Tag Archives: Sculpey

Hench 4 Life!

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#24: We can take my Nissan Stanza.#21: Oh, shotgun, called! Totally! The Monarch: What color is it? Is it diabolical? Or at least butterfly colored? #24: It’s powder blue. Mostly. The Monarch: Great. 21, what do you drive? #21: His powder blue Stanza.

If you’ve never watched The Venture Brothers, none of this can possibly make sense to you, but if you do watch The Venture Brothers, it should all be hilarious. And yes, I’ve seen The Venture Brothers and I know Brock Samson says, “Today you are murderflies,” not Henchman 21.

This is the 3D card I made for The Man’s birthday this week. He’s been making noises about doing this as a cosplay, so it seemed appropriate, although I think he’s doing the original 21, not the 2 Ton 21 iteration I’ve depicted here. And also, he’s probably going to talk in the 24/Ray Romano voice all night, if I know him, which I do.

This version is sculpted from polymer clay. It’s about 2.5 inches high and maybe 1/8 inch thick. I should have done his utility belt but I was tired. After baking 21, I used hot glue to stick him to heavy card stock, to better protect him from getting lost or broken. He probably needs some kind of shadowbox situation.

“Today you are murderflies,” is a great birthday greeting.

 

 

 

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.

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.

Happy Birthday, Foxy!

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Foxes like chickens, according to cartoons I have watched in my squandered youth. 

It’s Fox’s birthday! Happy birthday, Foxy! I made him this Foxy play set, which includes 1 fat little fox, 1 splendid otter, 1 roast chicken, 1 green salad, 1 mushroom pizza (he was so confused last week when I sent him an email that just said, “What’s your favorite kind of pizza?”), 1 gallon of whole milk, and 1 birthday cake. We’re going to have a real life picnic of Jamaican takeout and I will give him this present and maybe even bring 3D Dragon with me, so our alter egos can have a picnic too.

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I probably could not ice a real cake so beautifully. My real life chickens look a little bit better, though. 

Normally I wouldn’t post pictures of his present online until after he received it, so as not to spoil the surprise, but the odds are against him reading this blog before I see him.

Thanksgiving Gratitude

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Sometimes we need to stop and appreciate how much we really have.

It’s pretty common knowledge that a person can improve their overall state of mind by thinking of 3 things every day for which to be grateful. Living with constant gratitude simply makes you happier. For example, we have so much food. So. Much. Food. Some people in the world go hungry, but we never do. That’s something to be very thankful for.

So here I’ve sculpted 51 tiny fruits and vegetables out of polymer clay because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Mrs. Kitty and I were hanging out last week and needed something to do with our hands. She made a bowl and some jewelry, including a hilarious pendant that reads, “Be Kind, Asshole.” Genius. And I made a bunch of produce. I already had a bowl and a couple pieces of fruit from my trip to Flagstaff in 2014 with the Owl, and then earlier this week, I added a couple more and made another bowl and a basket, and Mrs. Kitty also made a bowl. And then I spent seriously THREE DAYS setting up this shoot.

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Pretty basic setup here

You can see my photo studio. I love this Flower Fairy popup book for a subtle backdrop. When I don’t use the bookshelves for the setting, this Ikea Lack table typically serves as the stage for 3D comics, and this old lamp, which once belonged to my grandmother, is always the light. The tripod ended up being useless because it wouldn’t go low enough.

Some close ups:

IMG_7789IMG_7808IMG_7871IMG_7876IMG_7878There could be another 10 photos to this post. I mean, you can hardly see the details on the basket of carrots, or the pumpkin, or the eggplant! But you get the idea.

Pictured here:

  • Apples (2)
  • Asparagus (6)
  • Bananas (1)
  • Broccoli (1)
  • Cabbage, purple* (1)
  • Carrots (6)
  • Cauliflower (1)
  • Corn (1)
  • Cucumber (1)
  • Eggplant (2)
  • Garlic (1)
  • Grapes, purple (1)
  • Grapes, red (1)
  • Lettuce, romaine (1)
  • Mushrooms (5)
  • Onions (2)
  • Pear (1)
  • Peppers, chili (2)
  • Peppers, orange bell (1)
  • Peppers, red bell (2)
  • Potatoes (2)
  • Pumpkins (1)
  • Squash, butternut (3)
  • Squash, yellow (1)
  • Tomatoes (5)

The cornucopia is made from a paper bag.

* You can’t really see the cabbage because it’s too deep in the cornucopia. I banished it there because I wasn’t happy about how it turned out.

If you’ve enjoyed these seasonal miniatures, or anything else on this site, why not consider supporting QWERTYvsDvorak by visiting my shop and purchasing my designs on some fine merchandise, or simply sharing links to your favorite products or comics with people in your network who might appreciate my work.

QvD will be on vacation for the rest of the week. Here’s wishing everyone a peaceful week, especially if you’re in America and spending time with your family. If you have people to spend the holiday with, that’s something to be grateful about too.

 

3D Dragon Comics #1!

