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~

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

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

Art Law Basics – Part 2

Art Law Basics -part 2

Originally Posted 23/04/2013

 Art and the Law? Part 1 

Starbucks Logo

Design art is different to copyright because it patents the shape, pattern and ornamentation
of the design, enabling the designer/ company to monopolize that particular design for 10 years.

Trade marks or ™  patents names and logos.  It is important to register your business name or domain main before someone else takes it and says you stole their name.

When enabling people to use or hand over patenting  rights you need a contract. Contracts can be oral, in writing, partly written partly orally or implied by people’s conducts or actions, but the best way is a written contract.

Contracts are like promises, which are legally binding and hold consequences if broken.  They are used to flush out issues and let each party know what is happening, without misunderstandings.

Licensing (giving permission Assignment rights (ownership)
Written contract yes yes
Verbal contract yes no
Retain ownership yes no
Time limit yes no
Royalties payed yes no
Geographic area yes yes
Moral rights yes yes

moral rights chart

Business structure

This was the area that I got a bit lost in, so I hope I can explain it ok (@.@)

You can either structure yourself as an unincorporated or incorporated business, which means is your business run by you as an individual or is the business an entity in itself.  Some examples of an unincorporated business (who works for profit) are sole traders, partnerships or joint venture and for incorporated it’s proprietary Ltd company and co-operative.

A person who is a hobbyist can earn income and doesn’t have to pay taxes, but at the same time they can’t deduct expenses from tax.  If they happen to make over a certain amount then they have to become a professional.

 The next point that was addressed was being an employee in a company compared to a contractor from another company/ or free lancer.  If you are an employee you have to work a certain amount of maximum hours, you have payed leave, workers compensation, tax and superannuation.  Also anything you create at work is copyrighted by the company you work in compared to as an individual.

Finally, the last point was on using your art for prizes and competitions.

  • They have their own terms and conditions
  • Are you eligible for it?
  • Is there an entrance fee?
  • What happens if you don’t win? (Do you keep your copyright?)
  • Do you license or assign your copyright
  • Non-exclusive licence
  • Moral rights
  • The use of your name and personal information (Do they give you credit for the final product?)
  • Warranties
  • Attendance at events (at your own expense)

 

Here’s an example of how artists can be tricked into signing off the ownership of their copyright. Presented by Catherine Moffat a lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Ourimbah campus:

Say for example, some of your friends are in a band and want you to design their logo, in return they will pay you a few dollars or buy you a few drinks, or something like that and because you’re friends, you say ok.  All is going well until your friends make it big and start touring, meaning that the original logo that you designed is now being printed on merchandise such as CD covers, t-shirts, hats etc…  After seeing this, you then ask your friends if you could get some royalties, but they then tell you that they have signed their rights off to their recording company.  The recording company then says that you have no rights to the image anymore because you sold it off for those few beers in the beginning.

The moral of the story is when agreeing to design something for your friends (or clients), make a licencing contract in writing, which states that you still own the copyright, but you give them permission to use your image.  If one day they get famous or use your image for profit, they would then have to pay you back royalties.  

Art Law Basics -part 1

Preface:

Today I came across a situation where some people wanted to print and sell some T-shirts with a logo on it, thinking that it was perfectly fine.  However, is it? 

Two years as part of my Professional Practice course for my Bachelor of Fine Arts, I was required to blog about certain lectures such as the place of art within the law.  Inspired by the above situation, i’m going to re-blog my original articles for anyone wanting to know more about art and the law.


Art Law Basics -part 1

Originally Posted 22/04/2013

 Art and the Law?

<== Copyright: Am I even allowed to use this picture??

This week’s Professional Practice lecture was a bit special and was attended by the fine arts and design students on how consider the legal side of their practices, which was presented by Robyn Ayres from Arts Law. Arts Law is an organisation based in Sydney who gives advice to artists based on legal and business issues.

The first issue discussed was on Intellectual Property and copyright.

