In my ongoing experiments with sculpting, molding, and resin casting (like this one), I wanted to try out a more functional use for resin casts….Could I maybe make some kind of doll with a resin-cast face?
After a few rough sketches, I got some Sculpey out on an index card, pushed marbles in for eyes, and played around to see what I could come up with. Of course, since Myla loves to be involved, I let her have a lump, with which she made the little figure on the top left, and I came up with these two monster faces on the right (people on Instagram said they looked like monster kittens):
I still have some tricky times with molding and casting, and have wasted more than my fair share of molding rubber and resin…So I let Myla have a few of the wonky ones to paint herself…
And I added some color to a few molds that actually came out well…
(Initially, I put resin on the mouth and eyes for a “wet” look, and only sealed the faces with varnish, but later ended up sealing the whole face in ModPodge Dimensional Magic for better wear & tear).
Aside from painting them, the most fun part was trying to figure out what sort of fabric to use. So many options that completely change the look of each face! And I just used scraps of things I had in my fabric bins, including fun fur, industrial felt, mismatched fabrics, and excess pieces of a patchwork quilt I once made.
I learned from talking to other artists (have I mentioned how much I love Instagram??) that the best way to affix the heads to the fabric is to use E600, and put them under a heavy object overnight. Granted, they smell like chemical warfare afterwards, but if you let them air out awhile, the smell eventually goes away.
The first creature I made was a basic doll-shape:
…And Myla loved him.
Then I made a body for the one she painted herself:
…And Myla loved him.
I tried a more “pillow-like” one, with octopus-legs…
…And Myla wasn’t crazy about that one. (Don’t worry–it’s found a good home at my friend Corrie’s house.)
I did what Myla describes as a flying fish-fairy:
And a sort of dragonfly-dragon:
But by far, my favorite was when I tried something completely different, and made a more 3-dimensional body, with three little legs on each side.
It was my first time making one that wasn’t just a flat front & back without using a pattern, so it’s a little wonky, but I quite like it.
Annnnnd, of course, Myla loved it. She calls her “Midnight” and carries her everywhere lately. I realize these things are not necessarily made to be ‘toys” (how much they hold up to the wear & tear of kid life is still being determined), but she treats her dolls pretty well, so why not?
Thankfully, the horrendous glue smell has gone away. And after repairing her chipped little resin face a couple of times, I think a good coat of the ModPodge stuff has really helped keep her shiny & new.
It’s a funny thing, though, when she takes her little monster places. Other little girls will look at Myla and smile sweetly, and Myla will smile back…then they’ll look down at her fuzzy little monster, and their face will inevitably change to a mortified “what the HECK??” When she takes Midnight anywhere, the comments she gets stem from either complete disgust, or absolute fascination. And when people ask where she got such a doll, she says, with her sweet little 5-year old voice, “my mom sculpt it and cast it in wesin.”
Listen, I know we like weird things. And I know most people won’t “get” the same things we’re into. So we could teach her to either hide what she likes to be “normal,” or take it as an opportunity to share our weirdness with someone else.
We teach her that when someone doesn’t like something, or doesn’t “get” it (like maybe her references to characters she has heard stories of and loves, like Gamora and Groot, or Storm, or Star Wars), it might be because they just don’t UNDERSTAND it, or haven’t heard about them….but that it doesn’t make it wrong. It might just mean that they don’t know, which would be a good chance to teach them something new. People don’t always like the same things, but they shouldn’t try to make someone else feel bad for liking what they like. And no matter what, you should never EVER feel bad or ashamed for liking what you like, no matter how weird, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. If they don’t like it, that’s okay–that’s their business.
So far, she’s done pretty well with that, thankfully. She doesn’t go out LOOKING for a conflict, but so far, she handles it with grace when she does.
On a side note, people have asked if I sell these, and so far, there are many reasons I haven’t. I quite like doing them just for fun, and as much as I’d love to share them, the thought of doing them to order is quite intimidating! (Not to mention, the effort that goes into sculpting, molding, casting, painting, and sewing might be worth a bit more than people are willing to consider.)
I have trouble with that–the thought of custom work and getting rid of the things I make. It really is daunting. I worry that it might lose it’s “fun” or its spontaneity. Also, I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up. Maybe one day, when things aren’t so busy, and I’ve got this whole resin-casting thing down pat/ Maybe I’ll make a few and put them up in a shop as-is. (I keep saying I’m going to do that….)
Until then, have any of you tried resin casting? Have you tried making dolls from them? I’d love to see your creations and hear from you about your resin-adventures!
Happy Heart Day, Sucka!
I’ll be honest with you, here. Shhhhhhh—-lean in a little bit; I’ll whisper it to you: ….I don’t really like Valentine’s day.
Not even a little bit. Maybe it’s because I was always the “new kid” who was a bit weird, so on V-day the fancy little box we made in class only ever had a scant card or two in it. Maybe it was because as I got older, the flowers & candy seemed to be not simply a sweet sentiment shared between two people, but a rating and judging system that primarily existed ONLY for the sake of some of the snotty girls to announce to us lesser creatures that, “someone likes me THIS much, and now I am royalty.”
