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Monday, 29 October 2012

Lady Venom

Lady Venom
Water color & india ink
November 2009

ARTIST'S COMMENTS:
What better time than a couple days shy of Halloween to post about a monstrous character, no? :)

By far, Lady Venom is my most popular piece, standing at over 30K views over at DeviantArt.  I received several comments that my design inspired others to create their own & there just ISN'T a bigger compliment!!  All this for fulfilling a drawing request!

Also known as "She Venom", "Bride of Venom", "Venom Girl" or "Female Venom" - a suit made up of a living entity is pure fun to draw, so many options!  I am currently trying to revisit the character, but am having trouble doing so - honestly, the success of this piece made me a little unsure of my future pieces!!  Time for a good dose of self confidence - got any to spare...?

DSICLAIMER: While this incarnation of Venom is not based on a particular character, the symbiote & "Venom" are © Marvel Comics/Disney.  Art by yours truly, costume design based on original Venom costume with some fun tweaks - I like the little mouth in the hair :)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

HALLOWEEN 2012: Tombstones Part II

Continuing on with more tombstones!  The following stones are the last batch I'm making for this year.

NOTE: if you haven't perused Part I, then some of the references may be unknown to you.  You've been warned :)

"Obelisk"
4" deep x 47" tall x 9" wide

This was a joy as well as a pain to make - it was the only one I was scared of completely screwing up.  The obelisk base is two pieces of 2" thick styrofoam hot glued together.  I sanded the sides of the obelisk & added a hot glue seam to make the division line less noticeable.  Instead of a wood base, this one has various polished stones glued at the bottom for weight (the bottom-most part is bare styrofoam).  That.Was.TIME CONSUMING.  I also opted to not use moss & went with a vine wire instead.  'Cos, you know, time consuming.  Finishing it off is a spifftacular spider from the dollar store (I think - I don't recognize it, so it may be from a package of spiderwebs).  Paint colors used were black, grey, white & Martha Stewart "Rose Chrome"- all sponge technique.  It's my second favorite of the bunch :)

"Emma Ghost"
 9 1/2" deep x 37" tall x 15" wide

My absolute favorite & it's another one that lights up!  By adding both a mini white strobe light & a mini blue strobe light (set to different flashing speeds, of course), the stone lights up with an almost ethereal glow.  I managed to get away with using three 2" panels (instead of four 1 1/2" like "Ded Gawth") & the strobes *just* fit inside.  The inside of the stone is painted neon purple while the outside is sponge-painted with black, silver & white.  The 2 balls are styrofoam (store bought - NOT carved by me!!  That would be nuts!!) & the skull in the center is from the same dollar store belt as the skull on "C.U. Later".  You BETCHA I got me some bang for THAT buck!  Well, buck and a quarter, anyway.  Plus tax :)

NOTE: the little ghost in the center appears to have a belly button.  That would be the product of me pressing too hard on the compass point to outline the circle :/

"Adam Shame - in progress"
6" deep x 30" tall x 25" wide

The above stone shows more of the development to make the stones, in particular the steps of Measure, Draw, Carve & Paint Details followed by Paint Base Coat & Paint Final Coat.  This pic also shows what the 2" styrofoam looks like unpainted.

"Adam Shame"
6" deep x 30" tall x 25" wide

And here he is in finished form.  After painting in the final detail lines, such as the cracks (mostly carved with the styrofoam cutter/partly painted), I covered it with a base coat of grey followed by a sponge-paint with black, white & gold.  I think.  I'll have to double check this... The outer edge & base were left as the base color with some watered-down grey/black paint gingerly sponged over.

Finishing off "Adam Shame" is a dollar store door knocker, repainted, with the knocker part removed.  I etched an outline of the head with the styrofoam cutter, though this probably was not necessary - a cleaner edge would have been provided with the hot glue alone.  Lesson learned, though!  To give it a bit more character, I added some moss.

"Noah Lyfe"
5 1/2" deep x 28.5" tall x 22" wide

Ugh.

I don't like this one & it's pretty evident as to why.  Remember those steps I mentioned before of "Measure, Draw, Carve, Paint"?  Well, I skipped through the Measure & most of the Drawing steps..and it REALLY shows.  It even started out as rounded on top & mid-way through I opted for a straighter edge.  Or so I thought...  Also, never race the sun to get a project done - if the sun goes down, finish up whatever is left TOMORROW!  Why I didn't follow this advice can only be chalked up to stubborness & impatience.

This thing is so off, it even has a line etched into it that I had to (badly) fill in with hot glue & paint over it.  ALWAYS MEASURE & DRAW!!

