Sunday, December 19, 2010

For anyone interested in see the work from the Munky King Omi Show, you can view it all here.

A lot of the work is available for purchase and what makes a better holiday gift than original art? Check out the up and coming talent as well as great customs from established folk like Steve Talkowski and Spanky Stokes.

Also available for purchase are my Om'phisto and HBr-1138 Omi customs (click the names to see the listings).

I'm involved in some exciting collab projects for next year and I'm really looking forward to seeing the end result and, of course, letting them loose on the world.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Munky King Omi Show TONIGHT!

Tonight is the Omi show at Munky King's Melrose location from 7-10 pm. I submitted two pieces, both of which are available for purchase. It was an open call for artists to customize Munky King's own platform toy, the Omi. Its an ingenious contribution to the platform designer market. It was a lot of fun to work with and definitely gets you thinking in different terms.

Visit the Omi Project site to see previews of a couple of the Omi's popping up tonight. Its going to be a fun show.

For more info on Munky King, check out there site here.

Here are my submissions (along with the shapes they started as):

Om'phisto
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which started as:
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And the HBr-1138
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Which started out as:
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I was lucky enough to have teaser shots of both featured in their show promo art:
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So come out to the show and support all the established and emerging artists at the show! Its going to be a lot of fun to see how this new platform is interpreted by so many artists.

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MUNKY KNG
7308 Melrose Ave. (x Poinsettia)
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday night I checked out the Sketchbot show at Munky King on Melrose. It was a fantastic show, there were so many great pieces from so many amazing artists. It was really inspiring.

At the show I found out that Munky King had actually developed their own designer figure called "Omi". Its a really unique system that allows for both hanging a piece on a wall or just displaying it standing as a full, 360 degree piece. They're a bit hard to explain. Check out Munky King's site for details and pics of the Omi. They're having an open call for artists to customize, paint and display their own Omi creations at a show they're hosting Saturday Dec 11th. Grab an Omi, go to town, and have it to their shop by Dec 1st to have your piece in the show.

I'm currently working on two. One is being turned into an Omi Mephisto and the other is getting turned into a (shocking shocking) robot. I've had some of my own pieces up at my shop throughout 2010, but am having a bit of an exposure issue due to the simple fact that I've never been in a show and nobody knows who the hell I am. With my job eating up ridiculous amounts of my time, I only have so much time left over to self promote. Besides being a really fun project on it's own merits, I'm hoping the Omi show can help get my work out there more.

As soon as they're done, I'll get them posted up. I just finished modding out the physical form today so I'll be painting em up every night this week so I have time to get it in before the Dec 11th deadline. Whether you participate or not, you should definitely check out the show December 11th as I'm sure it will be a great time. Munky King is a great shop and its really cool how they support new talent. Its important as artists (or as art lovers) to support places like Munky King, not just for our own work's sake but for artists everywhere.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Sketches

A few new pieces to concept some bad guys from an upcoming collab comic (I'll be writing). Next layer will be armor variations. Right now its at the exploring shapes stage.

The idea will be cobbled together armor from a wide variety of sources, all very natural looking as a whole.

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And one for fun. A co-worker makes this ridiculous sound (on purpose) to show disapproval and it sounds remarkably like a combination of a Predator and a bong so now this is happening:
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Now I'm off to concept one of my web comics that I'm actually drawing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

9th Circle Relase Update!

9th Circle Robotics received their first review this week HERE from Battlegrip.com. Battle Grip is a great review site run by a guy who actually creates his own designer toys, games and customs. As an artist, the best reviews always come from people who have actually participated in their industry (whichever "industry" that happens to be). Obviously there are other great reviewers who are EXTREMELY knowledgeable fans (like pituvision.com), but nothing beats feedback of the 'artist on artists' variety.

So I want to extend my thanks to Battle Grip for the review, the praise was welcomed and the criticism even more so. I also liked that he thought my bot prototypes were metal, that would have been fun, but no, not one piece.

The one criticism I did receive was on price. I went all over the place trying to figure out how to price them. That's the most difficult aspect of art for me honestly.

So giving his suggestions consideration and some re-examined math, the 9th Circle Robotics bots singles are now only $36 (free shipping). However, buying a set of 4 will be $125 (set of 4 = 1xAldiss, 1xGibson, 1xUnderhill and 1xRAY in any paint scheme. Please wait for personalized invoice before paying when buying 4).

I've also dropped the Mephisto series 1 Mephisto's (the 3D version of my logo in various incarnations) to $25 each.

