bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 12:31pm on 03/04/2013 under ,

Even though we’re no-grain there’s a jar of white flour in the cupboard. It’s a vital part of a lot of my crafting, mostly in flour glue for papier mâché. What I forgot that it’s great for, until recently, was salt dough.

Woo, salt dough.

I used to sculpt a lot, with polymer clay. I still have a good bunch of polymer clay, but most of it is old and pretty much useless (the problem with an attic being your studio, there’s a lot of extreme temperatures). So when I got the bug to sculpt some things some months ago, conditioning clay that had a 50% chance of turning into a texture I liked wasn’t really something I wanted to do. So I checked the proportions (1 part salt to 2 parts flour, enough water to make it a “dough”) and made a batch.

Making salt dough.

It’s fabulous stuff to work with, silky but with a good body, sticks to itself with water, the only draw back is how it takes FOREVER to dry, in or out of the oven. From some of the feedback my snaps on Instagram got I gathered that a lot of folks must have played with it growing up.

One of the reasons I got into papier mâché was that it was a media that didn’t cost anything. I needed to make “art” for school, there are copious free weeklies around a campus and I was baking bread so there was always flour (which is stupid cheap in bulk, anyway). I’ve spent maybe 15 years just collecting junk to make things with, the home craft media of papier mâché and salt dough fit perfectly into my world-view of making things out of what you’ve got (sewing is where this breaks down for me, ohhhh fabrics and notions, you dirty temptresses).

I miss sculpture a lot, it’s what I relate most media to, from sewing to painting. Which, I guess that’s obvious in how a lot of my sculpts turn out. I pretty rarely start with a plan, it’s all enjoying the process of making something.

There is a plan.

Anyway, my point is this. I’ve never seen anyone waste their time playing with clay. I’ve seen fabulously ugly beasts formed lovingly, shapes built and destroyed in endless cycles, the surprising genesis of something amazing. But always there’s something, never nothing, even if you junk it all at the end.

If you’ve got a free evening and a bit of flour and salt on hand (ideally at least a quarter cup of flour), give it a try. The worst thing that could happen is you add too much water and end up with soup. But if you only add a little water at a time you’ll be fine. I mean, if you’re doing this in your home, nobody will see the stupid stuff you make. You don’t have to prove skills to anyone, just let yourself play.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 08:35pm on 02/01/2013 under , , , , , ,

I tend to feel like I don’t make enough or do enough creative work. Compared to the output I used to do, I don’t. I try to remind myself that it’s okay! I work a fulfilling, creative job and sleep more and am pretty much happy. But it bums me out, especially since so many folks I know are constantly pumping out notable, awesome work. So when I sat down with my Flickr archive for this year (because Flickr has been my memory bank for years now), I didn’t expect much. This was the year I stopped doing focus months, I mean, how much could I have done?

Turns out? A decent amount.

Focus month: Branding Ma-Mé. I built and did the branding work for a friend’s site. It was super fun and I got paid for it! I like making other people’s ideas because I just like making stuff more than thinking of what to make.

Non-focus things made:
• I painted a painting that I then slid behind a bookcase, because I couldn’t throw it away, but why keep it?
• A TARDIS piñata for a dear friend. This has been re-Pinned on Pinterest about a million times.
Tardis piñata


Focus month: Airbrush! I have an airbrush and love it, but spent this month really learning it.

Non-focus things made:
Rebuilt arbour in yard.
• Murder-wall anniversary present for Chase.
Anniversary present, murder wall


Focus month: Mending & old work. Cleaned a bunch of stuff, got rid of a bunch of stuff, a really great feeling.

Non-focus things made:
• I did get a wig that is now my web avatar wig. God, I love this fake hair.
• Wrote a short-short.
Finished serialising the first draft of The Audacity Gambit.


Focus month: Chase’s show production, in which I showed you nothing.

Non-focus things made:
• Nothin. But I did start using Instagram.
Found my balloons and pump.


Focus month: Embroidery. Which was fun, but not a lot produced.

Non-focus things made:
• Taught myself eggshell veneer.
First try ay eggshell veneer, not terrible.


Focus Month: Another writing month. Editing The Audacity Gambit and working on the second book!

Non-focus things made:
• Made a sky bison costume for a cat.
• Shot a cover for TAG’s Draft 2 Lulu print.
Shooting The Audacity Gambit draft 2 cover


Focus month: Animatic. Which got extended, due to summer fun.

