Sooooo long 2015 …. Hellooooo 2016!

After a crash and tumble through what was 2015 I have landed in 2016 with pretty solid feet. As per all new years traditions, I have a long list of “Starting Fresh” and “Get More Stuff Done What You Didn’t Last Year”. Included in this list is of course the long overdue Harpy Mask phase 2, which I need to recast to get some better progress photos for.

etsy-iconRunning up to the Dublin Comic Con convention in August got a bit hectic but for the first stall for The Orcward Shoppe. I had a lot of fun and things went really well. All left over items have since been put up on the Orcward’s Etsy page, I hope to be adding to the stock over the next year and as I explore various makes and dos. The Orcward also sold out of a few items, which is pretty sweet! I do plan to keep 3cGifts going, but what will end up there is still slightly uncertain. There are still some MSF (Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain) vinyl stickers up there if you want to grab one before the listing runs out!

PatreonPatreon is back! Though admittedly it never really left, by account just slid into a sort of creative coma, which happened even before I got sick. I plan to shock it back to life this year, and work on trying to create more online content and heck, if I get a goPro then some vids will start making their way onto the internet too. Or even live streams as a work away, which I have wanted to do from the get go, but nobody wants pixelated making any more, gotta up my web cam game. If you decided to follow on Patreon, it’ll probably take a while before I get going, and it’ll probably be a crazy load of stuff while I figure out what people want to see.

CtrlPaint

A break from the orangeish icons to a recommendation, I just started a course on Ctrl+Paint to revamp my drawing skills and help me work on my digital painting, which is something I always wanted to get at. Thanks to a very generous Christmas Elf, I now have an Intuos ART to play with so a fair bit of digital art will make its way to Patreon. As for Ctrl+Paint, I can’t recommend that site enough. I’m currently working through the practical homework before I hit the digital side (not essential but recommended). The tutor is very clear and the projects and homework given are brilliant.

instagram-logo1And finally back to a slightly orange logo, I’ve started using Instagram more, and a little more than twitter, so it’s probably the best place to find random works in progress and mini workshop updates! (it is also my personal account so little slices of life find their way in too).

Oh! I almost forgot, I’ve invested in a Glowforge so that’s exciting, they’re on schedule with manufacturing, so I guestimate mine will arrive in June, but don’t want to get my hopes up too high so a medium level hopes, in case there’s any delays with the shipping. That’ll be another thing to add to my online content. How not to set your laser cutter on fire (I did it to a trotec once…).

Thats all for now,
Clare

Sons of the Harpy…Phase 1

Sons of the Harpy

Very few people are able to escape the fact that Game of Thrones exists. Love it, hate it or perhaps rather not bothered with it to be honest really, Game of Thrones is a hugely successful book series which spawned the even more hugely successful TV series. The last episode of season 5 had a whooping 8.4 million live viewers when it was aired. 8.4 MILLION, that’s quiet a fair number. People will talk to you about it, and if you haven’t watched it, they may look at you with a sense of bewilderment and slight offence (Yes I am guilty of this).

Usually when a video game or movie comes along there is at least one, but more that likely a bazillion things I spot where I say “I want it….I want to make it, I HAVE TO MAKE IT!!” Thankfully this dies down after a while, if it kept up I probably wouldn’t have time to sleep. Rarely has a TV show ever done this for me though, with the exception of perhaps Star Trek, I think mostly because TV props aren’t always as elaborate as the movie props, or they tend to be items that already exist. But the Sons of the Harpy mask in Game of Thrones did it for me. Without giving much away by ways of spoilers, the Sons of the Harpy are a group of masked baddies in Meereen that want to get rid of Daenerys.

Handily enough, Yorick, my polystyrene head wasn’t busy at the time so I started sculpting right away with modeling wax which i had on hand but had never used before, I like tossing a bit of learning into new works, it keeps it challenging! I also haven’t sculpted a face since college, it was nice to do it again. Continue reading

Dublin Comic Con Update!

 

ComicCon

For those of you that follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You may have heard me mention that I will be attending Dublin Comic Con this year. But not as a visitor, oh no, this year I shall have my own stall! This is both terrifying and exciting as I have never done this before. I shall give you a run down of the types of things I’ll be including and if you’re not in Ireland for the Con, fear not, excess left over stock will be put up on my etsy shop which I shall reopen when the Con is over.