Art is for sharing and spreading around, not living out its life in a studio. Hit em up now at the shop!

Related Aside:
The other great issue battlegrip brought up regarding resin "toys" in general, is the lack of articulation. I've always considered resin pieces more in the mass produced art piece/statue category, which I'd honestly prefer as a label for my bots. Engineering articulation in general is extremely difficult and not something my just starting out self was going to be able to pull off under current conditions. Aside from that, resin is not really a material that lends itself to lasting and smooth articulation like vinyl or the other soft plastics. Someday I would very much like to see more toys of my creations, but I'll be leaving that up to full on professionals.

Because writing and illustration are, and always have been, my main passions, after the remaining 9th Circle Bots are painted and posted, I'll be focusing entirely on web comics (the collab I'm writing and the one I'm writing/illustrating) Hopefully one of those professionals out there will produce real toys based on them. We shall see!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Excited? Just a little.

Currently working on more 9th Circle sets to put up in the Mephsito Designs Shop (where a few are available now). I'm also putting together a Mephisto Designs media kit to send off to a couple whose work basically sparked my interest (and offered a bit of guidance) on how to do this sort of thing. I'll post pics after its complete and I know its in their possession. I also sent an exclusive set off to Pituvision, who's a fantastic toy reviewer and a great guy all around. If you're into toys at any level, you should be following his weekly show, its always entertaining no matter what he's covering. After he posts his review, I'll post it (or a link to it) here in the blog.

Other than 9CR, I'm actively working on 3 web comics. One will be more of what a web comic normally is. It will be very deranged (I'm fairly certain I've mentioned this before). A second will be a horror based story that, while released on the web, will be a continuing story line posted up as a couple pages per week. So... a web comic, but definitely not in the traditional trappings of what "web comic" means to most people. Its a pretty original concept and I'm looking forward to getting it posted up.

The third, which I'm incredibly excited about, is a collaboration piece with a friend who is DEFINITELY one of my favorite artists working today. He's been kicking around the concept for some time. Its a sci-fi adventure romp with a great scope and some very engaging characters/scenarios that I found really compelling to write about. I'm very excited to be working on it and I can't wait to let it loose on the world. Pretty sure we're shooting for a January release. We're really feeding each others idea flow and every new layer is just making the whole thing better and better. It will be something classic and something new all at once. I'm definitely excited about the whole thing (did I mention that already? Good, cuz I'm excited).

I'll be sketching a LOT this weekend between paint coats, locking down designs for my personal projects (especially since I have A LOT written for each of them) as well as a few of my concepts for the collab piece.

Keep an eye out!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

ROBOTS FOR SALE!!!

9th Circle Robotics bots now available in the shop!

TK-421 edition
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S-Fish II edition
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EP-Zero edition
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Alpha edition
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Monday, August 30, 2010

1st Batch of 9CR Bots on Sale THIS SATURDAY!

That's right, on sale this Saturday at the Mephisto Designs Etsy Store!

There are 16 bots (4 Gibson, 4 Aldiss-327, 4 Underhill and 4 RAY) in 4 paint schemes. They will be sold as singles for $45 (free shipping). However, buying a set of 4 (one of each bot in any paint scheme) will be $140 (please wait for personalized invoice before paying when buying 4).

Each bot will come in an individual poly bag sporting a full color, 2 sided 9CR header card. Bots will be packed with EXTREME care.

For the uninitiated: 9th Circle Robotics are non articulated resin pieces hand cast and individually hand painted. Each bot is a 1/1 paint deco never to be reproduced. *Aldiss-327: 4.25" tall *Gibson: 2.5" tall *RAY: 2.75" *Underhill: 2.75"

As some sets of 9CR bots are already spoken for, the remaining bot sets will be released at the beginning of each month (beginning with this Saturday's batch) until they are all gone.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

REVIEW

This is, I believe, the first real product review I've received. I was pleasantly surprised and humbled by it honestly.

Thanks very much to Battlegrip for the coverage. His blog is a must follow for the art toy world and he also has great coverage of a few mainstream gems from time to time as well! Read the review here!

The only 9th Circle update I really have is that they're moving along, they'll be completely cleaned and primed by the end of the day today and painting is all that remains. That's by far my favorite stage so bot after bot should reach completion from this point on!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

RAY Painted

The fourth has arrived...

