Making Mixed Media Decorative Plates – Art Process

Mixed Media Decorative Plates

This project was experimental and took many months to complete. This is a journal explaining my creative process experimenting to find the best solution.

THE IDEA:

One day I saw some plates in my grandparent’s antique shop by the 20th century Danish artist Bjorn Wiinblad, who specialised in whimsical fairy tale styled ceramics and was captivated by them. The plates had such a unique style and had their own stories within them. I felt inspired and wanted to make something like that in my own way.

At first, I considered getting unfired pre-glazed plates and etching my designs into them, but I didn’t know where to source them. I took ceramic classes in university when I did my undergrad where I had access to the kiln, specialty equipment, supplies and experts. But outside of that world, it’s very dificult to do ceramics especially since it’s not my speciality.

This was at the start of 2020 and the world had just gone into lockdown because of COVID-19. Therefore, going to an external ceramics studio was not an option anymore. I changed my approach. Instead of creating something that was pure ceramics, I thought, ‘why don’t I try something experimental using other techniques?’

DESIGNING:

WATCH to see how the drawing was made…
WATCH to see how the drawing was made…

Since I specialise in digital art and drawing, I first experimented with creating narative illustrations in the shape of plates. Because I was using Photoshop to draw, I had the flexibility to sample different colours and effects to achieve my desired outcome.

I made five plate designs in total. For the theme, I took inspiration from my novel “The Wish Bringer” and characters from my upcoming books.

WATCH to see how the drawing was made…

The first three plates, Lapis and the Dream Girl; The Gem Forger; The Dream Girl, were heavly stylised from the references. The colour choices were very minimal and the skin was left white to match the colour of unpainted porcelain. I drew the facial features with black armond shaped eyes, bigger noses and tiny mouths.

Once I got used to this new stylistic approach, I tried new techniques for the other two designs. The Time Jumper‘s design was based on a character who could travel in time. I wanted the image to have more energy and movement than the previous designs. For this work I was ‘thinking like an animator’ and designed the background to look like it was distorted from motion.

The final plate design, Boy and the Beast, has a different style again. Before lockdowns, I went to the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and saw a painting that was in Pointillism style. (Applying small strokes of colour that blend together and look cohesive from a distance.) It looked like such an interesting technique that I wanted to try it myself. The story in this plate is about a boy who is able to tame beasts and monsters, so I used the pointillism technique to give the Beast’s fur a mystical texture that would set it appart from other types of animals.

The illustrations looked fine on their own, but I still wanted to make them into real 3D plates, but first, I had to plan and experiment a lot to accommodate my access to materials and working spaces.

PROCESS:

CLICK on the video to see the full documented process of how I made the mixed media plates
  • I bought some ready-made dinner plates and measured the diameter.
  • Then, I printed the coloured illustrations acording to the dimentions on a sticker adhesive paper.
  • After cleaning the plates properly, I removed some of the backing paper in the center and aligned the design.
  • Starting from the centre, I stuck the design down.
  • Because of the curved shapre of the plates, I had to make cuts around the paper so the design would sit flat.
  • Once the design was in place, I sprayed it with a setting spray to preserve the design.

  • Using tweezers and glue, I carefully placed down sequins to add dimention and dusted glitter to enhance areas of the design.
  • After that, I went around the plate rims with gold paint.
  • Once the details were finished, I mixed up liquid resin with different shades of glitter and sealed off the plates.
  • Because of the curved shape of the plates, the resign would always pool at the bottom, therefore I kept having to work in multiple thin layers and turn the plates often so the sides would be coated well.
  • Each resin coat had different types of glitter and they built up shimmering layers that added holographic effects to each work.

Problems I faced included: I was working in winter, so the resin wouldn’t cure properly. (I had to calculate using extra hardner to compensate.) I also live in a small appartment, meaning that it was toxic working with the chemicals without proper ventilation. I made sure to use gloves, an apron and facemask when working and would often put the plates in my shower with the ceiling fan on or would put them on the balcony when I slept so I wouldn’t breath the fumes, (despite the weather being too cold.) The process took a lot longer because of these challenges and would have been better in a more controled work environment.

