Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crochet 3: Dragon - Haku

Dragon - Haku from Spirited Away
Size: Big
Pattern Slightly modified from: here
Where you will find a beautiful, much more professional looking Haku than mine :D
Finished just before Halloween, 10/31/2013

This was an absolutely wonderful project, but I will not be doing something like it again soon. This was my third completed crochet animal [amigurumi], my first time using wire, my first time using safety eyes [which I failed at miserably since I didn't put them in as I was making it, so I ended up just super gluing them in (in my defense, I didn't have them until the dragon was done, so it was only half poor planning and half thoughtlessness/overconfidence)], and my first time in general making anything this big and this complicated. He was 100% worth it though. Actually crocheting him and putting him together was surprisingly easy [besides for some wire confusion]. The hardest part by far was the blue/green mane which was ridiculously time consuming [probably because I made it way too thick]. And a major setback towards the end was when his whiskers were made of too thick of wire and would not stay on his face properly so I had to improvise a whisker-holder on his face. Anyways, here's his short story:

The story of Haku:

So, I decided to make my friend something really cool for her birthday: not just any dragon, but Haku from Spirited Away. I found this amazing pattern by aphid777 on deviantart entitled Small-ish Haku. Little did I know that small-ish meant huge, so soon I was in way over my head. After a couple days of crocheting, it was my friend's birthday and all I had to show for it was a long, snake-like white body and the promise that I would turn it into something really cool for her belated birthday present. Fast-forward three months and Haku's body was chilling in my dorm closet, still just as incomplete, college being quite the distraction. I remembered my promise to my friend that I would have him done by Halloween, but suddenly Halloween was only a week and a half away. So I got out all of my too-long-untouched crocheting supplies and began working. The more I worked, the more awesome he looked, so I kept working. Finally, after about a week, he was done, so I packaged him up and sent him off to the magical city of Chicago where he made a belated birthday to remember! - the day after Halloween [almost kept my promise! - So close!!!]. And that is the wonderful story of Mr. Haku the Dragon

I had a bunch of fun and really fell in love with this dragon, but I think I will keep my upcoming projects to a much smaller size, and I prefer to stay away from wire. Below there is a really in depth picture journey of Haku's creation, so enjoy!

Work in Progress: 
WARNING: There are a lot of pictures, starting with the most unfinished to finished, so if you want to see the cool dragon pictures scroll more towards the bottom.

So... This was the largest [besides for a blanket I did once], most complicated thing I have ever crocheted, thus a lot of pictures are a necessity!!!

This is the early days of the dragon back in July working on his body. This was when I started to realize just how big he was going to be!

This was when I added the wire to the body. From here on out I had to crochet the thing standing up with the wire poking me in the face. I literally was walking around my house with a big trail of yarn while dodging the giant wire and crocheting meanwhile making sure my puppy didn't go after my yarn. It was intense ^ ^

This is the completed body. Even all curvy it was still longer than my bed is wide! This was as much as I got done in July since I worked on the legs, but I was unhappy with the color pink that I had so I abandoned my half-finished legs.

Finally, months later he has legs!!! I commenced work in October with my acceptable color of pink yarn and began giving this guy legs. You can also see that I stitched in his purple belly that I had made back in June.

These back legs weren't even stitched on yet, but I was so excited that he was going to be able to stand...

 Front and back legs on!!! He can stand all on his own and even hold up his own tail!

Lengthwise view of dragon thus far.

And so begins the long process of latch-hooking on his hair with a crochet hook [not a latch hook which would have been much easier but still would have taken forever].

A huge time jump later and he has all of his hair!!! Notice his hair isn't super soft and fuzzy because I didn't have a wire brush to really brush it out so I was just using my hair brush which did a poor job separating the strands of yarn and made his hair more wavy than fuzzy. [Not to mention that most of the yarn I ended up separating by hand because my hair brush was not working well enough D:  - crocheting the dragon was the easy part - the hair by far was the hardest single thing I have ever done with yarn in my life]

Yay! Another lengthwise view of the dragon. Notice the excess yarn/hair pileup by his front legs. I didn't really think it though that he would need a lot less hair when his body was curving inwards... That could have saved me a lot of work... Isn't he beautiful though! I would leave him standing up on my bed while I went to classes, and usually he'd still be standing up there when I got back! Sturdy little dragon :D

Closeup on the wavy haired dragon.

