Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My little Pony


Recently I have been watching the back episodes of Toy break, as I have only been tuned in for the last 6ish months I wanted to do a bit of catch up on what’s been going on…

So I was watching Episode 54 and Ayleen talked about DIY My Little Pony’s by Hasbro…  I got excited so I clicked on over to see if they are still available and low and be hold prase the lord they are…. So here the link

These Pony’s are cheap too just $4.99 and are exactly the same as your standard My Little pony, and don’t worry lads if you really want one and think they are too girly, just butch em up with some guns or something. A cool addition to anyone’s Empire don’t you think

I think I’ll be grabbing some to use for some of my own customizing practice…

If you really like them and are short on customizing ideas, which I’m sure your not, but just in case pop on over to Mari Kasurinen deviant ART page for some inspiration and just to see some awesome custom pony’s like these guys below...


Thanks Ayleen and George for the heads up on these cool customizable figures.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TOY PUNK STORY- NSFW

What can I say I love Youtube! It is a great sourse of Entertainment and amusement  as wall as informative; this Video is the former of those things.  Viewers beware this video is NSFW and may Offend some sensitive viewers... but its funny as hell!

Have a kick ass awesome day people and.........Enjoy!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mighty Muggs

Mighty Muggs are another blank or platform toy available on the market from the guys at Hasbro.

These guys have been available for some time now both as painted figures and as blanks. While Im not a big fan of this particular figure because I think its a little expensive at
$9.99 for what you get, I wanted to put it up here all the same.  The blank customizable Mighty Muggs are available in black and white colour ways as shown in the  pictures. As I have never actually had one of these guys in my paws I dont know what size they are, but i'll find out and update that info soon.

These guys are available online at...



Friday, November 12, 2010

TOYPUNKS VOL. 2, Goto-San tease

This is the second ToyPunks video teaser... this is old, but Toy Punks have reciently restocked there DVD's... if your into it you can get them here...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to make simple Weathering Washes by Lester Bursley

Great little video on creating weathering washes.... this is not on vinyl toys but the process and techniques are the same...

If you give this a go as I will at some point flick me a message and share you results, and we can post it here…

Sunday, November 7, 2010


This weekend was a special weekend here in Tokyo for any and all who might be arty types or friends there of because this weekend was Design Festa weekend.... and it was Totally Awesome!!!!

However as it is 11pm here and I spent the whole day today padding around the masive Tokyo Bigsite talking to funky arty people and taking photos like a crazy tourist, after staying up half the night with the Toy Break crew on there 24 hour telethon thingy (which I also need to give you a run down on)........I’m shagged (the tired kind, if you’re Australian and reading that word differently). So I will be back later this week with more info for your pretty eyes to gobble up as well as photos and a heap of cool websites of amazing Japanese artists, a rad comic illustrator and some wicked toy designers… Yay!!!


So stay tuned folks...


Have a great start to the week... go kick some ass and enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Toypunks Vol. I Teaser

Monster Kolor presents IN LIVING KOLOR

Last weekend I was very pleased to go to the In Living Kolor show and I found this video interview with the Design Festa people, Matt Walker and Mark Nagata... stay tuned for my coverage on it coming later this week...

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Acrylic Paints friend or foe

Acrylic paints, at this point in time, it seems, are the most popular paints to use for customizing toys, how ever in reading forums and so on I have noticed that many people have trouble with them.  So I thought I’d look into why that is and also give a brief run down of the pros and con of this ever popular but tricky customizing medium.

Firstly let’s look at what acrylic paints are… as I’m sure you already know acrylic paint is a water based painting medium. What many people don’t know is that acrylic paints come in a range of consistencies, the most commonly used  is the same consistency and texture as oil based paint, acrylics also come in a range of densities from an ink-like consistency, thin enough to be used in airbrushes through various degrees of 'flow' up to the consistency of soft cream cheese.

These days there is also a whole bunch of cool additives that you can buy that extend the usability of acrylics, allowing artists to create many kinds of different effects and textures. I won’t go into them in this article but I will endeavor to pull something together for you guys sometime in the near future.


