Thursday, February 13, 2014

Custom Fashion Doll Repaint Commission: Lucy Liu for Seanan

I don't get to do realistic dolls very often, but I do enjoy them.  I'm so happy with how this doll turned out.  I'm always terrified of flubbing repaints like this.  Lucy Liu is one of my favorite actresses, and I'd hate for a repaint based on her likeness to turn out as more of an insult, lol.  She's an Lucy Liu (Alex) doll from Charlie's Angels that Seanan commissioned.  I believe the inspiration for this repaint was Lucy's character, Dr. Joan Watson, from Elementary.  Seanan transferred the original head to a  much more articulated Fashion Royalty body.

Charlie's Angels Lucy Liu Character DollLucy Liu Custom Repaint Fashion Doll
 A photo of the original doll, from and my completed Lucy Liu repaint.

I tried my best to capture her features, she really is such a beautiful woman.  She has such cute little freckles <3.

Lucy Liu Custom Repaint Fashion DollLucy Liu Custom Repaint Fashion Doll

Lucy Liu Custom Repaint Fashion Doll
 I had a lot of fun working on her, it's always nice to be able to paint unique dolls :).  Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Workspace Wednesday: Ambitious Works and Blank References for Monster High Honey Swamp, Jane Boolittle, and Gigi Grant

I... might have gotten a little ambitious about my plans today.  These are all girls that have been waiting in the wings (you know, minus the poor Draculaura and Insect Girl that have had base colors for like... a month...) to be repainted.  I can lay down base coloration much more easily when I have everyone laid out at once.  Some girls use the same color blends (or colors I only need to change a bit), too, so it's easier on my airbrush.  That Lucy Liu is first on the chopping block, though.  She's a commission for dear Seanan :).  I'm definitely excited about painting her!  I love getting to paint dolls I've never worked on before.  I believe she's a Charlie's Angels Lucy Liu from the movie release back in 2000 (judging from the stamp on her head).

Image of Repainting Monster High Dolls
Pretty girls all in a row, waiting for new faces.

Image of Repainting Monster High Dolls

I've also started coming up with color palettes for the girls I'm working on, as opposed to just... flying by the seat of my pants.  I have a pretty good understanding of color theory, but I think I'll like having a preplanned color chart.  Mainly so I don't have to dig through bottles of paint, to work more efficiently.

I am never without coffee.
While I was snapping WW photos, I decided to do a few blank shots of the newer dolls.  I'm pretty sure you can find a blank face photo of Ghoulia everywhere, so I didn't photograph her.

Blank Monster High Gigi Grant Reference
Blank Monster High Gigi Grant Reference

Blank Monster High Jane Boolittle Reference
Blank Monster High Jane Boolittle Reference

Blank Monster High Honey Swamp Reference
Blank Monster High Honey Swamp Reference
Feel free to use these to plan your own faceups or share them (just please don't remove the watermark).  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Workspace Wednesday: Adventures in (Mathless) Resin!

I wish I could claim the 'mathless' resin description for my own, but I snagged it from a discussion I had with a follower on Tumblr :).  You see... I despise calculations.  I'm a trial and error kind of girl, regardless of the awkward situations I might find myself in as a result.

I've wanted to try my hand at making resin jewelry and accessories for quite some time.  I just couldn't get past the idea of measuring, dividing, adding, subtracting, and possibly wasting an entire batch of resin because I got it wrong.  A few months back, I stumbled across a brand of UV curing resin from Lisa Pavelka.  I ordered it to do some repairs on the default eyes my Kinoko Juice Kiki came with, but I thought it was such an amazing idea.  Curing resin in minutes using a UV lamp.  Of course, this is almost the same thing that you would have applied to your nails in a salon with a gel manicure.  Though, that particular type produces a sticky film that has to be removed with alcohol.

Sadly, both of these options would be incredibly expensive when using in large quantities.  One measly ounce of Lisa Pavelka Magic Glos will set you back about $10.99 on a good day.  UV gel intended for nails varies widely in price, with the cheapest brands being around $2.99+ for a tiny, half ounce pot that goes nowhere fast.

I knew that this couldn't be the only available quantity of UV curing resin.  I mean, it just couldn't be.  So, I buckled down and scoured the internet for a solution.  Finally, I came across Solarez polyester clear casting resin

Solarez Polyester Clear Casting Resin
Solarez Polyester Clear Casting Resin, Quart Jar

This particular resin is almost identical to Castin' Craft polyester resin with one key difference:  It cures in sunlight in three minutes straight from the jar (or you can still use the catalyst to cure the old fashioned way).  I could hardly contain my excitement.  This is a huge quart (32oz) jug o' resin for $23 that I could allegedly pour straight from the bottle with no mess, no waste, and very little curing time.  The same size jug of mix and pour resin costs over 30$ on Amazon.  More money, more waste, and more time.  No, thanks.

The thing is, this stuff wasn't showing up in crafting supplies at all.  It's marketed purpose is to seal things like surfboards and paneling.  I double checked the MSDS sheet against other popular crafting resins and could find no significant health related differences.  As with most resin, the fumes can be pretty stinky and you don't want the uncured product on (or in) yourself.  I'm used to working with a respirator and gloves, so this isn't really an issue for me.  I have a huge fan and a glass sliding door that I can open fully to properly ventilate while working inside.   

