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Posts Tagged ‘steampunk’

Last week with the snow storm of the decade looming, bundled up in front of my computer, I decided to pick up my Wacom tablet and paint a picture digitally. I am not a very experienced digital painter. I’ve only completed a small handful of pieces on the computer before, and none of them have made it into my portfolio. Sure, I use photoshop all the time to color correct, crop, and touch up photos and paintings all the time, but it is very rarely that I do the bulk of the painting on the computer screen.

I had the urge to go back to the computer screen primarily because of time. It takes me a very very long time to create a full scale, fully rendered painting by hand, and sometimes I lose interest in what I am painting or I have another great idea to work on before my first idea is fully realized. Especially for beauty shots like this, the idea and the passion to draw it only sticks around until the next pretty face comes along and I imagine something new; so there was a sense of urgency to get this face and this stunning collar down on paper before it was replaced by another figure in my mind.

The piece was inspired by a costume I saw at Templecon 2013. I used photo reference to sketch out the face and collar by hand, and then I also inked that preliminary sketch before scanning it into the computer. Once uploaded to photoshop, I started rendering by laying down basic blocky colors. Using photoshop is one of the only times that I render with an opaque medium, making it extra challenging to maintain my style. I blended the colors together using primarily the eye dropper and a soft, low opacity brush. I choose to render over some of my inking to turn the figure more in important or especially modeled places like the nose and lips. I left the collar and hair more linear and stylized because that is how I would have dealt with them were this painting done by hand. However by hand, I would have added the lines last, wherein photoshop, I started with all lines and selectively removed or covered them.

I textured the piece with pattern fills and spotty brushes. Adding texture in highly modeled digital pieces is very important in order to avoid a plastic looking finish. The skin has pores and fabrics have a coarseness to them that is easily neglected in digital pieces. Over all I like how this painting came out, and I think that I will be experimenting with digital painting more in the future.

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Hey Everyone,

Long time no see. I have been busy getting ready for the Holidays, finishing up my holiday open houses, and of course, making some of my first large scale leather armor pieces. My Etsy shop is finally filling up with the sorts of impressive armor I aim to be known for.

All the armor featured in this post is made from 100% natural vegetable tanned cow hide. At 4-5oz this leather is firm and durable yet retains a degree of flexibility to conform to just about any body. I patterned all the designs myself which means you won’t find the same items anywhere else. All pieces were hand painted using a waterproof acrylic ink, and sealed with a waterproof varnish. Now all I have to do is get my hands on some models so I can photograph these on the human body.

I am also looking for suggestions as to what people would like to see used for body straps. At the moment my shoulder armor is the only thing sold in my etsy I that does not included all the necessary straps too wear as is. Everything else comes with all the ties and fasteners needed. Don’t worry, the price of the shoulder armor doesn’t include the cost of straps, and never will. I plan to have folks buy straps separately. But what types of straps are you looking for? Do you want to see belts of military webbing, real leather, fake leather? Options for all three? Poll at the bottom of the post.

Now, some of you may be thinking, “what even are these things?” Well, they are all different types of wearable leather costume armor, made personally by me for the upper body. To find out more specifics about each item, how they were made, how to wear them, and what they are selling for, you should probably click on the pictures! Again, this armor is designed to fit a wide range of people from petite to really really large. However, if you are looking for something made specific to your measurements and with a custom design, you should get in touch with me either through my Etsy, by leaving a comment, or through my website. Thanks for reading!

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Hey! You know what’s cool and exciting? I am helping to design the costumes for CONNetic Dance’s upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream! CONNetic Dance is a ballet company based in Hartford, CT and their show this June is a steampunk rendition of the Shakespearean classic. The set designer for the show located my work over the internet, and the director asked for my assistance in designing costumes for the dancers! I have an extensive background in costume design and in steampunk, as you all know, so this task couldn’t be more up my alley.

Because of my upcoming senior exhibition I won’t be able to physically construct all of the costumes myself, but I am able to provide suggestions for practical adaptations of steampunk style dress in sketch form, as well as provide a wealth of knowledge on victorian era dress and the steampunk movement. The challenge in designing these costumes is that they need to be conducive to dance! Steampunk is traditionally done in heavy suiting materials and is composed of structured garments like jackets and corsets. Nothing restrictive can be used here or the dancers won’t be able to do their thing. That’s why I am keeping all of my bodices soft, providing stage-ready alternatives to heavy fabrics, and taking lots of inspiration from the saloon and circus wear of the era.