You were probably expecting something with a little more depth, but that's just a matter of perception.

You were probably expecting something with a little more depth, but that’s just a matter of perception.

There’s a type of psychological intervention known as Sand Table Play Therapy, which basically involves arranging objects and figurines in a tray of sand. Sand is nice, but it also goes everywhere and I don’t really think it’s all that integral to the actual symbolic actions that comprise this treatment, which is basically about forcing rigid adult minds to become malleable enough to throw off the limitations of maturity engage in meaningful play. I’ve got a million of these little objects–I could easily have created dozens of different tableaux using stuff that’s already in my office–and it really is soothing to rearrange them sometimes. It’s also nice to justify owning all these tchotchkes.

I’d been thinking about doing this type of 3-dimensional photographic comic for a long time, even before I started this blog. Reading Dave McKean’s Pictures That Tick made it seem like time to try. For some reason, I thought this would be faster than actually drawing a comic, which was not in any way the case. It took twice as long as Dragon Comics usually take. But it was more fun, and got me away from my desk.

It would be really nice if there was some easy way to build a model that didn’t fully set: one whose features couldn’t be smushed, but whose arms and legs could be repositioned. And then I wish I had the equipment and knowledge to make stop motion animation films.

Anyway, I wasn’t really ready to do a comic about my demons, even though creating them yesterday also inspired me to do this. Maybe one day. I’m still puzzling over my comic about depression. It’s funny: seems like everyone gets depressed, and yet depression is a really personal and idiosyncratic experience. At least mine is.

Opening Pandora’s Box: Meet My Demons

From left to right: Chronic Pain and Insomnia, Foggy Delusion, Insatiable Desire, Crippling Self-Doubt, and Winged Hope

From left to right: Chronic Pain and Insomnia, Foggy Delusion, Insatiable Desire, Crippling Self-Doubt and Depression, and Winged Hope

Felt like working with my hands and taking a break from the tablet and webcomics, so I reached for the Sculpey, and, as inspiration tends to steer me, went to the weirdest place.

Sharp spikes, massive fangs, throbbing veins, bloodshot, wide-awake eye

Sharp spikes, massive fangs, throbbing veins, bloodshot, wide-awake eye

Here we have some metaphorical, 3-dimensional representations of my demons: Chronic Pain and Insomnia, Foggy Delusion, Insatiable Desire, and Crippling Self-Doubt and Depression. And then, because I have read the classics, I added Hope, who is either the blessed relief vouchsafed mankind by kindly deities, or else the worst curse in the box. Either interpretation is considered correct. It simply depends on your philosophical outlook.

General cloudiness, tentacles of disordered thought

General cloudiness, tentacles of disordered thought

Now I can also make 3-d comics about the physical embodiments of all the emotional handicaps that have held me back in life. Ha ha. Although first I guess I better make a Monica figurine for these guys to plague.

Greedy gaze, hungry mouth, probing tongues

Greedy gaze, hungry mouth, probing tongues

To tell the truth, working on the computer all the time kind of makes me lazy, both in terms of the way I lean on the myriad available tools rather than my own artistic sense along with the overall degree of creativity I expend on a particular idea. I might try to get some stuff done on paper, with a pencil, in the near future.

Formless hopelessness, one hand covering shame, the other reaching out for help

Formless hopelessness, one hand covering shame, the other reaching out for help

There’s a school of thought that suggests welcoming in weakness interrupts its power over you. If you accept problems, instead of combating them, you can move on with your life.

Gossamer wings,  sweet curves wrapped in sunshine and warm breezes

Gossamer wings, sweet curves wrapped in sunshine and warm breezes.

I sort of started storyboarding a comic about depression, but it almost feels exploitation and derivation. Everyone does depression comics, right?

I’ll write a depression comic. Later.

The Venus of Continental Reserve

***Depending on how stodgy your place of employment is, this content is potentially not safe for work. It contains stylized representations of the nude female figure, and while it is not exactly rated-R, it might not be OK in certain situations. Please enjoy in an appropriate environment.***

Don't scroll any farther if you are afraid of what you might see when I move my thumb.

Don’t scroll any farther if you are afraid of what you might see when I move my thumb.

A friend of mine likes to plan things. He likes to arrange them. He enjoyed complications. He had an idea for a party game, and he asked me if he could make a little piece to be used in the game. Originally, he was talking about a “token,” but as he discussed it with another friend who was helping him organize, the word “fetish” kept popping up. When I finally got added to the thread, I saw the word “fetish” and said, “Well, if that’s how it is, I’ll just recreate the Venus of Willendorf.”

Her shape is classical: her coloring? Not so much.

Her shape is classical: her coloring? Not so much.

I was guided not only by this old representation of the female form, but also by some speculation (which I read in Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children books) as to how such icons might have been used. the way the legs are formed, the figure could be stuck into the ground to stand by itself, potentially guarding a space. In a spiritual sense, of course.

Side view: who needs arms when you're shaped like this?

Side view: who needs arms when you’re shaped like this?

