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.

Inking Daredevil

Did a quick video where I practiced my spot blacks with a Daredevil piece. (First image digitally colored)

Most of the time, when I’m doing comic-style work, I go light on the inks, leaving the image open for color.

But I know that even a heavily-inked piece with big patches of black in the right places looks great once the color is added….and has the further benefit of looking amazing as a black-and-white illustration.

So, in this video, I’m practicing dropping more ink into an image than I’m used to. And I’m having fun talking with Run Red Run about inking, commissions, and Daredevil:

An Informal Chat About Needle Felting with Run Red Run.

You all know my friend Run Red Run. She’s here at the studio all the time sculpting and building our joint projects with me, learning new skills alongside me, making our YouTube videos, and (every once in a while) she’ll step out of her comfort zone and do an “Ink It or Stink It” video with me. In addition to all that, she enjoys needle felting wool into cute, fiber sculptures.

She was finishing up this commission recently — a client’s pets — and I figured I’d catch some of her process on video and talk to her about it. What else have I got to do besides pester her while she works?

While the video shows some of the basic steps of needling a feltie into shape, it also focuses on her choice of plastic/glass eyes for these particular sculptures. So we had a little fun talking about all the different ways you could use materials other than wool in your wool felties.

If you’ve ever thought about trying out needle felting, you might pick up some tips or tricks in the video. If nothing else, it’s six minutes of two doofuses discussing an art form we have fun with:

Inking Grogu (Baby Yoda) Plus: Ink It or Stink It!

I know. I inked a Baby Yoda last year. But this one’s better. And it’s all done with brush, no pens (not even brush pens)!

The primary reason I drew this little cutie again is because Run Red Run and I both got Disney Plus (finally) and we’re really enjoying The Mandalorian.

In this week’s video I ink Grogu but, as a special bonus, Run Red Run also plays a round of “Ink It or Stink It” and inks her own Grogu. How’d she do? Gotta watch the video.

This is the way:

Fairy Commission (inspired by my Morels Game Art)

A few years ago I did the card/box art for a card game called Morels. It’s a 2-player game wherein you ‘forage’ for mushrooms and your score depends on the type of mushrooms you find in the forest. A fan of the game contacted me about doing a commission inspired by my game art. It a little bit “Shiitake Night Card” and “Fairy Ring Night Card” and it was a lot of fun to work on.

This was an actual ink-on-paper commission and the face of the fairy was small and delicate, so I pulled out the ol’ magnifying glass while I was inking so I wouldn’t muck it up too much.

I also used a masking fluid to mask off the full moon behind the fairy while I ink washed the night sky. I go over my whole process with my friend  RunRedRun in this week’s YouTube process video.

The link to the video is down below. And, honestly, if you’re into two-player card games of strategy that don’t take all night to play, look into Morels. It’s got a pretty strong following of supporters.

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.