Always, always, always make sure to use the appropriate protective equipment when working with hazardous materials!  Crafting is fun, but safety is first!  A dust mask won't cut it, you need a NIOSH approved respirator.  Polyvinyl gloves and goggles are a great idea, too.  Pretend you're Heisenberg and craft at your own risk.

So, how does this stuff hold up when using it for crafting purposes?  Well, you tell me!  These are some of the pieces I've created over the past two days using Solarez.

Image of Kawaii Fairy Kei Pastel Goth Resin Jewelry

Image of Kawaii Fairy Kei Pastel Goth Resin JewelryImage of Kawaii Fairy Kei Pastel Goth Resin Jewelry

Image of Kawaii Fairy Kei Pastel Goth Resin Jewelry
Image of Kawaii Fairy Kei Pastel Goth Resin JewelryImage of Kawaii Fairy Kei Pastel Goth Resin Jewelry

 All of these projects (and more) are available in my Etsy shop:

Each piece was blended with dyes, glitter shapes, micro glitter, or real candy sprinkles and poured into polypropolene molds (treated with mold release beforehand).  I cured the pieces using my timed UV lamp (36 watt designed for use with gel nails) and each tray only took about three minutes, though some of the thicker pieces required a bit longer.  They produce a moderate amount of heat while curing, so if you try this method, be careful not to burn yourself.  Because I'm using the UV curing method, I have to stick with molds that are translucent, which allow the UV rays to penetrate into the resin.  Opaque molds will only cure the top layer and leave the bottom in its liquid state.  I was able to dye the resin using the polyester dyes I had on hand with no issues, but you have to be careful about complete opacity, so as not to run into the same issues as opaque molds (not curing thoroughly).

I noticed that with Magic Glos, if I even so much as moved the mold wrong, bubbles would form within the resin that absolutely refused to surface.  With Solarez, if I let the mold sit for a minute or so to 'breathe' most of the bubbles rise and pop themselves.  I can also gently stir the resin within the mold to cause any bubbles caught under the decorations to rise up without creating new ones.  The majority of bubbles that did stick rose up into the flash that would be sanded off anyway.

So, there you go.  Easy to use, minimal waste, and no more hazardous to work with than most other crafting resin.  I'm extremely happy with my results and frankly, I can't wait until the ludicrous amount of molds I ordered arrive today :).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Artist Shops You NEED to See: IndolentJellyfish Miniature Sea Creatures from Etsy

All of the time I spend over on Etsy listing, editing, and managing orders has developed a side effect:  Being bombarded with all of the awesome things artists create.  Sometimes, I just can't help myself and have to make a purchase.  From now on, when I make particularly epic finds, I'll be posting about them here in a feature.  This time around, it's the incredibly detailed, miniature polymer clay creations of IndolentJellyfish on Etsy.  They're an artisan from Canada who creates the most magical little sea creatures out of polymer clay with painted details.

I was absolutely elated to check my mailbox yesterday and find her package!  When I opened it up, it contained three of the tiniest jewelry boxes I've ever seen.

IndolentJellyfish Packaging
Tiny, hand drawn jellyfish and washi tape accentuate the cute kraft boxes.
I am completely obsessed with sea creatures, ever since I was a kid water and the critters in it have fascinated me.  I initially came across IndolentJellyfish's work through a post on Tumblr, where they were hosting a giveaway.  Once I visited the shop, I knew I couldn't leave empty handed.  The pictures can't even begin to hold a candle to the actual pieces in your hands.

IndolentJellyfish Dumbo Octopus Pendant
Dumbo Octopus Pendant
This tiny Dumbo Octopus is absolutely magical.  Magical, I tell you.  It's available in their shop for $14.00 USD on a 16" silver plated chain.  For a few bucks more, you can upgrade to a longer chain and sterling silver on all of their necklaces.  You can find out more about Grimpoteuthis here.

Blue Dragon Sea Slug Pendant by IndolentJellyfish
Blue Dragon Sea Slug Pendant

I absolutely could not say no to this.  I came across Glaucus atlanticus, the Blue Dragon Sea Slug, via a post on Reddit a year or two ago and have always found them to be the most beautiful little creatures.  The necklace is available in her shop for $36.  Here's the wiki page about these little cuties, and here's the real deal in motion:

Last, but certainly not least, let me begin with a bit of back story.  My boyfriend and I are huge fans of a guy on Youtube called zefrank1.  He posts narrated videos detailing 'true facts' about various types of animals (among other things).  One of these videos is called "True Facts About the Mantis Shrimp."

If you watched that, you know why I had to buy this:

Mantis Shrimp Pendant by IndolentJellyfish
"A mantis shrimp is a living fossil of the prehistoric clown that all modern clowns evolved from."
Plus, they can flick the crap out of things using their claws with the force and speed of a bullet.  They're pretty badass, to say the very least.  This pendant is available for $39 here.  If you want to learn more real facts about this angry little dude, check out this wiki.

IndolentJellyfish has many more creatures available in their shop including octopus, jellyfish, and squid to name a few.  Their shop (and work) is absolutely stunning and you will not be disappointed in your purchase.