RAY (2.75" tall)
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ALL FOUR!!!
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ALDISS, GIBSON & UNDERHILL PAINTED

RAY will get finished tomorrow/Friday and be up this weekend. Until then, here are 3 out of the 4 bots in the first paint scheme (of many) "Boomer 5.0". It was inspired by my love of rusty refrigerators and cars from the mid 20th century. All the bots will have a certain amount of wear and tear, but this group being inspired by reference photos set mainly in junk yards (or people's yards... for whatever reason) look ever worse for wear. I blame George Lucas for generating my love for all things worn and battered. Growing up on his "used universe", I saw, beautifully demonstrated, how to give any strange 3D concept instant realism. Ralph McQuarrie's awesome concept design certainly doesn't hurt either. I'm going to look into gold auto spray paint... see if I can't do a little homage to 3PO ala Dune Sea grime.

ALDISS-327 (4.25" tall)

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GIBSON (2.5" tall)

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UNDERHILL (2.75" tall)

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GROUP SHOTS

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Also, check out the other blog I put up this week (below) that, for once, is more than just updates: 10 Things I Love and 10 Things I Hate in the Art World.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

There's a .25 Stroke Between Love & Hate

As I gear up for a new in house position starting soon (after a terrifying year of little to no freelance and interviews), I'm on a mad dash to get as many of the 9th Circle Robotics pieces painted before my free time is reduced to nights and weekends. In between coats, details and washes, my mind tends to wander. Most of the time it wanders to action figures I want to hunt down, music I need to acquire and films I need to see. Sometimes, my mind drifts to slightly more stuffy and pretentious realms. Today seems to one of those times.

Over the past year, scary though it may have been, I am grateful for the time I was given to reflect on where I stand as an artist, what and where I want to be and finally, what about the creative world I love most and which parts make me wish I was never a part of it.

And so I give you the 10 things I love and the 10 things I hate about art (we'll start with a down beat and end on an up swing):

TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT THE ART WORLD:

10. Stupid art puns like my title to this blog. I find their use most often stems from the desire to create a feeling of exclusivity and warn the uninitiated "you don't belong here". Everyone should be encouraged to try their hand/ear/voice in some art form and anything that puts someone off the path to discover their own creative identity is just wrong.

9. People who brush off creatives who abuse drugs. No, I don't advocate frying your brain or burning holes in your liver/nose cartilage, but c'mon, if we somehow stopped all the creative thinkers in the world from messing with their own perception, 90% of what makes life bearable would not exist. You own an iPod (or other shiny overpriced MAC product)? Thank drugs. Do you enjoy stand up comedy? Thank drugs. Do you enjoy the classic literature of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Bram Stoker? Thank drugs. Do you own any music? Thank a LOT of drugs, drugs you've never heard of and don't even want to know about. If you own/enjoy any of these things and are vocal about how beneath your high horse recreational drug users are, all you're really doing is entertaining the rest of us.

8. People who think "classics" or certain periods are the only eras worth studying. All creative avenues are meant to be extended and built upon. Change is good, fresh ideas are good, trying new things is good. Fearing change or discouraging exploration is bad, so bad that if everyone did that, the creative life blood would stop flowing and die of boredom.

7. People who think what's happening now is all that matters. Respect for what has come before leads to understanding, and its that understanding of What Was that leads us down the road of What Could Be. Sometimes the now gets stuck and needs a kick start to move forward again. Having a working knowledge of the past ensures that a step forward is never a step backwards into the land of Been There Done That (I'm looking at you reboot/remake frenzied film world, copy-cat-to-the-point-of-three-whole-distinct-sounds-right-now modern rock and auto tuned vocals, where ever you may be).

6. Photoshop/Illustrator "brushes". When I first saw the vine like lines, paint splatter and distressing popping up everywhere in print media and advertising, I thought they were interesting. I was also under the impression that each one I saw had been an original creation. Creating elegant design out of chaotic bits is no easy task except, of course, when those chaotic bits are quite literally cookie cutters stamped around randomly.

5. The way most kids coming out of art (specifically design) school all seem to produce the same work with the same current gimmicks in place. Clearly the syllabus had more to do with brushes (see No. 6) and "in" fonts than it did creative voice and individuality. Seeing the general soullessness of their mass produced aesthetic, born from what is supposedly an institution of advanced knowledge and training, makes me all the more glad to have taken a few foundation pouring basics and then skipping out before they made me drink the punch. An individual voice and sense of style sets one apart, its a serious advantage. Its a shame it doesn't seem to be a concept strongly encouraged at such a crucial stage.