Okay, I admit it: the years have made me a little bitter. If there was a humbug for Valentine’s Day, I’d be the poster girl. I can’t help it–I blame the unrealistic expectations of 80s movies and fairy tales. Even now, after 12 years of marriage, I PREFER IT if my husband doesn’t do anything more than say, “Happy Valentine’s Day, babe!”
But having a kid, you start to see the silly holidays in a different light, for what they are probably MEANT to be, and right now, she’s at a stage where they’re just an opportunity to get some candy and give out fun cards. And that’s cool. I’m pretty alright with that.
So when our daughter’s Pre-K class had a Valentine’s party last year, I looked around at some of the kid’s cards out there. Some of the sentiments in the pre-made cards always seemed a little too “lovey-dovey” for my tastes. I mean, they’re in PRE-K! I’m not trying to marry the girl off just yet! I’ve not ever been a big fan of many of the pre-made character cards, and while I realize she will probably insist on choosing some obnoxious character cards later down the road, right now she doesn’t really care WHAT they say as long as candy is involved…..so for now, I get to call the shots. Yay!
So I decided to make my OWN cards for her! I didn’t want to make them TOO pessimistic (I mean my gut idea was “Valentines Day SUCKS” with suckers on them, but OKAY okay–I guess I admit that’s a little harsh for a kid’s class), so since she likes monsters, I just made these…
And you can use ’em too, if you want to! They’re easy and don’t take much work. Just right click the image and save it to your desktop. Print it out on cardstock, and punch holes where the black dots are, and slip a lollipop stick in. I even cut around each one a little, just for something different, but you can just cut straight on the black lines to keep it easy peasy.
And I don’t really think they’re THAT bad, are they? I softened it up with the “Love, Myla” part. Shoot, Pre-K kids can’t read anyway, but they know lollipops taste good, AMIRIGHT???
This year, with the overwhelming amount of candy I’m sure she’ll get, I thought we could be the ones that send the “different” ones, ones with little toys or something in ’em. I found some pre-made ones with little rubbery bugs (which our daughter loves), and I decided to keep the homemade theme going for as long as I can get away with it… Maybe “You Don’t Really Bug Me So Much.” Is that too long for a card? Heh-heh.
Being artsy fartsy comes in handy sometimes! My college friend James Stowe knows that firsthand–each year, his son & daughter request themed V-day cards, and he creates them himself. A few years back, he made the CUTEST Star Wars cards that were all OVER the internet. He’s done Dr. Who Villains and Mario Brothers, D&D and now Firefly and he’s offering those over on his website as a printable PDF for only $3 apiece!
So if you’re a humbug about Valentine’s Day (or even if you’re not), feel free to print my sucka sheets out for yourself. Or get some from an artist like Stowe. Or come up with your OWN! I may not like Valentine’s day, but I’d LOVE to see what you do!
Here There Be Monsters
From time to time, people ask if our 4-year old or I get tired of collaborating together when we draw, and so far, the answer has been a resounding “heck NO!” But to change it up a little so that we DON’T, we’ve done a few animals….and every once in awhile, we’ve started throwing some monsters in there.
Now, I’ve written about the monster doodles before, but since then, we’ve sort of expanded the process a bit. First, they start out with me drawing a monster head, and our daughter (just like with the “people” collaborations) would draw the body & any additional scenery on them.
Several of them end up in the water, for some reason.
Following her art direction, many of them end up patterned and pink.
Sometimes, she gets a little elaborate with them, like this one who fell down while rollerskating…
This one, who needed a helmet before he could hop on his bike…
Or this one, who she insisted be in a rainstorm.
They’re often influenced by her little world, like this creature which came about not long after her first visit to a circus…
This one, which was of a cat-monster tossing candy to her at Halloween (that’s me in the yellow-striped shirt, picking her up)…
Or this one, which happened around the same time we made a gingerbread house for the holidays.
But the process itself REALLY started getting fun when (instead of drawing on the head I had pre-drawn) she and I started taking DIRECTION from eachother. “Let’s make a monster!” she’d say, and I’d get out a pen. “First step: it should have lots of eyes,” she said. So I drew lots of eyes. “Wings for ears. A bird beak.” Each time, I’d draw from her prompts in my own style. Then when it was her turn, and she’d follow my lead. “It should have antennae,” I said. “Pteranadon wings. And a dragon tail.”
Or she’d tell me, “It should have hair like Great Grandma’s (we were visiting her at the time). LOTS of noses. Glasses. Lots of down-pointing teeth, and horse ears.” Then I would tell her, “A snail body with stripes and lots of legs.” And she would add the extra details (like a decorative mouse flashlight and a bed) on her own.
It’s another fun little exercise in collaborating with the kid. And secretly, I know she enjoys practicing the rare moment of getting to “boss” me by telling me what to draw! She is still a bit rigid sometimes, and insists that I “didn’t do it right,” and I insist that when you work WITH someone, there IS no “right.” That you have to work WITH people, share their ideas, and just have fun. It takes some getting used to, because I can see those same perfectionist tendencies in our daughter that I have–wanting things to be “just so.” But it’s GOOD to step out of your comfort zone, and it’s GOOD to share.
So give it a try! Sit down for a bit, take your kid’s direction, and let ‘m tell YOU what to do for a moment–just to see what happens….It doesn’t have to be with drawing; try letting them tell you what shapes to glue down, what clothes to put on, or how to decorate cupcakes. And show me how it worked for you!