The fact that acrylics come in such a wide range gives artists an uncountable amount of techniques, uses and styles of painting to choose from. To get into this a little deeper lets look into the pros and cons of acrylic paints and you can decide for yourself if it’s your friend or foe.


First up let’s have a look see at the things that make acrylic paint such a great painting medium.

  • Watery goodness- As mentioned above acrylic paints are water based, this means that they are easily diluted with water negating the need for special thinners. This also means clean up of tools and brushes can be done easily with water and a little soap. It will also wash off clothes, carpets and other surfaces when wet using soap and water.
  • Versatile- wasn’t sure whether to put this in the pros area…because it’s not something I recommend, probably because I have destroyed far more brushes this way than I care to think about… However you can use the bristle brushes you may already have for oil painting with acrylic paints. That said I highly recommend using specific nylon acrylic paint brushes.
  • Super Fast-Acrylic paint dries super fast… often in as short a time as a few minutes, where as oil paints can take hours, days, weeks or even months. The speed at which acrylic paint dries means you can get a lot of customizing done in a very short time, which if your anything like me and have zero to no patients for waiting  around is an exceptionally good thing. As soon as your paint is dry you can add additional layers without affecting the any of the previous layers you have completed.
  • Accessories- Who doesn’t love an accessory… some times buying theses accessories and additives is more fun than buying paint. There are many product additives you can add that will change the texture, and curing qualities of the paint. One of my favorites is a product that makes your paint flow a bit like honey… but I will go into those fun things in another article.
  • Face value- What you see is what you get, when working and mixing colours while wet, the paint colour you see is the colour you will get when the paint has dried on your work. However this varies depending on the brand and quality of the paint you use.
  • Stickyness- Acrylic paint shares some of the same qualities of PVA glue and so it will stick to just about anything…  This is good news for the likes of you and me because as customizers we like to paint on all manner of surfaces. Wood, fabric, vinyl (YAY!), clays and puttys etc, no problem. Also on this note you can add acrylic paint to your PVA glue or vice versa for all number of uses.  You can also add things to your paint or the wet painted surface, like sand or glitter of whatever else you might think of and it will stick like poo to ya shoe.
  • Non Stinky- as acrylics are not solvent based there is no solventy-stinkyness, unlike with oils and turpentine.
  • Safe- once again because there is no solvent, acrylic paints are generally non-toxic and safe to use with your beloved pets around or your kids if you have them.  However I wouldn’t recommend eating it or painting your dog and as for painting your kids, well there your kids so that’s up to you.
  • Rock Hard- once dry acrylic paint is hard and tough.
  • Helpful-Thinned acrylic paint makes an excellent under painting if you're using oils  if you want to use oil paints on your vinyl for example you can use a thinned down acrylic for an undercoat and know that it will stick to the toy.

Now that we have built our beloved Acrylic paint up to seem like the best paint ever to walk the earth,  lets knock it down a notch by looking at some of the things that make this super paint a difficult son of a bitch. 10 points go to any one that can point out the irony that is hidden in the following list of cons.


  • Watery goodness- You have to keep all your brushes wet as you are painting. If for what ever reason your brushes should dry out with acrylic paint on the bristles, you’ll end up with hard pointy sticks more suitable to killing vampires than for painting…as mentioned in my article about acrylic paint brushes and vampires. This applies equally to tools, equipment and anything else you might get acrylic paint on, once dry it’s very hard to get off.
  • Versatile- While as mentioned above acrylic paint can be used with both natural and synthetic bristles, depending on you the artist's preference. However acrylics, being alkaline in nature, can be very can be hard and abrasive on natural hair brushes very quickly destroying them this is especially true with finer hair brushes and also some fine nylon water paint brushes.
  • Super Fast-  This is often the most difficult challenge to deal with when using arylics. Drying so quickly makes it difficult to subtly blend paints and also keep tools clean. It is also difficult to keep mixed colours or paints in general for long periods of time if you can not finish your customizing in one sitting.
  • Stickiness- Acrylic paint shares some of the same qualities of PVA glue and so it will stick to just about anything, no problem!  This is bad news for the likes of me and you because it will stick to all number of materials clothing, shoes, furniture or whatever else you might think of… I promise, It will stick like poo to ya shoe… Boo:(

