The Witchening! Diorama/Terrain Build

We’ve finally reached the finale to our month of First Time Craft videos. It’s with a healthy sense of accomplishment that Run Red Run and I present….The Witchening!

All four videos from April connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

In our finale, we put all of the items we built in the previous videos (the stump & axe, the well, the creepy tree) together into a diorama. But before we could do that, we had to build the witch’s territory. And that involved some more First Time Crafts: making plaster terrain, creating foam flocked bushes by hand, static grass application, and plenty more.

In the end, it all came together in a pretty nice (and pretty creepy) diorama fit for a wicked little witch. And if you watch the video, you’ll see her too!

Enjoy the video, and thanks for sticking around to watch us try out new things all month. -v

First Time Craft: Sculpting With Spackle?

This month Run Red Run and I are doing a series of four videos where we’re working with a new craft or technique or material in each one. For week three, She and I made a creepy witch’s tree out of — well, out of a lot of stuff. Wire, foil, paper, glue… And as a surprise, last-ditch shot in the dark, spackle, of all things.

All four of the videos connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

The tree is about a foot-and-a-half tall, and we started the process by twisting three different sizes of armature wire into a basic tree shape. This part was a very loose, free-form wire sculpt that, for a couple of first-timers, came out pretty good. After that we wrapped it in foil, just like bulking out the armature of any clay sculpture.

Then, for the bark, we tried a tissue-and-glue method we’d seen people use on trees like this, but it didn’t give us the control we needed to sculpt the bark. Clay would work, but might make the tree super heavy. So we settled on spackle (or joint compound) and gave it a shot. Turns out, it’s not just for patching holes. You can actually sculpt with the stuff!

You can watch us build the tree from start to finish in the quick video below. Don’t forget, all of these First Time Craft videos lead to a final video next week where we put all the items we made together into one project— Witch House Part 2: The Witchening. See you next week for the finale.

First Time Craft: Hot Wire Foam Cutting

This month Run Red Run and I are doing a series of four videos where we’re working with a new craft or technique or material in each one. For week two, She and I sculpted a witch’s well out of insulation foam using various hot wire foam cutting tools, and carved the axe handle (for the first time ever) with a Dremel rotary tool.

All four of the videos connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

One of the tools I tried out was a hot wire foam engraver. It’s basically a hot piece of metal that melts grooves into XPS foam. I thought it’d be an interesting way to carve stonework into this well.

Run Red Run and I also used a foam cutting table — kind of a hot wire, strung vertically over a flat surface that you drag the foam over while the wire cuts/melts into it. We used that to cut out the main structure of the well, and the flat ‘boards’ of the well cap. It was out first time working with tools like these, and we had a lot of fun.

Don’t forget that all four of these videos, aside from being linked to each other, and to that Witch House build, are building to a final video where we put all the crafts and items we made together into one project. We’re having fun calling that project Witch House Part 2: The Witchening. Now here’s the video of us working on the well.

First Time Craft: Carving with a Dremel

This month Run Red Run and I are doing a series of four videos where we’re working with a new craft or technique or material in each one. This first week, I sculpted a tree stump and axe, and carved the axe handle (for the first time ever) with a Dremel rotary tool.

All four of the videos connect back to that Witch House we built last year. That was our first “build” of any kind, and we always wanted to add onto that build as we learned more skills. So, we’re finally getting around to it.

So the first craft I decided to learn was carving wood with a rotary tool. Of course I don’t know all the ins and outs of carving with a rotary tool yet. It’s always going to be a process where, hopefully, I’ll get better as I go along. I’m just happy to have not injured myself with this first attempt.

I should mention that all four of these videos, aside from being linked to each other, and to that Witch House build, are building to a final video where we put all the crafts and items we made together into one project. We’re having fun calling that project Witch House Part 2: The Witchening.

Anyway, it’s just some fun we had learning new ways to make things. If you think you’d enjoy that, check out the first video below.