Non-focus things made:
Swatched my insane nail polish collection.
• Helped manage my workplace’s move to a new place.
• Made Chase a hell of a cake for his birthday.
Chase's petit fours cake, with the colours and pillars he picked out.


Focus month: Animatic, still. Which didn’t end how I expected. I decided to stop doing focus months.

Non-focus things made:
• Research for a friend’s Halloween costume.
• Ridiculous Adventure Time/Breaking Bad drawing.
• Modified a department store ball-jointed doll into a dryad.
Dryad Doll outside


•We bought a car, wtf.
Built rig for San’s cape from Princess Mononoke.
• Wrote lots of TAG book 2
Emily and the hare from book two.


• Got my first hand tattoos
• Made Princess Mononoke costume.
There. Done with San's cape and hood. Ended up going for attatching hood permanently. #fb


• Worked on a thing I hope to show you guys soon.
• Made a ridiculous cake
Surf cake


• Shot photos of cats in both old west and Avedon’s In the American West styles as presents.
Christmas Kitty: Avedon edit Bailey


So, a decent amount of things, I think? And through all of it, trying to keep my nails sick.


Not a bad 2012, let’s hope for more in 2013!

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 10:36pm on 24/09/2012 under , , ,

And with that, we went and bought something fancier than we imagined we could.  And got a hell of a deal.

It’s the 2013 Veloster. VELOSTER. From the first time I saw a picture of its stupid face I was taken. Then Chase showed me this banned Dutch commercial:

Yep, it’s got three doors. To fuck with Death.

Somehow, we thought the price we were looking at was for the base model. But it turned out that the car we were looking at online actually had a fancy package that added a crazy nice stereo and a sunroof. And leatherette seats. So we ended up with a car that gets at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway, in a low-moderate price range, that feels like a luxury car inside. And looks like a space ship, a little.

Oh, and there is a touch screen inside?

We named him Jeff.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Oh god, I failed this last last two month’s focus.  I did not make an animatic.  Oh, but that’s because I used the paintings I did to make this.

I know it's just a Lulu of a draft, but. #fb

And I spent a bunch of time making this

Dryad Doll outside

And writing like 7,000 words of the sequel to The Audacity Gambit.

Bailey helps me write book two.

And researching how exactly San’s cape in Princess Mononoke works. Talking to Chase about his show, which is now next spring (a good thing!). Being excited with my favourite people about their new house and looking at fridges with them. Watching ALL the Adventure Time and drawing this.

Breaking Bad - Adventure Time

I don’t know if the focus months are necessary any more. The reasons why I needed an outside force to make me stop feeling like I was neglecting things, or leaving things unfinished have eased up. The stress of the commute I used to have is in the past, my brain is sort of coming together, I dunno. but I want to make stuff unbound.


Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

If you follow me on Instagram (handle is bzedan, just like it is everywhere), you may have seen some thumbnail progress for the animatic.


Value thumbnail.

Chase and I went on a drive, listening to the song that always seemed like it’d be perfect for a trailer for The Audacity Gambit to me—Fairies Wear Boots. Which, obvs, cannot use that song, but Chase plus synth can get me the feeling I want. We parsed out what scenes would work for a trailer, without giving anything away. I made a list of them when we got home and I’ve been thumbnailing them out since.

Style-wise, they’ll be along the lines of what I did to illustrate Morningstar. I want plain black and white stuff I can drop into the POD draft 2 copy.

Plus! I’m about halfway through the edits Chase made, and I’ve dropped in the first of the scene inserts. He’s got about 25 pages left to read! I really want to be sending this thing to Lulu, illustrations and edits and all, at the end of the month. Might be able to make it!

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

So, what’s the status right now?

  • The outline of the second book is where it was last week, that’s fine, because:
  • I’m about a third into the first write of the chapter that has to be inserted into the first book—which I’m not going to let Chase (my beloved first reader and editor) read until he is further along in going over the edits of the first book. Incentive, folks.


As I may have mentioned before, once he’s gone over the edits and the new scenes are plugged in, I’m getting a couple copies of The Audacity Gambit printed POD, for another read-through. It’ll need a cover though, right? How about this:

Shooting The Audacity Gambit draft 2 cover
This was fun to do and a great image test as well. I’ll probably revisit the visual theme.

