Monday, December 13, 2010

Pleabein Photoshoot

A friend asked how I went about setting up the pictures to be taken for my sculpture. It is magical and complicated procedure requiring the aid of many squirrels and the blessing of a mermaid pajama elf.

Okay, maybe not that complicated.

Here is how I did a quick, easy, plebeian setup to take pictures of Tulah.
I worked with two ideas:

1. A white background
2. Natural light. Regular house lights tend to cast a yellowed or blue light.

Now, this is where I cheat: I own a pretty sweet Nikon camera.

And this is where I ask you to not laugh to hard at my setup :

Paper near a window! 

I know I will look back one day and laugh as well. But until then (using my serious face) I am exploring the wonders of simplicity and the usefulness of mundane objects transformed into new and insightful tools.

-Cheers & Smiles-

Thursday, December 2, 2010


  Have you heard about the Elf daughter and the Fae prince?  They meet one night by chance, playing in a flower field.

Graceful and charming was he,
Clumsy and fair was Tulah.

You see, Tulah was always in
constant disagreement with her feet. 
They seemed to prefer tripping over each other while she would rather be able to just walk forward. Even worse while in the presence of a Prince. Much to his amusement.

“I know,  you are friends with me only to laugh at me.”

“Yes!” he agreed and laughed some more. “Meet me again tomorrow.”
Begrudgingly she showed up that tomorrow, and the evening afterwards.
For a full Summer. She started  to realize she rather liked him too.

One night he appeared later then usual.
“My prince, I must go. It is late and my sisters will worry--”

“I have a present for you.”

She smiled and forgave him immediately. Never had she received presents like her three fair younger sisters who had such agreeable feet. “Oh?”

“This gift I give to you only if you attend the Fae Fall dance tomorrow night.”

Her heart stopped, “An Elf among the Fae? I'll be laughed out! Please, ask something else of me.” She glanced at her feet. If only I could dance...

Prince smiled, “Tomorrow, I shall see you tomorrow and the gift will be yours.”

That very evening, Tulah confessed to her sisters. Surely they will stop this foolish elf. To her surprise they cheered and danced. Her youngest sister hugged her, “You must go, we insist!”

“Yes, yes! Wear this dress” said another and they swarmed her like bees to a flower.

When she was done up from head to toe they ushered her out the door with a farewell and a wave. She was half tempted to turn back but she thought of Prince and sighed “I suppose I should at least tell him myself, that I am unable to go.”

In the flower field Tulah found him there, waiting in in his formal ware. She could not meet his eyes and so she said to his perfect toes, “I'm sorry prince, my feet, they seem unable to cooperate. How can I attend?”

He smiled down at her, “but my lady, your feet and I are in agreeance.”
She looked up at last, confused.

Prince then pulled out the most loveliest pair of feathers shaped similar to fairy wings.

“Feathers from a dove who heard my plight of an earthbound Elf with two left feet. If you are not meant to walk, surely you are meant to fly. And if you are not able to fly then I suppose you will just have to keep hold of my hand.”

For once, Tulah and her feet agreed.

It's been quite the journey with this little elf. She came to life right before me! When I sat down to write her story,
it came upon me like a rush
(the pen could hardly keep up). 

I hope you enjoyed her progress and her super cheesy romantic story.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

I.F. - "Sneaky"

For Illustration Friday, this week's theme is "Sneaky". The first thing that came to mind was my kid brother and I. Yes, I totally stole quarters from him. Mwuahahaha.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Album Cover - sketches

LOVE this time of the year in California. The air is crisp,  the leaves are changing colors, AND you get to wear scarves! It's a feeling of change.

Been working on an album cover, creating many many sketches. These were the initial ideas for the font and back cover (not sure they will be used):

Monday, October 18, 2010

SketchBomb - First meet up

Sketchbomb held it's first meeting in Sacramento this October
at Tupelo Coffee House and it was pretty awesome. While drinking some delicious coffee, I was able to talk and sketch along with some amazing artist (here are just a few):

Mike Henry    
DJ Welch
Hainanu Saulque

Look! It's me sketching.
I think what made this event even more special are the moms that brought their kids, makes me teary to think how supportive they are. One kid blew me away with his talent, can't wait to see what amazing stuff he will create in the future. Anyhoo, here are the sketches I made that night:

October meetup sketches by *DarkSunRose on deviantART

Found out about another group called Drink and Draw that I plan on attending this Thursday.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Elf Sculpture - part 4

I like to get excited over really little things, such as how cute pattern pieces are when they fit in the palm of your hand (big smile)... Look! The collar can fit around my finger.

Sometimes I do more work then necessary, such as line the inside of the pieces but little details like that seem important. At one point, I believed I remade a pattern piece 5 TIMES just because it didn't look right, or there was a slight blemish, or because I am clearly nuts like that.

Feeling slightly sad that in the end, no one will see the inside of the collar. Except for here in this photograph. The lining pleasure will come from her sleeves, a nice playful detail of strips peeping through if anyone was curious to lift one.

 The creation of the jacket felt important because with the light color pallet used in her costume so far, a dark contrast is needed to balance the outfit to the eye.