Copyright:

  • Is automatic and doesn’t need to be registered
  • © symbol acts as a warning to other people
  • When written “©Name of work, owner, date
  • Gives limited rights to creators over a limit of time – all their life and 70+ years after death (in Australia)
  • Can’t copyright thoughts, concepts or ideas, only the physical work or product
  • Can be owned by one person or by multiple owners
  • If employed, copyright goes to the company, not the individual
  • If you sell work, the copyright is still retained by the artist, unless stated otherwise
  • Copyright can be exchanged via a contract
  • Can give others permission to use copyrighted material with a licence.
  • Permission includes: copying, re-producing and using pieces of the work
Then we talked about Intellectual Property and it’s relationship to the internet and that having a website incorporates many opportunities and risks.  Websites can’t be copyrighted as a whole, but is broken down in to pieces such as pictures, text, animations/ film, music and computer programming (which is also included as text).
Advantages of a personal website:
  • Personal space on the web
  • can have an online presence
  • retain control
  • can customize your space and features
  • can show up on search results
Disadvantages of a personal website:
  • Cost to run it
  • need technical knowledge to build it
  • Needs to maintain it and keep it up to date
Advantages of using social websites:
  • Be able to connect to people via the social network
  • Find people with similar interests and connect/ build communities
  • easier to use compared to building your own website
  • can share and promote your ideas and works 
Disadvantages of using social websites:
  • Loss of control
  • Privacy issues
  • Signing over certain rights when entering a contract (terms and conditions)
  • Lack of customization
  • losing yourself as an individual within a large community 
Terms and Conditions offered by social networking websites:
  • Terms and conditions is a contract
  • Every website as a different set of terms and conditions
  • They are in accordance with the law.  Bigger companies often abide by US laws as opposed to Aus laws.
  • What permission are you granting them?
  • How will your work be used?
  • Policy infringement and the consequences
  • You’re responsible for your own copyright

Tips:

  • Online infringement is easy, so look out for it.
  • Use the © symbol on your works
  • Some features enable you to disable the right click so people can’t save your images
  • Stream V.S download when you have videos
  • Upload low resolution images of your work
  • Watermark your images
To be continued in part 2…

My Process – Black Light Photo Shoot

heading
wink
For the last few months I was planning a photo shoot based on my ‘Wink’ drawing, (featuring Lapis from The Wish Bringer) which I finally carried out last Friday.

First, I ordered some clothes online that looked similar to drawing, making sure to take into account shipping time.

Then I started thinking about the background.  At first I was going to project some images on to the wall, however that idea fell through, and I came up with another one.

Last month I drew up a design of a black light inside of a bell jar, and got my uncle to safely wire it up for me, (picture below).  I found the glow effect to be really cool, and figured that it would create a nice atmosphere for the photo shoot, (which it did).

IMG_0901

For some finishing touches I hung up some butcher’s paper on the wall and painted a flared out design with the acrylic paints that I had available at the time (most of them had dried up actually).  Looking back on it though, I should have bought some fluorescent paint before hand so that it would’ve glowed with the black light, oh well.  Next time.  That being said, the design did look nice in the final photos.

IMG_0966

After that, I need a way to prop up my black light, (and LED light up speakers), so I found an easy solution.  All I did with put a cardboard box on top of my draws and cover it with a blanket.  The mirror doors on my cupboard probably aided in reflecting more light, though that more coincidental than planned, because the wall next to it was the spaciest place available.

IMG_0967

Then I set up my DSLR camera on my tripod and tested out the setting.  Because the black light was so dark I needed to slow down the shutter speed, which means, if the photo was taken by hand, it would’ve come out blurry.  However, since I had a tripod that didn’t really matter.  After make up, clothes and all the electrical equipment being set up, I was ready to take the photos.

Actually, my camera ran out of batteries during the shoot, (should’ve remembered to charge it before hand), so I switched half way to my video camera, which also takes still photos.  The video camera doesn’t have manual controls like the DSLR, however it still did a good job.

IMG_0968

I didn’t edit these two photos, besides cropping, to show how amazing the lights look.

IMG_6591 2

 CIMG0045 CIMG0054

CIMG0056

I edited the next few photos though, because my face was hidden in the dark.

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CIMG0022 CIMG0027

 

 

 

 

 

I also did this composite image for fun to show the merge between photography and drawing. Doesn’t look as good as the others, because I needed to edit the colours so that they looked as close as possible, but it’s cute none the less.

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