4. People who claim one medium is ever better than another. You'll hear lots of people scoff at digital painting. Guess what, paint is expensive. When you're starting out, you can't be shelling out 9 bucks for a toothpaste sized tube of paint, let alone enough for a palette. But if you can achieve a similar look and feel with a program simulating that paint, then by all means go for it, not to mention all the effects one can ONLY achieve through digital painting. On the other end, if you want the texture, there's no substitute for a canvas, some sable hair brushes and a paint splattered floor beneath your easel. Neither is right, neither is wrong. A powerful and effective image is a powerful and effective image, I don't care if it was done on Painter or with a stick spreading mud on the sidewalk.

3. Designers who like to show off that they've memorized a billion fonts. When I started out I was one of these useless sods I'm sorry to say. Until I had a moment of clarity best summarized in the words of Henry Jones Sr. from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "I wrote them down in my diary so I wouldn't HAVE to remember them." Same goes for fonts. I pull down a little menu, I see samples, I pick something that suits the job and go with it. I don't care whats "in" (well, sort of, but only so that I purposefully avoid those), I don't care what its normally used for and I honestly don't care what its called. Let's keep it real, there are only TWO real types of fonts: serif or non. You want an apple or an orange? Everything else comes down to shade of apple or orange. Or its a special weird font you're not gonna use regularly so why bother letting it take up cerebral hard drive space? Its right there in that little pull down menu available 24/7, 365, 366 in a leap year. Don't get me wrong, its a useful time saver to be able recognize and match fonts quickly, its the mentality that can often accompany that knowledge that irks me.

2. The lack of realism exhibited by commercial artists/designers that complain about clients who don't get what they were trying to do. Really? Do you know what commercial means? You're selling something. And its not yours to sell. This does not mean become a total sell out, it does not mean you shouldn't push as many creative boundaries as possible. What it does mean, is that you need to put your ego aside and realize this isn't about you and its not about the free range creativity you've idealized for yourself. You want free reign to take your art where ever you want? Wrong field. Commercial art is about creating the most aesthetically pleasing product with regard to its target audience. There's still a lot of creative freedom within that. Consider the audience, consider the message and design appropriately and you'll find a surprising lack of friction between yourself and your client. If your client still doesn't "get you", guess what? You studied art, they didn't. They shouldn't be expected to recognize your obscure references and style evocations any more than you should be expected to fix their budget crisis. A commercial artist must be a business person first and an artist second. Clients are considering a billion different factors that could lead to their product's success or failure. You're but one piece in that puzzle.

1. People who do not recognize comic books, video games, cartoons, or toys as art. Probably thought number one would be something more provocative? Nope. The general geek culture market is still viewed as nothing more than kids stuff. For some reason sculpting a perfect likeness of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow of Gizmo from Gremlins or the style of a fantasy/comic/sci-fi illustrator in perfect 3D, is not as respected as Rodin's "Thinker" or Michaelangelo's "David". Granted, their chosen media was quite a bit more difficult to maneuver, but the skill behind all of these works stems from the same place. Video games are often cheap targets for certain stuffy and past their sell by date film critics, and lets not forget "parents" or the government. Obviously they have no concept of how many gifted illustrators design these worlds, characters, creatures, weapons and vehicles from scratch or how difficult rendering software is to learn, let alone use. Games have some seriously meaty stories these days, and they have to be translated into a fully interactive experience. I'm sorry, what do film crews do again? Oh, that's right, point a camera and shoot. I'm not trying to mock film either, I'm quite the film geek, but don't even start with me on that video games will never be as good as films crap. From the looks of things, I'd be far more intellectually engaged by the likes of Bioshock or Final Fantasy than I ever would watching yet ANOTHER remake/reboot/rehash film staring the same terribly one note yet bankable actors. There have been more original ideas circulating in video games in the last 4 years than in the last 14 of film. Same goes for comics: Artists have to be able to do everything from set direction to cinematography to prop department to concept artist to costume designer. As for the writing, TRY fitting a story into sequential paneling that a reader can quite literally see coming and tell me writing a comic book is easy. Animation isn't as frowned upon as the other kooks on this list, but Western animation is still used almost exclusively for children's entertainment. The likes of Ghost in the Shell, Vampire Hunter D or Cowboy Bebop will never be prime time viewing in this country... not any time soon anyway. And all this boils down to is content bias. Craftsmanship doesn't even enter into it for the critics of these "kiddie" concepts. Bias against content has no place in art. If canvas' painted with a red gradient hang in a museum, if ancient sporks and bowls are art, if a naked dude standing around flaunting his junk is art, then so too are the works from the artists in these fields.


TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE ART WORLD (which will be shorter since they do not come with rants):

10. Adobe Products. They make the world easier and increase the amount of possibilities one can do from a meager home studio. The best part: using them in ways OTHER than intended often leads to the best output.

9. It beats whining. If you have something to say, don't whine, have some fictional character kick that problem's ass in an interesting yet allegorical story in the form of a book, comic, animation, film or song and presto! Suddenly everyone who used to call you a whiner will be handing you money to ingest your now brilliantly disguised and entertaining rants. You're not whining, you're topical!

8. The sheer number of commercial applications we have in our time. You want to illustrate? Well you could be a concept artist for any number of things, you could draw comics, you could work in advertising. You want to compose? All the classical ventures are still around or you could score films, commercials, video games. You write? Well there are a TON of avenues out there. Art is more integrated into daily life than it ever has been before. Every piece of packaging, every ad, every car, every computer... all designed and actualized by artists. Sure I'd rather be drawing crazy monsters and robots all day and someday I still may... but until then, I'm thankful for commercial art because even the most irritating of client is no match for the hell that is dealing with the daily patronage and middle to upper management of the retail/food service industries.

7. By merely participating, you have contributed to a long and fascinating avenue of history stretching back to whichever version of human first picked up a stick and drew in the sand or smeared mud on a cave wall. You have put a piece of yourself into the very fabric of human culture. You may not be your generation's Da Vinci... or are you? You never know... If you are, pray some nimrod doesn't make a conspiracy book based on your work that ends up a stuffy, takes itself too seriously Tom Hanks vehicle.

6. It pisses off The Man. There's no better way to bug The Man then to inspire some questioning of the way things work. Then you might notice all the bullshit they used for mortar. Then you might start demanding stuff gets built right and that cuts into their money and power. And that's how revolutions are born. It may not be as easy to inspire people to stand up to the machine these days, the machine is plugged in to just about everything and seems to grow more unstoppable on a daily basis. At least with art, people can say SOMETHING even if only a small amount hear it, even if they only fight back in their own heads... that's still better than if it had never existed at all.

5. The sheer variety. Its limitless. Anything that has thought put into it as a creative venture can be justified as art. From this concept was birthed forth novels, paintings, plays, sculptures, songs, instrumental music, spoken word, chairs, comics, movies, toys, sporks, video games and every culinary masterpiece (like Volcano Nachos) we ingest... you want it? It exists somewhere in some form. It doesn't exist? You can make it and BAM!, you've just added variety to the world. How's that feel champ?

4. Artists are our culture's shamans and spiritual guides. No, I did not come to that realization on my own, Joseph Campbell told me that. Well, not me, he told Bill Moyer in the six part "Power of Myth" that every artist (whether visual, written, or auditory) should ingest. In short, artists ask questions, examine, digest and explain life through their work. This work is a source of guidance, peace and inspiration to the world. You can learn life lessons from the tales of Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha or you can get the same information from the likes of Batman, Luke Skywalker, Hamlet, the Man with No Name, Transformers... whatever. Anything that serves as a metaphor for life experience can guide, teach and inspire. I'm living proof. I learned unflinching dedication from Batman, Luke Skywalker taught me that even coming from the humblest of beginnings (and getting a late start) is no excuse to not try and save the galaxy, Optimus Prime taught me that freedom is the right of all sentient beings and worth fighting for... and on and on and on.

3. Try to imagine life without art. Go on, close your eyes. Ok, ready? Art? GONE! [SCREAMS SNARLS ROARS METAL SCRAPING SHRILL CRIES OF PAIN AND ETERNAL SUFFERING]. Right? I think I've made my point: the world is better, prettier, more interesting and pleasant with art.

2. The Internets. Nothing has given artists more resources or an easier time being seen than the Internet. Since the whole rich patron paying to put artists up and keep them in bread, wine and cheese has sort of gone out of style, Teh Internets is an artist's best friend. Get a Twitter, get a blog, get a Facebook fan page, build a website, set up a shop or join something like Etsy and you're off. Plenty of people realize their potential and make their art a career that way. And its all thanks to Al Gore, cuz he invented the Internets and ruined the Ozone layer and made sure all the hookers leaving his boss' office were properly disappeared after their job was done... wait... right? [shakes head "no" at those who thought I was serious as I slip Clint Eastwood a bill to growl at them, "Get off my blog"].