I am still toying with adding flower or pearl details to her jacket but my next area of focus will be her wings. Depending on how the wings come out, simplicity may be better so as to not overwhelm (or clutter) the overall feel of the sculpture.

Or maybe no wings? Hmmm...

I've been contemplating the use of the term Doll Sculpture. After reading an interview with Marina Bychkova (who I adore artistically!), she made a valid point about if it doesn't move it isn't a doll. Sort of makes me feel silly. Even misplaced a bit about labeling this art piece. However, when I was a little girl I played with dolls to do the following: Dress them up or make outfits, style their hair, and the most fun part of all - give them stories and names.

Then it hit me: Yes, my doll sculpture cannot move. But in every other sense, she is my doll frozen in time forever in exactly the way I played with her. Dressing her, playing with her hair, and finding her story to share with you.

And so, this is where she is at now. On hold for now as I am working on an album cover for the talented RedSkunk Jipzee Swing Band. Totally in love with their song Premonitions.

Doll To Do List:
• Fairy Wings
• Detail on jacket (?)
• Bloomers
• feet details
• Make ze base beautiful

Monday, October 11, 2010

G-Ma's Birthday card

Last month was my Grandma's birthday. Usually it is Grandma who is busy making delicious cakes, cooking up yummy recipes, or cleaning up. However her perfect day involved her doing absolutely nothing while her kids take charge. Love you Grandma!

Just wanted to share the simple little card I made for her:


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Elf Sculpture - Part 3

Now that I have gotten sufficient sleep and my roommates are no longer able to distract me, it's time to continue!

Still learning a lot about placing hair on a sculpture. I've looked through many tutorials and I've seen a few different ways artist go about it. The process I've enjoyed so far has been by Natasha Red October. Another artist who shares her process is Patricia Rose.

Material for "MISSION: HAIR!"
Mohair - Has a nice soft texture and my experience with it so far has been positive. (found good deals on ebay!)

FabricTac - An adhesive found in any local craft store.

Here is the sculpture with the hair placed on. I've made a few choice parts in how it will lay on her forehead and in this picture, I am playing with how I would like her hair to be styled. Eee! This is my favorite part!

All that I have visualized so far is having it as an up hairdo. In the second picture it is shown in a bun, but when I started on actually forming the style my first step was to place her hair in a secure ponytail (in a position slightly above center of where I'd like the bun to be)

From the ponytail I made several braids that would wrap around a small bun created. The two front bang pieces were braided and then wrapped in gold wire.

-This is where I do a
victory dance-

Alas! More to do. After dancing in victory I realized that she needed a head piece of some sort.

Picture to the left is a table set up to get more stuff done!

I find it helpful to have an assortment of items laid out that could have the possibility of being used. Helps in pairing items together or seeing if things work well together.

Wish I had taken better pictures of her hair at the time, but later progress pictures will show more of her hair piece. Also, I added curls to her style afterward to help give it a more full feeling.

Curls were created by wrapping mohair around brass tubing (just like a curling iron!). It is then placed under water to dampen the hair before being placed into an oven of about 150-200 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.

This is where I must end for now. Next blog will contain the progress pics of her over jacket.

Elf Sculpture - Part 2

Working on my sculpture slowly and I've finally kicked myself in the petunia to update my blog. She has come a long way since the last update and I am excited to share her progress. If you follow me on twitter, I post my pictures instantly as I am creating (It's just so quick and convenient!).

For some reason I keep seeing her as a Flora, one of the three fairy sisters that looked after the sleeping princess. She carries a worried look, like a decision needs to be made.

Starting with a few sketches, I try to get an over all idea of the direction I want to go in with her outfit (It helps me understand how I want to piece it all together). Sometimes this process can take a whole day. For one part of the outfit (AHHHhhh!). Since the outfit isn't going to be slipped into like traditional clothes (her limbs are not going to move!), I have to work around this limitation.

(1) Her skirt was the first piece to be created. Did a fun bunching technique to give it a nice poof. (2) Using a strong wielding glue, I attach her sleeve to her form. Working with tiny pattern pieces can be frustrating. My fingers are SO BIG in comparison, or the material is so sensitive you have to check to see if the material easily frays and if it's the right amount of frustration you want to work with. This soft pink material was not friendly, but it didn't stop me (mwuahaha!).

At this point I wasn't sure about the direction of where I wanted to go. I added ribbon to act as the straps and moved on to what I WAS sure about: (3) An underskirt. Keeping with the pink pallet, I found a nice sheer, darker pink.

Helpfulness: As I work I like to make sure to look at the doll from all angles (Simple "duh!" concept, I know). But it really helps me keep in perspective how the cloth will lay on her and how she will be viewed by people not looking at her from straight on. I always keep reminding myself that this is important.

I must end here for now. A bit late and my sleepiness is winning. 
Next post will be on her NOT being bald! Whooohoo!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Elf Sculpture - part 1

Sad news. My first sculpture is being put on hold.  One morning it fell over and she was decapitated and de-legged. On the day of my friend's wedding it didn't leave me much time. I just placed it on the table and looked at it for a good two minutes and I said to myself, "I have no time".  So she sits now in the corner of my craft desk, repaired and lonely.  I'll return to her but a good break from the heartache is needed.