  • Rock Hard- If acrylic paint gets inside the ferrule of your paint brush and dries the paint makes the bristles spread and ruins the shape of the brush and it's impossible to get out without damaging the brush further.  The brush is effectively ruined unless you intend on doing a lot of scumbling or dry brushing effects on your customs. Note:(this can be useful so don’t throw it out, if you need to release your rage by slamming it in the bin do so but then go back and sheepishly fish it out... while this seems like a sad time, this brush just might end up being your best friend down the road), Another problem here is if you leave the tops off your tubes of acrylic paint, it will go rock hard in no time… and unlike the brushes I don’t think you can even turn them into effective weapons for defense against the creatures of the night… If this happens all you can do is toss them away… sadness then ensues. The fast drying time ca also cause havoc with the lids of your paints clogging up the thread on paint tubes with screw tops… avoid getting screwed keep the threads and caps clean.  This is really important because if the lids don’t go back on  the paint dries out and  you end up with hard tubes… you don’t want hard tubes.


So thats a basic lowdown on acrylics, I hope it has helped some in your decision whether Acrylic paint is your friend or mortal enemy.  Im sure I have probably missed a tone of points but if I go on and on you  would leave and I would be sad… so if there is something outrageously obvious missing from this post or you have come up with a good weapon solution for hard tubes of paint please flick me an email and let me know… I will add it in, or don’t that’s up to you!

Enjoy, and happy customizing people!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

E47 Art

E47 ART



There is nothing better to me than to be poking around on the internet and stumbling upon something mind blowingly cool, and that’s exactly what happened to me tonight. I stumbled across this blog, saw these really cool toys and straight away I wanted to blog about them. I started clicking and reading, I was looking for who the toys were made by thinking they were some kind of production toys...  I didn’t have to read very far to have my mind completely blown... Seriously I had a complete mind explosion... E47 Art makes this awesome robot figures himself and not only that wait for it, he makes them out of stuff like Christmas ornaments, plastic tube and plastic bottles. How fucking awesome is that!!! I mean to customize a shape is one thing but to build a toys this good from nothin is pure awesomeness. As for the paint work what can I say... really it speaks for itself dont you think.. seriously sharp!

So I'm not only here to tell you to go have a look but I also want you to do me a favor, pop over to his blog and click follow the reason I want you to do this is because I think this dude should be making more of his cool awesome art toys. To help that happen we need to show our support, and if your a super cool person you will leave a comment, lets face its not hard to tell the dude how cool his pieces are.. So be a cool person and support this dude! 

On the topic of customizing E47 really shows us that you can use anything and make really cool  awesome art









Awesome work E47 Please keep it up and show us more!

Dude your still here... get you ass over there and leave a comment and dont forget to click follow on his blog!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Brusha, brusha, brusha!

Monsterforge, an artist that I wrote about in the recent past on the Monsterosity blog has caught my attention once again…

This time he has posted a cool painting tutorial on a technique called dry brushing. While most people (but not everyone and that’s ok!) have heard of the term dry brushing, and know it is a great way to highlight texture …what’s really cool is, Monsterforge shows us how to use this technique as it a blend on a flat vinyl surface for adding depth to your customs, Monsterforge teaching us some Jedi mind tricks or colour theory for thoes of you who wish to be boring, teaching us how the mind perceives colour… informative stuff people!

Really awesome Monsterforge! Thank you for sharing and teaching us some of your cool techniques!

You can go directly to this tutoial by clicking this link Brusha, brusha, brusha! or click any of the monsterforges an go to his blog to read more cool stuff.

Happy Customizing!

