Sunday, 27 December 2009

Next step for owl

I've been ill over christmas so all i can do is mess around on photoshop. I'm starting to get the hang of it. My owl is looking better now, hopefully I stand a chance in this competition (design a plushy). I think I'll call him Otto! I'm not sure what else I can do to make him look a little more professional...

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

OWL work picture

This is my wip owl, designed for a plushie contest. It's the first time I've seriously used photoshop, and I think it's okay. It was hardest getting the fluffy effect, but I quite like it now.

I could use a few tips though. I'd like it to be a bit brighter and funkier, so any help appreciated! Let me know what you think.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Work In progress

Here's a couple of projects I'm working on at the moment. First is a cool big art doll of cernunnos. I like to bae a lot of my art around folklore and mythology, and cernunnos is a Pagan Celtic god. He's the horned god of the underworld but, in modern interpretations of Celtic culture, he's the guardian of the forests, the defender of the animal tuatha (tribes), the source of the deep forest wisdom, and the masculine half of creative energy.

At this stage I have built an armature from a load of old wire, and began to build up the head. by keeping the armature thin at the joints, he can be positioned and posed. I'm now waiting for some hair and eyes in the post, before I continue!

Another project I'm making in another junk-based puppet. He's a character with a steampunk/gothic feel, called 'The Chameberlain'. He's got a light up eye with a removable monacle, and a head that flies off to scare everyone! I'm thinking of putting little wings of the sides of his head too! He's nearly finished, so i'll post pictures when he's done, but here's a current work-in-progess picture:

Okay so he doesn't look too impressive in this shot! But I really like this guy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Create a plushie

Iv'e been busy for the past few days, but I've had a quick fiddle around with photoshop. I'm trying to design a cool plush charatcer for a competition. This is my design so far:

It's got to be a really simple but exciting and weird design, which can be made from plastic and fabrics. I might give it some tentacles too! Unfortunately photoshop is still a mystery to me so coloring it will be a nightmare!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Little owl goblin

Here's a quick little magical creature. He's some kind of owl/imp/goblin creature, and he's now part of my christmas decorations too!

My decorations definately look better in real life than here; kind of got a magical forest vibe going on!

This little owl guy's  got yellow glass eyes and real feathers!

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Alchemist gothic/steampunky puppet

This is a one-handed puppet called 'The alchemist'. He's a kind of creepy gothic, steampunky mad scientist, loosely inspired by the creepy characters from 'The City of Lost Children'. He is made from junk, and is operated using one hand. You can make him walk using a bobbing motion, and I'll try to get some videos up of him in action!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Crow puppet

I've always loved the idea of bringing my art dolls to life by making puppets. I've made a few already with varied success. I've been toying with marionettes, rod puppets and a variety of different stringed puppets. The problem is that it's really a case of the simpler the better.

If you make a beautiful puppet, of a fairy for example, with clothing, hair, wings etc. chances are the movements won't be lifelike and the strings will get tangled. I also like to incorporate recycled items into my puppets as much as possible, which can hinder the freedom of movement depending on what I use. I guess the key is finding a balance between freedom of movement and the beauty of the puppet.

Some of the most beautiful puppets I have seen are simple and elegant. The movement can often say more than the detail and features of the puppet. Check out this site for example:

I especially love the Gandalf puppet from the hobbit. They don't seem to be restrained by proportions or details, using a combination of puppets, masks and real actors for a surreal but amazing performance.

Anyway, that gets me round to my latest puppet, a crow. I've just started to paint the head:

I still havn't figured out the actual  animation technique. I'll hopefully post some more of my finished puppets in the next few days.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A Christmas Pixie

This little christmas pixie is part of my christmas decorations. He has a little red hat with a bell on, a scruffy jumper and white leather braces, with a pair of tripey tights! He's also got some very curly white hair!

I made this little guy from an old seed pod, which was from some used pot pourri. His eyes are haematite. I was going to give him a little fishing rod, with a snowflake hanging from the end like he was creating snow. But in the end i settled for a festive bit of holly.

He hasn't got a name yet so any suggestion are welcome!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Spot the faery

Okay a quick picture to remind us all of summery times! Spot the rooty faery spirit in this pic!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Alexei von Jawlensky is a Russian-born painter, who lived predominately in Germany. He has a strong Russian style, with amazing portraits using strong outlines and colour.  He also uses aspects of mysticism and peasant art.. I much prefer his paintings of female models, to his more famous, abstract stuff. They're so vibrant, intense and powerful, like he somehow manages to paint in colour rather than shapes.

