Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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


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.

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

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


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 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...