Making an Arty Sketch Book – ART VLOG

I recently used up all the pages of my first hand bound sketch book, and decided to make a new one.

I’ve been working on this project for a while now (due to crazy life stuff) and finally finished it off this week. The book itself has a similar design to the first, (mainly because I wanted to use the suade fabric and not waste it). However, I also wanted to push my creativity. Instead of drawing the cover design, like I did with the previous one, I wanted to experiment by sculpting it.

CLICK to view.

I recorded some of the processes and made an Art Vlog video. Please have a look. Some of the videos were recorded live via live streaming, some with my iPhone. I couldn’t record everything due to needing to concentrate on the task at hand, but hopefully the write up below explains anything I missed out from the video.

Paper:

I dyed some heavy paper stock (A4 sized, 200gsm) in a mixure of tea, coffee and bicarb soda. Then I dried each page in the oven. I really like this decorative touch. The pages get dark coffee stains and burn lines from the oven racks making each of them look unique and different. I really love this. Pure white paper sometimes intimidates me. When the paper is too clean and precious, it can stop you from experimenting, but when the paper is already marked and soiled, it takes the pressure off of being perfect and it allows you to experiment and be more relaxed when sketching. At least, that’s how I feel.

Binding:

The book binding process is still a bit challenging for me. I’m not at the stage where I can bind by heart and still need to use tutorials for reference. Book binding is a very specialised craft that takes a lot of practice to master. I don’t feel bad about not being perfect. Compared to my previous books, I think this one came out more refined. In comparison to my previous attempts, I’ve definitly improved.

Cover:

The materials for the cover were left overs from my first book, (the cardstock and suade fabric). Instead of wasting the resources, I decided to use the same materials, and adapt my design to suit them. I used an A4 piece of paper as a template and added a few milimeters around it. For the spine I measured the width of the text block, and glued everything together. During all stages of the process, I kept putting the paper back into my home made book press to squish the paper down. I think one of the major time eaters of this project was waiting for things to dry and sit in the paper press.

Decorative Design:

Last year I went to the aquarium and was inspired by a clown fish I saw, especially since the reef was lit up with a black light and made everything underwater look neon. I first drew up a sketch of how I wanted the cover to look and used it as the base. When I was ready to sculpt, I put a piece of baking paper on top of the sketch to protect it. I used Super Sculpty to follow the design and shape of the anemone, clown fish and shells. I think Super Sculpty is the best clay to use for detailed sculpting. Even thought it’s more expensive than its competetors, I think the price is worth it. When making the 3D rock shapes, I used aluminium foil to make the basic shape, then I added clay on top. This technique allows you to make your sculptures lighter and not use too much clay. I also used an assortment of clay shaping tools that I bought from a dollar shop. It’s possible to shape clay with your hands alone, but it becomes more difficult to refine the details. Unlike the clay, I don’t think brand name matters as much when it comes to the tools.

I probably spent about 4 hours sculpting. Depending on the layers, you may have to bake the clay several times before you’re happy with the result. Then I used a black acrylic paint mixed with some quick drying medium to paint all the layers. Once that was dried, I used acrylic paints to paint the colours. I added some metalic gold dry bushing to make it match the neon colours from the aquarium and then used some glittery nail polish on the tips of the anemone and shells to give them some more detail.

Once all the decorations were done I used some strong two parts resin glue. Because of the difference in materials, it was important to choose a very strong clue to make sure the parts stuck to the suade cover well.

Reflection:

I used some thin decorative craft paper for the inside of the book cover. However, the paper dried a bit wrinkly, which was due to the book changing position when it opens and closes. Next time, I may have to pay better attention to how the paper dries to avoid this issue.

The cover decorations look amazing. I feel a bit nervous putting it in my backpack like my previous notebooks incase it gets damaged, so it’s just been in my room for now. As I start using this sketch book more often, I’ll have a chance to see how well the decorative pieces can restist constant wear.

What I do know from my first book is that it feels so special to have my own hand made sketch books. I feel so proud and inspired when I use them, which is so different to using store bought books. I like to use my sketch books as personal diaries so the book themselves end up contributing to my history as well.

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.

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