Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tuesday 19th June 2012 - Handmade Wax Seal

I'm a student. One bonus about being a student is: I'm poor.

As it happens i'm an Illustration student. One bonus about being an Illustration student is: I'm creative.

And the bonus of being creative? I can cut corners, inventively, come up with cheap solutions, and be one up at the end of the day.

The most recent corner-cutting-creative-solution-finding-endeavour of mine is: Wax Seals.

I think they look damn cool, and being able to seal CVs, letters and correspondence as such I thought would be damn cool. So set about making one.

I didn't need much;
A handle/base for the seal itself: (A cork.)
A malleable surface upon which to work my design: (fimo modelling clay.)
A design:
And a way to stick it all together: (Super glue.)

After sticking the 2 pence piece to the cork (a flat, metal surface for purposes of heat conduction and flat working surface), and filling the sides with clay, I then layered a 5mm thick sheet of fimo over the entire end of the cork.

Once done, I loosely marked in my desired design with a sharpie.

Using my clay/etching/engraving tool, I dug into the design, trying to keep it as smooth as possible, in some places using a scalpel to get a clean and smooth surface.

As well as making a seal, I decided to make a quick magnet of a sweet looking bottle cap I found attatched to a christmas present - as easy as filling the hollow in with clay, inserting a magnet and holding it with superglue.

I also took this time to paint a watered down layer of PVA on my wax seal, to try and smooth it some more. In hindsight, this was a stupid idea - it reacted with the wax, and made the seal stick to the wax, in a bad way.

The final, baked piece. Once baked, I carved into the surface with a scalpel, to refine the edges. I then took some sandpaper to the top, to get a flat, even surface. Ideal for waxing. Or sealing. I'm unsure of the proper verb.

I thought I was out of the woods then, and having never actually watched anybody use a wax seal before, I didn't realize there were... well... any, complications. I think some of them may have arisen from the seal not being metal, but either way needed to work around it.

The work around I found was to let the wax cool to almost set, then apply more pressure than is necessary and leave for about 15 seconds, doing anything other than that may lead to any of the issues snapped here: Cracked seals, broken seals, part set seals, etc.

So yeah, a work around for a bespoke wax seal. The cost for a similar size, cast in metal would be close to £40 - £45. This cost me less than £3.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday 15th June 2012 - Die Stahlhelm!

Am I low on money? Damn right.
Did I sacrifice precious cider money for a mere curio? Damn right.
Was it worth it? Probably.

Yes, even though I have not much cash to hand, I've decided to go and buy myself a replica WW2 Stahlhelm.

My justifications are as follows:

It will be useful! Zombie apocalypse or not, being able to snap reference photos of how helmets sit on people's heads, the specular lighting effects, and the potential for it helping in my illustrations was almost reason enough.

History is fun! I love military history... I'm currently debating the potential of being able to do some militaria related work over summer, throughout the days where i'll be able to do nothing but draw after shelling money out on helmets and art supplies... But yes, owning a replica of a 3rd SS Panzer Division (Totenkopf) M35 helmet is, well... It is what it is.

It's damn cool! I mean, really cool. A steel world war 2 replica helmet, complete with battle damage, wear, tear and decals? That is, like, really awesome. It can sit in my room, inbetween my gas mask, munitions and other military antiquities just looking bad ass.

Oh yeah, and that's the lining. So it's fully wearable. So there's potential of wearing it to festivals. Awww yeah.

I'm almost certain i'll get some form of negative publicity for this, in one way or another. Just to note; IT IS JUST A REPLICA. Owning military gear does in no way represent one's beliefs/opinions... I'm just a bit of a world war 2 nerd.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sunday 10th June 2012 - Tattoos!

I don't normally have many actual tattoo commissions. Too many people to count say on seeing my sketchbook; "gosh you should be a tattooist"; as nobody actually understands anything about it.

As soon as they realize that I consider illustration a career, and not something to do on lazy Sunday afternoons, and I expect to be paid for any work, even less offers come my way.

However, in the past 2 weeks, i've designed 3 tattoos, 2 of them today. So, this has been an unexpected burst of productivity.

Chest piece for a returning customer. Was fairly standard, the hardest part was getting the skulls a similar size and anatomical build, and still failed to some degree, but who said symmetry is the end aim?