Toy Brief 18 : Painting Toys & Customizing Customs

Here’s a cool little vid of George from the infamous toy break giving some cool tips on prepping your toys for customizing

Enjoy!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Choose your weapon


It’s amazing when you first realize you are destined to be the all mighty god of creation, with the power to create the creatures in your empire and the world of which you will govern. However it’s also over whelming because you know that to become a true god you will need build your empire and prove yourself down here on earth first.
When starting out on your path to almighty godhood it is difficult to know what type of weapons you will need or even what type of god like creations you eventually want to specialize in creating…

Being the wise god you are you sat down, got in touch with the mighty god of all that is information, Google and asked for his advice… And he sent you here… Yay for me and Yay for you!!! Because, I’m here to help you build your Empire and set you on your godly path to glory…

Now to begin building your empire you will need to get together a basic weapons array together that you can use for all the initial challenges you will face on your quest.

It is important to understand however that only you know what your creative path will be and so in the end it is up to you to choose the most appropriate weapons, in order to create the new race of zombies, monsters or army of heart breaking pink polka dot vinyl bunnies you want to set upon the world… forging your path to your rightful place on the top of Mt Olympus, to kick zuses ass to the curb and placing your godly ass on the throne.

Here are some essential items you’ll need to have to get you started on your path to godly creative glory and build the custom empire of your dreams.

Drawing pads and pencils

Now I know what your thinking drawing has nothing to do with taking over the world but I am here to tell you, you are wrong. Creating and developing the creatures in your world means planning… but not in a school PTA kinda way.
The mental pictures that form in your creative godly brain are changeable and fleeting at best, not having a sketch of your character for reference can lead to confusion when your amazingly productive brain undoubtedly continues to develop new ideas… drawing your ideas will help solidify them. Getting your ideas down on paper, into your favorite imaging software or what ever also allows you to explore the other concepts and changes you might come up with, without turning your design into a mess of conflicting ideas.
Your sketches don’t need to be works of art, they are only for reference, there is no need to show them to anyone if do wish it and in fact if you really don’t want to sketch them you can always find and keep reference pictures from magazine or the internet or whatever works for you.
Because you will be doing a lot of concept sketching and figure drawing you can’t have too many drawing pads and fine pencils. You should also keep some graph paper in your drawing kit so that you can work on learning how to sketch dimension. 
I myself do not draw well but still find it is a great way to keep concepts clear and in focus… and while as stated I’m no master sketch artist my drawing has improved greatly. Another good idea is to have a sketch pad in your adventure pack for those enlightened moments that come when you are conveniently not in your studio. 

Sculpting Clay or Putty

You will also be making a lot of models and learning alt about scale as you go, so it is good to have some kind of modeling clay around that you can use when you need it. The best clays to work with are of course sculpting clays which you can get from art and hobby stores.
The type of clay you wish to use will depend on what you want to create its size and final purpose.  There are many different types of sculpting and modeling, polymer clay, oven bake clays like super sculpey or two part putty will work best for your customizing and sculpting needs.
As there are so many different types of sculpting materials I will write more on them in later articles.

Sharp knives
Well what is a weapons array with some sharp cutty stabby tools. A set of good sharp knives like  X-ACTO knives is a must tool for any artist, but especially for a godly creator/ sculptor like yourself.
Knives are often used for cutting and or scraping off excess material as you sculpt. They are also useful for cleaning up figures and parts that you mold and cast, as well as for cutting other materials like plastic sheet you may use in your sculpting endeavors. Having a few different types of blades can be very useful for the various different tasks you may want to do.

Wire
Even if you’re not going to specialize in making wire sculpture, learning to manipulate and work with wire is a very valuable skill to have.
Making wire armatures is one of the most important parts of sculpting stable workable figures, and it is not nearly as difficult to learn as most people think. I will of course write another article about making armatures.
Sculpting wire isn’t expensive, so it’s a good idea to keep at least a few rolls of basic sculpting wire on hand.   You can buy sculpting wire in various different gages and I would recommend having a few on hand for different jobs. A thicker heaver wire for example is good for the base armature of your figure where as a lighter wire will be more useful for arms and other limbs that you may want to pose and or move around. You can also use your wire to make up quick models of your ideas to get a good 3D idea of size and proportions
Wire can also be turned in to make shift tools if needed as well as used for holding materials together and a whole list of other things too that I cant think of right now… but trust me at some point you will have a MacGyver moment and need that wire to save your life.
Side note if you don’t know who MacGyver is please go back to the all mighty Google or Youtube to understand the reference

