Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feb. 2014: COSCBWI Illustrator Meeting

February marked the return of COSCBWI's wonderful monthly Illustrator Meetings!  COSCBWI's new Illustrator Coordinator, Stella Hickman, braved the polar weather to lead the group in a presentation on character models.

Character models are important to illustrators for many reasons.  As Stella explained, utilizing a 3-dimensional model of your character is the best way for an artist to know their subject from every angle.  By flipping the model, turning it this way and that, and placing it any way you can imagine, an artist can have a wonderful reference for creating consistent drawings of their character.  In addition, sculpting the model itself gives the artist an in-depth study on how the character fits together, and makes them focus on all the details--from how fluffy a cat's tail might be, to how tiny a baby brother's hands should look.

Stella demonstrated how to build a character model right at home.  Not many materials are needed; just some Sculpy or Super Sculpy white polymer clay, jewelry wire (she used 18 gauge), aluminum foil, and masking or duct tape.

First, Stella made a wire armature to create the frame of her figure.  Then, she took aluminum foil and filled our her armature.  (You can squish the foil to make it more pliable.)  She continued layering the foil to build up her character's shape, and added tape to reinforce it.  Once the foil sculpture was complete, she added a thin layer of Sculpy to it, covering all the bits of foil and tape.  Stella didn't have time to finish this part, because it can take a while depending on how detailed you want your sculpture to be.  She explained that you can add any details you want--like fur, hair, eyes, and fingers--or leave it simple.  You just have to make sure your foil and tape base is 100% covered up with Sculpy! 

Once you are done molding your figure, it's time to bake it.  Stella recommended heating an oven to 300 degrees, and turning it off as soon as you put your figure inside.  The figure will bake as the oven cools down, and you won't have to worry about it burning.  Once the oven is back to room temperature, voila!  You'll have your very own character model to use for all your illustrating needs!

As a group assignment, Stella asked members to try creating a model of their own character using this technique.  She'd like everyone to bring their finished figures to the next Illustrator Meeting, but she's also going to do another short demonstration for anyone who missed out the first time.  (So don't worry if you couldn't make the February meeting--or if you try to make a figure and it doesn't go so well!)  The next Illustrator Meeting will be Wednesday, March 12, so head on over to your local craft store and grab some sculpting gear!

I hope to see you at the next Illustrator Meeting!       

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Angels

My goodness--this has been one crazy, super-snowy winter!  At least all this snow has been inspiring for winter illustrations!

This is just a little piece I worked on throughout January.  The raccoon and bunny are having a grand time "poking" fun at their friend.  The hedgehog is not amused...

I hope everyone is having a fantastic winter full of frosty fun!  And remember: if you go outside to make snow angels with your favorite neighborhood critters, don't tease the hedgehog.  He will get very grumpy with you.  ;)