Friday, August 31, 2012

Coming Soon!


Well, the beasties are coming along!  I've been scritch-scratching away, and digging out my tiniest paint brushes; now they are nearly ready for glaze and one more trip (hopefully) into the fire!  Just a little more left to do on each of them (Alphonse is the furthest along), but I thought y'all would like to see their progress!

Tootise & Poppy mainly need some hoof-work, and a little mane/tail stuff:

Alphonse basically needs nose-pink! 

A close up of his detail- there's that eye from last week!

These pretties will be up at their respective auctions sometime next week (Tootise & Pop will be sold as a set).   I'll also be including a bisque Jellibaby in the mix. There will be no reserve on any of them- you set the prices, and shipping will be included!  I will make the announcement first to the Brightly Hude Yahoo group, then on to FB and the like.  So stay tuned for shiny fun!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Blue Eyes Revisited

My trusty palette that I've been using since 2001… it's a popsicle holder!

You may remember a last year on this blog I did a post which mentioned my technique for painting blue eyes.  I thought I'd revisit that now and go a little deeper, seeing as I'm painting a horse with two!  I've been working to make my blue eyes even better over the years, and I'm pushing that a little more with Mr. Alphonse (who still needs a bit of scritching touch-up).  Hopefully it will all work out!  I took pictures so you could see, step-by-step, one of his little eyeballs becoming blue.  I'll be sure to show a close up of him when he's all fired so you can see how he turned out….

Step #1
The first step is always starting with a blank canvas.  I tend to do this before his paint is fired on, because it makes scraping it off so much easier!  I make sure that the area where I want eye white is truly scraped well- I can leave a little gray around the edges of the rest, as I will be painting gray next.

Step #2
I outline the shape of the eyeball with dark gray, as blue-eyed horses often have a gray outline (the shade varies) to their eyes.  It is handy to have lots of reference photos available, so you can check your work against reality.  I do like using a darker shade of gray, for contrast. 

Step #3

The gray 'circle' gets filled in with my blue/gray/white underglaze mix.  I do overlap the dark gray a bit, for blending purposes.  I tend to do 3 thin coats (or 2, if I got the paint a little thick).  The trick is to get solid coverage without getting it too thick.  I once had some blue just pop off an eye in the glaze fire because I went too crazy with layers!

Step #4
Blue eyed horses will often have darker blue and/or gray striations through their eyes.  I use a pure (baby) blue for a few stripes in the middle, to bring this out.  Here you can kind of see them drying (they dry rather quickly, so remember where you put them!). 

Step #5
Back to dark gray!  Traditionally, I've just done an outline of the pupil in a darker gray, before adding the black pupil on top.  After re-examining my reference photos, I've decided to push the gray out a bit more, and add some striations using a thin, thin brush.  Don't worry if a line gets a little too thick- you can use an x-acto to clean it up a bit, if you use a *very* light touch!

Step #6
I cleaned up my thin lines a bit, and added more gray to the middle of the pupil area.

Step #7
Add the pupil!  Do look at photos to make sure you've got it lined up right.  This will only take one coat of black, as black is quite opaque.  Yay- you're done!

Okay- hope this was a help to any of you artists who aren't too familiar with blue eyes in ceramic, or that it was interesting enough to those who are just plain curious!  Like I said, I will let you know how the extra little lines work out- if you can see them, or if they just fade into the eye after it fires.  I'm hoping I made them dark enough to stay- we'll see!

Stay tuned for more detail-oriented painting posts as I finish up the claybodies!


Friday, August 17, 2012

People who Draw People

People who can draw people are the luckiest people in the world!  (Lame reference- I know!) At least they are to me, as I've always struggled with drawing figures.  Now that I've been tasked with a project that requires me to draw people- lots of people- I am regretting not spending more time doodling in my youth!  Not that I can't improve my drawing skills now- I can, but I do wish I'd started sooner.  I always admired my classmates who could sit and draw between (sometimes during) lessons.  I rarely attempted it- it drew too much curiosity from those around me, and I was too shy to let folks look at my attempts at the horses, medieval princesses, and the gargoyles I would be drawing- like I would occasionally draw at home (I was a rather romantic, day-dreamy child).  Although, somehow bringing a horse sculpture to work on before class wouldn't bother me- go figure!  I guess I've always been a little more at home with 3-D.

