Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Needle Felting: Sir Bastian

Meet Sir Bastian Dormer, with his lady love Mistress Arbella:

Background image (Layer Marney Tower, built 1520) from The Beauty of Britain and Ireland, Joyce Robins, Chancellor Press, 1992

Last year I made Arbella, the Tudor mouse. She was always intended as one of a pair, and I've finally finished her swain. It took me a little while to get started, as it's hard enough to draw a mouse performing a Tudor courtesy, let alone sculpt one which will also stand up by itself! 
His face is a bit coarser than Arbella's, as he is corriedale wool, instead of the finer merino.

He wears a doublet, robe and trunk hose, but no nether hose, and has a chain of office and a cap, which he carries. The feather I found while walking the dog. I had been planning on using a canary feather, but it isn't moulting season and my canary did not oblige. 

His legs and tail are made of thin copper wire, wrapped with embroidery floss and then coated with clear nail polish. There's not much room for changing the pose, but slight alterations can be made to help him stand.

I started out with a rough sketch, having done a bit of study into mouse skeletons and Tudor courtesies (or bows), built the wire framework for the legs and tail from there, and then covered it with dacron stuffing to form the core. I built the main body all as one, and made the head, arms and cape separately. 

Here are some more snaps of the two mice together:

They're roughly life-size for domestic mice, both fit into my hands comfortably:

Merino and Corriedale wool, #32, #36 , #38 and a star felting needles, copper wire, embroidery floss, glass and plastic beads, feather, polyfill stuffing. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Needle Felted Egg

My cousin's daughter Mary is having her first Easter this year, and my mother wanted to give her a little present. We found a cute egg cup, and wanted to put a chocolate egg in it, but bizarrely we just couldn't find an egg-sized chocolate egg – so I felted one instead. I didn't want it to be a huge exercise, so I cheated a bit. Most of this is a polystyrene egg, I've just felted on top of that as decoration:

While the front of the egg features a bunny, the back has the letter 'M', for Mary:

And there are spots to match the egg cup:

Merino wool over a polystyrene egg, using #32, #36 and #38 felting needles. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Illustration: Hurry to the Honeymoon

When I did the Rose Wedding Invitations I also created an illustration for use on some of the stationary that wasn't rose themed. Originally the couple had just planned to have it on the brunch invitations that went out to some of their guests, but as illustrations are time-consuming and therefore relatively expensive, I suggested that they use it on some other items as well, to get more use out of it – so it also went on the thank you cards and became endpapers in the books on the reception tables. 

They'd seen an invitation with an illustration of a couple running with luggage, and said that they would like something with a similar concept, but with more of a vintage feel and including their westie, Max. 

Image from The American Wedding

I sent along a number of vintage illustrations, to see exactly which vintage they would like, and they chose this J C Leyendecker image:

Image from The Heart of Art

but liked the clothes in this illustration by Georges Barbier:

Image from panteek.com

Now, I'm no Leyendecker (alas) but I did my best to get some sort of reflection of his amazing style. The dress in the Barbier image didn't really work for the illustration, and looked a bit formal, so I took the basic petal design and bow and came up with something a bit shorter and more modern (and I put the groom in a lounge suit, to match not only the dress code of the wedding itself but also the paler colour scheme of all the stationary. 

Here's a progress animation to show how the illustration took shape:

I started off with a basic pose created with the 3D models in Manga Studio, scrawled over it in Photoshop and used that as a basis for a pencil sketch. I then scanned that in and slapped a bit of colour on it, and sent it off for approval. Once I had that it was just a matter of filling in the colour and trying to keep the whole thing looking Leyendecker-ish – but halfway through I did change my mind over the pose of the dog, and various things did change a bit as I was working, as I decided that I didn't like the way I'd drawn some things. 

Here are a couple of details:

Adobe Photoshop CC with a Wacom Intuos 3; about 5 hours. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rose Wedding Invitations

I recently completed a big wedding job. I did the Save the Dates almost a year ago, and the wedding itself happened earlier this month. I did all the stationary and miscellany for it, which was a lot of fun.

I was originally sent a lot of images that the bride and/or groom liked, and combined a lot of this inspiration (regency stripes, roses, floral designs, cute touches, decorative borders...) into one cohesive design. Here's a closer look at the main invitation:

All the items were held together with ribbon, finished with a motif in pearlescent lavender card, the same colour as the backing board used for the same invitation. For the motif I combined the monogram I designed for them when I did the Save the Dates with the flowers from the main design. 

They quite liked those quaint sketched birds-eye view venue maps, but with the odd shape of the area that had to be included, this didn't fit the space too well, so I compromised with a more modern looking oblique-angle map created in Illustrator, embellished with sketched landmarks in Photoshop:

There were a limited number of brunch invitations going out as well. For these I did an illustration depicting the couple and their dog. More on that in another post:

The illustration was also used on the thank you cards:

I also designed place-card menus for the reception, mounted on the pearlescent card. As well as the main guest book, each table at the reception also had a small book for guests to write in, each featuring a different question for them to answer. The bride bought small notebooks which I then covered by hand, using the same Coco Linen Ivoire paper that the rest of the stationary used. I had two designs for the book covers, and changed the question for each one. The books were just thick enough to include the question on the spine of each book, which you can see in this picture, which also includes the cover of the ceremony programme:

To finish off the books nicely, I glued in half-endpapers. Half of these re-used the illustration with the dog (the other half of which is at the back of the book)

and half used a montage made up of the bride and groom's names:

In addition to the above, I designed miscellany for the Reception, including signage, cookie jar labels and table numbers:

By far the most time-consuming item was the seating plan. At well over A3 in size, and featuring a lot of roses and leaves, it took me quite a few hours. Below is a mockup I made to show the bride how it should look, using a photograph she took of the frame at the reception venue:

The majority of the above work was completed in Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe inDesign CC, with a touch of Adobe Illustrator CC in the mix as well. I printed all the items using an Epson Artisan 730 and Coco Linen Ivoire paper and card. 


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