Shooting The Audacity Gambit draft 2 cover

So, progress continues.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Oh why am I leaving the intimidating stuff to the end?! At the beginning of the month I made a little to-do list for myself of what I wanted to get done. I’ve crossed off what I’ve done so far:

  • Darn socks
  • Drawer of old drawings
  • Bind W mags
  • Go through closet
  • External drive
  • Blue bin
  • Mending basket
  • Go through old journals
  • Bind old journal leavings
  • Mend pants

So, I went through my old journals, notes from high school (!!) and college (which I left um, seven years ago?), photocopied inspiration things, loose old drawings, etc.  A lot got recycled, some got rebound, complete art class journal/sketchbooks that I felt were a good window into my brain and/or a decent complete object were kept, even if they were from when I was 19.

Old journals, best of

Some things stayed more or less loose sheets, but were sorted into labeled folders and envelopes. Everything, including sketchbooks that I’d rebound a couple of years ago, got put into two plastic file boxes. Try to get in THERE, silverfish.

Boxed up

By doing all this, I’ve turned un-organised and intermixed photos, collections, journals, notes, personal ephemera that filled about seven small to medium boxes into two easy to go through boxes of things that are useful (some things got integrated into my ephemera, multiples and found item stores, which need themselves to be re-organised).  I also ended up with a single medium box of photos that should be gone through and albumed some time.

Now for the last three, huge things. If I don’t get to my external drive I won’t cry about it.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 08:16pm on 02/03/2012 under ,

An interesting thing happened during this focus month. Stylistically, I always feel like I’m all over the place, what veins of consistency I have are shallow and general. But when I tried to follow the more traditional airbrush styles in lettering and theme, I couldn’t do it. When, in annoyance I went to those themes of mine I thought were shallow and general (metal, sf, rawr), it totally worked. So I can’t do gorgeous traditional airbrush script like you see at county fairs. But I guess I can do gothy, metal ones?

And the t-shirts with stars and names and cute skylines not so much. But I can do t-shirts.
Airbrushed tee, not your usual skyline

Airbrushed tee, Fab-U-lous

Airbrushed tee, the creeping moon

So. Maybe the aesthetics I started picking up years ago have stuck with me this long for a reason.

The bottom two shirts are up for grabs, BTW. They’re a general size large tee.


Tomorrow: what March’s focus month is.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 12:58am on 15/02/2012 under ,

I do not have steady hands, this I have learned as I’ve continued following the lessons over at How to Airbrush. I am not bad at shading spheres though. Here, have some tablet snaps of my learnin’.  The second one has pictures Chase drew for me that I then shaded in:

I am also not good at palm trees. Much to my everlasting dismay.  The dagger stroke! I am terrible at it.

But! I can do pine trees okay.  And I think I may be not bad at depicting eldritch horror.

Cannot wait to start playing with these themes using the Miami-traditional palette I have.  On t-shirts. Because having a dark planet or creeping tentacle monsters is way cooler in neon.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 07:33pm on 07/02/2012 under , ,

For some gift holiday last year, Chase got me an airbrush.  It’s not just any airbrush, it’s an airbrush gun and air compressor specifically made for nail art and miniature work. It came with little stencils and fake nails, because some wonderful lady in southern middle America had made an investment and then decided against it.

I haven’t been very good with this gift, I use it sometimes, and got most of the awkwards out, but I don’t use it nearly enough—nor have I practised basic technique enough with it.  So this month I’m doing the exercises over at How to Airbrush and getting this tool to where most tools and skills I have are at: skilled-workable. Which just means that I can use it to do what I want, without thinking about it, but not feeling like I’m perfect at it.

Not that I can’t bully it into doing what I want as it is right now.  At the start of the month I went up to Seattle and had a semi-planned (as in, I brought all the things and we picked through what things we’d use) photoshoot with the amazing and wonderful Libby Bulloff.  I pushed my airbrush to the limit of the total area it can cover, which was good to learn—because now I need one that is made to cover large areas of skin, since I love the images Libby got.


(airbrushed through lace and tipped nails with white)


(acrylic housepaint up to wrists, airbrushed gradients from there)

Alas, not all life is glorious photoshoots with wonderful people, so when I got home, I started doing the airbrush lessons. The first was lines and dots. I’m at a disadvantage, because my kit is for miniature work and I’m still pushing it to work bigger.  But that’s why we do learning things.

Aaaaand gradients.  I can do gradients pretty well on dimensional stuff, but not on flat stuff. I think a big problem here is scale. I need to figure out the ideal scale for this particular airbrush.

Beyond doing these lessons I don’t have any particular goals set, but I love using this thing, so who knows what will come of it?




Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.


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