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For the third week in a row there have been no new instructional videos from Ady Almanza. I don’t even know what on earth is going on. I knew that she was on a two-week vacation to France but I’d thought it would be over by now. I still have extra pages in my book so I decided to wing it once again by creating original doll-themed art that have nothing to do with those tutorials.
For this week’s session, I decided to try something different. Looking through Ady Almanza’s work, I noticed that all of the ones I’ve seen online have featured only females. I have a few male dolls at home so I decided to do some art featuring one of them.
This doll is a Fantasy Doll Tobias, a 1/3 scale Asian ball jointed doll that I purchased from the Fantasy Doll website a few years ago. He stands at 60 centimeters/2 feet tall and he’s currently the largest doll that I own. In the above photo he models the Red Prince Outfit that I made from scratch. (For more details on how I made that outfit, check out my post from 2011.) I had him wear that same outfit when I decided to draw and paint him.
Here are the original pages of the children’s board book before I started working on them.
Here are the pages after I finished working on them.
I decided to have him in a sexy pose, which was influenced in large part by the cover of this 1977 Peter Frampton album I’m In You (which I once owned as a teen—I was such a fan of his previous album, Frampton Comes Alive, and the fact that I loved that album cover that I bought it with my allowance money and, well, let’s say that the cover was way more memorable than the music <LOL!>).
I had a hard time getting my doll in the same exact pose as Peter Frampton on the album cover. I think it’s because of the fact that the fabric of the pants he wore wasn’t very stretchy or accommodating of action poses. So I ended up keeping his legs straight and just have the shirt go partially off his torso so one gets to see part of his chest.
I did the outline in waterproof black ink then switched to acrylic paint for the rest of the project. I applied a thin layer of red glitter glue on his pants. The results weren’t too bad.
I still have a few extra pages left so if Ady Almanza decides to go another week without posting any tutorials online, I can wing it again with original doll-themed art that have absolutely nothing to do with the video lessons.
Subsequent Entries in This Series
Previous Entries in This Series
So far I was happy with working on the cover of my book (which was formerly a board book edition of Dr. Seuss’ classic Hop on Pop). I had little trouble with working on it and I expected the rest of the project to be a piece of cake.
But then I watched the next tutorial video and I realized a few things. The book I selected had more pages than the book in the original video tutorials. On top of it, the artist, Ady Almanza, had only used one page at a time to do her artwork. If I was to follow her example, I would be working on that book for much longer because my book had more pages. She didn’t specify how many pages the board book had to include so I naturally assumed that any board book would do.
The video mentioned that the next doll would be a mermaid yet the final picture shows just a close-up of her face. While her skin is colored blue, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s a mermaid. Any onlooker would assume that she’s an extra-terrestrial creature or maybe an extra from the movie Avatar. (LOL!)
Then there was the requirement in the video that we paint the background with matte acrylic paint. Here’s the problem: I don’t have any acrylic paint marked “matte.” I tried Jo-Ann’s, Michael’s, A.C. Moore’s and none of them have any acrylic paint that’s marked “matte.” (I later found out that they can be ordered online through the stores’ websites. They just aren’t sold on the store shelves in real life.)
The biggest surprise was finding out that, while the background would be painted with matte acrylic paint (which I couldn’t find in any store), the female in the foreground would be colored in with colored pencils. Whoa! I’ve never tried mixing colored pencils with acrylic paint before but I figured that there was a first time for everything. Here’s the video tutorial I followed.
So it was time for me to create the mermaid drawing. I decided to do a full page spread with a full mermaid body because, let’s face it, the fish tail is the only way the average person knows whether the person is a mermaid (or merman) or not. (Besides, I would use up more pages that way.) I decided to use a real-life doll as my muse once again and my Volks Dollfie Dream would spend another week serving as the model. In addition, I happened to have a mermaid tail that fits her that I purchased at an Asian Ball-Jointed Doll meet-up a few years ago (back when I was involved in that fandom until I witnessed some creepy behavior both online and in real life that caused me to leave it because, without getting into a lot of details, there are a bunch of borderline crazy people in that fandom). The mermaid tail was handsewn by another doll fan who was trying her hand at selling handmade doll clothes for a while. I paired it with a doll-sized tribal-looking necklace that I won in a raffle at an Asian Ball-Jointed Doll meet-up a few years ago. (I don’t remember if I won it in the same meet-up as when I purchased the mermaid’s tail or if I got both at separate events.) I positioned her long hair to obscure her breasts in order to not have to deal with the issue of whether to portray the mermaid as bare-breasted or wearing a bra.