Pliers
If your working with wire you will undoubtedly need some good grabby bendy weapons… again you can find these in many places both on the web and off line in places like hardware stores, craft/ hobby shops etc.  You also don’t have to spend a fortune here an can often pick up a reasonable set fairly cheaply.  When choosing your pliers keep in mind the wire you are cutting and bending, if it is usually soft wire a set from a craft store will get the job don’t however if you are working with heavier gages and in particular cutting heavy wires I would recommend getting a good pair of hardened steal cutters as a pair from a craft shop ill be dead in no time.

Modeling tools
Although this section has come low on this list of weapons to put in your arsenal, by no means are they low on the list of importance. Modeling tool are essential to creating textures, detail and no good creative god  is caught with out them.

However unlike a good paint brush a modeling tool can be made out of just about anything. A modeling tool is used to help you shape and manipulate your modeling material of choice, and each thing you make may require a different tool.

If you are just first starting, you can kit out your adventure pack with a simple all purpose set of modeling tools, which can be bought as kits or individually and then as you get more experienced and start to make more sophisticated sculptures you can invest in more specialized modeling tools… You can buy modeling tools in plastic, metal and wood depending on your needs but be warned this can be addictive and uncontrolled weapons collecting has been the down fall of many a god to be. Choose your weapons wisely and learn to master them well.

When deciding what weapons you need there are some things you should think about…

1: the size of your quest- this will determine the size of your weapons

2: the detail of your quest- for example you won’t need sharp pointy tools for a large smooth round surface.

You can of course get these weapons(modeling tools) at art supply stores both on line and off line and professional tools can be quite expensive however before you go out and sell your children it is also worth having a look at places like ebay, $2 shops, toy shops, cake decorating shops hobby shops and the list goes on

I will endeavor to get a list of links together for you’ll to look at…

If parting with money is an issue you should never forget the option of boot strapping…  Making your tools from what you have around the house and some cheap supplies like wire may not be glamorous but in many cases it will get the job done.
While I have a set of good weapons in my arsenal that Im sure I paid too much for; one of the weapons I use most in my tool box is a plastic knife… so just remember the weapons are only as good as the hero wielding them.

Below is a great link to a blog I found not long ago all about making your own tools

http://sculptingtools.blogspot.com/

Lastly remember just about anything can be fashioned into a weapon, plastic forks, spoons, tooth picks, sticks, stamps, bits of wire and string, bits of plastic, toothbrushes and the list goes on. Really truly have a look around your house and see what you’ve got at hand.
However if you use something that belongs to your other half without asking first and she or he gets angry, don’t blame me and if you really have to blame me at least give me a good defense and say It was in the  essence of saving money…

Sandpaper
Sandpaper is a good item to have in your weapons array at all times… this simple yet awesome weapon will help you get the best out of almost anything you create. One of the wonderful things about sandpaper is that it isn’t expensive which means you can buy it in bulk packs with out to much pain. Sand paper comes in many different grades ( rough to super fine) and will be really really useful at all stages of your chosen quest and It is well worth buying a selection of different grades (roughness). This versatile weapon is not only good for smoothing out surfaces but also good for creating textures, prepping surfaces for gluing or painting, carving, line making and the list goes on...

I hope you found the above information helpful and you can apply it to your next custom painting project. Please book mark this site and come back often as I will add more info as time allows. If you think there is information that should be added to this artical please leave me a comment of email me at... Customempire@live.jp


Stay tuned and happy adventures!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Vampires and the use of Acrylic Paint Brushes



Painting with acrylics can be great fun. However, the acrylic paint brushes you use are essential to the quality of your finished painting.


