Graphic design, layout, editing & articles
by Sarah Barker (Sarah-L-B)
Cosplay from the heart with
Leon Chiro 36
Cover artwork by Sarah Barker and featuring
Beautifully Twisted Traditional Art with
all of this month’s artists.
All product images by the artists themselves
Writing Corner: ‘Kite String’ bu
Images of Leon Chiro by
Marcella Fava marcellafava.it
Fantastic Digital Renderings with
Sylvain Leobon Image of Jenoir Noir by Annie Davies
Heavy Metal Chaos! The Art of
Last Laugh logo, design & layout © Sarah Barker (Sarah-L-B)
‘El Carnival’ presented by
J.F. Cornes 72
Dainty Traditional Tales with
Explore new worlds with artist
Stunning Original Doll Art with
Sculpting at Bindweed Studio with
Amazing Digital Art with
Mateusz Twardoch 2
Magdalena K bubug.deviantart.com â€˘ 4
s Away with
Korzeniewska bubug.digart.pl/digarty 5
Your work has a gorgeous traditional feeling to it, like that of old folklore and fairytales. What would you say is the biggest inďŹ‚uence on your art and ideas?
tales from my homeland, Poland, and other countries. This is what most stimulated my imagination; a combination of beauty and macabre, purity and grotesque. I like contrasts and strange things, in them lies the tension and uneasiness that arrest our attention for longer.
I grew up reading books belonging mostly to stream of Science Fiction and Fantasy and always been curious of folklore beliefs, legends and fairy
Your piece entitled “Resting” is part of a series, correct? Tell us a little about the narrative and how that came about.
pair comes exactly from my attraction to contrasts; she is beautiful, innocent and in constant danger. He is grotesquely disfigured, with a battered soul, and he is the “terror in the dark”. They are a kind of Beauty and the Beast, their opposites complement each other and bring help.
“Resting” belongs to a series of illustrations depicting the relationship between the two characters from the novel series by George R.R. Martin, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. My interest in this
â€œI always wanted to be that someone on the other side of the brush...â€? 8
What are your “tools of the trade”? My works are formed from a combination of traditional drawing, usually in gel pens, pens, ink, and digital graphics.
What inspired you to become an artist? I think the greatest impact were the illustrations in the books that I read as a child. I always wanted to be that someone on the other side of the brush, who decided which scenes to present in the image and how. To show the reader my own visions and share my impressions.
What do you hope to achieve with your work in the future? I would like to become a professional illustrator.
What does it mean to you to have “the last laugh”? To be Donnie Darko, just before the second fall of the aircraft engine!
If you could put one message out into the world, what would it be? Be kind and understanding.
bubug.deviantart.com â€˘ 10
Strange things are afoot at
Bindweed Studi o Kie Spate with
How long have you been sculpting? What inspired you to begin? I’ve drawn, painted and generally dabbled in all manner of arts and crafts since I was a small child. But I only started sculpting in polymer clay at the end of 2010 after accidentally stumbling upon the OOAK (One Of A Kind) Doll world while searching on EBay for a dress to wear for a Halloween party! I was totally fascinated with the lifelike little fairies and the like that I saw listed, and decided I had to try sculpting some myself. So I ordered some supplies and set to work. My first attempt was pretty horrific (so much so that he was exiled to the garden shed where a family of mice ate all of his hair) but I was totally hooked!
What are your “tools of the trade”? I tend to sculpt with Fimo Puppen clay - mainly because it’s pretty strong when its cured correctly and it holds detail really well. But also if I’m totally honest another contributing factor is because I’m far to lazy to be bothered with mixing different clays together like a lot of OOAK doll artists do! My figures start with a strong wire armature which is then bulked out with foil before being covered with clay. Polymer clay is great to work with because you can series bake it, which means you can add additional clay to clay that you have already cured and then bake it again.
