Wednesday, 30 May 2012

[Cosplay] Infected Kite + Tattoos

.Hack //GU
Infected |Azure| Kite

I actually started this cosplay a year ago this June. I had tried to get it done in time for the event in Paris but failed to so the progress was stuffed into a bag and ignored for a year - I took it out about a month ago and decided to try and finish it in time for May this year. Someone had told me it would be the coldest May on record so I figured I'd be ok - turns out it was the hottest May instead and I literally boiled alive on the day. 

I picked up where I had left it - two half sewn sleeves and three out of four pants panels. The character is covered in stitching - During my research I found some cosplayers had actually stitched thick white thread - overlaid materials etc to create the effect. I decided to use white felt - a it doesn't fray and a black pen to emphasise the stitching. I hadn't seen anyone else do this and it always seemed to look like the costume was lacking in detail. I'm pleased with how it came out and had several compliments on my detailing effect =]

The belts were all handmade from soft black pleather which was cut into strips and hemmed both sides to fit into the buckles I had bought specifically - including the large chest belt. I finished the trousers pattern then sewed them together and took them in slightly round the waist area for a better fit. 

The belt piece had always troubled me originally when I first started the costume - but it ended up being reasonably simple when I finally got round to it. I used a coat hanger and bent the metal into the triangle shapes to support the side belts. I used foam to pad the shoe and glove cuffs. 
The hat took 5 attempts to get right - during my research I had seen many styles of hats for this cosplay - ones that were to small, to puffy, to large, out of shape etc so I kept attempting it until I was finally happy with the end result. It is fully lined inside and stuffed. The ear flaps have pipe cleaners sewn in so they have a flexible shape. 

 The undershirt was made from curtain material to get the unique print required - it also meant it was very thick which didn't help me much on the day as it was around 28 degrees. The gauntlets were made from real leather and I had leather look leggings on underneath the trousers - and a binder under the entire thing to flatten my chest.  

I had a friend cut out the wood for the two blades - he glued the inital head peices together and then covered them in a layer of primer before handing them over with some extra supplies. I spent two days painting and detailing all 4 sides - I then used spray paint to add the red gradient to the blade tips, added googly eyes and nailed the handle into place. I then covered the handle piece in strips of white leather and black thread. 

On the day as it was already hot I opted to not use a base greyish tone on my face as I figured it would mostly rub off on the costume as I only had the cheap kind of facepaints and that it would probably sweat off way before the day was over. Instead I used an orangey red face paint to make the triangle markings on the cheeks and did very little styling on the wig as his hair practically covers his face.

I also did some more body painting - again redoing the blue body tattoo but also doing a very complex one for my boyfriends costume. Like before the Kamina tattoo took around 2 hours - slightly sped up as I had someone helping me this time round.

For my boyfriends body tattoo we used biro ink and then covered the entire thing in a layer of prosaide. It took 4 hours to complete - I worked with a friend each of us working on one side and joining on the back. 
She worked on the left and I took the right.
We didn't focus as much attention to the back as the character has long hair and the references were scarce.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Cupcake sketch

Inspired by my photographs - I did a very quick sketch with a black marker pen - scanned it in and added some digital colour. I did attempt some textures but the flat simple look suited it more.
I'd like to do some more complex sketches using watercolour in the future.

I'm trying to get into the habit of drawing once a day if possible - I know it's probably not going to be literally every day but this is a start. 

Cake shoot

Last weekend my boyfriend bought me two lovely packs of decorated cupcakes back from Scotland since I'm such an utter cake-fiend. I managed to withhold myself enough though to do a small photographing session with them as it's been so long since I did some still life photography.

I used a fairly basic set up consisting of an overhead and 3 spotlights and a white standard background. My original shots were very yellowish as I lack white lighting currently. Regardless I really enjoyed it and I'm fairly pleased with how they came out =]

I've posted a couple from the set - I originally took over 200 shots.



Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Third & The Seventh

The Third & The Seventh
By Alex Roman

'A FULL-CG animated piece that tries to illustrate architecture art across a photographic point of view where main subjects are already-built spaces. Sometimes in an abstract way. Sometimes surreal.'