I initially did the drawing in ink using a black waterproof marker. I not only decided to draw the mermaid’s full body but I decided to add a dolphin in the background as a way of showing that, yes, the mermaid is swimming in the ocean. When it was time for me to do the underpainting, I still had to deal with the issue of not having any matte acrylic paints on hand. I began reading on line that watering down acrylic paint could create a matte effect. So I decided to add a lot of water to the paint so it would create a watercolor effect (which is appropriate since I was working on an underwater scene).
But then it came time to start using the colored pencils. While most of the areas were okay, there was one or two areas where I literally could not color at all. In fact, the more I colored in those areas, the more I inadvertently wiped away the watered-down acrylic paint until I somehow managed to wear it all the way down to the gesso layer. It was frustrating to say the least because I had most of the area colored except for those two white bald patches that were large enough to be noticeable by anyone.
So then I came up with the idea of spraying a fixative on top then continue to work on it. There are two types of fixatives: One is a final fixative, which is used as the final layer and is meant to seal the work in permanently. It’s meant for when you’re absolutely positively sure that you’re finished with working on your piece because it’s hard to work over it once you spray it. The other is known as a workable fixative, which is meant to seal the work that has been finished to date but one can continue to work on top of that layer. That one is meant for people who are taking a layer approach to creating art where you draw or paint lightly, spray a layer of the workable fixative, then add another layer on top of it, then spray another layer of workable fixative, and so on. I looked around my art supplies but I found that I only had the final fixative, which meant that I had to go to a store to buy a workable fixative. Fortunately I had a 40% off coupon so I didn’t have to pay too much for the workable fixative.
Once I sprayed the workable fixative and let the piece dry, I found that I could cover up the bare white part on the dolphin but there was still a bare white part on one of the mermaid’s arm. So I sprayed another layer of the workable fixative, let it dry, then tried again. It was still no use. I just could not get that colored pencil to cover that bare white area. I became so frustrated that I switched to acrylic paint, painted a light purple skin over the mermaid (which matched her purple tail and purple hair) That worked like a charm so I let everything dried then embellished the mermaid’s tail and hair with glitter glue. Once I let it dry I sprayed a few layers of the final fixative and considered it done.
So here are the pages before I worked on the project.
Here are the pages after I finished.
I learned a few things, like if I can’t find matte paint, I’ll have to do other things (mix acrylic paint with either water or matte medium and use workable fixative spray). That’s the only way I can add a layer of colored pencil over a layer of acrylic paint.
I’m hoping that there won’t be any more obstacles like what I faced because it’s supposed to be a fun project for me and not a source of more stress.
Subsequent Entries in This Series
Last summer I undertook this ambitious endeavor where I read and reviewed a series of books that American Girl (yes, that’s the doll company) had put out about a young girl growing up in the 1970’s. Each Throwback Thursday I would review another book in the series by comparing what Julie and her family and friends went through in the 1970’s with my own memories of what I and many of my friends and relatives went through in the 1970’s.
I kept at it even as American Girl had decided to revamp its historical line into something called “BeForever” (I still think it’s a stupid name but I digress) when I was about nearly done with posting all of my reviews online. As part of the BeForever makeover all of the dolls had either gotten completely new outfits (like Addy Walker) or had slightly modified ones (like Josefina Montoya, whose outfit changes were more subtle between the original and BeForever versions). Their original companion books went from six slim books to being combined into two thick volumes while a third book was added where each one was basically similar to those Choose Your Own Adventure books that were popular back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I finally ended my weekly reviews when I reached A Brighter Tomorrow: My Journey With Julie, which was the new Choose You Own Adventure-style book released under the newly unveiled BeForever line. There haven’t been any more reviews since last year because American Girl hasn’t released any new books featuring Julie Albright.
This summer I’m embarking on a summer-long project that’s way different from my review of the Julie books. I’m taking a free online tutorial on how to take a baby book made from thick cardboard and turn it into a book called “Doll Dreams.” I first learned of it through Facebook when I saw this video listing the required materials and I found that I had most of them already on hand so I didn’t have to spend a lot of money.
The only new material I bought for this project before I started was a pack of Crayola glitter glue in a variety of colors. I had a 40% off coupon so I ended up paying only $5 for a pack of 15 colors.