I like to paint my dolls with Genesis Heat Set Paints and usually use mohair to make hair. I always like to sculpt and paint the head before creating the rest of the body - it’s much easier to see what sort of ‘personality’ you’re creating once the face is painted which helps when deciding on what sort of pose the doll will have.
“I sometimes dream about things I want to make...” 15
I have more recently started to experiment with air drying clays such as cold porcelain, sawdust clay and paper clay. Sometimes I feel very constrained by the size of my small halogen craft oven and would like to sculpt without worrying if my creations will fit into it. You’re obviously inspired by fairy tales, but do you have any other inﬂuences? I get inspiration from everything and everywhere - memories, music, books, television and even people walking down the street... I sometimes dream about things I want to make and wake up desperate to start sculpting. I usually have dozens and dozens of ideas of things that I want to sculpt running through my head at any given time, and I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll probably never actually get around to creating most of them.
Sometimes I can start sculpting with a particular idea of what I’m going to make in mind only to find that the clay seems to have a personality all of its own and a face or expression that I’d never envisaged begins to appear. When that happens there is no point trying to force it to be what I wanted, it never seems to work - I’ve learned from experience that its far better to let it evolve into whatever it seems to want to be! Do you have a favourite piece so far? I’m never truly happy with anything that I’ve sculpted. I go through phases of almost falling in love with them while I’m making them - thinking maybe this time I’ll be happy with the way they turn out when they’re finished. But every single time within a few hours of their creation I start to see all the mistakes I’ve made, all things that I wish I’d done differently.
Your work is extremely detailed. What is the average time you would spend crafting a piece? It’s difficult to say how long a piece takes. I sculpt as and when I find the time, but I would say an average piece takes around twenty or thirty hours. What do you hope to achieve with your work in the future? There is a lot I would like to improve on. I’d like my sculptures look more realistic, more emotive and for their poses to be more dynamic. I’d also like to explore the art of making ball jointed dolls as I find them fascinating and beautiful.
THE FRACTURED VISIONS OF
“I’m trying to listen to my inner self...” 21
How long have you been creating digital art? What inspired you to begin? My work with digital painting started in April 2010. For a long time I was against this medium, but when I got my Wacom Bamboo I gave it a shot. It turned out it’s amazing - new possibilities and effects, obtained with a different way than in traditional practice. Art created by traditional means is one and only,and that is it’s power, like digital is infinite and you can do with it whatever you want.
Your work includes many different themes and characters. Do you like to create a story within your work? There is always a story behind every single painting. I’m trying to listen to my inner self and carefully watch my dreams, adding my thoughts and real events from my life, mixing it all in my head. “Story” is a good word because I don’t want to impose a meaning to my work. I want to show the effect and make others create their own stories based on the impression of my creation. Now I’m trying new approach - to create real fairytales based on symbols with my paintings. I’m also writing a sort of mini-novel for the series and this is the first time where I’m making a two-level story; one on the level of single painting and the other is bigger with all of them together.
What do you use to make your art? Feelings are first, then my head for composition, next are tools like hand, Wacom Tablet and/or computer. Do you have any particular inﬂuences or inspirations? I can’t concentrate on one idea or feeling for a long time. Mostly each painting was inspired by something else - a poem, a music single, a novel, a person, some feeling or a situation, a character from my dreams. But I must say I take constant inspiration from
Zbigniew Preisner’s work, just like I’m trying to remember Zdzisław Beksiński’s concept of making art. What do you hope to achieve with your work in the future? [Joking] Fame and glory of course! But being serious I want to be a part of this branch of art which is making a connection with human “soul”, expanding inner consciousness and showing the way to freedom in acting and thinking making us better beings. I want to prepare and send the message, hoping someone will read it and it’ll help her or him out.
d r e a m f r
a m e s . p l
“Cosplay is something that you have to live by heart.”
Leon Chiro Cosplay Art “Hey there, I’m Leon Chiro, an Italian Cosplayer. In my real life I’m a photo model, bartender, student in Sports Science and Physiotherapy at University. Always making my costumes. Always determined by competion in every Cosplay contest. Always using my heart in my Cosplay interpretations. Always available to help the next one.”