A good set of paint brushes will make your painting time easier and more enjoyable but that doesn’t mean you need to mortgage the house for a quality set… if I told you that, your wife, husband girlfriend or significant other would hunt me down and kill me... and we dont want that, or at least  dont!


There is a wide range of quality and prices out there, both available on the web and at your local art supplies or hobby store.

It is usually cheaper to buy your (first/starter)) brushes in a kit as apposed to individually… however don’t get sucked into pretty boxes/ cases and all that, as the likelihood of you using that said box or case is slim to none. I got fooled into this trap (by myself sadly and not by some cheesy used brush salesman)…and I’m embarrassed to say I paid more for the pretty case thinking I would keep my brushes beautiful and pristine in the case… now my brushes while clean and in good order are livin in an empty jam jar on my desk, the pretty case is in the cupboard.
That said if you intend on traveling with your brushes then maybe it’s worth the consideration… But if your cherished loved one sees you paying an extra $20-$30 for a pretty case your not gonna use… your on your own buddy.


Painting is a large part of customizing toys, once all the shape modification (if you’re customizing the shape) is done the final stage is usually painting your character. Painting your figure can be done with various different paint mediums however because acrylic paints are the easiest and most commonly used I’ll focus on brushes for acrylic paints in this article.


There is a wealth of information out there on brushes and a lot of the information about brush sizes, shapes and uses is in fact common for all of the main paint mediums and many of the brushes are some what interchangeable.


Originally oil paint brushes, which were and still are made from natural hair fibers, were used for acrylic paints, but these days an ever increasing range of acrylic brushes, designed specifically for this medium are readily available..


You can or course use almost any kind of brush either natural or synthetic depending on, what you are trying to achieve, your style and own personal preferences… and who am I to tell you other wise. However acrylic paints although generally no toxic are ruthless on brush fibers making the synthetic (usually nylon) brushes more resilient than natural fibers. Using nylon brushes for your acrylic paints will ultimately make your life easier because they will be easier to clean and care for in regards to using them with your acrylic paints. Acrylic paint has a tendency o stick to natural fibers turning your much loved and pricy sable brushes into hard pointy stabbing tools better used for killing vampires than painting. So unless you have a vampire problem in your studio, in the long run using the nylon brushes (with your acrylics) will also save you some money… and make me popular in the eyes of your loved one.


You can of course get nylon filament brushes in a wide range of sizes, shapes and also for use with different paint mediums…. These brushes usually come in both short and long handles depending on your painting style and you can use your acrylic paint brushes with oil paints with out issue, provided you care for them appropriately. We will go into care and maintenance in another article later on.


Below are the main types of acrylic paint brushes and what brush strokes they're generally used for. At first I wasn’t going to list all the different types of brushes because I didn’t think some of them would be appropriate for painting on toys however on second thoughts customizing and painting toys is a widely creative arena and so I figure appropriateness should be left up to you the artist to decide.


Acrylic Paint Brush Shapes


Rounds - Good for touching in or for more detailed work. Especially useful with slightly thinner acrylic paints.


Long Flat - Holds plenty of paint and good for applying thick (impasto) layers. Produces longish, straight brush strokes, so excellent for painting doors and windows or anything that has a straight edge to it.


Short Flat or Bright - As above but when required for shorter strokes. Good when you want to leave a multitude of well-defined brush strokes on the paint surface. Both the short and long flat acrylic paint brushes, when dampened with paint, come to a lovely chisel edge, ideal for thin straight lines.


Filbert - Flat profile but with a slightly rounded point. Makes tapered strokes and has the ability to soften the edges of a brush stroke.


Fan Brush - Flat profile spread as a fan. Ideal for blending cloudy skies or any area where you want a smooth transition between colors. Also very useful for creating leaf clusters on pine and fir trees or textures such as fur.


When using a fan brush for acrylics, sometimes it is better to use a natural bristle type brush as they tend to hold there shape better with paint on them, often thinner nylon filaments can stick together causing the brush to loose its shape. This however does depend on the viscosity (thickness) of the paint and the effect you’re trying to achieve. Have a play and see what works for you.