 Hanging dragon! Isn't he a cutie?

Just chilling up on my bed.

 Look he has eyes! And horns!!! I used brown animal safety eyes from Joann Fabrics. The horns are wire wrapped with yarn. I used a little bit of superglue just to ensure that the horns didn't unwrap. Also, you can't exactly put safety eyes on a crochet animal after it is already made so I cheated and superglued them in. I would've been able to fit the washers through the stitches if I hadn't used such big safety eyes [12 mm].

 Lengthwise view of the little guy with his eyes and horns.

Such a cutie! [sorry there's so many pictures, but I couldn't help it!]


The whiskers were sure a pain because I only had super thick wire so it was dragging his whole head down and the whiskers would flip upside down. I had to create a little whisker brace going through his face in order to keep them up. This was super poor planning on my part, but it ended up working out okay.

Lengthwise view of dragon with whiskers. Note on his hair: I ended up extending his hairline a little bit bast the third bump [the bump after his hind legs] but I never took a picture of the minor hair extension. Just a note though.

Now that Mr. Dragon is complete, time to take a couple last pictures and then pack him up :(

Notice I added some black felt lashes around his eyes to make them more anime-like.

Dragon looking out window <3

Again, dragon looking out window <3

Dragon all packed up </3

Note: I ended up using a bigger box at the post office for no extra cost, but I had to squeeze him in this box just in case. Hard to believe such a big animal could fit in such a little box. My roommate didn't think I could do it, but I made it happen - though he looks pretty uncomfortable </3

Aftermath of the dragon:

 Couldn't brush my hair for a couple weeks afterwards until I finally cleaned my brushes [just wore my hair in a messy bun every day].

 Big fuzz ball of blue yarn I have to figure out something to do with...

I will miss seeing Mr. Dragon perched on my loft whenever I get back from my classes but I have spent my time with him and now he is in an even better [and more exciting] place!

Mr. Dragon has reached his forever home as a [very belated] birthday [Halloween] gift to a wonderful friend of mine :D And he lived happily ever after <3 <3 <3 [Who said dragons couldn't live happily ever after anyways? :D ]

~Now on to the next project!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Other Art 1: Bean Bags

Size: Bean Bag Regulation Size
Materials: Wood, Acrylic Craft Paint (not my good paints!)
Artists: Me, My Brothers, My Dad, My Grandma, [and my Mom and my Dog for moral support]
Time: Finished in early June, took a couple weeks

So, I'm at college now, and I haven't completed any art projects yet [three on the way :D] so I went back to a project I meant to post a couple months ago.

I decided to include these on my blog, as they are indeed works of art of a sort, and a family production at that. For my high school graduation party, my family decided to make two sets of bean bag boards. Two boards are painted in the University of Iowa colors for my bro, and the other two boards are Purdue for me. My brothers and my dad constructed the wooden frames and painted the base coat [beige or yellow]. My dad painted the black boarders and the lettering. I only painted the emblem [which makes my family's awesome workmanship look even more awesome]. And my grandma sewed the super cool, professional Iowa and Purdue bean bags. My mom and my puppy provided moral and emotional support (as well as refreshments ~ thanks mom!). I used cheap craft paint which my dad sprayed a clear varnish over to protect the logo. For the Iowa symbol, I created a paper stencil to transfer the logo on. For Purdue, I used a graphite transfer (not using actual graphite sheets but spending a good 10-15 min. scribbling in pencil on the back of the logo paper I printed). These bean bag boards turned out super awesome, and everyone at the party loved them. I'd like to thank everyone who helped make these. You all did awesome work, and it really helped make my party special! :)

The picture above shows the men of the family working hard to construct the wooden frames for the bean bag sets. Might I add that they look super mysterious working in silhouette~

Here are the bean bags that my grandma made for our sets. She did a really great job!

Here's the first of the two Purdue logos I did. Finishing the first one felt awesome, and it looked sweet! Also by spending all that time painting the logo of my new school, I really got to know it well. Now every time I see the boilermaker logo I feel a bit of a deep connection, not to mention the fact that I pretty much have everything in its layout memorized (which doesn't sound too impressive, but it is a pretty complicated logo, especially compared to Iowa's). [Side note: you can see my cheap craft paints]

And here's both of the Iowa boards. They look awesome.