“I got into cosplay in a very random way.” How long have you been a Cosplayer? What inspired you to begin?
convention Romics (the main convention here in Rome!) and that’s where it all began!
That’s the main question! YEAH! So many good memories I have in my mind! Well, I can officially say that I started to Cosplay in March, 2011.
Tell us about the costume process - do you make them yourself? Quite always. Actually, I love to have some contribution from my friends because I see it as a way to put some feelings of special friends in the Cosplay.
I got involved in a very random way; I was working for a model agency at the time (which I loved) when one day I wondered how cool it would be if I took some pictures as one of my favourite characters. Then a friend of mine replied saying “simple, Cosplay!” I looked into it more and discovered a different world! After, I did my first Cosplay (Tidus) at my first
For the tailoring part, I always ask someone to help because my speciality is not the ‘sewing part’. I love doing armours, weapons, accessories, the make-up part and my ‘weak point’ is the tailoring part.
â€œall my Cosplays are my favourite because I made them with all my heart! Do you have a favourite character to portray?
walkthrough. He is the most difficult Cosplay I did and it gave me a lot satisfaction to complete.
This is one of my most favourite questions I love to reply to! Actually, all my Cosplays are my favourite because I made them with all my heart!
- Tidus, for interpretation and heart. His story has had such a deep influence on my life and at the moment Final Fantasy X is my favourite game ever!
Every character I choose to Cosplay has a deep influence on me. If I had to though, I can narrow it down to three!
- Dante in Devil May Cry 3. He is just a badass and he marked a highlight for my Cosplay career!
- Caius Ballad, for the high level of craftsmanship involved. I also love this characterâ€™s story and
Which characters are on your “bucket list”? Let’s make an exception and reveal some ‘New Cosplays’ coming soon: - Hawke from Dragon Age 2 - Mass Effect 3 Armour - Vegeta Super Saiyan 4 - Prince of Persia (Warrior Within) - Lloyd - Legend of Dragoon - Psycho Krieg (coming soon in Japan Expo 2014) - Nathan Drake - Jaime Lannister Is that enough for you? :D
worldcosplay.net/member/ LeonChiroCosplayArt pixidols.com/membre/LeonChiro 34
“I only Cosplay characters that I TRULY LOVE BY HEART.” Are there any particular characters you would never portray?
I will also be special guest in a lot of Italian conventions coming soon!
Yeah. Anime characters actually. I can reply also with ‘Naruto’ \ ‘Fairy Tail’ etc because they are too mainstream and I don’t like those series! I only Cosplay characters that I TRULY LOVE BY HEART.
Lots of satisfaction and a lot of happiness!
Do you attend many conventions?
Cosplay is something that you have to live by heart.
What advice would you give to aspiring Cosplayers?
“Cosplay is heart.
Actually yes!! My agenda is kind of full and I am very happy about it because it means that my art is appreciated. There’s nothing else that can make me more happy than this. My next convention will be Japan Expo 2014.
Cosplay is magic. Never forget that!”
Your illustrative style is very “organic” in style. What would you say are your mail inﬂuences and inspirations? My principal inspirations are the night and what I feel, like emotions or fears or simply the monotony. It’s about the night and what is born from it. I mean especially nightmares. I have a passion for Gothic and horror worlds, like literature, games or movies, especially Clive Barker’s world and his weird monsters. My favourite artist is Gerald Brom. His creatures are represented in perfect and detailed way. Lately I am trying to learn to not have fear and be shy to represent [my work]. My goal is not perfection in drawing. My goal is to be perfect in representing visual emotions directly via my “ladies” and creatures. I remember in Luis Royo’s art book, there is a phrase that touches me and changes my vision of painting: “Take a pencil and draw, without thoughts, a creature. Do not think about perfection and anatomy, because they don’t exist. So, do not have fear to draw monsters”. Another inspiration is my original character, Fanhir Nives Kal’her. I think she saved my life in different ways, from art to living myself. She’s a warrior (in the present time, on an Earth adapted to her adventures), a woman who continues to fight againat her enemies, but also herself. Her adventures, her character and her mood continue to give me inspiration; despite how it looks I drawing her rarely and maybe it seems my art doesn’t link to her. The truth is ALL my art is around Fanhir. She’s more than a simple “original character” for me.