The stall I will be (wo)manning over the weekend will be called The Orcward Shoppe,  Continue reading

The World Should Be Darker Today…

Yesterday this Universe lost someone magnificent. The world should be darker because of this, quieter, and while for many it certainly seems that way, this silent shadow will pass. The world is not darker because he is gone, it is brighter because he lived in it. The world is not quieter, it rings out with adoration and laughter. Above all, this world is warmer, because Sir Terry Pratchett touched so many of us, in so many ways.

Terry Pratchett

I received my first Pratchett book when I was in school, my friend came up to me and said “Richard says to give you this, because you like that sort of thing”. Richard is my friends Uncle, word got to him that I liked fantasy (and reading) so as encouragement, books came my way. I also received a Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan books, Magic the Gathering cards, but the creased cover of Soul Music with it’s illustration by Josh Kirby grabbed my attention.

Continue reading

A Christmas of Making!

As explaining in my previous post I have been battling depression over the past while, and as a result my creativity became almost null and void. But by a bit of Christmas luck, I got a sudden making rush, and boy did I take advantage of it! -> This was also handy as after leaving my job a handmade Christmas sorted a lot of stuff out.

I made a few small things over the Christmas, but my favourite was the Legend of Zelda gift box I made for Shane’s Ocarina. The Ocarina arrived in a super plain cardboardy box and I figured it deserved much more. Because I had temporary access to a Epilog Zing I decided to laser etch and cut the gift box out of 3mm ply.

Continue reading

“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

I wish it was that simple. When computer breaks down you can usually just plug it out and plug it back in again, or install an update, or backup your files and reinstall the OS. There are tonnes of solutions. When your brain breaks… it’s not that simple.

I haven’t posted on here in a long while, because I haven’t been well in a long while. It’s something that’s been chasing me for a long time, I kept just out of reach, and when everything got too much I told myself “It’s ok, get through this week, the next one will be better…”  I told myself that almost every week. Having always been an anxious person and someone who worries about things non stop, I just thought of it as normal “It’s just me being silly, everything will be fine when I calm down…” and then I’d force myself to calm down super quick so I could keep going. This didn’t get rid of the anxiety, this just added it to a giant snowball what was already coming down hill at me pretty fast.

Then it happened…

Continue reading

Patreon Poll #1!

Hi guys!

I had a bit of a hickup with my site and lost all of my posts from 2013…boo… which of course I didn’t have backed up anywhere. I shall have to find the time to rewrite and repost but now it’s time for my first Patreon Poll!

For those of you who don’t know, Patreon is a great way to help Artists and Creators do what they love, kinda like Kickstarter except people opt to fund you per project rather than aiming for one massive lump sum at the end. For my Patreon, I’m going to hold a poll at the start of each project so people can vote for what they’d like to see. You don’t have to be a patron of mine to vote either, but if you like what I do, please considering becoming one =)

Here’s a short run down of the options:

Chocobo Keeper Mask (FFXIV)
Chocobo Mask
I fell in love with this mask when I first saw it and I would love to make the costume that goes with it someday too. This project would be a good way to experiment with Worbla’s Finest Art material too which I haven’t had a chance to try out yet.

Haunter PatternHaunter Puppet (Pokemon)
One of the posts lost from the 2013 archives was one that showed the start of a Haunter hand puppet I was making. He unfortunately fell to the sidelines and I do really think it would be good to finish him. For those who didn’t see the original post (or forget it). The plan was to have his eyes glowing using a potentiometer. Good electronics and LED practice. (The image on the left shows part of his complicated skinning pattern)

Songbird Plush (Bioshock Infinite)Songbird Plush
I had planned to make this guy before the official one was released (I have all the materials for him too) and to be honest I wasn’t overly mad about the finish on the official one, so I’d still like to try make my own version. 80% of this project would be figuring out the pattern which I’m not used to but should be fun to do!

Mini Gift Boxes (Christmas Themed)
This one wont feature any game references and would be mostly design based and Christmasy themed, given the time of year. Each design would be drawn up and scalable for cutting on a Laser cutter (our just simply printing out a template). I would do a few different boxes and I would make the files available to my Patrons, you could also adapt these files yourself and switch them to any theme you like. Unfortunately I don’t have an image for these guys as there are yet to be designed, but they’d be large enough to hold a cupcake, or a few sweets at least.

Please cast your vote below and if you have any suggestions for future polls, please leave a comment!

Patreon Poll #1: The first project should be...

