martedì 30 aprile 2013

Painting panda eyes: a short tutorial

I have been asked to explain how I shade my creations. I took some pictures while doing the eye patches on my latest creation, a little panda bear.
I mostly use two mediums when I paint/shade my creations: pastels and oils.

Pastels & Oils
I have learned the techniques thanks to the generous sharing of some bear artists' experience. Then again, I have learned what works best for me, through trial and error.
This is what I do.
Step 1
With a very thin brush (number 0) I trace the eye contour. Here I use liquid fabric paint. I like to leave a little eye white. I try to be very careful and make symmetrical contours, so that the eye whites are the same in both eyes.

Step 2
I place pins around the ideal contour of my black patches. This will be very helpful as I want the two patches to be symmetrical, and to have a precise shape.

Step 3
I grind some black pastel.
I found out that the best method to obtain pastel powder is to use a very stiff brush and scratch the pastel sides with it from top to bottom. I did my own stiff brush taking a flat stiff brush and cutting its hair almost to the metal end. It works just fine.

Step 4
I prefer to use the pastel powder to paint the eye area that has been made with needle felting. The powder penetrates better into the wool crevices. So I start taking very small amounts of powder with the tip of my smallest brush, and gently apply it to the needle felted area, starting from the outer side of the black eye contour towards the furry areas.

Step 5
Now it is time to use the oils. I use a slightly thicker and stiff brush. I take a very tiny amount of oil paint with the tip of my brush, wipe it several times on a piece of toilet paper. When the brush leaves a very faint trace on the paper, it is ready to do the fur shading.
Before going on the outer edges of my patches, I paint with the oils over the inner area that I have already done with pastels. This is because I want an even patch, and pastels are a different texture from oils. I need them to go deep in the needle felting, but the outer surface will be oil shaded as well.
I shade the patches starting from the eye rim towards the outer edge of my patch, following the fur direction.

Step 6
I remove the pins, and do the final touches. Here I need to see if the symmetry is fine.

And these are pictures of my extreme makeover....before, and after!

...and after!

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domenica 14 aprile 2013

ASH, baby raccoon

His name is ASH. Now that he has a starry felt blanket and a name, he is ready to travel the world!
I really had fun posing him!
More pictures.
What's there in the box?

...a starry felt blanket!
....inspecting it...'s comfortable to sit on... stand on... lie on...

...isn't it cool to own such a blanket?
He loves it!
...he really, really loves it!!!!

Ash has been adopted, thank you!

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venerdì 12 aprile 2013

Sweet baby raccoon is born today!

I have finished my little baby raccoon today. He is such a sweet fellow, I had some fun holding and cuddling him....

I will be sewing a felt blanket for him. I think he will be available for adoption after the Week-end!
I haven't decided on a name yet....

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Raccoon head - WIP

I have taken photos of my work in progress on the baby raccoon face

Side view
Front view
First of all I have put position eyes on the head. It is not a definitive position, but it is very helpful to define the rest of the face.

Then,  I have marked with pins the area that needs to be shaved to leave place for the needle felting.

I cut the fur from that area.

I start doing the needle felting.
A partially needle felted muzzle
Still with a felt position nose
The next step is to draw and sew his ears. I tend to do it at this stage as I have noticed that I need to have a partially done face to draw the ears.

Now that he has ears, I sew them on and place his real eyes.

 I needle felt around his eyes to give him eye sockets.

 He now needs a real nose. Before that, I have also embroidered his mouth, following the needle felted indentation. To see how I do my polymer clay noses, see my tutorials here:
now he has a 'real' polymer clay nose!
It is now time for the real fun....his make up! without it, he wouldn't be a raccoon at all!

I might have to give some final touches, but he is really quite was fun!

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