Once the fronts were finished, I painted the back of the plates black and sealed them in resin as well, this was to provide a strong contrast so the fronts could stand out without distraction. In order to present them, I got some deep, square sized picture frames in white and glued the plates to them. The white colour unifies the series and provides a clean backdrop so the bright colours and textures of the plates can really stand out well.

The frames allow the plates to be displayed in a elegant way like 3D paintings that can be displayed on shelves or hung on walls. The plates are so shiny and holographic from the different layers of resin and glitter that when you see them in real life, you have to move your head around and see them from different angles to appreciate the textures. You many wonder, why I painted the backs if you cant see them, but because the plates are 3D, when you look at them from the side, you can see the back. Even it’s a tiny bit, the detail helps.

In the end, I’m happy with the outcome. There are areas where I could improve. However, in relation to the challenges and obsticles I faced, I think the results were good. I believe that the nature of experimentation is trying new things without knowing the exact results, so having a few errors is part of the charm. I think what’s more important, is being inspired to create and turning that inspiration into fuel to make something new. One day, I could try making cermaic plates, though it doesn’t really matter. I just go where ever the inspiration flows~

Here’s How To Support My Creative Projects Online

Watch the Review Video here

I made a ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ Page. You may ask, what is ‘Buy Me A Coffee‘?

It is a support payment platform where artists and creatives can be funded for their creative endevours. The term Buy Me A Coffee refeers to the fact that you can support your favourite creatives for as little as the cost of a coffee.

Buy me a coffee support page
CLICK to see the page

About a week ago I actually released a Patreon account, which I think is the most popular payment site for creatives. However, I don’t really like their model. Patreon is a subscription based website, meaning that you get direct debited every month, and on the other end, the creative feels obliged to create new types of services on a monthly basis. While that business model works for some people, I don’t think it works very well for me.

I’ve been a freelance artist since I was 14 years old, and have been creating commissions, merchandise and original content for years. For the time being, I am working on creating online art tutorial videos on youtube, illustrations, and have several large scale projects in the background. (More about them below).

Honestly, I’ve thought about this since 2014 and am actually very anxious about putting myself forward. I have receved many comments from people saying that they liked by work, but receving verbal apprasial is still different to financial support. I have made many campaigns in the past, and never released them to the public, because I was embarrised that nobody would sign up. Though I have the same anxieties, I’ve decided to be brave and put myself out anyway instead of hiding myself away like I used to be.

The large scale art projects have been going on for years, yet it is very difficult to get government art funding within Australia. Therefore, I’m open to crowd based funding to assist with the production of these projects.

There are two projects I have been working on.

How much wood can a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
“The Great Wizard Phoenix”, photoshop, Jessica McLeod-Yu, 2019
  • 1) NOVEL – I have been writing the sequel to my first novel The Wish Bringer, called The Life and Death of the Great Wizard Phoenix. My first novel was an amazing achievement, especially since I published it at 21 years old. However, the publishing company I worked with was a really bad one. For this next novel, I really want to do a better job at finding legitimate support from the professional litterary world including editors, and alternate ways to publish and reach the right auidence. (The link above allows you to read snippets of the new book).
  • 2) ANIMATED FILM – I’ve been working on an independent animated film since 2017 about my experience walking The Camino de Santiago. The pre-production is completely finished (scripting, storyboarding, designing, budget, time management, etc…), and it was in the application process for being funded by Screen Australia for the last 3 years. It had been approved and gone though many approval rounds, but was let go because of lack of arts funding especially due to COVID-19. The intention was to use the funds to hire staff to assist with the production of the film. One of my greatist ambitions of this time is to finish this film! It has a lot of passion, and without tooting my own horn, I believe that it has the potential to be an award winning film.