Had what could be said a 'rough' guideline for this? HOWEVER, regardless of their roughness, it was an image, not a written guideline, so it was much easier to translate. New client, and from feedback, this is all good, so, 3 cheers for me.

Said rough guideline.

And the last one, this one is mine. Had the idea bubbling over about 2/3 years ago, and in the need for paper, I dug out an old sketchbook and rediscovered it. Still wanting it, I added some more stuff, changed some things, refined it and inked it up.

Shading still needs refining, as I'm not too certain what will look best. However, the design in and of itself I like.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Saturday 9th June 2012 - Sketchbook routine

After following Kekai Kotaki on Tumblr, and fawning over his daily sketches to some degree, I've grabbed an old sketchbook, and started to visually regurgitate ideas and such in a similar manner.

Hopefully this will help me to improve my Thumbnailing skills, as well as better formulating ideas and cogently translating them from brain matter to mark on paper.

After 6 pages, which took somewhere in the region of 60 - 90 minutes, I have solidified ideas and comps for 2 paintings, so i'm already seeing results!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday 8th June 2012 - Ugh... Digital Painting...

What was considered finished...

Some quick redlines I done after 10 minutes or so of looking at it and hating it:
Neckline, where was/is it?
Clavicle, needs more to it.
Breasts, need a metric tonne of work: Need almost totally changing - they didn't translate from the pencils too well at all...

Still some work needed around the face and neck area, but I fear this is a massive problem which can't be easily fixed... The liquify tool really helped for me to push some of the anatomy around, in, up, down, etc. Her boobs look far better in my opinion, but the jawline/neck/clavicle/upper torso in general needs more work than i'm willing to put in... I'd rather start anew, and hope to learn from these mistakes.


Friday 8th June 2012 - A dedicated gallery space!

Following the guide found over on Muddy Colours, I decided to set up a secondary "dynamic" blog, which looks only slightly more professional that my DeviantArt in terms of appearance, but I can use it as a cross between a gallery and portfolio, and while not visible on mobile devices, that is going to be fixed in the near future...

This is what it looks like, fairly minimal, and i've managed to somewhat colour co-ordinate it with my actual website.

Clicking on each image will bring up this, which I think is total overkill with the white, but I have yet to find a way to change it.

And here's where to find it! Simply clicking on the 'Gallery' tab will take you right there!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Thursday 7th June 2012 - I'm trying to work!

Yeah! It's summer, I'm trying very hard to at least give off the impression I have a life, but also want to play Diablo 3 and paint. Therefore, one has to suffer, and i'm determined to be as sociable as possible!

But none of that matters: I have a painting I'm slowly working on:

The pencils, which I have previously uploaded...

And the two work in process shots at the moment. While not overjoyed, I am neither disappointed, so will keep plodding along with it - I can always use the practise when it comes to skin!

I've reached the stage now where I will begin painting over my pencil lines, so will, I hope, become a more refined painting over the course of a day or two.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday 1st June 2012 - Sketchbook!

Collection of images from my Easter escape to the south - namely, bovington tank museum and corfe castle, and from an earlier trip to London's Super Comic Con.

I blame the quality on being unable to scan my Moleskine sketchbook, which, while looking awesome(!) is an utter and total and complete pain in the arse to scan... So much so I just didn't bother this time, so photographed it instead.

My next purchase may need to be an A3 scanner... Ugh...

Fixation with redheads? You betcha.
Happier with the logo than I am with the 2 splash images? You betcha.
Totally envious of Adam Hughes's ability to portray excellent facial expressions? Of course.

These are from Corfe Castle. A mint looking partially destroyed hilltop bastion. I think all of them were finished in the pub on the way back? Had an excellent pint called firkin fox... Can't find it anywhere north of Bristol... *cries*.

King Tiger #104. I love this sketch. I'm never arrogant or big headed, and certainly don't claim my work to be good, but this sketch I was particularly proud of.

Didn't know what to do with the sketch of Tiger #131... So it's still pencils...
The first world war tanker's mask + helmet is goddamn creepy, but awesome.

This was meant to be a partner post with: http://www.jhillustrations.com/2012/04/wednesday-18th-april-2012-taaaaaank.html but I got bogged down in university work.