[Side note: Both the beige and yellow paints were old house/room paints that my dad wanted to use up. We found the perfect project to do just that :) ]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Painting 6: 25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary
19 in. x 15 in.
June 2013

I painted this picture for my parents for their 25th anniversary. In it I meant to clearly display both of their rings, and their hands are holding a blue glass ball that they found on a beach in Hawaii on their honeymoon. This piece was a lot of fun. I approached it the same way I approached the Ugli Fruit painting only the subject matter of this piece (the two hands) was much more complex (than the ugli fruit). I really learned to love acrylics while doing this piece. The background was originally supposed to be the sand on a beach but due to acrylic inspiration and lack of time I went for a more simple and dramatic background. First I painted the background gray darkening to black around the edges and colored with either green or red for extra dramatic effect. Before I had begun painting I had primed the illustration board with matte medium, but instead of neat little strokes I had put the matte medium on in heavy swirls to give the piece a unique texture. Later I dry-brushed some of my darker paints over the texture which gave the background a really cool effect (that can't really be seen in the digital picture...). This was also my fastest painting ever; I whipped this little piece out in about a week!

Piece in Progress: 
(Not a very organized beginning approach, but was a lot of fun; - the idea for the green and red tinted background began when I was priming the board with matte medium and a little bit matte medium spilled into my phthalocyanine green in my palette. I happened to run out of matte medium and had to resort to salvaging the matte medium that spilled into the phthalocyanine green hence the rough green strokes in the background.)

(and I love mixing phthalocyanine green together with red to create a deep purplish color, thus the idea for the dark slightly red and green tinted background)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Art Show 2: Lincoln-Way West Show

05/15/13 Today I went to the Art Show at Lincoln-Way West! It was awesome! All of the work was fantastic!

 My "Waiting For a Tow Truck" piece won an award of excellence for painting.

My Hand painting also won an award of excellence for painting.

 This is a picture of my painting (At Dinner in Galena) with my lovely mother who is the subject of the painting standing next to it.
And my Caramanico-Terme painting was honored with Best of Show!!!
This was a great night. Thanks a ton to the Lincoln-Way West Art Department especially Mr. Faris. And Congratulations to all of the people who had work in the show!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Painting 5: Ugli Fruit

Ugli Fruit - 05/09/13
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: around 16x20in
Reference: The Ugli Fruit at Mariano's (the grocery store)
Time: Way too long :)
The assignment for this piece was to make something ugly artistically beautiful. I took this literally and painted a couple Ugli Fruit that I found at our Mariano's grocery store. I did this piece in acrylic and it was very difficult, but I've come to really enjoy the medium. This was also my first time ever working with canvas which I found to be a very challenging material that needs a lot of paint. I've been working on this piece for months and it is finally finished. Though at first I was not too enthusiastic about this project, I really came to enjoy painting it. I especially loved adding in all of the background detail. I had the most fun painting the transparent plastic sign holders. The hardest part of this piece was doing the lettering on the sign. This piece is currently displayed at my school's end of year art show.
Piece in Progress:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Art Show 1: 4x5 show at Fremd High School

Today I went to the 4x5 show at Fremd High School. It was pretty awesome; I loved all of the little art. It amazed me how good art could be even when it's confined to a 4x5 in. space. As I mentioned in a previous post, my 4x5 in. hand painting was honored with first place in the painting section! This is really exciting, because I've never received any sort of "place" medal (1st place, 2nd place, etc.) for art. Anyways I have some pictures from the show which include a distorted glimpse of the colored version of my hand drawing.

The above picture is my hand painting displayed on a television screen.

The above picture is my hand painting! It is tilted and it has a glare, but that was the best picture I could get. I'll take a better picture when I get it back. See the blue star on the name label? That indicates my first place! :D

And this is my plaque! I also received a Blick giftcard!!! ~And I bought a t-shirt for the exhibition.

The art exhibition was awesome. I feel very honored to have participated. Thank you very much to the Fremd high school art department and all other people who helped sponsor and/or run this event.