I was completely blown away by this video - it is entirely made using CGI - by one person - in a single year. The views, textures,ideas,lighting,colours,shapes - are just -- amazing.

It really makes you question reality - it just looks so real - I can't get over how realistic it looks. What's real nowadays when people can create such amazing clips as this?

I really recommend watching the whole piece - although honestly once it starts I imagine it's fairly hard to click off from - but do stick with it, as the artist begins to integrate parts of his imagination into the locations such as large floating orbs of liquid and exploding libraries.

It is honestly one of the most beautiful and inspiring things I have watched in a long time.
It also links to my proposed final project and possible dissertation/journal for next year in which I study the links and boundaries between reality and fantasy.

Contact with Industry | Jade Phillips

Jade Phillips creates beautiful collages using the distortion of text and various other objects composing of natural and personal themes. Her work is spontaneous and interesting to behold and generally consists of vintage prints and objects. I'm particularly fond of her text pieces featuring young foxes in a uniquely imaginative form of media manipulation. 

 1. Your work is so unique and creative, using the text as a medium - especially the fox print ones! - how did you discover it?
I'm really fascinated with censorship, and creating new ideas out of destruction. I destroy all these books, and censor out letters…and in the end rather than something ugly, there’s something beautiful. That’s what I really love about it. It started out just messing around doodling in a book and it took off from there!

2. Your gallery is fast expanding with so many textured and beautiful pieces - where do you get your resources from? A lot of my supplies I get from friends and family. For a while, friends would bring me zip-lock bags of old watches, calligraphy pens, old stamps, things like that. I even got some pretty good materials from strangers who knew I made art, and wanted to support it somehow. This one girl gave me a container of tiny springs and an old French book and told me they looked like things I could use. It was really touching, and I had no idea people even noticed my work like that, let alone wanted to help! My materials are really just a bunch of odds and ends. When I buy materials myself, like old foreign books, I usually buy them the local literacy council. 

3. Do you ever sketch an idea out before hand? What is your process of work? 

Yes, definitely! I actually have an old Russian book I use as a sketch book for working out new techniques and ideas, colorations. I usually just try to work out the coloring initially, then take the project out on the canvas.

4. Do you make work only for yourself? Do you do commission work? 
Most of the work I make, I make for myself. Currently I’m trying to get a commission from the local newspaper to do a large newspaper fox with their paper. I’ve done work for a band in New York, and sold a lot of my pieces, had showings, but typically I just make art for me. 

5. Your pieces are so fun and spontaneous yet appear so deep, especially the collages- is there a message behind them, an expression or mood? - or do you just go with the flow? 

It really depends on the piece. Many of them have meanings behind them, but the majority I make are spontaneous. I’ll just pick out my central focus for the piece, and then continue on from there. How a lot of them turn out just depends on what sort of materials I have at my disposal at the time.

6. Where do you gather your inspiration from? 

Nature and music! When I’m working on a new piece, I’ll put on one of my go-to albums. My favorite album to work to is Seabear’s “The Ghost That Carried Us Away” and I feel like subsequently, a lot of the moods found in my art reflect that. Most of my inspiration however, comes from nature. I live in Alaska surrounded by forest, and I think my work tends to show that sometimes…Especially with the foxes!

Seabear - Seashell

7. Could you describe your ideal work space for me? 

Deep in the woods in a tiny cabin filled with the smell of wood smoke and acrylic. I’d love to have a little quiet cabin I can work in some day, that’d definitely be the dream for me. But currently I have to make do with a shared studio space in town.

8. Your work features a lot of foxes, is there a reason behind this? A personal experience, preference - maybe you just love foxes? =] 

Foxes are my favorite animal, and I just find them to be very beautiful and graceful. I love their forms, the colors of their fur. I guess I sort of have this fascination with the way they move….Eventually I will move on though! Currently foxes are my muse. I’m thinking about working with hares eventually. :)

9. Your favourite colour? 


10. Do you have any advice for a budding illustrator interested in making a career out of illustration one day? 

Just keep on making work! The more you create the better. And get it out there as much as you can. Make postcards and send them to galleries, create prints, enter into shows! I wish you the best of luck!