While I am extremely confident in my art making skills and experience, I’m still learning how to be better at being a business person. Managing different social media presences, advertisting, reaching the right people who support my work, all while trying to make an honnest living is quite a challenge, and definitly skills that were not included in art school. Though, I am growing and learning every day, there is still much for me to learn as a professional artist.

My intention in the future is to create more information pages about the above projects, so that you can understand in more dept about what I’m doing, and ways you can support and be a part of the process.

Anyway, for time being, if you enjoy seeing my artwork and creative endevours, I would appreciate it greatly if you could donate, even if it’s the cost of a coffee. I am forever creating more and more things, because it is my true self and passion, and it gives me so much joy to be able to share my creative tallents with all of you! By having financial support, I can step closer to creating art full time with focus, as opposed to diverting my attention to other types of jobs for monetary support.

Converting an Old TV into a Crystal Display Case

This article is acompanied by a video:

A few years ago, I found an old TV at my Granny’s house. I tried to turn it on, but the technology was so out dated that there wasn’t even a power socket to connect. It seemed a shame to throw out. I really liked the look of it and wanted to give it a new life. The desplay screen on the inside was like a giant lightbulb, and there were no imput holes to plug in a computer. I’m not a trained electronics person to mess with that stuff, so my next thought was to install a small tablet on the inside and keep the TV box shell for cosmetic purposes.

However, there were complications with the screen I bought, and I wasn’t able to use it in the end. After thinking for a while, I realised that I had a lot of crystals in storage from when I used them as decorations at the book launch for my novel “The Wish Bringer”. I realised that I could use the TV shell as a display case to store the crystals. First I removed the electrical components, cleaned all the parts and spray painted the case red (to match my other red decore). Using recycled cardboard, I made a small ramp to place inside and covered it with fabric, that way the crystals at the back can be seen, and placed some battery powered fairy lights inside to complete the look. The batteries run out very quickly, so maybe in the future it would be wise to change them out for outlet ones, but other than that, I’m very please with this project. It’s been a few years already since I made this cusomisation. However, everytime I look at it, it gives me joy and pride for making such a one of a kind piece. It’s also a good example of repurposing something that would’ve been thrown away and making something inspiring out of it.

3 Ways to Use Models as Reference Animation & Comics

Drawing backgrounds and different angles are often challenges for artist, which include animators, storyboarders, comic artists and mangaka to name a few. I’ve come up with 3 easy ways to help and take your art to the next level. Using Dolls and Toys, Making Paper background Models, and Using Digital 3d software and games

This article is accompanied by a video tutorial:

Using Dolls and Toys

When wanting to draw characters from different angles, it’s useful to use posable dolls as reference. In the example below, I wanted to draw a cut where a knight was charging towards another knight on his horse. I also wanted the ‘camera’ to pan around the character as he ran to make the shot more dynamic. Drawing the charging scene itself is a challenge, because horses are difficult to draw for most people. However, drawing a camera pan really adds another layer of complexity to the design.

I got a posable Harry Potter doll and sat him upon a horse statue with a pencil in his hand, placed them on top of a Lazy Suzan turn table and took videos from different angles and positions. I then used a dragon shaped piggy bank over to the side as scale reference.

This is solution is extremely easy and cheap to re-create. I didn’t need reference for details, so it didn’t matter to me what kind of toy I used as long as I could move the limbs to the position I liked. Artists are known for using the wooden mannequins as pose reference. However, some toys have a lot more articulation and have the added benefits of coming with face, hair and clothes, which gives you more points of reference.

After that, I can import the footage to my computer and watch it in slow motion to study the poses. Depending on your artistic style, you can copy the poses in your own style, or draw directly over the videos and rotoscope it.

Making Paper background Models

When I was a little kid, I remember making paper doll houses with my cousin Stephie. The process was extremely easy, all you had to do was fold paper to make boxes and trays. This became the inspiration for the next process.