This painting, 'Schokko' is my favourite Jawlensky. It's amazing!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Unseen art dolls and sculpts

Okay, just a quick update with a few pictures. These are art dolls that I havn't added to my site for various reasons, usually cos I didn't have enough good pictures. These dolls are such unusual shapes they're really hard to photograph, especially with a terrible camera like mine!

Hopefully i'll add them to my site eventually.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Chalk drawings

Here's a couple of portarits I drew in chalk, on black paper. This is a great and effective technique, and really captures a mood and atmosphere. These sketches only took a few minutes, but i'm really pleased how they turned out.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Monster Workshop

This is an amazing site, based in the uk, which is still under construction but looks great! You can buy unique plush monster toys, and the site features a whole host of unusual items, such as some cool looking leather puppets.

The site is actually a bit confusing, especially because it's not finished, but you can still find some cool creatures to collect:

The Monster Workshop seems to be run by "Stiches and glue"....
Can't wait to check this out when it's all finished.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

New Mighty Boosh DVD

The Mighty Boosh is an amazing tv show. It's also a live show and they've just released their latest dvd; future sailors! GET IT!

Anyone who hasn't seen this show is missing an amazing and surreal treat. The costumes, songs, costumes, jokes, costumes art and costumes are all really amazing. My favourite character is Tony Harrison.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Guillermo Del Toro Exclusive interviw on The Hobbit!

Guillermo gave an enticing interview to Total Film magazine, talking about his latest project 'The Hobbit'. I don't really know what to make of this yet, a great director and a great book, but will it work? I really hope so.

Here is the interview on Del Toro's fansite

Eslewhere, Del Toro had this to say regarding the upcoming DVD rereleases of two of his movies:

"CRONOS is evolving nicely. We are including a NEVER-SEEN-BEFORE version of GEOMETRIA (1987) the short that I made for 1 thousand bucks and that I was never able to finish the way I wanted it. NOW I re-finsihed it for this disc (dont worry, no CGI or fancy stuff) and I like it- I never did before- but now I do.

CRONOS has never looked so beautiful and we found dozens of photographs of the making of the device, etc

MIMIC is looking fabulous. Some of the negative had been lost but we found alternatives and are finishing the Director's Cut. VERY HAPPY!!"

Cute cuddly Dragon Plushie pattern!

Here's a quirky page of plushie dragons and other characters to make. I especially like the bat, and check out this pink dragon made from the pattern on the page!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Dark Matters

I recently discovered this great blog, an inspiring and artistic collection of stop-motion animation resources and projects. It's a great blog to keep and follow, as the author Mike Brent's work on various film-making projects, with some truly exciting and unique puppets. I don't want to steal his thunder and post all his pictures and links on here (although I'm tempted!), so follow this link and check him out:

Dark Matters

Monday, 9 November 2009

A guide to Guillermo Del Toro; PART 2 MIMIC

Continuing my guide to all things Del Toro, his next project was to direct the underated 1997 monster movie 'Mimic'.

Very much an American Sci-fi horrror, it's a strange one for Del Toro fans. He seems to be slightly restricted and constrained into making a formulaic generic horror/chase movie along the lines of Jeepers Creepers, but he throws so much of his style and visual "fetishes" at the screen, that they raise it above this standard and make it a worthwhile piece of escapism.

"I have a sort of a fetish for insects, clockwork, monsters, dark places, and unborn things," says Del Toro, and this movie at least allows him, and the viewer to indulge.

This movie is a total mish-mash of the good and bad of hollywood horror. There are some great moments and amazing visual creature effects, but also some terrible and cliched horror moments. Basically you could say it's a visual delight, with a lack of depth, continuity and substance failing to fulfil the movies potential as a classic to rival the likes of 'Alien'.

Del Toro on mimic:
"I was really happy with how [Mimic] turned out visually--I think it's a beautiful movie to look at, but what's painful for me about the film is not what it is, but what it could have been. For instance, there's a pretty f***ing neat line that was removed from the original screenplay. Essentially Susan Tyler is in the middle of the conflict and someone asks her how to get out of their situation and Tyler says, "I have no f***ing idea--everything I knew about insects flew out the window when these things showed up. They're six feet long and all I know about them is that they have nothing to do with human nature--they have six legs, they have eight eyes, they have no heart and white blood, and they don't give a s**t about us." And another thing that was expurgated was this really perverse moment: I have a huge wall of insects f***ing in the subway--it's a bug orgy. Suddenly one of the insects chases them with the female still attached to his penis which is really creepy and cool--but I guess a little too freaky for a major studio."