Anyway: This is the 2" styrofoam again, sponge-painted with white, black & silver on the inside (the cherubs are ornamental hangers with the hanger part removed).  The outside is the basic grey base coat with nothing added.  What can I say: I wanted the project DONE and paid the price with a lack-lustre piece.  Even the funky little lenticular sticker couldn't save this one.  Again, a valuable lesson was learned that while it is hard to screw up a Halloween styrofoam tombstone, it can still be f*cked right up with minimal effort :)

UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention that there are wood pieces attatched to/embedded into the backs of most of the tombstones using either hot glue or silicone (I used the styrofoam cutter & my fingers to rip out enough material to place pieces of wood level with the back side).  This is for both stability & weight.  And one final tip: sanding the edges of the styrofoam makes for a more "weathered" look than crisp, sharp corners.  Totally worth the extra elbow grease.

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And those are my tombstones for 2012!  I had a lot of fun making them - well, until towards the end where I was a tad impatient with the project.  But I have not been dismayed!  Next year, I shall have fun experimenting with a dremmel & will hopefully create more elaborate pieces - and they WILL be weather proof :)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

HALLOWEEN 2012: Tombstones Part I

It's that time again!  The holiest of holy days will be here in 18 or so sleeps and I've been hard at work making styrofoam tombstones for dear sweet RhondaJeremy's cemetery display.  So, having not managed to get any art or dolls done in the last couple of months, I figured I would share pics of the stones :)

PLEASE NOTE: All measurements shown are from the base, so the width/depth is actually the base size, not the styrofoam stone size.  Also, all bases are solid wood or particle board, not styrofoam.

"R I P"
6" deep x 11" tall x 21" wide

This is the very first tombstone I've ever made, and to be honest, it's a cheat: it's mainly computer packaging cut down with a styrofoam cutter.  Painted with acrylics (speckle & sponge techniques) so it's not weather proofed.  None of them are, sadly - here's hoping it doesn't rain on Halloween :/

"Renata Time"
8" deep x 12" tall x 22" wide
Another computer packaging piece; this one was more intact & had a neat little ledge right in the middle.  It has a 2-board base compared to "R I P" which only has one.  This one was sponged with black & gold on the outside while the inside was sponged with black, gold & white.
 "C. U. Later"
5" deep x 17 1/2" tall x 19" wide

This is the boyfriend's personal fave & I think it's solely based on the gruesome blood-dripping eyes in place of periods.  This stone is a bit crooked, but overall a nice effect.  The outer edge was sponge painted with black & silver, while the center was done with silver, black & white.  The skull is from a dollar store belt, which had a total of 2 small skulls & 1 large one - pretty decent detail value for $1.25.  The eyes are also from the dollar store - they're those super bouncy rubber balls with acrylic neon & black paint added.

As for the styrofoam itself?  No idea what exactly it is.  I know it came in a 4' x 8' x 2" thick sheet that had to be broken to fit in the car.  It is white with black chunks in it as compared to the pink or blue sheets everyone else seems to talk about (well, from what I've gleaned from Halloween forums, anyway...)  But the boyfriend got it for free from work!  So BONUS!! (UPDATE: See Part II for a picture of the unpainted styrofoam)

 "Ded Gawth"
8" deep x 29" tall x 16" wide

This stone is four pieces of 1 1/2" thick pieces of styrofoam, consisting of two full panels & two edge pieces.  This styrofoam came in a package from Home Depot & is much, much smoother than the stuff I used on "C.U. Later".  There is a hole carved at the bottom at the back large enough for a battery-operated mini strobe light (the kind Walmart & Spirit sell) - to cover the hole, I will be using a piece of felt cloth thumbtacked to the back.  The center is painted a neon/bright blue to really enhance the light.  It's also on this piece that I discovered acrylic paint does NOT stick to the silicone I was using.  Good thing none of those bits can be seen, as they are all on the inside!  Gotta learn to read the tube.  Additionally, the outer edges where the styrofoam sheets meet had to be filled in with hot glue as the seams were visible once the inner light was turned on.  At least THAT adhesive can be painted!  Speaking of paint, this one was sponged with grey & white over a base coat of grey.

Inspiration for "Ded Gawth"'s construction can be found here, though they went with plug-in lights (check out the rest of their site for photos of their amazing Halloween displays!):


These were really time consuming.  I would highly advise getting a good dremmel if you're planning on making your own stones because you need a really steady hand & a LOT of patience when using a styrofoam cutter - a tool one must always use whilst upwind from the project (inhaling melted styrofoam fumes probably kills brain cells or something...)  I do highly recommend the cutter, though, as it made for much greater ease in making the tombstones!

PLUG: Styrocutter Plus by FloraCraft.  Worth every penny.

Stay tuned for the final four stones!