In this post are my first three costume designs: Helena, Hermia, and Lysander. Three of the four “lovers.” They come from the orderly and lawful city of Athens, and so I wanted to make their costumes to appear structured and civilized. This is steampunk however, and CONNectic Dance likes their performances to have a little spice, so I did add a few dramatic details in the color and trimmings to punk-up the victorian mechanics.

For more on CONNetic dance, you can check out their website here: http://www.conneticdance.com/

and their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/CONNetic-Dance/38283164384

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As my frequent readers know, this past semester I took three independent studies which focused on the adornment and modification of the human body. One independent study was a psychology class, one was a makeup and wigcraft class, and the other was an art studio course. In this studio course I could work with the subject of body modification in any way that I wanted. One weekend in September while I was still sketching and looking for inspiration for my first big project of the semester for this studio, I attended my first steampunk convention, The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition. Steampunk conventions are when Victorian era enthusiasts and craftspeople get together to celebrate the literature, science, and fashion of the day, and to recreate that old-fashion feeling of adventure and discovery with a touch of science fiction. Everyone at this convention was adorning their bodies in the Victorian style, but also modifying the style to reflect the modern cultural ideal of equality for all.

During the steam punk con, there was a side show in the hallway. The performers included an escape artist, a knife juggler, and a contortionist! I was so struck by the contortionist, and the way that she had trained her body to move in ways that appeared to be so unnatural, that I decided to do a piece on her. One trick of hers that was particularly disturbing and dazzling to see in person was the contortionist walking around her own head. It was absolutely insect-like! I interviewed her after her haunting performance, and she said that she had all of her bones, and didn’t have any sort of special adaptation that made her more capable of these contortions than anyone else. She was naturally flexible, but had to train for hours every day to do what she does.

This got me thinking about the other ways that people, specifically at this convention, also modify their bodies. Most of the women, myself included, were wearing corsets. Corsets are a well-known form of body modification. Worn to an extreme, corsets can cause quite a shocking transformation to the human torso, but generally speaking, they do not cause out-bursts of shock and horror like the contortionist’s performance did. I knew I needed to make a piece comparing the two.

The animations in this post are my finished products: a comparison and comment on what we as a culture view as extreme body alteration. Corsetry, which is popular and accepted (I practice it myself) is totally unnatural. It involves tying whale-bone or steel bands to the skin, and tightening them gradually to reconfigure a person’s waste line. Corsetry provides the benefit of good posture, a pleasing silhouette, increased internal pressure, and relief from back pain and hernias, but it can also cause shortness of breath, immediate muscle atrophy, and in extreme cases it can restrict blood flow to the internal organs (because they’re being rearranged). Corsetry is a very unnatural practice, and does very little to improve your overall physical health, yet it is one of the hottest search terms on the internet, and a symbol of femininity and beauty.

Contortionist, on the other hand, is a totally natural art, but it is met with repulsion by those unaccustomed to it. These gymnasts train hard to be both flexible and strong. Many onlookers are shocked mostly because they imagine that the contortionists might hurt themselves, but in reality, being very flexible is the best way not to injure yourself during physical activity. Contortionism does not cause muscle atrophy, it strengthens the body, and it improves posture and coordination.

Contortionism pushes the body to its natural physical limits, while corsetry pushes the body to its garment-assisted physical limits. My animations are simply meant to make you more aware of your own reaction to these two types of body modification.

The animations themselves were hand-drawn using tracing paper and markers. They were then scanned into photoshop where I put them all together and added the tinted background.

These animations, along with my other videos can always be viewed on my website, here. http://shaunart.net/pages/video

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Today I was a figure model for a freshman foundation drawing class here at the Hartford Art School. I was asked by one of my professors, who also teaches this drawing class, if I would be willing to model one of my more frilly costumes for her students to delineate in the spirit of Halloween. When I told some of my friends and classmates that I would be modeling, they said, “oh you should take a picture.” So I brought in my camera, and some of the students in the class took some really cool photos of me and the space around me which the drawing students worked so hard to construct. Though the dim lighting posed somewhat of a challenge, there were plenty of really good pictures taken, which are posted below. I invite anyone who was in that drawing class, or anyone looking for some interesting reference, to use these pictures for future drawings. I also invite you to admire what a good job I did staying in the exact same position for all of these photos, and for what I hope was most of the drawing session.

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