Saturday, August 27, 2011

Moah Heads to Play With

Look what i got in the mail! Three Aod Zi Yuan heads. I got them off ebay with the intention of re-doing the faceups. She's a really pretty sculpt but her eyes are bigger than i usually like them. They came with ok pencil faceups but I'll make her stunning. I might mod one to have dreaming eyes. Two are in normal skin and one is white skin.

In other news, the hurricane is preventing any faceups work but I will be reorganizing my work space. I just received some golden fluid acrylic today even with the hurricane and I'mexcited to try them out. Currently I'm blogging from my phone since I live in the basement and had to move my computer and my camera upstairs to my neighbors in case there is a flood.

Going to use all this down time to catch up with you guys. Thanks so much with sticking with me. I promise some more eyecandy soon.

The three new heads with their not so great faceups. Passable but not so pretty in real life.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm still here!

Hi guys. Sorry for being MIA. I have been so busy at work. We work weekends as well to make the deadlines. I wish I could show you guys some pictures of the sculpting/painting I've been doing to make puppets for a short. There is a non-disclosure agreement though so I can only post photos after the short has been released to the public.

I will use this coming hurricane to resume posting. Oh..and yes we did feel the earthquake. The walls shook. Everyone freaked out and we evacuated the building. Every is ok and it was a very small tremor compared to what they felt in Virginia. Still scary but not very dangerous.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Commission #4 - Selene

I was a bit surprised when I got this head since the hair was molded into the resin and the whole thing was just a deathly white. I should have asked the commissioner if it was a tinted resin or not and if the hair was molded in since it is a lot more work to paint in the skin color and the hair. The head was unprepped (ie. had dirt smudge on it's nose). However, since I had already accepted the commission I just considered it a learning experience.

The steps required included
1. Scrubbing the head with a mild detergent. (If you check the BJD commissions page, there is an additional fee but since I did not expect a 1/6 resin head this was not included on the 1/6 commission page...until now.)
2. Priming with a white primer using airbrush. The type of paint is different that what I normally use and is a lot more sturdy and will withstand more rough handling since it is a base coat.
3. Base skin tone and a little shading using airbrush. Again I used an alcohol based acrylic which will withstand more handling than liquitex would.
4. Hand painted the hair using alcohol based acrylic. Several coats required and a little bit of shading done though it doesn't show super well since the colors were very dark.
5. Finally painting the face and adding a little more depth with pastels. was a ton of work.

Something I discovered while painting her is that because of the way the hair is molded on the right side of her face, it was very difficult to paint her lashes because the hair mold was blocking my brush. This is the reason why a lot of garage kits have the hair as a separate piece so that it is easier to paint. In terms of likeness, the sculpt has fuller lips and a longer face as well as smaller eyes. I find that overall, action figure female faces tend to lean toward a more masculine look and this one is no exception.

Here are a few pictures of Selene for reference.

I had a decision to make whether to make her deathly pale or a more normal skintone. Considering that the blue images were lit and color corrected to make Kate seem paler than she really is I decided to go with a more normal skintone since it is easier to color correct a photo to make the head look pale than to color correct a pale head to make it look more lifelike.
Here are the results:
As you can see the likeness is not bad but her eye are definitely sculpted smaller. I painted her eyeliner on her lower lid a little way from the edge leaving the pink edge of the inner lid showing to help make her eyes look a bit larger.

There was not much to do about the lower face being longer but the likness is still there so it was ok. The lower lip is a fuller shape then the really are and since it was sculpted in it would look odd if I tried to paint it the shape of Kate's so I just let it be. (The philtrum, the groove above the lip is also supposed to be wider in real life but yeah I'm just being nitpicky lol.) I took a gamble with the lip color since the color is different in every reference image. Selene normally has very dry looking lips so I gave her dark lip creases as well as areas of pale dry light lip color. (note the two specks at the top of the lip are not really there.)

I think she came out nicely in the end. Would I paint more casted resin heads? Yeap. I really enjoy painting different sculpts and her eyes were sculpted beautifully so I was happy to paint them. Even though it seems like I am complaining that the likeness isn't perfect, I am not. I am simply stating a fact and I think she looks quite like Kate. Her teeth and lips were really fun to paint as well. Her lower teeth were not moulded in but her upper teeth were.

