July 2005

Wormly Stands On Own Two Feet!

The culmination of an excellent day! James came in with the assist at the critical moment, and thanks to him, and a six inch length of copper pipe (which I may use as armature in any future pieces, since it worked so well, and can be bought for under two bucks pre-cut at the hardware store) and some heavy duty plumber’s epoxy putty, I was treated to the joyous sight of Wormly standing on his feet and not even falling over.

He’s not uber-stable yet, and lacks arms to boot, but he doesn’t fall over when you cough on him, and will thus probably be a free standing piece. The tail, when added, will hopefully provide some extra lee-way. I confess, I didn’t expect it to work, and was getting resigned to a peg-and-base arrangement, but James belived it could be done. (James has only passing interest in sculpture, beyond providing occasional words of encouragement, but show him an engineering problem to be solved, preferably with use of power tools, and it’s James to the rescue every time.)

Woo! Next up, arms!

Phew! After long wranglings with the website, I had about given up, but the release of WebComicsNation came to my rescue (I get a free account, bein’ a Graphic Smash artist.)

So, in case you were waiting around to read “Irrational Fears” again–it’s up!


The Subconscious Chupacabra rides again!

And before anybody asks, no, this does NOT mean there will be new ones–I love Chu dearly, but I can only do a single webcomic at a time, and I’m under contract for Digger. It’s not a matter of money, I literally CAN’T do two. I have a very precise comic threshold. Even doing the mini-story for the print version of Digger, a mere six pages, left me drained and exhausted and whimpering. Sorry. When Digger’s story eventually wraps up in another coupla years, then maybe. (I would estimate we’re about two-fifths of the way through, maybe a smidge more, but there’s a large chunk of the plot labelled “Stuff Happens Here” that could be either reasonably succinct or a grueling epic, so that could be wildly off.)

Oh! Also, I recommend Web Comics Nation to anybody looking to host a webcomic who doesn’t mind paying a coupla bucks a month. Reeeeeally easy to use, supports subscription models, all kinda neat stuff, cheaper than World of Warcraft. Of course, I’m arguably biased, since Joey Manley the creator owns Graphic Smash, but getting Irrational Fears up was a total cinch, and there’s a lot to be said for that.

A lake of ice found on Mars! A tenth planet discovered! Wormly’s hands almost ready for firing! It’s a good day in the universe and here at home, too.

Having just spent the better part of an hour sanding Wormly’s head (there’s still a dent in the back of his skull…Wormly may need a rather high collar…) and as I’m about to start painting, it occurs to me that my readership having been helpful every step of the way so far, I should solicit advice about painting 3-D. While I have a vast array of acrylics and no fear of them, I don’t actually know jack about painting physical stuff beyond “layer.” (I never painted miniatures.) Start dark? Start light? I managed on the flesh tones of the previous faces, but since Wormly will probably be a hopefully-mottled green with yellow-pink underbelly and mucous membranes, I’m a trifle out of my depth. Any advice?

Cooked my latest for an hour at 200, letting it warm up and cool down with the oven. Seems to work! There’s one major and two minor cracks to be mended, but the ears survived perfectly, (Go, mesh armature!) and since I was planning a full paint job for him anyhow, the cracks shouldn’t be an insurmountable problem. (I was pleased to read that even the pros get cracks in their pieces, and just mend and sand, too. This makes me feel a lot better.)

This is actually a full head, not just a face, and he is sufficiently cool lookin’ that if he survives my inexpert mending, sanding, and painting, I will try Phase Two and try making hands and feet, and then–MADNESS–Phase Three, making a body armature.

But first he has to live through the next hour or so.

I think his name is Wormly.

Update: Liquid Sculpey and Super Sculpey do indeed make a fine spackle, and from what I can see peering into the oven every few nanoseconds, it seems to have mended it nicely. It did expand a touch, however, so I’ll have to sand it, and it will definitely require painting, or else Wormly would appear to have spent his youth as an inept knife fighter.

Haven’t made many updates about the Defective Wildlife lately, since A) we’ve been out of town so much, and more importantly B) it’s nearly a hundred degrees and so humid that you feel like you’re living in Earth’s Armpit, and nobody, including the little birds and lumpy squirrels, feel much like cavorting. I occasionally see a squirrel splayed out on the railing, limbs draped over the sides, looking like a very small bearskin rug, but that’s about it.

There IS a regular line at the birdbath, despite it being the wrong shape and full of skanky water. It’s just that hot. I guiltily dumped out the mosquito-larvae habitat and refilled it, but of course the birds LIKED the skanky water, thank you, and that clean stuff out of the tap is just too weird for ’em. Ingrates.

Anyway, I think Scruffles the bald titmouse bred. Whether his baldness is genetic, or he passed on a raft of little parasites to his nestlings, there are now a half-dozen bald titmice. Scruffles got some feathers back, although he still looks distinctly bedraggled, and the others are in various stages of bird-pattern baldness. It took a bit to identify, since any bird emerging from a birdbath automatically looks somewhat mussed, but there’s definitely a few baldies scattered among the glossy, neat-feathered titmice that dominate the birdbath. (Occasionally, after they’ve all left, a Carolina chickadee will sneak in and have a good wriggle and flap through the puddle, but it’s mostly titmice.)

Once the weather cools down a bit, I anticipate more Defective Wildlife, and when the fall migration hits, I’ll take up birding again. I’m looking forward to it.

Now if only my head would bake…

Trying something stupidly ambitious with batwing ears with a wire mesh armature inside. Here’s hoping that the slow cooking will work! (This almost certainly won’t work.) On the other hand, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and if I end up with ear mosaic, I’ll sand off the stumps and make him wear a hat.

Curses! My face cracked!

The pre-baked teeth work fabulously, although I think they may need to be glued into the sockets after baking, since they’re a little loose. I glued one as a test. Seemed to work well. I baked this one about five minutes longer than the first one, and it seemed to be overkill, though–the clay broke into those little white crescents in a few places, and actually cracked in two areas. I could paint over the crescents, but the cracks may be fatal. Still, they’re small, and I might as well try and mend ’em, since hey, what’ve I got to lose? So we’ll see.

This makes me wonder if one simply needs to undercook these things–I baked the first one for fifteen minutes, to set the clay a bit, ‘cos I thought I might want to do something else to it. And it’s nice and hard and seems okay. But the package would indicate an hour and fifteen minutes, which seems kinda insane. Hmm. This may be one of those things I just need to experiment with–obviously I don’t want to undercook it so that it’s brittle. Hmm, hmm, hmm.

Well, anyway, off to face three! Woo! (God, I love this.)

The signed Diggers are on sale, and selling fast!


Update: Sold out! Thank you, everybody!

I just pulled a piping hot sheet of fresh teeth out of the oven.

This is probably as close to conventional domesticity as I will ever get. I am unbearably cheerful. It’s a good thing I work at home, or else any co-workers would have to have me killed for the good of the office.

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