Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Animals in Space: My Russian Nesting Doll set

I have a couple more tweaks i want to make (which include sealing this set with a Gloss sealant), but i am pretty much done with my Russian nesting doll set, which was the first assignment in my Retail Markets class. I have to admit i wasn't initially psyched about doing a project geared to the market of Kid Robot, i didn't think that was really my market, but i really got excited about this once i got started, and i think turned out a fairly successful project, in which i learned a lot about working on something 3-dimensionally.

My process for this set started with a series of six thumbnails. Really rough stuff, just brainstorming concept of what i could do with my blank Russian dolls. I came up with six different ideas, inclusing a crazy candy monster kids set, and a murderous Geishas set. I got the class's input, and the general consensus liked this idea best, so i went with it.

Originally, when i came up with the concept, I started doing research on what kind of animals had really been in space. I knew a chimp had gone up, and i read that things like fish, insects, cats, dogs, etc. had all been in space. But, then i just started thinking about what kind of animals did i want to draw/paint, and i soon just started going from there. I just tried to make it fun for myself. Then I started giving the animals personalities. I came up with an angry elephant, aloof mandrill, scared turtle, time-concerned octopus, and nauseous fish.

When i think of Kid Robot, i think of very simplified, flat, vector toys, so i wanted to reflect that in my animals. I worked in Adobe Illustrator to do my color comps, and get a look at what some of the bigger and more complicated animals would look like. I then stretched out my vector art and traced it using some graphite paper, right onto the nesting dolls (as best i could). I decided against the orange you see below, feeling like the animal-nauts should be in their white suits for space.
After getting as far as time would allow on the Illustrator mock-ups, I started drawing the bodies onto the nesting dolls, and painting with acrylic. I used super sculpy for the tiny fish and the ears on the elephant. I epoxied the elephant ears onto the figure.

I was trying to think out of the box, especially with the littlest nesting figure. I remember opening some of these sets when i was younger and marvel at the littlest one, wondering how the artist got the details on such a small tiny object. So, it was really important for that one to be a surprise. I have always been mystified with using resin, and it was actually Pat's idea to suspend the fish in something clear, like he was in water, but i took it and went with it! Using resin wasn't as hard as i thought it would be. But it was really toxic smelling. I wish i would have read the warning on the canister beforehand, and worked outside. I had to breath the fumes while i was working all night.

Now, onto the next project: creating a box design for my nesting dolls...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fluke: Mini-Comics Show

So Pat and I took a little journey to Athens, GA this weekend for the Fluke: Mini-Comics show. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but thought it would be a fun, counter-cultural experience that i would enjoy, and it did not disappoint. The event was held at the upstairs at a bar, with the place transformed by about 50 artists to be a trunk show for their wares: mostly mini-comics, but there were also an assortment of graphic novels, stickers, prints, buttons, postcards, and handmade items.

Some of the mini-comics were beautifully made, i marveled at the craftsmanship of some of these tiny little books, the accordion pages pasted together, with a sleeve to encase the little object. Most of the items were priced very low, many artists just seemed excited to get their work out there, and some artists even traded for other's comics. There were also bigger companies like Top Shelf selling graphic novels (I love Blankets)--these of course were more $, but great quality of course. I was very excited to purchase a hard cover copy of Image Comic's Comic Book Tattoo (tales inspired by Tori Amos songs), which i had been wanting for a while, and got it signed by one of the artist and writer teams in it.

It was great to see the broad range of styles, media, and talent all in one place. The show was small, so it wasn't like going to a big con, which was nice. (Although i do have to start preparing myself for the overwhelming-ness that will be Heroes Con, which i think will be a fun thing to go to with Pat.) Everyone was kinda laid-back, and I could really see how close-knit the comics community was, everyone introducing people to each other, and talking about the art.

After a good couple hours of making our way around to different tables at the show and talking to artists, Pat and I did a little Athens sight-seeing...

Me and the two little kids who ruined my picture at UGA campus. (Florida's is better...GO Gators!)

Downtown Athens is Awesome.

The loot (Pat's and mine collectively). We have a lot to read.

After a stop at the awesome art and craft store, Hobby Lobby, which we spent waaay too much time in, Pat and I started on our way back to Atlanta. We had a great trip to Athens and a fun day. If we are still living in Atlanta, we will definitely be back to Fluke next year.