Perhaps if you havn't seen this movie it's best to hold on: Del Toro is working on a directors cut DVD:

28-Sep-2009, GDT on Director's Cut DVD
"MIMIC is looking fabulous. Some of the negative had been lost but we found alternatives and are finishing the Director's Cut. VERY HAPPY!!"

Next time: The Devils Backbone!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Star Wars; Return of the Sith

Just watched this movie for the first time and, whilst it was better than the other two recent Star Wars movies, it still failed to capture any of the original magic. As with Clone wars and Phantom Menace, there were certain moments that were good sci-fi action, but so much poor design and sell-out crap that it still felt like a let down.

The use of CGI in these movies is really astonishing, because they look completely fake compared to the originals. Yoda just doesn't look believable at all; he's basically a pixar character spouting terrible one-liners. Compare this to Wendy Frouds incredible puppet from the original and it really tells you where Lucas' head was at making these films; money and merchandise!

Basically what you get is a cross between a computer game and a toy commercial, with the odd good costume, bit of half decent acting or cool action scene delivering a few, much needed enjoyable moments.

...oh yes, and this is perhaps the most wooden actor of all time>

No sorry, I can't even look at his face anymore...

My new Chris Ryniak watch; AWESOME!!!

I got this watch in the post this morning. It's made by Vannen watches and the design is by one of my favourite artists: Chris Ryniak. It's really cool! Okay so it's not the best quality watch you'll ever buy. In fact, it seems a bit flimsy. I don't mind the plastic look, but it would be better if it was a bit chunkier.

The design is amazing though! The packaging is great and I especially love the strap.

Friday, 6 November 2009

animation toolkits

I recently discovered this (Uk based?) site, which sells components for making puppet armatures for animation. It's supposed to offer affordable puppet-making parts, which are used as basic joints inside characters and allow them to be manipulated for stop-motion film-making.

For those who don't know, stop-motion animation is basically taking photographs of a scene, slightly moving the model, then repeating to give a flickerbook effect of a moving picture. I've tried this myself, and it worked quite well with plasticene (as in Wallace and Gromit, Morph etc.) My main problem was that the armature was really poor and hard to manipulate.

I might invest in one of these kits, and post a quick review up here. I'll the try to make my own version from recycled bits and bobs too, and see how they compare. After all, it more fun, greener and cheaper to make your own right?!


You can buy a load of custome rollies (deodrant sticks) from this site. Apart from thet're a rip off so it's probably a good idea to make your own! I'm halfway through making a luchador rollie so I'll post it on here when it's done!

A guide to Guillermo Del Toro: PART 1

Guillermo Del Toro is a Spanish filmaker. He's also a genius and you should all bow down before him. From the supreme Pan's labyrinth to the horrifying Devil's Backbone, he has shown more creativity in the last few years than the rest of Hollywood put together.

As a huge fan I'll basically be updating this blog with some of his (many) new projects, including his books, producer roles, director roles and all the other stuff he seems to be involved with. But first, I'll give a quick guide to some of the Del Toro essentials that all fans of the Horror, fantasy, fairytale, surreal or maccabre should know.

Well to begin with here's a link to an exclusive first look clip of his latest production project: Splice!

Cool but DAMMIT now I want to know what happens next! ELSA put you're mask back on!
"The film, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, tells the story of two scientists who dare to tamper with animal and human DNA to create new life forms." A modern-day Frankenstein maybe?

Del Toro's first movie was Cronos in 1993, A $2 million dollar stylish take on the Vampire legend. He combines themes of vampirism, and temptations for eternal life, with the mechanical (steampunkish?)and typically unusual aesthetics. It's interesting, unique and engrossing whilst still maintaing the unusual attractions and slightly (okay very) sinister edge of a traditional vampire movie. It's wierd how drinking blood; addiction and longing for something taboo, can be used to help us relate to such an alien concept. I would advise anyone with even a slight interest in the unusual and maccabre, to get involved and watch this movie!