I hope you found the above information helpful and you can apply it to your next custom painting project. Please book mark this site and come back often as I will add more info as time allows.If you think there is information that should be added to this artical please leave me a comment of email me at...



have a wickedly awesome day...


CE

Monday, August 30, 2010

Masking Basics

Masking is an old painter’s trick dealing with one of the most commonly used masking materials in custom painting, masking tape. Masking is a very basic part of painting any object, however masking often takes a long time to do and is therefore often skipped or done quickly and poorly.



Masking however is as important as the painting and when mastered it becomes a valuable tool that will give what ever your painting a truly professional finish.



In the beginning there was only one type of masking tape, crepe (as in crepe paper, pictured above) and takes some time in acquiring the skill to lay it down so that the paint doesn't bleed under it.
These days there are also new types of masking tape available on the market made from plastic  called 3M blue Fine Line. It's known for its ability to produce a nicely defined sharp edge (line) for even the most inexperienced painters.
Because this tape is plastic it can be manipulated to go around corners and curves with relative ease but again it will sill take a bit of practice. If you can not get the plastic type tapes regular crepe masking tape works just fine, and has done for a long time. Do not feel that you can not do it because you don’t have the new wiz bang product, focus on your technique first and foremost.

Masking tape comes in varriety of different widths so finding just the right width for your project is pretty easy, it also comes in many different qualities’, however it really pays to use the best quality masking tape available to you. The best masking tape that I know of is 3M and all of there masking tapes are readily available online.
3M also now have a huge range of different masking types for different projects inclding masking tape developed especially for automotive custom painting (very similar to custom toy painting, dont you think?). You can find their full range of products on their website…


3M also have a whole bunch of masking product information, tips and tricks(which in time I will also supply here), product demonstrations and custom sizes shapes and rolls…You can also check your local hardware stores, paint shops/ suppliers or if there is one, a automotive paint specialist.

As lot of the custom painting we do is on surfaces that are not flat, masking tape seems to work the best as it will conform to just about any shape object with out producing a bunch of wrinkles. Wrinkles not only make design lay out difficult but are areas where under spray is likely to occur defeating the purpose of masking the surface to begin with.
Most masking tape is solve proof which is very important as most of the better paints (auto and metallic’s) used in custom painting are usually solvent based. This is important because the solvent (in the paint) will not cause the adhesive to separate from the tape leaving your painting surface a mess or allowing the paint to bleed under the edges of the tape (this is also called “creep”)
This shouldn't happen with a good grade masking tape however it will often happen if you try to use cheaper masking material with solvent based paints.
If you are using water based paints (acrylics) this is not as much of an issue but I would still ere on the side of caution and buy a good quality tape.

If you are not sure about the quality of your tape (as is often the case for me here living in Japan and unable to read the packaging and labels) do a quick test. Lay some tape down on something (ice cream container plastic bottle whatever) and spray/brush/sponge your paint over the edge, just as you would if you were painting your figure... watch as the paint goes on and wait for your paint to dry a bit, then peel and check the edge of the tape and paint… if it is not solvent resistant you will see it almost straight away. This test will only take you a few minutes but I guarantee it will save you tears later down the track.

*Tip Avoid laying your tape down on its side as doing so will allow dirt, dust and shit to collect and stick to the sides of your tape, possibly getting onto the painting surface when you go to use it. It will also produce a fuzzy edge on the masking tape something you want to avoid. One way to avoid this is to keep your tape in a zip lock bag, not only will it keep your tape clean but it will also help keep you organized.

During the custom painting process we often need to mask over areas that we recently painted. For an added measure of safety you can make the tape less likely to pull paint up if you reduce how much tack (stick) the adhesive of the tape has. This is easy to accomplish by simply sticking the tape to your CLEAN (not flannel) shirt or jeans before applying it to your paint surface. You can also take some of the tack (stick) off with your fingers but be aware that if you wish to paint the area being masked again your fingers may leave unwanted oil on the surface. This is a good trick when painting hard surfaces like plastic and metal.