Good news is that I have started a second sculpture!

This lady elf is 9 inches so far and is made of a mix of Prosculpt and Fimo Puppen. Learning much from my first project, I find that baking in parts helps to make a more detailed and smooth sculpture (more control which means more tedious time involved).

And lookie!! She has a base:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hair at last!

She is no longer a baldy - yay-
 Starting to wonder if I am posting to many progress pictures. With all the work I have going on she literally the only major art that I have been devoting time to. Sometimes, I'll be working and my eye will wonder over to what I wish I could spend all my time doing. One day I will! News: I am working part-time for an amazing music artist Dane Drewis. I feel happy that part of my week is spent helping talented and amazing people.

It was about 10:30 p.m. when I took the photos so the colors may be off. Her hair has been clipped back for now as I've been working on her dress. Sketching has really helped in planning out how her outfit will be placed together - like puzzle pieces - and I am working on the idea of layers to achieve a particular look. The top layer of the dress is just pinned in how I hope it will turn out (helpful in visualizing the next step).

A while back I found this pleather jacket at a thrift store and I have evil plans to (er, glorious plans), to create a top jacket as well as a cute hat.

More details.

In other news, it was Charlie Chaplin's birthday! He wrote one of my most favorite songs that always cheers me up. "You’ll find that life is still worthwhile... If you’ll just... Smile"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Etsy Shop & Doll clothes

Sewing and sketching away this March. There are new ideas I want to tackle and projects still in the works. I recently added a new item to my Etsy shop called "Spring's Contessa", a fabric book cover for all the ladies who await spring.  Love combining sewing and illustrations!

Realizing my projects involve monstrous amounts of detail and time (makes life interesting...but complicated. Ha!). The past week I've been sewing undergarments for my doll. It consisted of googling, laying about in yards of fabric thrown all over the place, and staring/willing the cut pieces to magically form together.

Here are a few resources that helped me get started in thinking about how I wanted to construct her clothes:

Bloomers tutorial
Hemming sheer fabric?

Bloomers. Can't get enough of this word. Made bloomers for the first time! It was very exciting for me...well, it lost its momentum when the first pair didn't fit over her bum. By the time I made a fresh cup of tea I was ready to try once more. Gave it a good glare for measure before starting (making sure to scare it into submission). Above, are the pair I made along with my *bee bustle*. Naming it so because of its appearance (fitting, eh?)

The background of this picture shows only a faction of the mess found in the path of my creative tornado. The next layer is the first skirt layer. Made ruffles that will probably not even be shown when she is fully dressed. But I'll know it's there! Mwuahaha.

Hopefully in the next photos she will no longer be a baldy! My mohair has arrived.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Doll - Dress Sketch

Happy Wednesday everyone @-->>----

I want to share an article that has helped me accomplish more in a day. The idea has been rehashed many times by different people, but things never sink in until you put it to good use. LISTS. I'm starting to write them (not type), every morning before turning on the computer or checking email. I make lists of things I want to accomplish, and then rewrite them into a schedule. It helps!! -- link --

Genesis paints are fantastic! They go on light, or I am not being bold enough to go heavy at first, but I find layering on the paint in between bakes create a nice effect.

She is still a baldy. The next step of adding hair make me nervous. If anyone has tips they wouldn't mind sharing let me know.

Started to make a cute ruffle. Details, here I come - this is my favorite part. YAY!

Sketchy, sketch, sketch.

Spent all night sketching out ideas of how I am going to put her dress together (while factoring in the limitations of placing them on her frame). I need to channel into my talented friend Vani's sewing skills.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doll Project - Arg!

Last week was full of a lot of joy and also many speed bumps. First with the joy! I was surprised last week to find an email from Deviantart telling me that someone has purchased a 3 month premium membership for my account.

What floored me was it was by an artist I had admired from afar for many years. The great Hector Sevilla (aka Elsevilla)! So a shout out for Hector, your whimsical linework I drool over, your character designs I adore, Elsevilla Esvilla so kind you are. Thank you -hug-

Bump bump bump...

I baked my first sculpture! Ahh, to wait was hard. Back tracking, if you notice I added 10mm glass eyes. Looking at the sculpture for about 10 minutes, I ripped out the work done previously and smacked them on (took forever to get them just right). After baking, it allowed me to build on top of the face.

The boots were sculpted as well (the most fun part of all, haha). Ahhhh, now I can't wait to get to the stage of sewing her outfit. So where were the speed bumps? Speed bump #1: Didn't secure her head very well so it kept drooping. Fixing it so many times I finally had the courage to rip it completely off and work on the under-structure to fix the source of the problem. Speed bump #2: Cracks after baking. Nooooooo! Thankfully I had Magic Smooth on hand to repair. That is where I am at currently, adding a second layer of Prosculpt over the repaired areas. Now to look into Genesis Paint and maybe eyelashes.

Phew! So much to learn from. In other news, new website discovery. This place gives a lot of food for thought about art and business: