Tag Archives: turtle

Ride the Flying Sea Turtle Express

Coffee tastes better on time.

Coffee tastes better on time.

So much for going out with a bang. I did intend to finish up the week slash month with a real powerhouse of a depressing real life comic, but alas, it seems not meant to be. It’s almost midnight and I’ve only got about half the script nailed down. I lettered the part that felt certain, but even if I had the entire script, it would be 1 a.m. before I even started the illustrating part, which takes a lot longer. So, instead, please welcome the newest addition to the RedBubble QWERTYvsDvorak store: the Flying Sea Turtle Express. Get it on a mug!

Yeah, it’s the design from my sister’s wedding, but I thought it would look good in other formats, too.

It works as a poster, too.

Hang it on the wall.

Hang it on the wall.

If you would like to peruse a wide selection of Flying Sea Turtle Express projects, including shirts, hoodies, skirts, and leggings, you can click here.

In the meantime, I’ll head back to my depressing comic and try to get the script worked out tonight and you can see it in November.

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Back to School Bulletin Board: (Another) Turtle!

Yep, summer vacation is over.

Yep, summer vacation is over.

I know I just did a turtle, but this is a¬†different¬†turtle. The green sea turtle is, of course, a saltwater creature, whereas this turtle is a freshwater type. Originally, it was supposed to be a red eared slider, a turtle that is a popular pet and, as a result, one of the most invasive species on the planet, but they are native to this region and not considered a nuisance here. However, I didn’t bring a reference photo of a slider, so what we have here is a sort of generic painted turtle. Painted turtles also live in this region. The concept of this bulletin board is from a nearby park called Agua Caliente, where, until recently, natural springs kept everything very lush. I believe the springs have recently dried up, and I haven’t been back in a while, but I’m sure you can still see palm trees, aquatic turtles, and fish there, even if some of the lagoons are drained.

A fresh canvas!

A fresh canvas!

Last summer’s design had help up pretty well; it’s always a particular shame to take the old one down when it still looks good, but they can’t really be repurposed, due to the fact that they’re completely full of open staples and therefore sort of dangerous to touch. Plus, there’s no way to rehang them unless you go and bend all the staple closed, and I use hundreds of staples in a typical bulletin board.

I get my paper from the source!

I get my paper from the source!

I think yellow is a cheerful, but unusual background color. I probably would have gone for blue, to better represent water, but they hadn’t ordered any more butcher paper and no blue was to be had.

Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve ever shared a photo of this giant rack of paper, from which I get most of my colors. (Some of them–the construction paper colors–also come from the supply closet in the office, but the butcher paper is just kept out in the hallway on this rolling rack. It’s never in precisely the same spot, but it’s easy to find. It took me a while before I could effectively use the (blunt) cutting edge against which you have the pull the paper to effectively create a straight rip. It’s very joyful. Sometimes the kids can get paper, if their teachers tell them to, but for me I still feel a little frisson of power knowing that I can have any color paper I want. Bwoo ha ha ha.

Any color except blue, apparently.

Measure a lot of times, paste once.

Measure a lot of times, paste once.

I drew the shell first, then traced its edge to get the letters to fit on its back. Then I traced the edge again to get the letters to fit on top.

Very, very welcome.

Very, very welcome.

From there, I glue everything to the board. It’s sort of a rote operation. I add a few staples for insurance, and then I go back over the design and add a bunch of staples for accent (and security). Here you can see how the staples add texture and dimensionality to the turtle’s head.

That is a face only another turtle could love.

That is a face only another turtle could love.

When the turtle and the text were finished, there was still a lot of blank space and the whole thing looked kind of threadbare. First I added some palm trees, then some fish and some river rocks, and then a few more fish. I go back and glue anything that isn’t lying flat again.

I did this!

I did this!

Truthfully, I meant to start this yesterday, but instead I spent the entire day obsessing about how filthy my office was and totally forgot what I had planned to do. Needless to say, I have not yet started cleaning my office. However, I have created and uploaded some new art, so my conditions from yesterday were still fulfilled. This isn’t my favorite design–it feels like it needs a lot more background–but I only had one day to do it if there was going to be a new bulletin board when the kids came back and it’s 104 degrees out (this bulletin board is outside) and there’s a fire on the mountain, so I feel like the 5 hours I put in today was all I had for this project. It’s cute and it looks OK. So, success.

Flying Sea Turtle Honeymoon Express Leaves Vancouver on Schedule

Everybody climb aboard the Flying Sea Turtle Honeymoon Express!

Everybody climb aboard the Flying Sea Turtle Honeymoon Express!

At last I can reveal what I’ve been doing with every free second in which I had the ability to focus during the last 10 days! It’s a mosaic collage for my sister and brother-in-law! The had a civil ceremony on Tuesday, and their big wedding is going to be tomorrow. I haven’t given them this gift yet, but I can’t imagine my sister will be spending a lot of time on the Internet the day before she gets married.

I had a bunch of other ideas for their gift, but everything fell through and making something cool was the only reasonable option. I chose a sea turtle because I know they like turtles, and a Vancouver-inspired backdrop because that’s where they live.

You can't really see my pencil marks but I assure you I wasn't making this up as I went along.

You can’t really see my pencil marks but I assure you I wasn’t making this up as I went along.

I started out by purchasing a bunch of origami paper and this 11×14 board. I sketch out the islands in pencil, tore up the blue paper, sketched out the turtle on notebook paper (you can see a bit of it in the upper right hand corner) and generally chose colors for things.

Scenery coming together.

Scenery coming together.

Using matte medium, I began to mount the squares onto the board to form a background representing mountainous islands and their reflection in the water. I used a bunch of metallic and foil papers, which don’t photograph that well, because their colors change depending on the light. I would sort of like to make a shirt out of this design, but I’m not certain how well it will translate.

The turtle isn't mounted yet, but I needed to keep checking that it fit.

The turtle isn’t mounted yet, but I needed to keep checking that it fit.

Then I began the turtle. Using my original sketch, I cut out a silhouette, and then I created stencils for the individual pieces of the turtle by slowing dismantling the sketch. You can see the diminished remains of the sketch to the right. The metallic background paper is orange, with green streaks if you turn it in the light.

IMG_4694

I’m a delightful creature!

Here, the turtle is complete. Just the details on each flipper took about 20 minutes. The turtle itself probably took 4 or 5 hours. It wasn’t as easy to do such fine work as it used to be; my body doesn’t want to sit for that long at a stretch, and my eyes don’t want to focus on tiny details, and my hands tire easily, especially cutting small pieces like the skin texture. Now the sketch is in 50 pieces scattered all over the office.

Somehow I neglected to photograph the process for the man and woman riding the turtle, but if you scroll back up you can see them, although I wonder if their colors ought to be brighter and more contrasting. Well, like everything, I learned a lot. If I did it again, it would be different and possibly better, but there’s no way I could do this again. Maybe another animal.

So, all in all, the completed project probably took close to 20 hours. I lose track of time when I’m working. Sometimes I have to keep Netflix playing, even though I’m not watching, just so I have a way to mark the passage of time and remind me how many hours I’ve been sitting there.

Congratulate my sister on her nuptials if you know her!