How long have you been an artist? What inspired you to begin? I remember I started to draw when I was seven. I started to draw fashion on my block notes and divide all styles (casual, evening dresses, etc) in every page. In fact, I always used to loved Fashion World. I studied to become a fashion designer, but during fashion school at age fifteen I knew about Manga, comics and games world. Then music, like epic Metal and more, to books...That then put me,
totally, in the Fantasy world. From it, I started to draw my fashion models in different situations, like in a wild land or put a simple background like the night, until I started to love the Illustration world. I finished fashion school, but I had no possibility (economically, sad and materialist but true) to join an art school. So I continued to enjoy drawing for myself. It was only a hobby, a passion....but now it has become my life and also my work.
“It was only a hobby, a passion...but now it has become my life...”
“If you look a hurt woman, maybe it doesn’t means she is suffering for her pain...
Your pieces have something of a twisted fairytale element. Do you always like to create some sort of narrative? My principal goal is to represent emotions or simple feeling in a specific situation, like you say; “twisted fairytale”. But I love especially to represent “humanity monsters” that speak without words and tell their personal story. My ladies are not only monsters, but they’re a representation of a mood, an emotion or an attitude. If you look a hurt woman, maybe it doesn’t means she is suffering for her pain. Maybe she wants this life and she’s indifferent and happy to be a monster. People think ugly things are the representation of badness and pain. It’s not the truth. “Ugly” may be more beautiful than “nice”. Everyone wears a mask and
in my life I’ve learned that the more the mask is beautiful and detailed, the more is the pain and solitude a person feels. In my art I want to represent - in my favourite way - the Gothic and horror genre and the reality of emotions. Lately I’m mostly trying to represent especially what I feel. I love to be sarcastic, ironic....I love macabre and gory, but I also love elegance and colours. This is why, usually, my ladies are so [colourful]. I’m a lunatic person, so I feel a lot of emotions in a day. I love including irony and luxury in a weird and maybe sensual macabre situation. Like drinking a cup of tea (“Frustration -Is An Evil Attitude-” P36) or feeling sad and desperate in a wonderful situation like a sunset (“Die Reborn” P32), which people usually love because they give calm and happiness.
...Maybe she wants this life and sheâ€™s indifferent and happy to be a monster.â€? 41
What are your “tools of the trade”? I’m a traditional artist. My favourite tools are watercolours, ink and graphite. I love mixing those media. I admit, I started to use watercolours a few years ago and I immediately felt comfortable due to easy way to represent my style and what I feel. I also found, lately, that the black and white style sometimes encourages the situation I’m drawing to be stronger than maybe too much color, which can divert attention from the principal concept. But I admit, I love that the spectator feels confusion at the first look of my art, because it encourages
them to look better at the detail and find that there is more than a colorful work. Would you say it’s hard to stand out as an artist? It’s a weird sensation that you never stand out in your life. But it is also a point of view you encourage to grow step by step as person and as an artist. I admit I don’t know the real meaning of “popular”. You feel it when you receive lovely words and support from your fans (emotionally, but also economically, because us artists also need to live). You’re trying to not care about “popularity”, because basically you’re an artist. But as an artist, I don’t believe when someone says “I’m drawing for myself and nothing more”. There are people who accept your art and there are people who decline your art. When you have accepted both situations, in my opinion, you stand out as an artist. Because you learned that the most important thing is to create your art and listen to what your art inspires, in good or bad way. The important thing is to talk, no?