The only real hassle came when I needed to get a baby board book. Ideally one is supposed to use an old board book because it would’ve been an exercise in recycling (since such books tend to eventually get thrown away due to being spat upon and demolished by babies and toddlers). I don’t have any children so I didn’t have any board books around. The nearest thrift store to my home had used baby board books but they were only available in bags of 2-5 for $5 each. While I have to admit that it’s a great price for a financially-struggling parent, I didn’t need that many books and I would’ve had problems with what to do with the unused books because there aren’t too many very young children among my extended circle of friends and relatives at the moment.
Ultimately I ended up going to Target where I paid $5 for a baby board book edition of Dr. Seuss’ classic Hop on Pop. (I remember reading that book as a child. I don’t remember if it was one my family owned or if it was one that my family frequently checked out of the local library.)
I was initially reluctant to start priming the book with gesso because it was a new book and I’ve always had a soft spot for Dr. Seuss. But then I had to convince myself that Hop on Pop is NOT a rare book and if I ever want to buy another copy for myself, I can do so. (But I probably won’t do it because I don’t have any small children living at home.) Once I started the gesso painting process I felt okay because I knew that once I started altering the book in any way, I could never restore it back to the book that it once was because such a process would’ve been impossible.
I’ve been giving this new project a try for a few weeks now and I find that I’m enjoying myself. It’s a nice change of pace from reading and reviewing all those Julie books last summer. I generally tend to work on it a little bit at a time a few nights a week. I find working on it to be so relaxing.
The teacher for this series is a woman named Ady Almanza, who was born and raised in Mexico but now lives in Germany with her husband and children. For the past few weeks I’ve been watching whatever new instructional videos show up on her Facebook feed and I would work on my project based on that lesson. Here’s the first lesson.
The first lesson I focused on the front, spine, and back of the book cover. While Ady Almanza has an optional template for this first lesson on sale in her Etsy shop for only $5, I decided to just do a freehand drawing and come up with something uniquely original. I decided to use my Volks Dollfie Dream doll as my muse mainly because I hadn’t touched her in quite a while. The dress she’s wearing in the painting is loosely based on an Easter outfit I once made for that doll called Easter Bunny Lover.
I did the entire painting in acrylic and I embellished the front button/brooch with glitter glue. I was okay with the result. Here’s the cover of that book.
Subsequent Entries in This Series
Four years ago I wrote “Trump: The Poem” when Donald Trump was flirting with the idea of running for president. I performed it at a few local poetry slam events to great laughter and acclaim. I later made this video where I recited the poem while I showed off this talking Donald Trump doll that I purchased as a gag gift for my then-husband for Christmas.
Who could’ve predicted that this poem is now more relevant than ever? Donald Trump has not only decided to enter the political race for real but, in the process, he had alienated the Latino vote with his comment that Mexican immigrants are rapists, criminals, and drug dealers.
So far he had not only had a giant Mexican piñata made in his image but he had lost deals with both NBC and Macy’s in the same week because neither company were thrilled to be associated with that buffoon.
As a result of all this, I didn’t have to alter my poem in any way at all.
So, once again, here is “Trump: The Poem.”
It’s been two years since I last attended the annual Sakura Matsuri street festival that’s held in downtown Washington, DC as part of the larger National Cherry Blossom Festival. I thought about going down early in the morning so I could check out the Cherry Blossom Parade that precedes the Sakura Matsuri by starting at 10 a.m. But I was too lazy to get my act together so I could arrive that early so I basically ate breakfast and lunch at home then headed out to the Sakura Matsuri in the afternoon. (I was glad I ate my meals at home because nearly all of the food vendors had very long lines.)
I even dug out this Japanese imported Stitch hat that I purchased at one of the Otakon anime conventions that were held in Baltimore. I know it was before my marriage broke up because I bought it with my then-husband in mind because he was such a huge fan of the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch and Stitch was his favorite Disney character. I also remember when I modeled the hat for him and he was thrilled with it. That hat had been sitting in a drawer since my husband left but I decided that I could continue to use it because I think it’s a cute hat. Besides, it enabled me to blend in a little bit with the other people who were cosplaying. I even had several people at the festival notice my hat and telling me that they loved it. When I arrived in downtown DC, the one of the first things I did was to take a rare selfie of me wearing that hat.
