Mittwoch, 28. Januar 2015

Marf Challenge Januar 2015

Hey there, it's time for the first challenge of the new year!
Sometime last year we realized how difficult it is to draw a little girl that doesn't look creepy. Maybe that's just us and you're all wondering what the heck this is even about, but then you might have trouble drawing creepy little girls (I can't quite imagine, though)?

Anyways we thought this was a fun idea for a challenge:

a) Create an illustration/character design of a little girl that is NOT creepy.

b) Create an illustration/character design of a creepy little girl

Alternatively an illustration including both characters is fine, too.


First things first: rough sketches of the characters. I'm not sure whether or not there will be backgrounds or what the setting might be, I just want to lay down a general direction (when creating dolls, a lot happens during the creative process, especially when I don't really have any restrictions (such as planned compositions, illustrations. Then I'll have to work with more precise layouts.)
and can rely on intuition and react to the material.) and then see how it goes.

A reason why I believe little girls often end up creepy is, that they are not shown as what they are (human beings), but as dressed up little dolls, which are the stuff of nightmares.
So for my 'not very creepy' girl I imagine her as the outgoing, carefree little sister of Colin (an older doll of mine. His part-time occupation is snail hunting.), who will climb on roofs and trees and terrorize the whole neighbourhood. (If you believe you know how she lost that tooth, think twice.)

For the creepy girl on the other hand I decide to go for a ghostly, impish creature that is, admittedly, not so much a human being.

Next step. I'm going to focus on the decisions I made concerning the 'look' of the characters instead of explaining the technique in detail (I've written about that before and experimenting with materials is half the fun, so I'm not going to take that away from you :)).

The first thing I work on, are their faces and hands because they need longest to dry and do already tell us a lot about the girls' personalities.
For my faerie girl I'm going for a small pointy nose (delicate features matching her hair and dress), which turnes slightly upwards in a mischievous way. She'll get a broad grin so I have to keep that in mind.
Notice that I decided to show her hands after all. Come on, those wirey fingers (also very thin, spidery) are a lot more creepy than not knowing what she's holding behind her back.
At the same time I realize that she doesn't really need any legs. Being a spirit and all, where's the need?

Looking through some leftovers from previous projects (sometimes things don't work out, but that doesn't mean you have to throw everything away. I had this street lantern lying around since the beginning of last year. Why not have her flying like a moth to the light? Why not use a real light for the lantern? Sometimes things just fall in place.)  I start planning the final illustration now.

Gwendoline (which is her name now), being not creepy at all, gets a round, friedly, open face (She might be the really devillish one here, but you wouldn't know). Her mouth will be open and take up more space than I'm used to (Mouths are the facial parts I tend to just leave out with my dolls), so I'll have to make sure that will work.
Her hands are large and clumsy looking, nothing compared to the faerie's metal claws and I decide to go for rubber boots, not so useful for climbing, but giving her the 'will jump through puddles' look.
Her clothes are roughly hand sewn, I deliberately aim for imperfection here and want the yarn to be  very much visible. 
To add detail and character I give her a necklace with dangling, er, charms. Since I have clockwork parts at hand, they fit nicely. The wooden bead is also helping with the family resemblance. (That's siblings for you … matching clothes and wooden beads, okay.). 

So, Gwendoline's all nicely painted, but I have seriously no idea how to best take her picture. I don't have my lighting equipment (not as professional as it sounds) at hand and have to make do with what I have. I end up shooting with daylight, a desk lamp and a steady hand.
You may or may not recognize the location, which is my 'default' environment, serving me we'll, whenever I don't have a background prepared and want to see how photogenic my creations are.
In this case I'm also foreced to tackle one big problem I like to forget: My dolls can't stand. They originally weren't meant to be able to, but since I'm planning to to use them for stop motion animation, I have to find away to solve that problem.
As you can see I attached strings to Gwendoline, which were being held up by, er, whatever was around (The whole construction was quite unstable. On the bright side I have a good idea no, how to build the 'real thing' that will hopefully help to to make my dolls walk and not so much talk.). 

So after hours of trying and failing and trying and failing and eventually not so much failing anymore I ended up with this very neat picture: Gwendoline running through shrubbery.

At the same time, the faerie is still waiting for her background. Some madness possessed me to not only make the whole thing rather colourful, but to include a bit of LED trickery (Which led to more nervewrecking constructions. Unfortunately I have to photos to document the happening.)
Here's a picture of the background in progress, though. I probably spent more time observing the textures the coloures created than actually doing anything, so well ... 

No LED yet, although everything else is in place … The moment of truth is near …

It's glowing!

Look at the edge light! This definitly makes me want to experiment some more with lighting! I'm not sure small LED diodes are the right way, though. I guess there are some nights of heavy googling ahead of me.

(My conclusion is that they are both creepy and adorable in their own ways, though.)