101 Uses for an Adjustable Box #1

Hey there, this post was made for some people on Reddit who were asking me to explain what my new adjustable box was for. Basically the box is made out of four L shaped pieces of veneered chip board that myself and my Dad put together as a bit of an evening project. When lined up like shown above, they can be adjusted and moved until you have a box the right size for the piece you want to mold. I snagged the idea from Smooth-On’s official video tutorials. They use expensive clear acrylic ones, but, not having that kind of money, scrap chipboard does me just fine.

Anywho, I attempted to explain on Reddit how to go about the molding process, but sans pictures I can understand for people who haven’t the foggiest as to what I’m talking about, it can get so much more confusing. So to test the box works,  I decided to mold a piece I needed for next week, and document the process over the next 48 hours for people who’re wondering what the hell I’m up to.

So, #1 use for an Adjustible Box is to make a 2 part block mold. To start you need to decide where you want the seam on your piece to be because there will be flash on the edge to deal with. I’m molding a flexible waste pipe which is even all the way around, so a seam halfway down the middle is fine for this. You start by packing the sides with clay and build up and even base all around and right up to the piece as show in the photo. Normally for this type of item a 2 part thixo mold (which uses a lot less silicone but requires a hard shell) would be better, but like I said, this is for demonstrating purposes, and I needed something large so you could actually see into the box. Because it’s a tube I blocked off both ends neatly with clay so silicone doesn’t seep in there, and once I had the clay base done I added in keys along the side so when I have 2 sides of the mold, there’ll be a locking system to keep them aligned. Because the tubing itself is also made out of silicone, to stop the molding silicone fusing to it I coated it in some One Step which is a sealant and a release agent which will create a barrier between the tube and the mold silicone.

So after draining my tubs of Oomoo 30 (I used what’s in the pic + 1 full cup for this) which is a 1:1 molding silicone made by Smooth-On, I mixed it together until it became a uniform purple colour. This was then poured into the mold and allowed to even out. Oomoo 30 is super viscous  silicone, so it doesn’t require degassing in a vacuum chamber which is handy for me because I don’t have one at home. All the bubbes rise to the surface and you can give it a little extra tap to encourage the bubbles to rise too. Oomoo 30 takes 6 hours to cure, so I’ll update when it’s time to remove the clay and flip it over.

UPDATE 1: I was supposed to update this with the second half today, but in the hectic day I had I stupidly left my camera in the studio, so it shall have to wait until tomorrow! Sorry!`

UPDATE 2: Sorry for the delay, so the next step with the mold, once the silicone had cured was to remove the L shapes and take the mold out.  I flipped the mold over so the clay was on top and removed the clay from the mold. Clean the silicone from around the piece, careful not to remove the piece from the silicone which will break the seal it has on this. I made this mistake when trying to get all the clay out, breaking this seal allows the silicone to slip under an destroy your mold so it’s vital you keep that seal.

Once all the clay is removed make sure you use a sealant again to stop the silicone sides sticking to each other then you add a new batch. Replace the L shaped sides again tight, but without warping the bottom layer of silicone. The second batch of Oomoo 30 was mixed again and poured. Ideally when this silicone was cured I would separate the two sides, remove the tube, and use the mold to slosh cast the shape I needed. But due to my breaking of the seal between the first side of silicone and the tubing, silicone got under the tube, and pushed the tube up out of the way so the mold needs to be remade. The best way to learn is by making mistakes, so this mold will be made again, but hey, at least my adjustable box works!

PotatOS Project Part 3

[PART 1]
[PART 2] 
[PART 2.5]

Sorry this post has taken me so long to get up, life has gotten pretty hectic with thesis and FYP in full flight now. But hopefully when I get this up I can go back to the idea of updating on Thursdays.

The last post was about molding and casting and I finished with pulling the potato from the mold, so next up is details and finishing. When the potato came out of the mold there was a slight seam on it from where the mold joined together so that was sanded down and given a nice finish with a bit of Isopon and 3M red putty. The scary part was the hole for the eye which sits wedged into the potato and is held in with what looks like staples. This, and the screws the crocodile clips cling too and the brackets for the wires, also required holes, so it was time to be brave and break out the rotary tool. There are 15 holes in total on the PotatOS body, and 8 on the eye piece. Thankfully nothing needed filling and re-drilling as I managed to get all the holes in the right spot on the first try.

Pro Tip: Measure twice and you’ll only need to cut (or drill) once.