Inking The Addams Family: Traditional vs Digital

If you watch my YouTube channel at all, you know I’ve been working on improving my traditional inking skills. This week I tried a little test with my favorite family of kooks, The Addams Family.

I did a sketch of the Addams clan and tried inking it traditionally — with pens, brush pens, and brushes. I thought the results weren’t too bad. Definitely better than they would’ve been had I not been practicing inking for the last year or so.

But I also wanted to pull the sketch into the computer and ink it digitally. I’m more comfortable with that process, and I figured I could compare and contrast afterward, to see what I needed to work on.

Both the traditional and digital versions are in this video. As well as some pics from a LIFE Magazine photospread featuring actors who DIDN’T get roles in the Addams Family after auditioning for them.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Toned Paper Drawing

I haven’t attempted a toned paper drawing since it was forced upon me in tenth grade. The teacher was trying to teach us about the three values (dark, midtone, light) but I used it as an excuse to goof off and phone in the assignment. I regret nothing.

But I did think it was about time I revisited the toned paper. So I picked up a pad of Strathmore tan toned paper, grabbed some soft lead pencils and a white charcoal pencil and tried to figure out what my high school art teacher had been patiently trying to convey to me all those years ago.

For my subject matter, I picked characters from one of my favorite horror books, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (the fact that I just bought a Mr Hyde action figure might have also figured into my decision). And I talked to my friend  RunRedRun about Jekyll and Hyde, toned paper drawing, and my awful tenth grade art.

All in all, for only my second time with this medium, it didn’t turn out too bad. Here’s the video. No rest for the wicked.

Sesame Street’s Count Von Count! (My First Mini-Painting)

Most of the time, when I’m working on art, I’m either sitting behind my computer working on something digital, or sitting on the couch, sketching with a pencil. Bottom line, there’s a lot of sitting going on, and that’s not gonna change anytime soon.

But what WILL change is the medium I’m working in. I found an old mini-canvas in the ArtBin I used during my college painting class eons ago. It was still sealed in plastic because I’ve never done a mini-painting. Until now.

This week, I finally broke open some old acrylics (and that mini-canvas) and decided to try my hand at a mini-portrait of one of my favorite Muppets, Count Von Count. You can watch the video down below to see how it went, and listen to me talk to RunRedRun about Sesame Street, vampires, and my college painting course.

Anyway, here’s the video. One! One painting video! Ah Ah Ah Ahhhhh!

Building My First Haunted House

Figured out what to do with all the extra foam and cardboard lying around my studio. Built my first haunted house.

Yeah, I know we already built a witch house. But this is a haunted house. Totally different. And I did it on my own while Run Red Run was busy working on her own projects.

It’s not a long video, but I do take you through my entire process (at breakneck speed) from the rough sketch to the finished house. And since it was my first, I was kind of learning as I went along.

Enjoy the vid and don’t let it spook you.

My Illustrated Christmas Tale About Starsky and Hutch Action Figures

Since it’s Christmas Eve, I figured I’d post our latest, holiday-themed video to the process blog. I recently told a story to Run Red Run (on our YouTube channel) about a coveted toy from my childhood: a Starsky & Hutch Action Figure.

The tale begins with a grade school Holiday Gift Exchange and ends in heartbreak (as any story worth its sale often does). I illustrated this miserable memory with some digital illustrations. And, since I’m all about process, I also included some footage of the drawings being created in Clip Studio Paint.

Maybe this story will trigger some pleasant memories of your own childhood Christmases. Or maybe you’ll just enjoy joining in my misery. Either way, the video link is below.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

Sculpting The Zombie Lovers (Parts 1 & 2)

It’s nice to take a break from 2D work and just mess around with clay now and again. RunRedRun and I had some fun sculpting little zombie lovers. As a way to learn a new medium, you can’t go wrong starting with zombies. Any mistakes you make can be attributed to grave rot.

And when we were done sculpting the figures, we modified some cheap, craft-store coffins to give our zombies customized resting places.

We used Super Sculpey for just about all of this, and split the project up into two videos, both of which are below.