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?

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…

Continue reading

Lil’ Tomodachi

My latest munny toy creation is a character from the longest manga I’ve managed to read in its entirety, 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa. My version of the enigmatic cult leader, Friend, comes with a reversible head which displays the Friend symbol on one side and one of the creepy masks he wears on the other.

Designs were drawn directly on the vinyl with Posca paint markers with no primer. Hopefully I should be auctioning this one for charity soon too.

Mini Dofferina

The header image above is of Doffers getting stuck in a bootleg Pokemon kids ride, wearing her favourite wolf hat. Taking inspiration from her choice in animal headgear and her life in ballet I came up with my next design.

Read on to see how little Doffers comes to life. Continue reading

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

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