Drawing backgrounds to scale is a real skill. I’ve read plenty of books and know the formular of how to draw perspective, but let’s face it, drawing accurate perspective is BORING. Haha, (soz background artists :p). Here is another very easy way to create reference that you can use multiple times for backgrounds and settings.

In this example, I wanted to draw the inside cloister of a cathedral. The architecture is very repetitive in that there are arches, symmetrical windows and columns. While it is possible to copy photos and have a still background image, what if you want to walk down the halls or see the corridors from different perspectives? The answer is having a 3D model where you can go around it from all angles!

To do this, I went into photoshop and made an A4 canvas (the size of my printer paper), and on the long plane, I drew the basic shapes of the corridor. I drew an arch with symmetrical windows and columns and copy and pasted them next to each other. Using the ruler tool, I made rectangle and square shapes as guides. That way I could print out the shapes, cut along the dotted line and glue the parts together. I made several of these rectangular cuboids and placed them in the position I wanted. I placed the models on top of my cutting mat, which had a grid on it. Using the grid can be useful too because it shows the lines moving towards the Vanishing Point, which can be an extra point of reference. After that I used a Go-Pro type camera with a warped fish-eye lens to go down the corridors. (You can just as easily use your phone or webcam to do the same thing.)

In the same method above, you can export the footage to your computer and use the shots for reference by copying the footage or rotoscoping it.

BONUS TIP: If you want to draw a scene in different times of the day, or with special lighting, you can position desk lamps around your models and study the way light and shadow hits them.

Using Digital 3d software and games

This method is a bit more difficult, because it depends on having extra skills and computer software. If you know how to do it, you can create 3D models on a digital animation software and use that as reference. I personally, I can’t use 3D software, because I get motion sickness. Instead, I use the Sims 4 to help create scenarios. In the Sims you can create houses and buildings and have your Sim character perform actions like dancing or eating. You can either take screenshots or using a screen capture software, record what’s happening. This can be useful for everyday life scenarios. However, if you want something more complex, like a plane taking off, you wouldn’t be able to do that seeing as there are restrictions within the game. Though, if you are making a fantasy type story, you could always use a fantasy style 3D game as reference too.

WARNING: I’ve noticed that a lot of Webtoon/ webcomic artists have been using Google Sketch Up in their comics. However, instead of using it as reference, they have been tracing over the shape in such a precise way that the backgrounds end up looking very boring. I would suggest that you use these methods as guidelines, but to

Painting a TAMBORINE – Tutorial

How to Paint a Tamborine - Tutorial

Last year, I was facinated in painting unconventional items, such as instruments. In December I custom painted this adorable tamborine inspired by Stevie Nicks. The video below goes through a very detailed process, which includes: masking and priming the surface, transfering the design using carbon transfer technique, painting the design using acrylic paint and paint markers, fixing mistakes and damaged areas, and sealing the paint.

For those that are familiar with my Youtube Channel, I normally post videos showing digital art. In comparison, painting real objects needs a lot more time and space to not only prepare the materials, but also to prepare the space and lighting to record. Because of these extra factors, I created and used a special camera rig to use with recording traditional art and physical objects. I make blog post earlier on how I designed and made it, if you’re interesed in making one.

Please CLICK on the video below to see the full tutorial on how I painted this tamborine.

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLbxTceRn6TZ0IC4fKqOnQ
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child/
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child/

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MUSIC:

Jessica McLeod-Yu

Background Art For A VTUBER – Speed Draw!

Background Art For A VTUBER - Speed Draw!

I’ve been using Adobe Character Animator CC to create a virtual vtuber avatar of myself to record myself speaking for some of my most recent videos. I think it’s great and really fun to use. For me, I get really nervous recording myself directly in front of a camera, (and it’s even worse having to edit the footage). Therefore, I think it’s amazing to have the opportunity to use my art to create a character of myself, which eliminates some of the stress, and lets me focus on the more important stuff – sharing my art making process and techniques with you guys. This speed drawing video is about how I designed the background art, based off my real desk. I hope you enjoy it!

