi Starfighters, ARC 170s, Droid Tri-Fighters, Vulture Droids and of course Star Destroyers and layered them with explosions using foam pads on an A1 starry background.
To finish it off I made up one of the Revell EasyKit models which would hang in front of the entire scene.
And here is the finished piece:
Since then it has taken a slight beating... the Jedi Starfighter now only has one wing, but the poster is still intact.
 And now for food:
For those of you that know me in the real world you will already know this, but for those who may not have the privilege, you may not...
In less than I month I will be getting married, and for the occasion we wanted to make some cake toppers, but unlike my sister's ones we wanted them to be disposable...
I tend to start hating my own creations after about a day, then after a year I warm to them again, and then I notice a subtle flaw and go back to glaring at them.
And so...
We decided to attempt to make cake pops; a cake/ icing shape covered in chocolate to keep it together...
This is our practice version of Lazy Red, the red cat that you may have seen featured on this Blog before.

I'm aware that it's not red.

This went okay, but considering that we are relatively busy in the run up to June 17th we decided to employ someone else to make these for us... more on this later...
I also made Holly a special dinner for her birthday, a home made sushi platter with a fake sushi platter for myself (as I am not overly fond of raw fish)...
Above is Holly's raw smoked salmon sushi with sushi rice, sesame seeds, spring rolls and bean salad. Below is my fried smoked salmon sushi...

And with this I bring this post to a close...
For those of you who managed to read and digest all of this, congratulations are definitely in order, and for those of you who did not, shame on you.
Though it occurs to me the latter would not have read this far, thus will receive no shunning...
Until next time.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Super-Heroes and Templars.

There has been a PS3 competition running for a while now in which you have to immortalise your best online gaming moment, and so naturally I chose Assassin's Creed...
It's not finished yet, and the deadline is fast approaching, so I may not complete it in time, but in any case I vow to complete it regardless.
And when I say that, I mean it this time.
No, really.
So, here's what I have so far:
As you can tell it needs a few more pages yet, about 3 or 4 in total... as I am doing this around work it's taking a while...
I have a few more images ready to scan and a plan for the next few to draw, so I should probably get onto that... but there is one small thing I have to do first.
Which brings us to:
Hobbycraft Super-Hero Day!

I'm currently tasked with making a poster and coming up with activities.
Very kindly Graham Beadle (the owner of the Grinning Demon comic shop) has agreed to help out by wrangling up a few illustrators for us, and in the meantime I have been working on this...
The most action-packed bout of crafting you will ever see is clearly about to happen.
I still have to make some blank activity sheets for a nifty competition that we will be running and various other bits and bobs...
So, in the meantime, I shall leave you to wonder what magical nonsense will follow in my next post.
Will it be dinosaurs, will it be assassins, will it be more spandex wearing crazies?
Probably, yes.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Eye Glasses. (Illustration Friday)

Hello again!
Long time no see!
I was taking a stroll through the interwebs and noticed that the new theme on Illustration Friday was "Eye Glasses", this was terrific because I have been meaning to edit an old comic that I did called "Ordinary".
The opening to the comic was me waking up and putting my glasses on...
Ordinary was the first comic I ever worked on, so it had alot of rough edges, it was laid out terribly etc., which is the main reason that I have never posted the full book here.
That and it's about 30 - 40 pages long.
I always had a casual plan to fix it some day, take all my images and the core story and re-structure it into a better looking book, so that's what I have done here.
Ordinary, Page One.
Merry Friday everyone!

"Ask me about:"

As some of you may remember, I made a badge for work a few weeks ago to show customers where my knowledge lies... now, thanks to the recent snow, rain and repeated beatings that this badge has received I have decided that it should retire.
And so.
I have a dilemma, so I make a new version of the old soggy, torn, armless badge, or do I go the extra mile and make an entirely new design?
I opted for the latter.
So far I am considering making it dinosaur themed, but I can't decide on a design as of yet...
To inspire me, I have been doodling T-Rexes...
I am thinking of maybe doing something similar to the end scene in Jurassic Park where the T-Rex saves the day and then does a big dramatic roar while the words "WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH" float down on a banner... except it would be "MODEL MAKER AND ILLUSTRATOR"...
I could also use this as the header to this Blog.
More on that later...
Speaking of later, I have beeing beavering away on my Fiora Action Figure and she now has a fully painted face and torso!
I still haven't faced my old nemesis, the scalpel, to finish carving out the lower details yet...
But I will...


Monday, 18 February 2013

Valentine's, Vikings and Bison's Birthday.

Welcome back intrepid Blog viewers!
Since your last visit I have been rather busy, why not make yourself a cup of tea, relax and I'll walk you through it all...
First up, Valentine's Day.
As some of you (all of you) may know, Valentine's Day has just passed, and for this year I wanted to make something special again, but after making the Bison soft toy this task has been somewhat complicated...
Holly is trying to diet at the moment, so in keeping with her plan I set about making her a tasty treat that fits into her dieting... and so, I decided to make a personalised choclate bar.
Dark chocolate is her chocolate of choice, and for filling I chose dried cranberries and various nuts and seeds that she enjoys.
My plan was to make each chocolate about 30 calories, but this made them rather small, so I increased this to 100 calories per piece.
I started by making a 3D model of what I wanted the bar to look like from Fimo clay, I then attempted to create a cast of this from Fimo Bake & Bend clay which resulted in a sticky lumpy blue mess... and so, I decided to make an inverted version of the chocolate bar from scratch... this is the result:
Above is my prototype, and below is my inverted mould... covered in chocolate...
You may notice that I inverted the cat face in the second one, and yes, this was deliberate...
What was not deliberate however was the apocalyptic drama which followed.
Somehow, with only some baking paper, some dark chocolate and a microwave, rather than creating a tasty treat... I created fire.
 Upon this revelation I behaved in a similar way to Neanderthal Man discovering said element, and after the smoking heap made it's way out of my window and an extensive flat ventilation I tried again...
The second attempt was more friutful, giving me these:
I then scoured the shops and interwebs for a container, but after 2 weeks found nothing suitable, and so I decided to make a container too...
It's a very sturdy 300g cardboard box lined with layers to keep it rigid and cover all of the glued joints.

Inside it has 4 dividers that keep the chocolate from touching the box which can be re-used again and again.

And to finish, Lazy Red herself is on the lid along with a heart.
I think I may be more proud of this than my Viking ship...
Speaking of which, I finally finished all of the decorations, aka the word "VIKINGS" and some birds and clouds...
And, being the genius that I am remembered (after only a few short weeks) to take a photo of the ship in-store.
So, without further hesitation, here it is...
Ta Da.
And of course, last but not least...
Bison's Birthday.
As it is Valentine's Day, or rather it was, that means that Bison is another year older... at the ripe old age of three his fur is matted, he looks constantly surprised, but he is healthy and well.
We celebrated his Birthday with an epic amount of sleeping, fatty food and strawberries covered in white chocolate, and of course, Bison got a cake...
As an added bonus, here's a photo of him in December on our Anniversary (Holly and I, not Bison)...
He's still the same Bison, he's just lost his baby fluffiness...
I haven't yet finished any of my other little projects yet, so until next time, cheerio.