Before I prattle on too much more, I'll mention again that the project I'm talking about here is my animated short.  It is set in Ireland and involves a boy and a girl and a tremendous event, but that's all I'll say about it just now.  I'm happy to say the script is nearly finished- the rough draft, that is!  I need to run it by several people for review.  I'd like to have my characters designed and a few sample scenes drawn before I hand it over to my critiquers.

Anyhow, my latest attempt at improving my 'people skills' was a figure drawing class that ended last May (I mentioned it once before, here in this blog post).  Happily that did challenge me and teach me a few new things and tricks- though one of the important lessons I learned was that I needed to draw every day, and sadly, I've lost that habit!  I can see my regression in the images below, but I am determined to push on.  I know I can only devote so much time to each of the projects I'm balancing right now, but hopefully as I get better at my schedule, I can devote more time to each of them overall. 

Recently, I've been working on designing one of my main characters, a 20-something girl named Colleen.  She's rather quiet and reserved Irish gal who has bright green eyes & brunette hair.  I want the style of my animated piece to have sketchier lines- sort of like a darkened pencil test.  I've always loved to see clips of pencil tests of animated features- I think it would be grand to have a whole piece that evoked that same feeling!  Anyhow, here's one of my first real test drawings of Colleen.  I'll admit I cut off the legs because they just weren't coming out right!

I've been playing around with different hair styles.  I am leaning toward #1, as it is kind of what I originally pictured, but the versions with curls are fun- what do you think? (Ah, photoshop- how you are a help!).

And just to prove that I really can draw could draw people well, here are some sketches from my figure drawing class.  Of course, I have always done better drawing from life, so I suppose I ought not weight that too heavily!  In any event, the class was a helpful stepping stone toward getting this project done.  I hope to eventually bring more people (i.e.. real animators) into it, but if I end up having to complete it myself over 30 years, I will.  It's sort of like it was with the 'Blues Brothers,'  I'm on a mission from God. :)

Now back to masking horses!  :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Horses of Different Colors

Soo…. color poll time!

I've given my claybodies names now (I don't usually name individual castings, but I allow myself that with claybodies!  Of course, their new owners can always change them).  What colors would you like to see these cuties painted?  I've put down a few choices that I'd been pondering… vote for what you'd like to see!  The poll should be to the right of the screen...  Scratch that.  Looks like Blogger won't cooperate!  The poll widget just isn't working.  I'll have y'all vote on either commenting on my FaceBook page (look for the "Vote Here" post), or by leaving a comment here on this blog.  One vote per horse/set, please- just tell me you like A & D, for example!  Poll closes Monday August 13th at 11:59 p.m. PST.

A. Black few spot appaloosa/ pintaloosa (Poppy)

B. Silver dapple tobiano (both)

C. Bay roan tobiano (both) (with a blue eye on Poppy)

D. Bay sabino torvero (with one blue eye)

E. Black leopard appaloosa

F. Buckskin sabino tovero (with two blue eyes)

Once again, the polls will close Monday at 11:59 p.m. PST, so post your comment soon & vote!  I'll get to painting right after that. :)



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to Clay

Hi there!

Busy as I've been setting up my new Etsy shop & new blog, and the myriad of other artistic endeavors I'm working on, life took some turns in unexpected directions and a plethora of vet and medical bills has piled/is piling up (two sick pets and a sick hubby will do that!).  Everybody is doing well now, but I wanted to do my part to help out, and since my new shop is still a couple of weeks away from being ready to open, I figured now was a good time to take a bit of a pause there, and play in the mud!

I've decided to do some claybodies, since they are a refreshing way to look at one's previous work anew.  I've got three going- one Jellibaby, one Toot Sweet (to be sold as a set), and one Callahan.  I didn't do any major changes- I mostly played with their manes/tails and ears, but they'll definitely be different and "one of a kind" so that's fun.  Here's the mini set:

They are still drying a bit!

Cally got a change of ear-direction and some mane/tail restyling including lots of cut-outs!  I think there are seven:

Cally close-up!  He still needs some more cleaning!

I am not sure what colors to paint them- I may take a poll!  If they all turn out well, I think I will stick them up on My Auction barn (without a reserve) for ease of selling.  It will either be that, or first come, first serve.  I am working on a bisque (regular) Jelli that will be offered too, when she's done.  I don't think I've sold any bisques (or at least, not in a long while!), so this should be a fun opportunity for some artist!

I will post more pictures as they come along!