Friday, July 29, 2011

How story telling influenced my art

Inspired by Shirley
There were many turning points in my "artistic career" that greatly affected my life and how I approached art altogether. I really only started to develop my technical skills a few years ago. It all started with a few internet strangers that befriended me and introduced me to the amazing world of "roleplay."

Some of you nerds out there know what I mean, but I have found that so many people from "real life" don't fully understand the concept of RP. Basically, you team up with another person (or as many as you can find) and write a collaborative fantasy story together. Kind of like Dungeons and Dragons minus the points and skills. The result was often hours and hours of descriptive writing with a huge array of interesting, made up characters and complex story plots. As a younger person, I was very much into this idea.. I loved anime, cartoons, and comics. So naturally I wanted to make my own.

I think the most appealing thing to me about the whole deal was that I was able to illustrate the ideas from my mind. Drawing pictures to go with my story was important because I had a visual to go off of for inspiration. And inadvertently my obsession caused my skills to improve considerably. I had to push my abilities to the limit in order to achieve the true spirit and emotion of these stories. Some times I was more successful than other times, but my improvements anatomy, coloring, outlining, and over all technical knowledge can be accredited to spending hours of time pining over fantasy stories.

The following drawings were done purely in oekaki, mspaint, or paintchat. I couldn't afford photoshop but I enjoy the "computery" effect of using these free japanese programs. They are all illustrations of characters from stories I have written with people in the past. These pictures took many hours of work and have immense detail in them. They aren't perfect, but they are a charming snapshot from a time when I was first beginning to mature as an artist.

To these few people who inspired me, I really appreciate them...Courtney, Natasha, Jenny, Shirley and so many others... Thanks for nerding out with me :)

Inspired by Jen
He lives in a horrible fantasy dream world, that's why he's naked of course.
Wow isnt he an interesting one.. I just remember this took an enormous amount of time and was done in purely MS paint. It was my attempt at "pixel art."
I love this piece now (despite it's awkwardness,) it's one of the few pieces I did involving more than 2 characters.

Looking back at these characters now I realize how unique their designs were. Check out Jen's bunny guy character, so cool.
"Jenny Loved Pie" The fence was the whole reason for this picture.
 Inspired by Natasha
Francis really really loved doughnuts. This piece is probably one of the most technically detailed I've ever done with oekaki.
 Inspired by Courtney

She came straight from hell.

These last two were some of the first "uber detailed" pictures I attempted. You can see how much I improved since then :)

A tiny collaboration between me and Natasha I had nearly forgotten about. <3

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mustache Keychains and a Stenciling Tip

I've been working on a whole series of different keychains, not just my cute fishie ones. Mainly I've been using them as an excuse to experiment with some new techniques! For example, I have been using simple stencils to embellish these pieces. Like my new mustaches:
The three remaining amigos!
I used to have more colors of them, like a pretty blue and another version of the yellow, but alas I sold them already! These guys have become very popular items, and with good reason.. they're just so quirky and whimsical you can't help but like them. The mustaches themselves are made from a stencil I cut out of transparency paper. On a side note, Stencilers, Graffiti artists, craft artists like me..This is a VERY helpful hint I picked up somewhere along the way: Use transparency paper (like your teacher used to use with a overhead projector) and an x-acto to cut out your stencils. It's very durable, can be used over and over, and is quickly washable.

 So the 'stachies get cut out and re-sewn onto another colored piece of felt, one for each side of the keychain. I like having the different color options.. those little black mustaches look great with pretty much any piece of felt I pair it with. The variety is pretty much endless, everyone who get's a 'stache will have a completely unique piece. The most unique part about these keychains, though, is how the 'staches are sewn on. Each one is machine freestitched onto the felt. The result is this great little textured design on the moustache. Because the mustaches were stenciled in heavy acrylic paints, it's a lot stiffer than regular felt and the threads just seem to "bite into it" more than usual.

Like my other keychains, I've filled these up with store grade sand. In my opinion the sand is so cooler than just stuffing the keychains with regular cotton. The texture becomes completely different and the sand costs half the price of the poly fiber stuffing. I always feel like I'm getting ripped off when I buy that crap. Anyhow, sand is superior.
OK I will leave you with a question though. This idea happened to run across my mind while creating thse keychains: What if, instead of stuffing the moustaches and sealing them up, I leave one end open enough for a person to put their finger in? It'd be like a great (funny) portable disguise.. you can wear it on your finger, get it? Just a passing idea..tell me what you think crafties! 


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crap art I did when I was 12

I think the most embarrassing thing for many artists is when they take a glance back at their old work. For some reason it's so awkward seeing how "terrible" your art was 10, 20 years ago. I imagine this is because we actually believe that the work was pretty good at the time. It's weird, I like the stuff I've done recently (within the past 5 years) but beyond that things get pretty sketchy.. in another ten years will I be as embarrassed of my work I'm doing now as I am of the work I did as a little kid? Can't tell for sure. But what I can tell you is, I have a LOT of crappy artwork to share. OK I won't completely diss this stuff... it's charming and kind of awkwardly interesting. And hell, I was doing stuff with computers at 12 that I know grown adults still cant do. I was doing a lot of technique experimentation. All of this work was done in the dungeon of my home (AKA my room) where as a kid I would spend countless hours drawing on oekakis and groupboards. I was so young..I will give myself that mercy at least. But even with that disclaimer, hilarity ensues....
When I was 12 I was a demon monkey from space. Also I had very high aspirations to be a "icecream truck driving person."

Here's me with a broken arm. Notice my maniacal smile of approval.

I used to run the streets. My rapper name was GEAR... R.I.P Lil Tony.
I think the rain should probably be the least of your worries..
Nothing says HAPPY NEW YEAR like a cracked out angel wielding a stick.