Like most other years, the festival was very crowded. I still enjoyed myself as I looked around at the sights and sounds of the festival. I even took a few silly pictures while I was there. I recently started to follow the official Sonic the Hedgehog accounts on Facebook and Instagram and it was through social media I learned that there is something called Travel Tuesday where people can submit photos of a Sonic doll or stuffed animal either at an event or some famous landmark (like the Eiffel Tower). I decided to pack my articulated Sonic vinyl doll so I could take his photo for Travel Tuesday. Here are the photos that I submitted but, as of this writing, none of them have been selected for Travel Tuesday.
I also played around a little bit with the Hatsune Miku photo app on my smartphone. I thought it was appropriate since that character originated in Japan. (Although now that I look at the pictures, I realized that I should’ve varied the girl’s pose just a little bit since she had the same facial expression and pose. Oh well.)
I basically walked around shooting pictures of cosplayers and the various items I saw on sale. I noticed a lot of ram and sheep plushies on sale this year, which makes sense since 2015 is the year that’s known alternatively as the Year of the Sheep, the Year of the Ram, or the Year of the Goat.
I only purchased one thing at this year’s festival.
Yes, it’s chocolate gelato made by Dolci Gelati and it was very delicious!
While I heard musicians perform on the various stages throughout the festival, I only managed to capture one of the acts with my smartphone because it was one of the few times that I was even able to get close to a stage because everything was so crowded. As for the act that I captured, according to the program book, she is a pop singer from Kyoto named Jonetsu Mariko. I thought I recognized the name for some reason and the program book said that she was making a return appearance to the Sakura Matsuri. After I got home, I searched through this blog and I found out that I previously saw her at the 2010 Sakura Matsuri and I had also videotaped her that time. (She appeared under the name Jonetsu Marie and Shabondama High School.) In any case I took a still photo of her.
I even shot a short video of her performing on stage.
That video was the only one I shot at this year’s Sakura Matsuri.
I also saw that NASCAR driver Akinori Ogata was there with his race car, just like the last time I attended the Sakura Matsuri two years ago. Once again he appeared with Eneos, which makes motor oil. Eneos also had a bean bag toss game called “Cornhole.”
Getting on the Metro so I could go home was a bit of a hassle. The last photo shows the long line that I had to stand in just so I could enter the Federal Triangle Metro Station. I’m only lucky that I had the foresight to put enough money on my Metro SmartTrip card for a round trip so I wouldn’t have to stand in another line at the farecard machines.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all of my blog readers.
The above picture shows my Volks Dollfie Dream doll modeling an outfit that I made myself called “Easter Bunny Lover.” You can read more about how I created this outfit in this blog post I wrote five years ago. In any case, yesterday I came across this interesting link on Facebook that I think is appropriate for today. It describes how the Christian holiday of Easter was originally derived from a pagan holiday that was centered around honoring an ancient Teutonic goddess known alternatively as Eostre, Eastre, Eostra, or Ostara. The title of this page says it all:
What a difference a year makes! Last year I was greeted with this.
I was literally snowed in my home and the entire Washington, DC metropolitan area literally closed down because we got a whopping seven inches of snow.
This year it’s different.
That’s right, it’s a crocus that’s currently blooming in my front yard.
Last year the only outdoor activity I did was where I dressed my Volks Dollfie Dream doll in an appropriate outfit for the occasion, stepped outside my front door, and took a few brief snapshots in the snow.
And here is the same doll in the same wig, shoes, and outfit just one year later.
By the way, I made that St. Patrick’s Day outfit she wears in the photographs. For more information about how I made it, see my blog post on Irish Lass that I wrote five years ago.
Today is just a warm, gorgeous day outside with temperatures reaching the high 60’s. Here’s a photo of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center that I took just a few hours ago.
I managed to cook up the usual Guinness Beef Stew with Guinness Bread and a side order of carrots glazed in honey. I had to do the prep work the night before because I’m currently taking a class that meets Tuesday nights (I’ll write more on that later) and St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. I did the advance preparation so I would have something Irish to eat on the actual day itself.
I don’t really mind going to a class on St. Patrick’s Day because this time last year I couldn’t get out of my house even if I wanted to. All around it’s a great day today! :-)
Originally profiled on February 28, 2011.
Merry Christmas, everyone! As the Sagittarius Dolly blog inches closer to its fifth anniversary on January 6, 2015, I thought I’d provide a look back at some of my creations that I’ve previously featured in this blog.
Originally profiled on December 20, 2010.
As the Sagittarius Dolly blog inches closer to its fifth anniversary on January 6, 2015, I thought I’d provide a look back at some of my creations that I’ve previously featured in this blog.
Originally profiled on December 31, 2010.