Category Archives: 3D

It’s Not a Table Set for Ants

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These items are still too big for daily use by ants.

My actual kitchen table is 50% kitchen table and 50% workbench/junk drawer/stuff The Man doesn’t know what to do with, but I can set some lovely miniature tables with dishes and fruit and vegetables. Last night, I made this cute bowl and a single lemon and 3 roses and a vase, all out of the little scraps of clay left over from other projects. I didn’t fire them last night because it was pretty late, here they are now. My tiny vase-making skills could use improvement, but I think I’ll try some other, more complicated kinds of flowers and fancier vases in the future.

Yesterday I sent what I believe to be the final files for the Bonnie Jo Campbell comic book to the printers. I can scarcely believe it, but they should exist as physical objects in meatspace within the next week or so. I’m terrified there’s a mistake somewhere, or that I could have made them better with more work. It’s a strange balance, since I started this blog with the intention of giving up the drive for perfection, but somehow, print seems more momentous than pixels.

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3 Polymer Clay Dragons Just Hanging Out

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Life is good, here on the edge of a discontinued Woodeye glass. 

I made these little guys a couple days ago, in the midst of the BJC project, on a night I couldn’t bear to pick up the Wacom tablet. Apparently, I don’t know as much about Sculpey as I thought I did, because the blue dragon’s wings fell off the minute it came out of the oven, and it doesn’t really stand by itself, even though it was totally designed to stand by itself. Maybe it’s a pendant that’s meant to hang by the loop in its tail. I had The Man glue its wings back on, because his hands are much steadier than mine. I don’t think I’ve ever crazy glued anything without also gluing my fingers together.

The braided dragon reminds me of Celtic knot work, and also, it’s a dragonicorn. A unidragon. He’s got a single green horn.

The third one is my little sigil I use. It’s a dragon, but it’s also a monogram. Sometimes I draw a little arrow at the end of its tail, and give it an open mouth, but you can see how it’s a dragon, and a cursive M, without the extra details.

Will make more tiny polymer clay dragons soon. I bought all these materials for myself for my birthday last year, and the Girl has used more of it than I have.

3D Dragon Comics 3

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And if you mess that one up, just turn over a new leaf and try once more. 

Not much to say about this; been in a weird space but didn’t want to write more depressing comics. It’s more fun to play with your toys, sometimes. Dragons need to go on interior journeys. Dragons need to lay their burdens down and only carry magic. Dragons need some empty space. Dragons need to relax.

Giant Microbe Plushies

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Warning: may cause nausea, headache, fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, and fetal death. 

About 10 days ago I casually asked the Girl if she had any big projects coming up at school. You see, this school always gives the kids creative projects at the end of the year, so I wasn’t asking out of idle curiosity. I was asking because I didn’t want to get stuck building a model of King Tut’s tomb on a 12-hour deadline, which is what happens when you’re the only artist in the family.

“No, no, no, o, wait, yeah,” said the Girl. “We’re doing this hot air balloon project.”

The hot air balloon project: every 5th grader picks a person from history and learns about them. Then comes a thought experiment. All these historical figures are on a hot air balloon. The hot air balloon is sinking fast! They have to vote, Survivor style, who to throw off the balloon. I am not making this project up. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a pretty cold way to teach kids about history.

Anyway, the Girl goes on to explain that each kid must also dress up as their historical figure, and may bring 4 props to illustrate that person’s importance. Who is she? Alice Evans. I had not heard of Alice Evans, but she made one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century: she discovered that bacterial infections could be transmitted to humans through cows’ milk, and that pasteurization could kill the microorganisms responsible for these diseases. And then, because she was a woman, they told her she was wrong. But, as it turns out, she was right. She did a lot of work on infectious diseases in her life.

So, Alice Evans seems like a pretty great human, unlikely to be voted off the hot air balloon, given that most 5th graders like milk and don’t like gastrointestinal distress. (The Girl obviously picked her because she loves milk.) But the problem is that she was just a regular lady scientist of her day. She didn’t have a signature look; she just tied her hair back and went to the lab.

But I am used to nailing this end-of-the-year creative project. So I go into the closet and sure enough, I own a lab coat. Where did it come from? Why do I have it? No clue. But that’s step 1. “OK, wear this lab coat,” I say, rolling up the sleeves.