What brands and materials a custom painter devotes his loyalty to, is decided by personal experience and preference.
One more thing you should consider when using masking as a customizing technique is what else can I use, masking in the end is just blocking paint from a particular surface area which could be achieved by using all manner of things.
Like Gmunny who customized this black and silver munny here with rubber bands... Awesome! check out more of there work and munny goodness here....


So most importantly be creative play around, test out a bunch of things and have fun... Oh and if you find a great product or technique come back le us know so we can share it.

Also if you have any cool examples of masking techniques and would like to share email me and we so we can put hem in our gallery...

I hope you found the above information helpful and you can apply it to your next custom painting project. Please book mark this site and come back often as I will add more info as time allows.

Ps: The photos here were found using google image search if you are the artist who painted the awesome red/ white Munny let us know so we can give you credit ad link  to our site or photo gallery...

have an awesome day

CE

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting Started...


The most used and possibly most popular customizable vinyl toy on the market is Munny by Kid Robot.


While Munny comes in many different sizes, the standard Munny figure size is 4'-7" tall. Generally speaking this is a good all round size to customize as it gives you a good amount of surface to work with, while smaller toys can sometimes be very fiddly especially if you are customizing for the first time…. However this will of course come down to your own personal tastes and what you are trying to achieve.


Munny is available in a variety of colours for example white, black, blue, pink and glow-in-the-dark and is readily available at many online toy shops as well as at the KidRobot website, or you can visit the store if you live near Los Angeles.. Note that, at $24.99 each, they're not cheap… but well worth it in my opinion.
Kid Robot, now also make a few other additional platform shapes as pictured below...


Now if the Kid Robot shapes are not for you, thats ok too. There are literally dozens of designer toys that come as blanks (platform toys) a Google search for blank vinyl toys will give you a huge variety of shape options and also places to buy them.
 So now onto the important stuff.... Once you have your toy take it out of its box and wash it with soap and water to remove any excess oils... let it air dry... this takes a measure of patients (if you anything like me) but using a towel or something to dry your toy with may leave unwanted fibers on your toys surface...which you will not see until its stuck in your paint, badness then insures


In preparing your toy/s it is also a good Idea to lightly sandpaper the Munny's or other toy/figure of your choices surface to make sure that there are no rough spots particularly in design areas that will be painted; this light sanding will also help the paint to grip.


Another optional step but highly recommended is to apply a Gesso paint primer to the figures surface. Again this will help give you a good surface to work on.


Once this is done, you can start sketching your design on the figure with a pencil, pen, Sharpie-style marker or any of your favorite drawing implements. *Note that if you are planning on painting in light colours use a harder style graphite pencil and draw your design on lightly before you prime. Then give your figure a light coat of gesso or some other kind of surface primmer; this will stop the graphite from smearing when you start applying paint. Also be aware that sharpie markers are permanent markers and can not be removed if you make a mistake.


You can use masking tape for blocking out areas or to prevent over spray if you’re using spray paints that you don’t want on other parts of your character's design. If you are masking onto areas that have already been painted take some of the stickiness of the tape off with your fingers this will make sure that the tape doesn’t peel your paint off when you remove the tape...or you can by special painters masking tape from hardware stores.  


If you want to move beyond painting and customize the shape of the figure you are using there are several options,


You can use an X-Acto knife/blade or scalpel to cut into the figure… Some times softening the toy with some hot water can help get a nice clean cut. A small rotational multi tool like a dremel is also good for making holes, sanding and just about anything else you can think of.


Another option is using a product like Sculpey bake-on clay as an add-on element… If you plan on adding wood pieces to your munny, Elmer's wood glue may also come in handy.


*Note Any sculptural changes you make to your figure should be done before you start applying any paint or primer.


Last but not least, once finished, use clear coat fixative to prevent paint, ink, and other applied media from smearing. You can usually get this in three different types Matt (not shiny) Semi gloss (a little shinny) and Gloss (super shinny)


Now this information is just the very brief basics and beginning steps of toy customizing we will get into the nitty gritty of different products and techniques in future posts…


Stay tuned and happy customizing!