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...

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