Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The past fortnight

After the degree show SAAS cut off my loan because technically I'm not a student anymore, so I've been finding myself majorly out of pocket. Not only that but my boyfriend, Rob, went on a lovely wonderful holiday to France with his family - and I am so gutted I couldn't go. He's studying to be a chef and looooves cooking, so I just give him some money every week to pay for my half of the shopping and he cooks for me. I've picked up tips but when I have no money all of a sudden AND I loose my personal cook, it means I'm sampling from the tesco value menu for the first time in years. Tonight I had beans on a potato.

My graduation is this Thursday, slap bang in the middle of the holiday, then on the 29th I'm going to London for an industry week with D&AD. Roll on the copious amounts of business cards. It's interesting how my priorities run right now. first comes business cards, then stickers for new doll packaging, then more materials to make dolls, THEN food. Yup, living it large on the tesco value beans right now!

Anyway that means I've been TEARING through my commissions at an insane rate. Now I don't have to focus on other projects and I don't have enough money to go out drinking, all I can do is sit with the lights out (no money for electricity), drink some water and sew. As much as I've been complaining, it's actually really relaxing.

SO what we have lined up!

A faerie dragon from World of Warcraft

A winged black/yellow panther (commissioners character)

Haku from Spirited Away

and probably another winged canid from the same customer as Haku.

I'm really looking forward to doing Haku, I LOVE that film (who doesn't?) and even though for a long time I wasn't a fan of japanese dragons, they're starting to grow on me. It's probably something to do with how easy it'll be to turn them into dolls.

On the other hand, faerie dragons from WoW are NOT easy to turn into dolls, it turns out. The body wasn't so hard but the wings are driving me mad! Here are some photos of failed attempts. Oh the one request the commissioner had was that the light shone through them, I think she's looking for a stained glass attempt.

These were the first attempt. They're a wire outline of the dragons wings with the same fabric used for the body, spray painted with a diffuser and acrylic then details painted on by eye. They're super fragile and look really dull, the light isn't glam when it shines through them either. At all!

After that attempt I decided to go out and read some tutorials on how to make fairy wings and found most of them involved 'fantasy film', which is essentially cellophane but when you heat it it bursts into different iridescent colours and shrinks. Fantasy film is hard to get here in the UK so I opted for normal cellophane and painted it, then shrunk it with my new heat gun. The light shines nicely but as pointed out by some other people, they look shiney, plastic and fake. And also terrible on the doll.

These are getting a lot closer, these are white tissue paper papier mached onto a wire frame with more tissue paper, then painted with inks. It works well and looks good on my cutting mat but when you hold it up to the light... Oh dear, looks awful. I tried so hard with that paint job too, I'm gutted.

Since then I read more tutorials and decided printing onto acetate then glueing the wire on with PVA would be the best option. I tried it on some acetate I had lying around but the ink from my printer never dried so I went to the local art store and they don't print on acetate and only in black and white on tracing paper. (With the tracing paper I can rub baby oil into it to make it see-through.) SO i bought some ink-jet friendly acetate and I'm just waiting for it to get here.

If when it comes it doesn't work either, I've had a few other suggestions from other doll makers, such as using tights/nylon pulled over the wire (my concern is that the wire is too flimsy), using liquid fimo on the edge of hand made paper to give a beautiful effect or casting them out of resin. The resin option is just totally impractical and liquid fimo is horrendously expensive. I can't afford to spend £10 on a 30ml bottle of fimo when I could eat for a week with that! Especially if all it takes for me to crack these wings is some more work with the tissue paper.

So while I mentally turn this one over I decided to go ahead and make a few dolls to relax a bit. (Each of those wings took me a day - I was going mad.) I made the crazy cheshire cat doll:

and I'm currently making the winged black/white/yellow panther. She's been sculpted and furred so expect to see pics soon...!

Okay I think I've got down most of what's happening! I always seem to write these when I'm either about to go to bed or procrastinating... It's 00:45, I'd better skidoodle.

Thanks for reading!