Please CLICK on the video below to see the drawing process on how I created this background, which includes spoken commentary.

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child/
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child/

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MUSIC:
“March 3 Song” – Jessica McLeod-Yu

Book Binding Vlog

Book Binding Vlog - Jessica McLeod-Yu

I have always loved creating my own booklets and used to make photocopy style comics and magazines. Though, an actual hard cover book was always too complex for me to figure out at the time. Towards the end of 2020, my curiosity was sparked again and I wanted to give it a go.

The Vlog below talks about the process of creating my first hard cover book, from dying the paper, sewing the spine and making a paper press, as well as the challenges I faced along the way. Book binding is a whole discipline in itself and difficult to execuite well. However, I thought this was an endearing project and it gives me so much joy using the final book as a journal to write and sketch in. Each page is individually dyed and has it’s own texture and colour. (And it also smells delicious!) I intend to try out more book binding styles in the future, but for the time being, I’m very happy with how this one turned out.

CLICK on the video below to see the full Vlog!

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com​
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLb…​
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111c…​
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111ch…​

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Cheap & Easy DIY Camera Rig

How To Make a Cheap & Easy DIY Camera Rig

This last year I became more serious about publishing more videos on my youtube channel. For the time being I’m more comfortable publishing speed drawing videos of my digital art. That is because it is easier for me to do screen capture recordings on my computer. In contrast, making progress videos of real life art projects have been a challange, such as changing light (day light and indoor lights), getting phone calls when I’m using my phone as a camera, the table shaking when I move and more.

To solve these problems, I decided to design a camera mount that would allow consistent recording for traditional art. The frame is made of PVC pipes that are strong, light weight, and can be taken appart for easy storage. The top part has X and Y sliders that allow for easy repositioning of the camera, and the open frame structure allows room to add fabric to be used as a potential photo box.

While it can be used to film progress videos, I feel as though it also has the potential to be used for animation as well. By attaching a webcam, and having Dragonframe installed on a computer, this frame can be used for stop motion animation as well. So if you’re the type of person who likes more organic, textured artwork this can be an easy solution to a faster work flow for digitise your traditional artwork.

In the video below I talk more indept on how I came up with the idea, and I show how objects look when they are positioned within the rig.

CLICK below to see the full video on How To Make a Cheap & Easy DIY Camera Rig

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com​
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child​
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child

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Summer Vibes by Mike Leite https://soundcloud.com/mikeleite​
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/3flRW7C​
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/Bohw8ikZaSI​
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How To Make a Portable RECORDING BOOTH – Studio VLOG

"Portable Recording Studio" Jessica McLeod-Yu, rocket child

I’ve been recording my own music and dialogue for years to go with my animations and videos. However, it’s always such a hastle getting all my equipment out and prepared, especially if I have to travel. This last year I decided to come up with a solution and build a PORTABLE MUSIC STUDIO inside of a briefcase. It’s a cheap, lightweight and professional way to record dialogue, music and sounds on the go, especially if I have to visit clients or friends. I’ve already tried it (as demonstrated in the video), and it works really well and takes away the hustle of setting up random bits of equipment.

It’s still a bit difficult to focus on performing, and recording documentary footage, which is why the guitar video bits don’t sync up. However, I have discovered the wonders of Adobe Character Animator and making my own character avatar, which has allowed me to playfully express myself, without having to be directly. I think it’s pretty cool.

(For those who wonder what I sound like singing… now you know.)

CLICK below to see the full video on How To Make a Portable RECORDING BOOTH – Studio VLOG.

If you ever make your own recording project inspired by this, please link it down in the comments.

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com​
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child​
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child

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MUSIC:
“December 1, 2020” – Jessica McLeod-Yu