Monday, 15 January 2018

Making a modelling clay figure

Before Christmas I spent some time revamping a character in a book I wrote a few years back.  It occurred to me that to help me with the drawing it would be good if I could have a model to work from.  I always struggle with profiles and obscure angles of the head. 
Now my modelling skills do have a lot to be desired, I do like to give these things a go however, so here is my little tutorial for making a 3d figure.

So I'd like you to meet Pigley!  A cute toddler who is discovering new and exciting things about her world.

So how to start creating her???  Well first off I got some wire and bent it into a vaguely stick figure shape.  (really thought I had a pic of this ageist but apparently not.)  for the head I just made a loop shape.  Make sure your arms and legs are the same length as each other and that each end has a loop of metal. You can see the feet in this image are just loops.
Now get out the foil!  I found the heap foil I had was a bit useless... Actually it was very useless all round.  But I had some proper stuff and this worked far better.  You want to compactly wrap the wire structure to flesh out the bones as it were. 

Here you can see my little person now looks more person than stick!  Why bother?? Well if I made the head completely out of clay it would 1, be very very heavy and 2, very expensive!  This way you don't waste materials.

Next step was to get some flesh coloured clay and create the head shape. Because you make a loop in the wire at the beginning you will find the head should twist around or fall off!

Now bake you clay for about 15 minutes.  This is something I hadn't thought to do before but it made a huge difference.  The key thing to remember is to make sure you have all the facial features you want.  You don't even need to add hair.  If you wish to you could also add flesh to the hands and feet or anything else that will be exposed.

Once baked I allowed to cool and then started work on the rest of her, adding clothes and hair.  I also added a stand so she wouldn't fall over.

Lastly, into the oven she goes (I felt like the wicked witch then lol)
Baked on 130 for 25 minutes (from a cold oven)  In future I would pop a mug behind as she did tumble back at one point and the back of her hair caught slightly.

And here she is all finished.  There is lots I'm not that happy about but I still love her.  My first partially successful attempt at modelling a figure.

Why not have a go yourself!  I'd love to see what you create!

I am popping by Handmade Monday again, so why not pop by and say hi!

Jen xx

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Personlised colouring books

Last year I had an idea! (March to be exact)  Well I had a few but time really didn't help on getting many done! Well my idea was to create personlised colouring sheets which would combine my portraits and my illustrations.  So over the rest of the year I created a variety of different images, each containing a child.  The children on the pages were headless!  I'm sorry, yes that sound a bit brutal! But it was a necessity!

So why headless?  Well I needed to be able to draw the heads on seperatly so that all the children in the colouring book would be the same child!  (hence the personlised bit!)

So I can now create colouring books where the child is the focus of every picture, they are exploring and enjoying all sorts of environments from deep sea diving to  riding giraffes.

I really have had lots of fun with this project and I can now offer these colouring books for £20.
Fancy a look in one I was commissioned to complete for Christmas?  This one only has 16 images and also has 20 plain sheets at the back.

If the video doesn't work here is the link.

Here are a few other images.

If you want to order one of these books then please pop me a message.  I havn't got these live on my site yet.

Well I will be popping by Handmade Monday to see what other crafty bloggers have been up to, I do hope you will pop by and have a look too!

Jen xx

Friday, 5 January 2018

Parenting the crafty way #6

Well Hello there.  I don't know about you but sometimes children totally confound me.  I have worked with children for over 10 years before I stopped to extend my family.  I have had the pleasure to work with children from 2 to 18 and what have I found?  They are all totally different.

Now I thought all that practise would make parenting a doddle!  In fact my eldest was pretty easy going on the whole, and she has so far survived to see 16, not taken drugs, had a boyfriend or become a smoking obsessed alcoholic!  YAY!  (huge win)  So when it came to child number 2 I thought, 'hey man, I totally got this!'
OMG how wrong was I!

Well on the plus side not only has number 2 reached 5 years old and started school in one piece but we also went on to have a number 3!

Now I don't want to go into too many details, but to say that the last few years with number 2 has been very difficult for me is a little bit of an understatment.  I've had to deal with impressive tantrums and child who is so stubborn she will deny herself things she is desperate for just so she can be in charge or right!

As parents it is so easy to blame yourself for being a bad parent, that we did something wrong.  This isn't true!  At least I know this isn't true but I find I blame myself for so much.  We have been on a few different courses and spoken to several professionals to help us be the best we can, but still things have been a bit off.

All my other crafty parenting posts have been as a result of these courses.  I had been trying to create environments for my young ones that promotes praise and pride in their achievements as well as a way to express emotions and explore their world.  Now generally these things have been positive and we still utalise a few, especially the wow wall (although this has had a make over, so more about that another time!)

Today though I felt I really had to share my latest idea.  I realised earlier this week that when little 2 has a tantrum and hits out she really isn't happy about it, in fact she is in such torment with her emotions that a tantrum is exhausting and traumatic for her.  I've tried many different systems and theories to help her but nothing really seems to work.  So thinking cap on, this is what I did!

The calm spot

Yesterday I bought lots of exciting goodies which I popped in a new bag.  The bag contained items I felt might help her feel calm, safe and distract her.  There was a squeezy  ball, a fidget spinner and a fidget ring, a bendy snake thing, a mirror (not glass) and a really soft owl.  I didn't get anything that was either easy to break or would cause damage if thrown)

I introduced the bag to her by taking her to a little corner in my wardrobe and telling her that when we send her to time out it isn't because we are cross with her but to help her calm down.  I followed by telling her that I could see how upsetting her being cross was for her and thought maybe, instead of a time out she could have a clam down place, somewhere special for her to hide and calm herself down.

So, keen on this idea she helped me decorate the space and get it all ready.  She has cushions and a blanket to lie on, fairy lights on the ceiling and we hung the mirror up so she can see her face and check if she looks calm or not.

I also thought I would get her some ear muffs as sound sometimes bothers her as well as something to blow.  I wondered about the traditional whoopy cushions but they are full of foam now and self inflate!  (why?  well taking deep breaths is a good way to try to calm down and I thought by inflating a whoopy cushion she would need deep breaths and then there is a payoff of sitting on it and making a funny noise!)

Well so far she has been to her calm spot twice and I have to say she has enjoyed her space.  Fingers crossed it helps her.  Will keep you up to date!

Do you have any tantrum related good tips?

Next post will be something crafty but really wanted to share this with you.  If you got to the end congratulations... sorry it was a bit wordier than usual!

Jen xx