1. Art is everything and anything you want it to be. To me, its a mode of conveying ideas in interesting new ways. Its rebellion. Its speaking up. Its selfish and its selfless. Its fun and its aggravating. Its a part of me that has always been there no matter what and will never ever leave me... not even if it wanted to, those knots are sailor quality and no one can hear it scream with that duct tape over its mouth [revs power drill]. Above all, art is freedom. A freedom that can never be taken from you or tarnished by anyone (unless you let it). There is nothing you need that creativity cannot provide.

Friday, May 7, 2010

SHOW ME WHAT YOU WORKIN WITH!

For anyone wondering where I'm casting these bots (and the previously released Mephisto logo figures) the answer may astound you...

my kitchen!

You're not astounded? Good, because resin work is not terribly difficult and anyone interested should definitely give it a go. Its a great way to build your own blank platform pieces, extra weapons for action figures, jewelry and just about anything else. I haven't personally figured out articulation with resin yet, but I have some theories I may be trying out some time this summer (round 2 of 9th Circle Robotics... or maybe something new... I've got some ideas kicking around).

It does take some trial and error and you definitely want to watch some tutorials (of which there are many online, I watched a couple at the Smooth-On site where I get supplies). There are several different methods and materials to choose from. It takes a lot of thinking ahead, but with trial and error, you'll learn what works and what doesn't pretty quick... and suddenly something you saw in a tutorial that seemed like it could be skipped, ends up being a really important step that saves an entire project from collapse (I'm not talking about me... why do you ask?).

Here are some pics of my "work area" aka the "we're not cooking tonight cuz I'm making robots" production area.

The whole shebangabang:
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Here are what my molds look like from the top:
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These are simple two piece molds waiting to be filled with resin. The rubber bands hold the mold together firmly, but without squeezing to the point of altering the shape. This reduces the amount of flack around the piece (molds that are not firmly pressed together will allow resin to seep into the dividing gap, causing your piece to have an "aura" of thin resin around it; easy enough to remove, but an added step to slow your process is never fun).

Then you mix your resin solution, mine is a simple white resin with a seven minute pot life (ie: work time) and a half hour cure time (though 45 minutes really ensures the piece is set and sturdy). You want to pour slowly and into the lowest point, allowing the resin to find its own level and push out air. Air pockets are bad... they result in unseemly pock marks that can render a piece useless (unless you can work it into the design). Here are some molds filled with resin as it cures:

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I've placed cardboard slabs against the mold's sides to equally distributes the pressure applied by the rubber bands (don't want them cinching in one area and flaring out another like an hour glass). The flat cardboard also keeps the bands from digging into the silicone itself. I have them gripping the mold both horizontally and vertically. I've found that just putting rubber bands across one axis (horizontal or vertical) causes the perpendicular axis to flair out every so slightly over time. The tic tac toe manner in which I've attached the rubber bands is a great way to ensure the mold is pressed together evenly.

From time to time, I'll spray and work in a bit of mold release. Its not needed every run, or even every day. It really depends on how much you're doing at a time. You'll know when you need it during the removal of a set piece, if it seems to stick a bit on its way out, its time for more release. You don't want a piece tearing out any silicone because that alters the mold's shape and that alters the shape of piece you intend to make. Silicone is pretty resilient but thin areas will tear quite easily if you don't take care of them. I use a spray mold release for a nice even coat, just two quick bursts of spray and massage it in.

So now everyone has an idea of the high class operation I have going here at the 9th Circle Robotics Labs at Mephisto Design Studios. It may have not been that awesome crayon factory episode of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, but then even PBS has more funding than I do...

I hope to have some painted bots up by the end of the weekend, if not by then, certainly early next week.

Monday, May 3, 2010

THE REST

New molds are working out perfectly every run, I could not be happier. Cleaning them up after de-molding is where its at now, pouring and de-molding. Cleaning them up is the most tedious part of the process and the least fun... but it leads to the best stage: PAINTING!

Here's the rest (and Underhill again if anyone missed him last post)

Aldiss-327
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Gibson
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RAY
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Underhill
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Might have some painted pics up this weekend, we'll see. Gotta pour and clean pour and clean pour and clean and THEN paint.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Under what?

Finalizing molds was slowed this week by a steady stream of interviews and related projects there in, including a mock magazine feature layout which was actually really fun. That's not a complaint either, freelance is fun and all, but I miss the majors and, more importantly, that regular I can count on it like clockwork pay check.

Robots don't care about the economy kids, remember that!

