The other week I was nominated by Jenny from Fluffmonger to take part in the 5 day Art Chain challenge that has been doing the rounds on Facebook. Although I thought this sounded like fun, I didn’t think I had the time to take part. But Janette, from Just Banana’s Over Soft Toys encouraged me to try and fit it in, and I’m glad she did.
On day one I shared some photo’s from the Special Effects Makeup course I did in LA at ‘Westmore Academy Of Cosmetic Arts’ in 2000. The Forest Troll was done using foam latex prosthetics. This is the stuffed used in movies and shows like Buffy the vampire slayer and Mrs Doubtfire. Today, Silicon is more widely used as it gives a much more realistic look. Janette asked if this was the ‘peel off stuff. If you have seen Mrs Doubtfire, you will remember the restaurant scene where Robin Williams’ character juggles two dinner engagements at once; one as himself and one as Mrs Doubtfire. This required him to constantly make excuses to leave the table, run to the bathroom and take the Mrs Doubtfire makeup on and off quickly. Normally I’m sharing Trade Secrets from the world of sewing but today I’m going to share with you a Trade Secret from the world of SFX makeup … NEVER going to happen — the quick changing SFX makeup that is. This stuff is glued pretty much all over the persons face with very strong hospital grade glue which can only be removed with equally strong solvents. It takes hours to put on and hours to take off, and if you were to try and pull it off, you could injure yourself quite badly. If you search ‘SFX makeup’ on YouTube, you can find many Time-lapse demonstrations of this process.
Sooo … this is what I would look like as a Zombie. So if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens … you’ll know what I look like should I come chasing after you and trying to eat your brains … be kind to me 😉
On day two of the #ArtChain challenge I share some photo’s. I’m not the greatest photographer, and I’m certainly not the bravest (I still have my camera set on Auto). But I do like taking photo’s, especially of animals and macro shots of things like flowers and bugs. Of the three images above, the Meerkat is my favourite, I think they are the cutest little critters ever. Koogie bears (aka Koala’s) come a very close second. The Meerkats were in the Adelaide Zoo, they have a great enclosure there for getting great shots of these little guys. The Koala was in Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast. This is one of the best places to see Koala’s up close. The only other place we have been to that is better is Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, North of Brisbane. And the pelican is from Hindmarsh Island. We lived there for a while, and these guys would come up onto the back lawn to eat the fish Lindsay had caught.
This is the very first photo I ever took … queen of the fuzzy photo right from the very beginning 😉 This photo was taken in Melbourne of the wife of my dad’s flight instructor. I was about 7 or 8. On day three I share some photos of cards that I have made over the years. This is what I did before I started designing toys. It was a lot of fun but a bit expensive. There is always some new must have gadget out there that does the most amazing things to your paper crafts. A lot of people told me I should sell them, and I did think about it for a while, but in the end I decided some things are best kept as a hobby. I don’t get much time to make cards these days and most of my gear is still packed in boxes in the shed at the moment. When I first started Nittens & Patches, I started with knitted toys. There are some seriously adorable patterns out there. The Pug dog was one of my favourites and the bunny was Tim’s favourite. The alien in the middle as a free pattern from Fresh Stitches by Tracy Stock. I’m a pretty competent knitter, but crochet some how eludes me. Thankfully Tracy’s patterns are as easy to follow as they are adorable and she has loads of helpful tips and hints to help you out along the way. After trying several ideas to speed up my knitting, I eventually decided, that for me, knitted toys could only be a hobby, and I needed it to be more that that, plus I didn’t have as much confidence in my ability to design knitted toy patterns as I did for sewn toys. But I do still have some great patterns thanks to Fuzzy Mittens and Twins Knits.
Not all the knitting I have done over the years has been toys though. I have knitted all sorts of things from babies clothes, jumpers for Davie, including this very dapper tuxedo. I even knitted a fairisle jumper for Lindsay with reindeer and snowflakes all over it — just the one — believe me, one was more than enough for me 😉
And finally on day 5 of the #ArtChain challenge I shared some sketches I’ve done over the years. When I posted these on Facebook, I said that the alien was my favourite. I know he’s not everyone’s cup-of-tea, but this guy is special to me because it was the first time I had drawn something without a clear reference photo to follow. My son, Tim, is a writer and he loves sci-fi and fantasy stories. As a parent it has been fascinating to watch his journey as a writer. At one time, he was very focused on character development. This included how they looked. One day he handed me a piece of paper with a rough sketch on it of a character he was thinking of for a story, but he was frustrated with his inability to draw what was in his head. So I offered to have a go. It took a little while, and there were a few corrections along the way – especially with those horns, but eventually this guy emerged from the paper. It was the first time I understood what sculptors mean when they say the wood or clay tells them what is on the inside and they just remove the bits to reveal it. Now I look at it – tens years later, for the most part I am still pleased with what I achieve, although the eyes and mouth need a bit more work 😉
These are drawings I did from a Mark Kistler book I bought when we were in the USA (2000) called ‘Drawing 3-D’. I really like his style and although his books are aimed at children, they are great for learning easy but effective drawing techniques and for building your confidence. Many years ago, in a life far far away … I was a ballerina. I even seriously considered making it a career after my examiner encouraged me too. But eventually I decided that being able to walk when I’m 80 was more important to me. When I was five years old, my parents gave me a birthday card with a beautiful glittery ballerina on it. She was wearing the typical ‘ballerina’ tutu and doing a pirouette in point shoes (that’s ballet speak for spinning around in circles on her tippy toes) I can remember staring intently at that image, totally mesmerized by the it and saying to myself “one day I’m going to be that lady”. Ten years later, I was standing backstage, waiting to to perform my very first solo dance. It was also the first year I had been allowed to wear pointe shoes. As I stood there, I suddenly realised I had become the lady on the card. Well, that’s it guys. Now you have had a peep behind the magic curtain and seen some experiences I’ve had that are part of the foundations to what I’m doing now. I hope you have enjoyed the guided tour 😉 If you haven’t taken part in the #ArtChain challenge, but would like too, then consider yourself nominated 😀 Don’t forget to leave me a link in the comments below so I can see what amazing talents you have, and don’t forget to use the # tag on your posts 🙂 Until next time …
Just one more 😉
This is from the first concert I ever did. We are waiting on stage for the curtain to go up for the very first time. We were all Butterflies, I was a pink one of course … what other colour could I ever be 🙂