She has not been approved yet and I am wondering if he wants more distinct painted highlights in her hair. I tend to leave stuff like that to the sculpt but everyone has different preferences so we'll see what he says. I think for me the most stressful thing about faceups is that I'm not sure if the owner will be happy. It is different when I am only painting for myself but even then I'm not always happy with my own work lol.

(NOTE: lol...doing commissions has had me rewrite the commissions info several times. This is not the first time and it is not the last. I received another commission with a surprise in the box that has brought up another redraft of my commissions page. This is just part of the process. I'm still very new to this so one day I think I will have most of my bases covered except for the really obscure things that crop up.)

EDIT: So yes she has been approved! I will be sending her off soon and my fellow sculptor/painter friend looked at the head and pretty much repeated what I said about why it doesn't look like Kate. Sometimes I think I'm too nitpicky so it's good to hear that other ppl think the same thing. To be honest though, it's rare to see a 1/6 head with extreme likenesses except for those from Hot Toys. They do some amaaaaazing work and the paint job is great too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More Adelias

Augh....I hated posting from the phone. It took forever and a day just for such a short post. Anyway, I can't leave you guys without some eyecandy.

Hyony mentioned that the eyes in Adelias look dead. It's my fault for not having a proper photo setup. I don't have good lights and I didn't have the time to take outdoor photos this weekend. On the other hand I did take photos of Adelias with his wig on. It doesn't help the dead look of the eyes since the lighting is still blegh but we can see his character more.

Smarty phone

Just got my first smartphone so this is my first phone post from my Samsung Captivate. Im not sure how this will affect my blogging, but I should really be doing some faceups...

Oh! I wanted to start a new weekly post about something that made me smile.during the week. I figure it would be something that might as others stay positive. So let's start with last week.

Although this may seem obvious if this were you, it still made me smile to see someone with an extra toe having painted all her toenails hot pink. Of course she would but it's still cute.

The other thing I saw last week was a wee surprise in a brown box kept in the window pf a wholesale Chinese food supply store. A little baby sparrow was hopping around inside a cardboard box labeled 'BIRDEY INSIDE, PLEASE GENTLE '. It was well provided with a little straw nest and someone had cleverly fashioned a little room for it to hide in. Seems like they probably found it fallen out of it's nest. Now if I had this phone when I saw it, you guys would be treated to a photo. Maybe next time then.

After writing this out I realize this is way too slow so I probably won't be doing much phone blogging.

Stay tuned for a series of posts about materials I use.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Commission #3 - Adelias (Peachy)

Adelias (Peachy)

I have in my hands a beautiful CP El. This is such a beautiful sculpt and I'm glad to be able to give him a faceup. As you can see there is a bit of paint left in the corners of the eyes so I need to clean him up a bit too before I start. The mouth has been modded a bit and the sanding is still apparent so I might use a very high grit sandpaper to wet sand it smoother once I get permission from the owner.

The request is for a grey/black shadowed look with very thin black upper eye line just for definition. The rest of the face is kept rather natural but the expression should be pleasantly pleased. He is normally shy and quite intellectual. He came along with a black wig and dark grey eyes.

8/4/2011- Adelias is a previously modded head and after cleaning. (I cleaned him 3x O_o. Seems like he wasnt sealed completely before painting.), I noticed some discoloration and scratches. I would have sanded down some of the scratches but decided against it in the end since it would have changed his expression and we would have lost some nice sculpt detail. Working on this head as well as some others have made me realize some points I need to make in my commissions page.

Here are the pics of the discoloration and the scratches. These will affect the end result and as such, a lot of faceup artists prefer not to work on heads they haven't modded themselves. The reason is because a bad result reflects badly on the faceup artist.

The request was for peachy toned blush with neutral shading and eyes reminiscent of Tim Burton's Vincent who is pale with very dark circles around his eyes. I went for a dark eye look but I did not shade all the way up to the eybrows as Vincent's eyes are. I tried to emphasize Adelias' smirk and give him a softer look since Peachy did not want him to look too pensive/worried as he did with his previous faceup. Here is the result. As you can see, the mod discoloration still shows up a little but not too badly and the scratches are only visible up close.

He has a black wig, but she requested dark brown eyebrows as well as dark brown lashes. The lashes are a very cool brown so they look a bit more on the grey side than brown. In the end I think that works better with the dark eye look. He is pending approval. I will take some photos with the wig after approval to show what the character looks like. These photos may be a bit dark. I can't tell on my monitor but I will check it tomorrow and correct it.