Contact with Industry | Abigail Larson

Abigail Larson is a popular artist among deviantart users, her style is uniquely refined, dark and inspiring. Her line work is rich and full of animation - she uses a well thought out balance of colour and texture within each piece. She uses a balance of traditional media including watercolour and digital work. I am a huge fan of her style - I love her stylistic use of line and Tim Burton-esque imagination. 

1. Your style is so unique and well refined - how did you discover it?
I get that question all the time! It's a difficult question to answer, because there wasn't a time where I decided to have a style. I spent most of my time drawing from observation, and I only developed a style after studying many other graphic designers, illustrators, and fine artists who had very distinctive styles. I studied 19th century illustrators, poster designs, typography, etc. and took what I liked about those styles and learned to incorporate those things into my own artwork, giving my own twist on them.

2. I love your vignette illustrations and banners - how do you come up with the designs for each one? Do you work from references/photos or is it all imaginatively based?
Thanks! In the beginning I would buy those cheap little copyright-free design books and re-design the banners in them and put my own creepy twist on them. Now, I just invent them after years of looking at ornate French-style frames and vintage poster banners. 

3. On average how long does it take you to complete a fully coloured piece with background? 
Colouring the images is what takes the longest time, so a fully colored piece would take me anywhere from 5 - 7 hours.

4. How would you describe your own perfect work environment?
I have it already! I'm surrounded by all my wonderful creepy things, my antique furniture, and all of my equipment.  

5. How often do you sketch normally? Would you increase it if you could?
I sketch every day! Whenever a thought pops into my head, I make sure there is a sketchbook on hand, so I can scribble it out. I'd of course like to spend all my time sketching and painting, but there really isn't enough time in the day!

6. Your work is always so beautifully detailed and full of content, where do you take inspiration from?
I spend loads of time just going out and observing everything around me. I just about grew up in museums and antique shops, so I've always appreciated a space full of interesting things to look at, and I try to bring that into my artwork. It's kind of like hide and seek - the more I draw, the more there is to look at and find.

7. Do you ever experience artist block? If so how do you usually tackle it?
Any artist who claims they don't get artists block is just flat out lying. Seriously, no one can do something 24/7 and not get sick of it, or at least get stuck. When it hits me, I try to step back and wait it out by doing something completely different, such as all the cleaning I've been neglecting, or read or watch something. I'll also look through art books or go to galleries, museums, and concerts to feel inspired.

8. You're clearly both a talented traditional and digital artist, have you ever had any formal instruction in either?
Yes, I was classically trained in drawing and painting, but also learned typography, graphic design, photography, digital painting, and illustration in high school and college. I melded digital and traditional drawing because I love touching my drawing and paints, but I also love the finished, flat look of digital coloring.

9. I adore your circus inspired pieces, as a huge cirque fan myself - is there a particular troupe/show you enjoy?
You know, for all my love of the circus, I've never been to a circus! I really just enjoy fairs and burlesque shows. Having lived in a city there are endless opportunities to see the bizarre arts, and I enjoy every kind of street and stage performance. 

10. Do you have a favourite artist or book writer/film director?
Of course! I love Edward Gorey, Maurice Sendak, Arthur Rackham, tony DiTerlizzi, Gris Grimly, Kay Nielsen, and countless others. I of course love classic literature, and my favorite writers are the gothic poets and novelists such as Shelley, Stoker, and Bronte, as well as Poe and Lovecraft (of course!) For film I'm much more picky. I love Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Torro, but my favorite films are classic horror and suspense movies from the 30's - 70's

11. -And lastly! Do you have any advice for a budding illustrator aiming to enter the industry?
There is so much to tell aspiring illustrators, but the advice I give every artist is to not create art for everyone, but make art that you enjoy and have fun making, and practice like crazy every day. Create a style completely unique to you, and market it to companies you want to work for. Don't be shy, and don't give up! Reach out for every possible opportunity with potential clients and other creative people. It's a tough and competitive field, but it also changes constantly, so the opportunities are endless as long as you work hard at it, like anything in life!