I have the three problem prototypes rebuilt and all prepped for molding, just have to mix and pour. A system was worked out that simultaneously vents (preventing air bubbles that cause underdeveloped little details and hands) and tells me just where limbs end and where they line up (so that when I cut into the mold, I'm not playing archaeologist, this will be like neurosurgery with a laser).

Last round one bot did come out completely fine (besides RAY's legs, since he's the only two piece model) and that was Underhill. Underhill has a canon as big as he is (but no where near as rotund) and the militaristic blood thirst to use it. He's quite the contrast to his more urban sector oriented comrades, who spent a bit more time on the book learnin' rather than the ordinance range.

Oddly enough, he's also the shortest. Huh.

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I'll be testing the other three new molds tonight and tomorrow for consistency and should have some other extreme close up shots by the end of the weekend.

What you see in the photo above is actually a very very small area. Thank you Canon for "digital macro" functionality.

A lot of mold making, if you're self taught that is, becomes trial and error, learning to think upside down and a lot of remembering to consider air pockets/pressure/flow. The previous rounds yielded quite the education. This round has seen much better prep and planning, hopefully caused by a sudden leap in skills.

I just want to knock this out so I can start painting the buggers.

For anyone who wants to see my magazine feature mock up here 'tis:

Page 1 and 2:
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Page 3 and 4:
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Friday, April 9, 2010

Rogue Robots

When you mold any piece, you end up with a solid block at first. Then you must slowly make cut after cut to remove your prototype piece. You end up with two halves and a hollow space that, when the two halves are put together a portal opens and... well no, but you do get the 3D shape you intended to mold.

Round 1 of molding these robots (way back last fall) taught me quite a bit about molding complex bots with lots of small parts. Of the four designs, I had made molds for two of them. I quickly learned to be sure to have enough of an opening so that pouring resin into the mold was not a nightmare. The most important thing I learned was the need to add extensions to any small protrusions (through the use of diced up tooth picks) to give some extra space for air to be pushed. There is obviously air in the mold when you start pouring and, inevitably, that air needs somewhere to go. Adding small extensions to parts where this is probable (limbs, fingers claws, etc) gives that air a place of its own. Sure when you pour in the resin, some of it will fill those extensions and need to be cut away later. But better to have an extra bit of flak to cut off of a robot's claw then ending up with a short claw due to an air pocket.

Round 2 of molding this week yielded a couple of perfect pieces and a couple that, due to their complexity, weren't delivering consistent results. Rather than spend tons of time (and resin) modifying and modifying the mold after the fact, I'm simply going to re pour the molds on two of them. I've sketched out the optimal venting that needs to be in place. I'm confident the next molds for them will be easier to cut in half in addition to yielding perfect pieces every time.

Its a slight set back, but a necessary step in the learning process regardless. I'll be sure to factor in the molding process ahead of time when I start designs for Wave 2 of 9th circle Robotics after Wave 1's launch.

And despite what you might read in the press about our molding process, 9th Circle Robotics prototypes Gibson and Aldiss-327 DID NOT go rogue during an attempted molding and they most certainly did not kill 36 of the 42 members of the production floor staff. Further claims that they were only subdued after sustaining heavy damage when a functioning Underhill unit fired upon them with his cannon, resulting in the need to undergo a slight redesign before round 3 of molding, are ALSO ridiculous and unfounded. 9th Circle Robotics planned for a bit of redesigning between molding sessions. The shared legal team of 9th Circle Robotics and its parent company Mephisto Designs is quite confident they will be able to get the courts to see things their way and all charges will be dropped. The public has nothing to worry about, these robots will arrive at every doorstep in the country on schedule.

Friday, April 2, 2010

9th Circle Robotics, ROLL OUT!

Resin bearing freighter has just docked... clearing shipment now.

Scanning crew clearing the shipment of foreign contaminants. Minions have begun loading shipment into the 9th Circle Factory.

It has begun!

(see previous 2 posts for details)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

9th Circle Robotics Last All April Long

This friday, the supply carrier lands at the 9th Circle Robotics "Division" of Mephisto Designs. The factory is all prepped for heavy production.