Dog: "Help me... this freak wants to harvest my organs." 

Anybody else have any crap art they did when they were young? Who is brave enough to share?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fishy Jamboree

fishyThese are my fishy keychains. I just find them so vibrant and full of personality. The inspiration came to me when I was searching for stencils on the web and found this very interesting fish bone design. It was easily adapted for practical use, and I was quickly stenciling a bunch of felt ready for my first "school of fish." The print turned out beautiful. I used just regular black acrylics and the paint is as solid and crisp as any expensive screen printing ink. Plus when they got heat pressed by the iron, the paint turned all shiny and smooth. It kind of bugs me that companies sell this overpriced "fabric paint" and "screen printing ink" when you can get the job done with half the price and hassle with a regular cheap batch of acrylic paint. But I digress. I ended up doing some experimentation and stuffed the entire batch of fish with sand. I think it works out GREAT. The sand is kind of squishy and coarse but still soft and flexible enough to use for a keychain. Although I will admit it was a pain in the ass to sew those poor fishies shut once they were full of sand. Erm, I hope sand won't ruin my sewing machine...
Anyways It would be totally worth it.

Oh, by the way, do you dig the new lightbox? Check out the pictures I was able to capture. GAH the lighting is Sooo much better. Note the first image was done outside and the harsh light from the sun kind of washes out all the details. But the second image was taken in my lightbox and it picks up every tiny hair on the felt.

Get a fishy keychain for yourself...

Monday, July 25, 2011

My beloved boobs

This is another old tumblr post that needs to be here. My boobs are still a never ending work in progress. I promise new pictures very soon <3
Ok, I'll just come out and tell you this. I'm obsessed with my boobs.
It all began about a year and a half ago when I wanted an art project that was purely just for me. At the time I was doing a lot of art junk for school and I was frustrated with the rigidity of my assignments..  Lots of boring things like still lifes and charcoal value studies. I wanted something that had no guidelines, no time limit, and no technical difficulty.
So I created my booby project.
Blue footed booby project, to be more specific.
Blue boob
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a blue footed booby. And it happens to be one of my favorite animals of all time.
I don't know what it is exactly about the boob that makes me like it so much. Is it the bright blue feet? It's crazy ritualistic mating dance? It's probably just because I can use the "boob pun joke" over and over. It never gets old for me.
Las titas!

Anyways, I used mostly scraps and even a little bit of a thermal t-shirt for the design itself. I hand sewed the pieces onto my base fabric. I just use a regular sewing needle and plain cotton thread on everything.

"My boobs" quickly turned therapeutic. Any time I feel idle or anxious I bring them along wherever I am and work on them. The repetition of the sewing motion is strangely calming.  Slowly, over the past year and a half, I have managed to outline the boobs themselves in a thick black line. I've sewn these areas so much that the needle won't penetrate anymore. The rocks,  grassy moss stuff, and backround scenerey are also all heavily sewn into. The only thing that I used the sewing machine on was the outside border.
It's amazing to me how long I have dedicated to my self to this project. It probably has to be the longest I have ever worked on a piece, and still to this day I'm working on it all the time. I'm still not finished. 

About Frankenquilt

I wrote this nearly a year ago on Tumblr, before I realized it was a microblogger. This blog post belongs here, where people care about reading. Frankenquilt hasn't grown any since this was written, btw. But he still slumbers restlessly. Expect more from this monster as it hungers for revenge!
Like many awful abominations created in the name of science, it began innocently as a mission of discovery. But once I began my horrid experiment I realized that something had seriously gone awry with my project. I had created a monster.
It's so ugly. Get out your pitch forks and torches. Here comes the cankerous Frankenquilt.
 Not that I'm saying that ugly is necessarily a bad thing. It's ugly in a badass gnarly evil kind of way.
made of stitches and flesh

 It's a crazy quilt thats made out of all the scraps I've been hoarding for the past year or two. It's  constructed in a really sketchy way, honestly. I just sewed together a bunch of weird pieces and shapes, leaving no scraps wasted.

I even used "batting," mostly because I forgot that traditional crazy quilts don't have batting in them. And by batting I mean, sometimes it was the soft cottony stuff. But other times, because Frankenquilt is evil and made up of many unholy things, I implemented really tiny "crap scraps" of fabric and bits of string that had been collecting near my sewing machine. And pretty much anything else that I felt like putting on the inside of Frankenquilt. Use your imagination.

"there is no modern romance"I also want to mention that Frankenquilt has not one, but two hideous personalities. One side of the quilt is loud and annoyingly busy patterns, while the back is made of mostly felt and other gross things I have in abundance.

"wish you were here"
Because I thought the back was too ugly (even for Frankenquilt) I got the idea to start sewing in "graffiti" to fill the plain spots.The quotes I chose to embroider were ones that I particuarlly liked or related to. Or also maybe because they were  just badass song lyrics. Can you pick out any that you recognize? Some of them are really cliche and cheesy, which is probably why I love them.


The most frightening thing about this monstrosity is that it's growing. One day, it will be large enough to wrap around my whole body. What I have now, though, is a modestly large hand towel.... sooooooo sinister!

Two holes filled with crap scraps

"dead leaves and the dirty ground.."


Hello world!

I guess the only way to start making money and getting the word out about my art is to just DO it. So, here I am. This blog is for talking about the processes of my craft. I like to pretend I'm the MacGuiver of Art. I like to create stuff, period. Right now tho I will admit, I'm going through a fiber phase. I'm fresh out of highschool/college art programs so I'm REALLY bored of the whole traditional painting and drawing thing. It's time to do some new stuff. It's time to document the old stuff and get it out of here. I'm ready for a change of pace, how about you?