“Maybe I could have lab goggles, too?” she asks. Lab goggles will impress her friend who likes science. Yes, of course I have lab goggles.

But what about props? A milk bottle?

Oh, yeah. Giant plush microbes. Obviously, I didn’t come up with the idea of giant plush microbes. They’ve been selling them online for some years now, but, contrary to what some people seem to think about the carefree artist’s lifestyle, I have not yet become wealthy from my work. In fact, I have no money except what The Man gives me. I’m not personally into stuff, so it doesn’t bother me too often, but I didn’t have a lot of cash to spend on giant plush microbes.

Yeah, I made these delightfully cuddly infectious diseases with my own 2 hands.

So here are my giant plush microbes. the one of the left is supposed to be salmonella, and the one on the right is listeria. I already had the white minky leftover from some Christmas stockings I made (badly) a few years back, and 2 sizes of red ribbon for what I presume are its flagellum. I got the blue minky, blue ribbon, and the batting at the weird discount fabric store I like for $3.31, which is slightly more than I had budgeted for giant plush microbes in the month of May, but substantially less than it would have cost to order them online.

I’m pretty happy with how they came out, even though I sew terribly. Sewing terribly is better than not sewing at all. But still, I wanted them to come out rounder. I considered putting eyes on them, but I thought maybe, given the potential outcome of being thrown off a sinking hot air balloon, you might want your microbes to appear as serious as possible.

And no, I didn’t do all the work. I made her stuff them.

 

1000 Origami Cranes

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Yes, I counted them.

On December 8, 2015, I decided to implement 2 minor changes in my life. First, I began teaching myself to play the ukulele, and second, I began folding 1000 origami cranes. Now, just under 5 months later, my time investment has manifested into accomplishment. Not that I will ever be performing Led Zepplin’s greatest hits on the ukulele for an appreciative audience, but I can make songs come out of the thing, anyway. And here are my 1000 paper cranes.

If you’re unfamiliar with the legend of the 1000 paper cranes, it’s an old bit of Japanese folklore: whoever folds these cranes in less than a year and keeps them in their home will be granted a wish, or lifelong luck. Some say they stand for prosperity and health, or for prayers for peace. Things like that. It was a more obscure superstition until after World War II, when a little girl named Sadako Sasuki, dying from leukemia caused by her proximity to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as a baby,  started to fold them in the hospital while praying to beat the cancer. She didn’t make it, but her determination was communicated throughout the country until she became a symbol herself.

Traditionally, the cranes are threaded together on 25 strings in bunches of 40. I think I may put them into a less rigid accounting, but the main thing is to keep the rainbow pattern.

I never had a specific wish associated with these cranes. I’d like peace and prosperity and good health, surely. But really I was just trying to remind myself what it’s like to see a big project through to the end. For me, the end wasn’t about wishing, but about returning to the beginning. From the beginning, I knew that when I finished folding cranes, I would start writing a new book, a different book from the other books I’ve written, a book that would be unconstrained by the world’s notion about what’s OK. A horror novel, a ghost story, a tale of obsession, a metaphor for addiction. A book where extremely messed up things happen to wholly innocent people because the world is inherently unfair. A book without apology, that doesn’t care if it offends you, because frankly, the world doesn’t care if it offends me, so why pull punches? My 11th unpublished novel…

Selling is boring. Selling is the worst. Creating things is exciting, and it is the best.

To that end, I’ll probably be changing the format of the blog in the near future, but it’s uncertain what that would look like right now. It doesn’t seem possible to just stop drawing comics, but it been proven repeatedly that 4 comics a week isn’t feasible. There are other things to do.

Ain’t No Party Like a Star Party

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Ain’t no party like a star party, because a star party takes place far from human civilization, and you can’t play loud music or jump around because the vibrations could interfere with the telescopes and also you’re only allowed to use red lights so you don’t mess up anyone’s night vision while you’re stumbling around in the dark. Also, they’re usually freezing cold.

Technically, they’re not all stock photos but hopefully people have a good sense of humor about it and see that it’s all in good fun, or else don’t see it at all.

Tonight wasn’t feeling like a funny night but you can only do so many jokes about not feeling funny so we gave it the old college try and thought of something that was sort of like something funny but not really. Which then led to Googling “star party,” which brings us to that first stock photo. It’s crazy. He’s out there by himself and he can’t even look through the eyepiece. Clearly, it would be too much back strain. He climbed all the way up that mountain and spent an hour setting up his gear and all he can do is stand wistfully gazing at the cosmos with his naked eye, his $1000 functionally useless.

