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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mighty Mugg WIP: Part 2

So this far into customizing my mugg I have already modified the figure with sculpy clay, primed, and sanded it. That means I'm ready to start painting.

It's not often that I use acrylics, but thanks to having gone to college, they were something I did have to purchase for some of my classes. Which means I happen to have quite a few tubes laying around still. I'm currently working with Golden acrylic paints, and Utrecht brand acrylics but I think just about any kind of paint will do.

First I start off by taking a look at the color study I already have laid out. Once again, that means the image below:

Color Study

I mixed up a nice violet with Ultramarine blue and Cadmium red, adding in some white and black until I got to a color I was happy with for the skin. From there I split half the mixture and added some more blue and black to darken it up a bit more for the color I would then use for the leather parts of the figure. And to make sure that the mixtures wouldn't dry and become plasticy I added in some retarder (again I happened to have the Golden brand).

Now even though I have the retarder in the mix, I want to use thinner washes as I apply the paint, so I make sure my brush is saturated with water before tinkering with the paint, and I do a few tests of the mixture on some scrap watercolor paper.

Once I'm satisfied I begin to paint the figure. At this point I still have the toy broken into pieces to make it easier to paint, so make sure you know which pieces are what and which way they are going to be facing before you paint! 

Above are some of the pieces with a few coats of paint on them. Using a brush loaded with watery paint and slow strokes, I was able to mostly paint without leaving behind any traces of brush marks. I am using a synthetic brush for the painting (retired watercolor brushes that no longer hold their shape). Giving them a little swirl at a 45 degree angle in the paint helps to narrow the tip for places that need more finesse.

I want to mention that I didn't draw on any of the details prior to painting them on. Since I have my original mugg designs out, I am instead eyeballing where certain details are placed. I did run into a problem with the yellow paint mixture I used, which would not apply evenly. Therefore those areas are a little rougher than the rest. 

I've still got a bit of painting to do with this toy, so you'll have to stay tuned for another post. But here's a preview of the detail process to come (a little cleavage never hurts!).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mighty Mugg WIP: Part 1

As I may or may not have mentioned in a previous post, I was one of a couple of people who were chosen to modify a Mighty Mugg to be on display at Gen Con this summer. Above is the entry I submitted, and I suppose that since the blank arrived in the mail recently that I ought to begin documenting the process.

Firstly, we were asked to submit in a character we would like to create. I chose the character of Quenthel Baenre from War of The Spider Queen book series, mostly because I really loved her character though out the books. I used the cover she appears on as a point of reference for designing the mug. 

Paint Me!
Now, I am not simply painting the blank mugg. I will need to add onto it, and to do so I will use sculpy clay, which you should be able to pick up at just about any craft shop. I happen to have some already (+ for not having to run out for more), which I plan to use. I begin by pulling off smaller pieces (because I have small hands) and warming the clay up with body heat in my hands to soften it while rolling it into a ball. From there I can easily pull off pieces as I need in order to sculpt with. 

When I was finished adding on the clay, I decided that I wasn't going to bake it for fear of ruining the head of the actual toy. So instead I brought a small pot of water to a boil and dipped the sculpted portions of the head into the water for about 3-5 minutes. Once I pulled the head out the clay had set and become hard just the same as if I would have baked it. 

(Oh yeah, I started this process by cleaning the mugg with some soapy water. I used dish soap for this and was careful not to get any inside. This is important because the mugg tends to have some chemicals on it from where it was made.)

First, I pulled my mugg apart. I found a video on youtube that shows the process. Then I taped the pieces onto some sticks (I used colored pencils since I have so many of them), making sure to tape off areas where the joints will meet. Once that was done I used a spray primer on the pieces.

I did run into an issue with the spray primer dripping down some of the pieces. Don't worry if this happens, since once the pieces are dry you will sand them down so they are smooth. I also used an empty egg container as something to stick the pieces into, though due to the clay on the head I had to use a small vase so it wouldn't tumble over. 

So that's it for the first part of the mugg process. Now that the pieces are primed and sanded down it's onto the painting stage.