I had to mix my own color: gold, yellow, and white, with a touch of pink, but once I got the caucasian skin tone down, I liked the idea of using some modern colors for accents. The original Venus has no face, just ringlets of hair around the head. I decided to go with this sort of Princess Leia look for this girl’s hair, and if you’re going with purple hair, why not have hot pink nipples. My Venus is about half the size of the Venus of Willendorf. Part of the specs said that the fetish should be small enough to be concealed in the hand, so this thing is only about 2 inches.

Sweet cheeks :)

Sweet cheeks 🙂

She took about 2 hours to model. Per usual, I learned a lot by making her, and could probably do a better, faster job if I wanted to make another.

3-Dimensional Dragon!

One of the obstacles I must overcome as I learn to draw is that I personally lack almost any true form of depth perception. Most of my life, I’ve exhibited a condition known as strabismus exotropia; I am typically either seeing through my left eye or my right eye, but, as a general rule, not both eyes at the same time. Whereas most people receive stereo data from two points, which are combined by the brain into one three-dimensional picture, people with exotropia lack binocular vision and tend to perceive the world as being somewhat flat.

Although I wear rather extreme prism lenses for this condition, they only really work to a distance of a few feet, and then only rarely, when I’m well rested and looking intently at something in ideal lighting conditions. At the slightest hint of eye strain, one eye will bow out and let the other soldier on alone, only shouldering the burden when the other eye throws in the towel.

I get a lot of headaches.

More to the point, this means that I have to work extra hard to understand depth. Dimensionality takes a lot of extra effort.

In order to draw yesterday’s comic, I wanted some way to be certain that what I guessed Dragon’s front view would look like actually reflected what Dragon’s front view would look like. To that end, I made a 3-dimensional Dragon in Sculpey.

Look, Ma! No eyes!

Look, Ma! No eyes!

There’s the proof. No eyes.

I wanted this model for other reasons as well, to help me begin experimenting with dimensionality and perspective in this comic, so I could see Dragon from various angles and understand how the body would appear, and how the different parts might move.

Well, hello there, gorgeous!

Well, hello there, gorgeous!

This model is just under 3 inches high, which is fairly big for a baked clay model. In order to create a figure of this size that could stand alone on 2 legs, I needed to prop it up with a scaffolding (eventually, 3 unopened bars of Sculpey) as I was building it, and then offer it some extra support in the oven (provide by a small glass dish and a strategically placed knife and spoon).

Even so, Dragon does seem a bit off kilter, weaving to one side like a drunk college freshman walking into a big dance. Plus, those finger nails are off the hook; I gave up on keeping them straight long before Dragon got in the oven. I’m frankly amazed they’re still attached, considering how all the little details fell off my last set of Sculpey models. Although it’s easier to work with, in many ways, than real clay, it’s not as strong or sturdy.

Can I help you?

Can I help you?

I tried to make both sides a little different, but the way the figure settled in the oven pulled it lopsided anyway. Still, this should be an effective tool.

 

 

 

Dimensionality: Still Life with Pachyderm

It seems like some of my difficulties with perspective stem from the condition of strabismus exotropia, which I’ve had since childhood. In short, I have no depth perception. Drawing dimensionality can be a challenge, but modeling seems much easier. Taking a break from writing my last night on retreat, I decided to go 3D with Sculpey.

The fruits of my labors. The quarter is for scale. I didn't have a banana because I made pancakes out of them.

The fruits of my labors. The quarter is for scale. I didn’t have a real banana because I made pancakes out of them.

Since the protagonist of my graphic novel is so influenced by turn-of-the-century boys’ colonialist adventure novels (this week I’ve read The Son of Tarzan and King Solomon’s Mines) an elephant seemed like the obvious place to start.

Look at his little tail! And his little tusks!

Look at his little tail! And his little tusks!

Besides, elephants just make people happy. They’re so big! But they’re smart! And social!

The other side of the elephant

The other side of the elephant

My little tusker is a proud bull, bearing the magnificent ivory appendages of his people.

There are plusses and minuses to working in miniature. I tend to feel more comfortable with small detail, but it’s so much easier to screw up, particularly to screw up something you’ve already gotten right. His tail must have fallen down ten times before he went into the oven, but it’s standing up pretty well now.

The banana is a bit lumpy for my taste. Maybe it's organic or something. I learned how to coil pots like this when I was a little girl.

The banana is a bit lumpy for my taste. Maybe it’s organic or something. I learned how to coil pots like this when I was a little girl.

Once Tantor was finished, I felt the motivation to continue, but with something simpler, so I went for an apple, which quite naturally led to a pear and a banana. From there, it made sense to coil a little fruit bowl.

Still life with modeling medium

Still life with modeling medium

I’m not ashamed to say it: Kawaii! Squee! Little tiny things!

Well, I wrote 3500 words today, meaning I’ve drafted approximately half the story this week. I’d hoped to get further, but 15,000 words is not a bad output for 4 1/2 days’ work.