Probably as good a time as any to throw some specs out...
The roster for this first set will consist of these units:

9CR_WAVE~1>
01\> Gibson: 2.50" tall
>>[burly worker model with quite the arm span]
02\> Aldiss-327_: 4.25" tall
>>[tall & thin, incredible learning algorithm]
03\> Underhill_: 2.75" tall
>>[scrapper model, canon length equal to unit height]
04\> RAY_: 2.75" tall
>>[probable height increase pending final approval, quadruped]


I'm considering dabbling with some automotive paint for a few color ways since I'm still deciding between ALL used looking or some used/some clean. As usual, I'll probably just decide as I go. I wouldn't mind doing some high gloss enamel schemes and then roughing them up for a little C-3P0 circa '77 action.

Monday, March 15, 2010

HERE, WHERE ITS AT

With black & white prints & originals up in the shop, I'm onto digital coloring/painting. Why "coloring/painting"? Why not just 'painting'? When I'm filling in inked work, its a totally different thought process. As similar as it is to painting, it has far more in common with coloring.

Here's a recent result, a color version of my piece "OFF":

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I'm building up technique by "coloring" a few before I move into full on digital painting.

I'm a person that thrives on variety. I've spent my life reading, listening to & watching everything I can; all the while, figuring out why & how all of it came to be. I've also been drawing since I was a wee thing & moved from the typical 'wtf is that' stuff of small children to comic art to graphic design to blah blah blah... now I'm "HERE".

HERE may only be one point on a long road, but its a HERE I'm glad to have finally stumbled on. All those influences I've absorbed can take a hell of a time to process, filter & distill. Until HERE, my work lacked focus. I could tell I hadn't really found MY voice. Obviously one's voice is the answer to a never ending story (I'm still waiting for my own Falkor), but I'm no longer looking at it with a furrowed brow muttering, 'what the hell IS this even?' I may never look upon my work with total satisfaction, nor do I think I should. However, I'm at a point where I'm starting to find the work interesting, both in process & outcome.

Years ago, I'd decided that I wouldn't show my work until I'd reached HERE. Since everything I'd created leading up to HERE wasn't terribly inspiring to me in any way (other than the hopes that it was another step forward, even if I couldn't tell), it certainly wouldn't be to anyone else. So... here's to HERE. Now I'm off to THERE.

I'm not one to stay in one place for long.

A lot of the digital painting I'll be doing will be conceptual work primarily focused on pre-visualizing two novels I've been toiling with for a minute now. They're both set in very complex worlds that I'd like to spend some time designing, engineering & exploring. It can only help, surely. I've already started a few rough sketches & I'm excited to bring them to a more actualized state.

Of course, I'll throw them up here as soon as they're worth looking at...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

FIRST BATCH OF PRINTS

Today I added a few prints and original pieces to the SHOP. Yes, only black and white for now, color takes time dammit! BUT I am working on some color pieces right now. This is very much just the start of what's to come. I have a lot of pieces in progress at the moment, some are straight forward "character" type work, though I'm working on some conceptual stuff as well. Hopefully I'll have a batch of those up by the end of next week.

Feel free to show your friends... you know... or whatever... just sayin...

The 9th Circle Robotics first wave is ready for molding and I'll be securing needed materials by the end of the month for a late April debut. I can't wait to show em around, I really love them so hopefully others will too. I have some interesting promotional ideas for them as well assuming a few of my more out there ideas come to fruition.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Exploding Resin Inevitable

Finishing up the final Thank You Mephisto, which will be going out with its partner to their intended parties in the next couple days. I'll post pics after I'm sure they've been received. I'll also have to throw up pics of the two I painted up for Tess.

3 of the 4 bots for my new line, 9th Circle Robotics, are finalized. One more little issue to work out and they'll be ready to mold. These will be up in the shop either the last week of April/first week of May, depending on how fast painting goes.

A third resin piece, more sculpture in nature, is also currently in an early design stage. I'm mapping out the parts it needs, which I'll be getting together while waiting for some molding supplies to arrive for the bots.

Prints will be up in the shop hopefully by the end of this week so keep a look out for those as well. I'll post links on Twitter and Facebook once they're up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

MEPHISTO SERIES 1 PACKAGING

A week ago I debuted Mephisto Series 1 figures at the Mephisto Designs store. I could just ship these buggers naked in a little box, but what fun would that be? So I grabbed some poly bags and designed these little header cards (below) to staple to the tops.

MEPHISTO 1138 sealed:

Mephisto Series 1 Packaged 1138

Mephisto Series 1 Pacaged 1138 Back


And here are the cards alone:

Mephisto Series 1 Packaging Card

Whatta ya think?

I'm currently working on a couple of exclusives as 'thank you's' to some important inspirations behind these, as well as designs and packaging for my next project: 9th Circle Robotics.