After the holes in both pieces were drilled, it was time to prime them to get them ready for painting and while the primer was drying I sorted out some of the fiddly bits. I had made the brackets and the eye staples from various thicknesses of modeling wire. One bracket was an odd shape, and this required inserting wire into some tubing to get the desired look. You could use styrene tubing but after working in an art shop for 4 years I have acquired quiet a large amount of  tubes from the tops of brushes, so I used one of them. This odd shaped bracket and the eye staples needed to be  a darker colour, I painted them with the Warhammer paint “Tin Bitz” (the modeling wire took the paint rather nicely) and weathered them a bit with the Tamiya Weatherline Master Kit C which is used for weathered metal effects. Another little fiddly piece that needed to be made was the computer chip that sits beside the eye, a simple enough shape I made it from a little piece of mdf, and gave it foamex feet, and a foamex circle on top. A hole was made for one of the little red switches that will make PotatOS talk too. Despite it’s simple design this was possibly the most frustrating because it was the one piece I kept dropping, and one leg in perticular insisted on cracking every time it did!

A second coat of primer was needed for the main body but it was time to spray the eye white. This was done with an all purpose satin white acrylic spray paint. This gave the eye a slight sheen, which is what I image the piece was like when it was new, like most of the other white electronics in the game. The eye on PotatOS, however, is filthy and grimy so I took the dry pristine satin white eye and covered it in watered down black acrylic. This wash of acrylic was immediately wiped off leaving behind a dulled while look, with dirty smears all over it. I repeated this wash about 3 times, and touched up the groves in the eye with extra black before I was happy with it. The picture above shows a tester eye piece that has some weathering on it in comparison to the pure white eye that was used for the final piece.

Now it was time to paint the main body, I used Daler and Rowney FW inks for this as they’re the perfect consistency for my airbrush, but painting at night, in a room lit by warm artifical light, meant that the next morning I woke up and the potato was a dark mossy-muddy colour. I also realised I hadn’t glued on my roots, which needed to go on before the paint did, so I sanded everything back and super glued on my little roots which were sculpted from miliput and decided to try painting again, in proper daylight. Handily enough the hole in the potato for the eye, was the same size as a large System 3 acrylic tub, so I used that to prop up the potato as I sprayed. The colour turned out much lighter than the original which was good, and I added detail to it with darker brown where marks in the potato would be and the roots were painted greenish. I tired to keep the  texture as close to the one on the digital model so if you were looking at the two side by side, they would be very similar.

While the main body was drying, I decided to sort out the electronics behind the eye, There was space for 3 LED’s, and one of the red switches behind the eye and the hole in the centre was filled with some sanded down thick acetate which was tinted yellow so the eye would still look yellow even with the LEDs switched off. The 3 LEDs were hooked up to a 9V battery and an on-off switch that were located outside the potato body so I could switch them off to save power and change the battery easily. The wires for these were fed through the hole for the mount into the base that the potato would rest on. The same was done for the sound, which was hooked up to the two mini switches in the eye and the chip, and then fed through the mount to two larger buttons on the front of the base for when the perspex box would sit over the PotatOS.

Once the body was painted, I added in the brackets and the nails so I could shape the black wires and crocodile clips. Rather than having wire randomly contorting and pulling on the brackets I pulled the inside out of some old VGA cable and replaced it with a soft modeling wire that was the correct thickness, then bent this into the right shape. The coloured bands on these cables were added with some plastic tubing slid down the wire into place, and then painted. While the brackets and nails were held in place and glued, the crocodile  clips were attached freely. The ends would be glued to the eye, and the brackets would help keep the wires in place.

The internal support was then sorted out so the potato could be screwed into the stand from the bottom once it was fully assembled. This support was also hollow so the wires from the eye and the sound could be fed through to two switches at the front for voice, and one at the back for LEDs. With this bit figured out, the base was removed and then sprayed white and switches inserted into the holes cut for them. Meanwhile, I began fitting the sound chip, it’s battery and a speaker into the Potato, which were held in place by bits of strong hook and loop pads so they could be remove easily if the needed to be replaced or fixed. The wires from the LEDs were then fed through the hollow support along with the ones for the sound. At this point the extra switches for the sound that were part of the potato, were put in place, and then the eye inserted and secured with it’s pins. The microchip was added and one of the switches fixed into place. Yellow wires that wrap around the potato were added and fixed in place with glue before the black wires with the crocodile cable was added. Finally the black wires were added glued into place at the eye. Screwing the Potato back into the base and putting it gently on it’s side, the wires were soldered carefully to their corresponding switches and tested. Success! One light up, talking, PotatOS!