Good thing nobody reads this blog, or they’d realize how behind I am.
vlldllr.tumblr.com ended up being far easier for me to do noncommittal updates to. Here, I feel obligated to actually write things and give real news.
Things I wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to:
Year in review: 2011. Until then, there’s this bit that Andy encouraged me to contribute to, thanks for that push. http://toysrevil.blogspot.com/2012/01/11-pixs-for-2011-valleydweller.html
D-con wrapup (see image at the top). Sold a bunch of Ch’Orbs, finished 3 Qeesassins in a Can.
Show updates. Swampy Blamo show, Mummy Mania at Super7, finished piece for Bad Applez online show, finishing up pieces for Dragatomi’s Year of the Dragon that opens this saturday, Earth Movement, and then I’m clear (except for commissions) for awhile.
Store updates (had a good Black Friday, and hit over 500 followers so I had a 50% off sale at valleydweller.bigcartel.com on the 5th of January)
Day with Toy Break. Made ten October Ch’Orbs in a day to help contribute to Toy Break during the podcast-a-thon.
A pair of custom Muttpop Mini Gobi have been completed and added to my webstore to help fuel my trip to Designer Con.
I was thrilled when I found out I’d be participating in Gallery 1988′s upcoming
Old School Video Game show.
Doing something in Vinyl was fairly obvious, since that’s what I’ve been focusing on for the last year. I’d recently come into a bunch of Buff Monster minis that I thought would make cute Pac-Man Ghosts, so I went with that, and made a Pac-Monster to go with them.
With this being Gallery 1988, I wanted to attempt to make a good impression and show some versatility, so I did my first traditional (acrylic) flat painting(s) in over a decade. I’ve done a lot of Illustration, but it’s all been digital, and I hadn’t actually painted a canvas since around ’96. One thing I’d never used really at all before was an airbrush, and it proved invaluable here for helping me push values around.
Earthworm Jim holds a big place in my heart, because he’s what got me back into video games. I hadn’t seen anything like it at the time, and rented a SNES and the cart just to play it. He also got me my first development gig, with The Neverhood, based on some fan art of him at the top of a video game job opening web page I’d created. I wanted to paint him in a sci-fi setting, so I went with Space Invaders, with him taking cover under one of the crumbling shields, as it’s being pelted from above.
My original sketch for the above painting actually had Samus in front, crouched with gun-arm braced for firing the opposite direction Jim was looking. I ended up rolling with just him on it to keep it cleaner, but regretted not having them team up. I’d gone from that to a Star Wars style shot of Jim standing heroically with Samus embracing his leg, like the poster, but that seemed to cliche’ so I flipped it around and had her rescue him. I like the innocence of him really falling for her when he finds out she’s not a dude.
Here’s a quick overview of how I approach creating a display board/diorama.
1: Materials. Have enough. Here I’m making a display for ten infantry models. This foam block seemed like enough volume.
Tools: retractable utility knife, the kind with the break-off blades. I test fit some models on top of the block to see it’s a crowded 4-9 guys. So I know I’ll have to cut it down at least 1/3 to give me area to spread them out for better staging.
2: Chopping the block down and using the slivers to create the tiers around the original block. Dry-fitting and re-cutting frequently to get believable layers. When bulked out well, low-temp hot glued to cardboard. Masonite is preferable, but non-water based glue keeps the board from warping. And I have no shortage of shipping boxes. Hot glue makes good gap filler as well. Additional knife carving and dremeling creates strata and handy non-skid fig placement areas.
3: True 3 is missing. I got no unpainted shot of milticolor matchsticks, Citadel plastic kit bits, slate chips, etc. but you can see the adds from last pic to this. All hot-glued down.
Important Note: Spraypaint melts styrene. So does superglue. Acetone even more. This can be cool, but is usually not desirable. I would normally Gesso a piece at this stage, but impatience and laziness made me do things like spray cheap paint at it from far away and hope for the best, coat some areas with superglue to firm it up, and finally airbrush into all the gutted parts so it wasn’t white in there. Double Note: offgassing spraypaint, Superglue fumes, and atomized acrylics are unhealthy, kids. Ventilation and safety and whatnot.
4: Now that all the important stuff was finalled, I went back and superglued down additional sand for testure. CA instead of PVA for speed and the aforementioned avoidance of cardboard warpage. These areas were then primed with airbrush. Once I had enough confidence that the extremely chip-prone styrene was toughened up enough, the painting and drybrushing began in earnest. I tend to work through a value range with paints I trust, then go back and wash over areas I want to pick out, which you will see in a moment.
5:. In this case, boards and craters got additional love. Very thin paints applied over detail areas to maintain the values established in the drybrush. Then some washes to add definition and weathering / rot.
That’s pretty much it. Normally I’d add static grass and maybe detail out some rocks at this point, but time and difficult locating that batch of supplies were against me. Overall, about an 80% delivery bar. Plenty of things to come back and touch up if desired, but consistent finish that seems intentional achieved.
I hope this has answered more questions than it’s raised.
I was thrilled that someone had seen shots of my custom from this article in Vinyl Pulse
He came to SDCC and asked for it specifically at Squid Kids booth. Thanks so much!
And thanks to Nate for having brought it to the show!
Also, the reason the image on the right is there, is that at the time of the custom show last year, I was working on artwork for a board game that’s due out any day now from Inner Kingdom Games, and painted the custom up as sort of a cross-promotional thing.
If you’re interested in the game, check it out here, shipping in time for Gen Con, it looks like.
Comic Con International (SDCC) has come and gone.
I have to admit, it was really wild to look back at last year, where I showed up and knew almost nobody, to now being surrounded by a tremendous amount of talent, encouragement, and inspiration.
I’m not going to start naming names, because there’s way too many, and I’m going to forget someone, but thanks to everyone for the kind words and welcome. It’s amazing how many just genuinely nice people there are in this scene.
Special thanks to Kuso Vinyl for deeming me worthy of filling a couple signing time slots (and the rest of the crew there), and to Dragatomi for throwing a killer Kareoke party. All the sponsors rock, and I got a really sweet goody bag for being the first person to grab the microphone.
Overall, I had a really great time, and look forward to next year, and to Designer Con this November!
Below you’ll find some additional images of sketches and DIY Doodles done in the Kuso booth on Thursday and Friday. Click Through to look at it higher rez or as individual pics scattered throughout my SDCC 2011 photoset.
On-the-spot sketching at Kuso Vinyl., originally uploaded by valleydweller.
There are a total of 21 hand-made button packs in this edition. Each pack will be signed and numbered on the back of the header card.
Each pack contains 3 carefully shuffled and sorted buttons on a hand painted and cut display board, and are sealed in a bag guarded by a pair of Kuso Customs and a neatly crimped length of wire.
They will be available on Thursday between 4pm and 5:30pm and on Friday between 5pm and 6pm at booth 605 during signings.
The packs retail for $5 and are intended for neato nostalgia factor. Individual buttons will be available to pick and wear from the non-editioned pile for $1 each.
Custom Celsius from last year, and 3 brand new Spiki customs that will be on display at the Kuso Vinyl booth #605 during Comic Con International in San Diego this weekend.
These little guys got their final coat of wash last night and are shot before getting their clearcoat this morning. They’ll be on display in the Kuso Vinyl booth #605 as soon as I get to the show Thurs around noon.
Speaking of which, here’s my signing schedule with Kuso:
I’ll have buttons and art cards for sale, as well as being available to sketch on a DIY Spiki blank (the guys seen above) if you pick one up.