Give a hoot! Don’t pollute.

Another trip to Munnyworld as I take on a Rooz toy.

The Rooz is shaped like a legless kangaroo? or maybe a ghost chipmunk? And so it has proved to be the most tricky to design so far. In the end I decided to just ignore the shape completely and overlay an owl motif onto it’s odd little body.

I wanted an owl because earlier in the year Kidrobot released a limited edition 8″ dunny by Nathan Jurevicius which was one of the coolest things I’ve seen this year. It was an owl design based on a creature from Lithuanian folklore with geometric patterned eyes, soft flocked surface and wings instead of regular dunny arms. As my birthday came around Doff tried to buy one for me, but unfortunately they had sold out, so then I thought I might try to make something similar.

I didn’t want to copy NathanJ’s style too much, plus I wanted more detail so I also took inspiration from traditional/neo-traditional owl tattoo designs, especially those by Ashley Love. She does fantastic work and really has an original approach to one of tattooing’s most well worn subjects. My final product isn’t anywhere near as good as anything produced by these two artists, but I like it, and it’s the most accomplished piece of vinyl painting I’ve done so far.

For this toy I did the initial guidelines on the vinyl with a Biro, as recommended by Gangtoyz. Lines were much clearer than pencil marks and they didn’t smudge at all. I also wore latex gloves for the entire time I was painting, which seemed to make a great difference to how well the paint held onto the surface. As always, the paints used were Posca paint markers.

Thanks for looking, and you can send me suggestions for what to make next in the comments.

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Bonus Material: Vinyl Preview + V&A Museum

Very sorry but I’ve been insanely busy this week and unable to bring you an episode of Theatre of The Unconscious. I promise I’ll be back next week and you won’t want to miss the action-packed comic I’ve got planned. In the meantime I’ll give you a sneak peek of my next vinyl toy project and some pictures of cool stuff from a recent visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, probably my favourite place in all of London. The header pic is from a sketch of Doff in samurai armour that I drew in the Japan gallery.

Always give your vinyl toys a soapy soak before working on them.

coming soon...

Sculpture at the entrance to the V&A.

Doff checks out a gorilla made entirely of wire coat hangers, part of the Power of Making exhibit.

Puppet theatre behind the current Annie Lennox exhibition.

I make a clay pigeon (geddit?) at the design festival.

Doff makes one too.

very... aerodynamic?

Contemporary dance with the God of Manga

For this post I have a brief look at Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s TeZukA which had its première performances at Sadler’s Wells in London a few weeks ago. Stirred back into recollection by the performance, in the next few days I’ll also be listing a few of my favourite Tezuka or Tezuka derived/inspired works and explaining why I think they’re worth checking out.

TeZukA is a show which combines dance, martial arts, calligraphy, video projection effects, science lectures, and Japanese history into a celebration of Osamu Tezuka, Japan’s legendary cartoonist and animator. It features interpretations of his famous characters such Astro Boy, Black Jack, Buddha, Hyakkimaru as well as Tezuka himself, with trademark beret and glasses. The mostly traditional themed music is by Nitin Sawhney (whom I remember from his excellent soundtrack to the game Enslaved – Odyssey to the West), played live by musicians on one side of the stage.

As a love letter to Tezuka’s work and influence it works really well and you can clearly see that choreographer Cherkaoui cares deeply about the stories and characters he’s putting on stage, and as a viewer you get to appreciate the style and technique in Tezuka’s artwork as panels and pages from his comics are projected and animated onto the background and on giant scrolls which roll down from the ceiling. However, I can’t help but feel that for those unfamiliar with Tezuka, the performance would lose a lot of its impact as a lot of the piece is celebration without that much explanation as to why these things need celebrating.

With my extremely limited knowledge of dance I can’t comment too much on the choreography but to say there were some interesting scenes but largely I was more interested in what was going on around the dancers, with the exception of Astro Boy’s entertaining robotic moves. Discussing the performance afterwards, one of my more dance savvy companions shared their opinion that “often the themes and ideas behind contemporary dance are more interesting the dancing itself”. I also have to criticise the length of the piece which seemed to loose steam soon after the mid-point intermission, despite a vigorous drum & bass breakdown towards the end.