After that, finding 3 more silly looking telescope pictures to caption took a matter of moments. Telescopes are inherently unwieldy, and from experience I note that that the people vested in carting them around tend to be fairly peculiar themselves.

Making Mardi Gras Masks Last Minute (with tiny rosette tutorial)

At dinner the Girl mentioned how excited she was for the Red and White Dance. It’s a daddy-daughter dance held at her school every year. I will reserve my thoughts on the concept of daddy-daughter dances and state only that this kid LOVES this event. I don’t think she’s ever missed it. This year, they decided to make it a masquerade, and the RSVP envelopes came with 2 paper masks, which Daddy and daughter were meant to decorate in advance.

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Someone is very happy.

There was zero possibility that The Man would be wearing this paper mask, because his head is simply enormous. I don’t mean that he’s full of himself. I mean he wears a 7 3/4 size hat and even if the string were long enough, he wouldn’t be able to see out of both eye holes at the same time. Fortunately, I made him a rather elaborate Mardi Gras style mask a few New Year’s Eves back for a masquerade party, so he could wear that. The Girl was excited to decorate her mask.

Except she was sick and missed a week of school and we didn’t see her and we all lost track of time and when The Man asked, “When’s this dance again?” the answer was, “Tomorrow.” It was already 6:30, and she had to go to her mom’s at 7:30. We found the blank mask and sorted through some craft supplies and talked about concepts. She has a very specific sense of style. I thought she’d want to make it herself, but I guess she didn’t, because I made it. She designed it, more or less, but I tried to steer some of her choices. Otherwise, it would have had about 50 more design elements to it.

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It’s not bad for a scant 3/4 hour’s work. Could have finished some of the edges more, but I bet it’s still one of the best masks at the party.

The main fabric piece is very soft, left over from a year I made Christmas stockings. The braid on the bottom I braided myself; it’s just a coincidence that I had 3 different shades of green ribbon. The big thing was that she wanted it to be mostly red, and she wanted flowers. But I only had silver, blue, and orange flowers. I ended up making these little rosette bouquets out of a scrap of shiny red cloth, and since I didn’t start working on this blog until after 11 tonight, I decided to make one more bouquet and take process pictures, which I never do (and no wonder–do you know how hard it is to point and shoot a DSLR with a macro lens at your own hand?) and make a little rosette tutorial.

So, if you would like to make tiny rosettes, here’s how.

You will need:

  • red fabric or ribbon
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • green fabric or ribbon

Cut a piece of fabric about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Draw a bead of hot glue lengthwise down the middle.

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Before the glue dries, fold the fabric in half lengthwise, with the glue in between the 2 halves.

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The folded edge is the top of your flower. Now, fold over a few centimeters of the skinny end. Add a drop of glue.

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Start rolling the fabric over onto the glue. Pinch the bottom part of the fabric as you go, to create a flower shape, with a flare at the top.

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Roll, glue, roll.

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If you keep pinching the bottom, the center petals should get squished up, contributing to the flower shape. You can force it into shape with more glue if it doesn’t comply. When you come to the end, glue it down. Now make another rosette. Glue the unfinished sides to each other so you can’t see the glue ends.

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Make a 3rd rosette and hide the glued end by sticking it to the other 2.

Now, take your green ribbon or fabric. Here, I used 2 shades. Twist them up to make them skinny and round.

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Then, twist them together.

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Now, make a loop, just the right size to form a nest for the flowers. You may want to make an X and pull it through (like you’re starting to tie your shoes) first. Or you can tie it after.

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You’re almost there. Insert the rosettes into the loop, tie the loop, and glue the knot.

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Turn the whole thing upside down and glue around the bottom of the circle where the green meets the red. You can add some glue to the bottom of the flowers, too.

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Now, trim the edges of the ribbon, gently remove all the excess glue (it’s easier to remove when it’s warm; you may need scissors or a razor once it’s cooled).

Viola: rosette bouquet from scraps.

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Glue it on things and delight little people who like tiny flowers

I wanted to link to my photo of the original masks, but I couldn’t find it, which apparently means that I never posted these masks here. That seems weird. But, for continuity’s sake, here are the first Mardi Gras masks I ever made.

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