If you are already a Tezuka fan, it’s definitely worth seeing for an interesting take on his life and characters, plus the nostalgic feelings it’s bound to arouse. If you don’t know his work then go read some of his books and take a peek at The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga by Helen McCarthy. And read my next post about my personal Tezuka highlights…

Doffers’ Theatre of the Unconscious #5

The fifth in a series of comics detailing the slumber-time adventures of a madwoman. This week’s comic is a bit of a cheat in that it only has one panel. But I reckon it’s a pretty good panel, and it tells you the whole story. Nothing much interesting or comprehensible happens in the rest of the dream but at least I got the chance to draw one very cool image.

That’s Doff rescuing my dog, Suzie, who can be seen in the post banner above too. In-progress pics and notes on some new inking and colouring techniques after the jump.

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Roboglow

Another Munny toy project. This time I took inspiration from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s TeZukA production which I went to see a few weeks ago. I’ll most likely write about the show for my next piece but for now here’s a toy I quickly put together which took design ideas from the poster for the performance. Here’s my initial sketch.

I was trying to recreate the sketchy feel of the drawing on the actual toy so it kept a sort of rough look (plus my hands are really shaky). Keep reading to see the final result…

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Doffers’ Theatre of the Unconscious #4

The fourth in the series of Doff’s dreams translated into graphical goo.

This one is a bit rougher than the last because I didn’t have too much time to spend on it but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Below is a sketch of the beast provided by the dreamer herself, for use as reference for this episode. Note the “pumpkin” mouth.

 Thanks for looking, see you next time.

Doffers’ Theatre of the Unconscious #3

Apologies for the delay but finally here’s the latest episode in Doff’s dream saga. Click the comic for a larger view.

Despite spending several hours wrestling with channel settings to get the colours to come out how they looked in Photoshop, this was a fun one to make. Plenty of swiping from Mike MIgnola’s drawing style and Dave Stewart’s colouring as I tried to mimic their tone for this little story. I’ve also been reading the DC Comics Guide to Colouring and Lettering Comics by Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein which I can’t recommend enough.

Layout thumbnails, notes, and inked page after the jump.

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Doodley Cephalopod

My next toy design came about when the Foomi figure I was looking at fell over and I noticed its spiked head looked a bit like a squid or cuttlefish’s tentacles. I was already considering a graffiti/doodle style for the toy but decided to also incorporate some cuttlefish-esque features to make it a bit more interesting if you looked at it from different angles.

Here’s the initial sketch. I simply scribbled away, drawing whatever came to mind until all the space was filled. I would have drawn straight on the vinyl but I needed to get a rough idea of spacing and what looked better. Read on to see how it turned out. Continue reading

Doffers’ Theatre of the Unconscious #2

It’s time for my second installment of Doffers aka The D-Man’s dreams in comic form, now IN COLOUR with even more ANTARCTIC DWELLING CREATURES! Although I have a terrible eye for colour, looking at the super-vibrant work of the incredible Dan Hipp inspired me to at least add a little bit of colour to this one. This comic takes place at night, which also allowed me to keep it simple and muted. Click the image for a larger view.

I was told specifically that it was the Danny DeVito version of The Penguin from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns so that’s who I tried to depict, but turning it down a few notches on the creepy factor. 

Thumbnails, pencil sketch, completed inks, and notes after the jump. Thanks for looking and see you next week. Continue reading

Abusing toys is my new hobby

Writer Dave Barry said that the four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl. I’m certain he was referring to records but standing in front of a tall glass cabinet full of vinyl art toys in London’s Forbidden Planet several months ago I suddenly felt the need for vinyl in my universe. I had no previous interest in toy customisation, despite being an admirer of the work of many artists involved in toy design, but ended up walking out with a blank white Raffy toy produced by Kidrobot. When I then discovered that there was a dedicated kidrobot store nearby, I soon had accumulated nine toys, one of each blank model they make.

So now I enjoy designing custom toys and here’s how I made my first one (with the assistance of the great folks at the kidrobot Munny forum), which I call Cherry Blossom Fawn. Continue reading