“I love that the spectator feels confusion...” 43
What do you hope to achieve with your work in the future? I admit, I would “hide” for lot of time because I was feeling too shy and not right to “use” my art [as it started] becoming my work. Lately, due to personal experiences and reasons, I started to have a different vision and want to come out from my studio. One of my dreams is a sign to make an art
book or a collection. Maybe it’s a bit of a materialistic wish, but I always wished to see my art in a book and to know people who are doing the same. Like I wish to have the chance to show my work in a gallery. I started for a time to do comic fairs and I immediately love the world and the attitude of them, so I hope to continue on this road.
ladyfanhir-art.it fanhir.deviantart.com ladyfanhir.daportfolio.com 45
“You know everything will be diffe
WRITING CORNER with JENOIR NOIR ‘KITE STRING’ 46
erent when we leave, don’t you?”
I sit on the sand. It is sunny, but I don’t feel too hot, the light doesn’t hurt my eyes.
“No you’re not and neither am I. Everything is different now, it’s ok here.”
In the distance I see the silhouette of someone walking towards me. I know it is Robin and I wait for him patiently. He sits on the sand near to me; close, but not close enough to touch.
“You know everything will be different when we leave, don’t you?” “It’s ok here.” “You can’t stay.” He is speaking to me gently, like I am fragile. I don’t feel fragile, I don’t feel anything much, just...drifty? Sleepy?
“Saved you a seat,” I say, and grin; indicating the empty beach. “I can’t stay long.”
“How come you’re the one to tell me this?”
I look at him, he is trying to say things with his eyes so that he doesn’t have to bring the words into the empty space between us. He never used to look at me with his eyes, not directly into mine, like he is now.
“I was passing.” He speaks dryly, but not with bitterness. I laugh and I can see how ridiculous it sounds.
“I like it here.” I say I think of him, in his bed, with me lying next to him; lying next to him wondering if it was both of us pretending to fall asleep, or just me. He shufﬂes forward now and brushes some hair from my eyes. I didn’t notice I had hair in my eyes. “You can’t stay long” he says, then simply; “I’m sorry.”
“I asked to come,” he admits, “I wanted to see you, like I said, things are different now.” He says this tenderly, he is looking at me with his head tilted at an angle, and suddenly I feel tearful. “Don’t” he says. “It’s just so sad,” I say, “I picture us in that room, on that bed, without a care in the world...not even for each other...” I pause. For breath? No, I just pause. “We thought we were so safe...if I’d of known, I’d have cared more.”
“I’m afraid...I don’t think this is th
He nods his head slowly, but doesn’t speak for a long while. I gaze out over the sea, not really thinking about anything in particular. “We can care now,” he says. “I’ll think of you when I get back, I’ll care then too.” “I won’t be there.” “I know.” I look out at the sea again, it keeps pulling my eyes from his, like it has something to say to me too. I feel soothed by its gentle lapping at the sand, by its never ending blue...I wish I could get lost in that blue. I wish I could get lost in it forever... Robin follows my gaze. “Ah,” he says, “I see.” “Is it the way home?” I ask “I wasn’t sure till now, I think so.” I look at my feet, they have grains of sand sticking to them. I look at Robin and try to ﬁx him in my memory like a picture. His sandy hair blending into the beach in the background, his faded army shirt over his white t-shirt, his feet have grains of sand
stuck to them too, just like mine. I look at his chest again, where his heart is. In times gone by I had wondered if he even had a heart in that chest at all...or if I had a heart in mine... There is a small red design on the chest of his t-shirt, and I smile at it. He has a heart, I know this now; and his clothes know it too! “Don’t look...” The design grows, and I stare, ﬁxated as the colour seeps through the fabric slowly and spreads, like a red rose opening, captured on time lapse. “Did it hurt?” I speak quietly, afraid he will disappear right before my eyes if I make too much sound. “I can’t remember...I don’t know...I don’t think so.” Then, “I think you’ll have to swim.” His is standing up now, his shirt is red and the colour is deepening. I stand too and he takes my hand. We walk towards the sea, my ﬁngers slipping against his ﬁngers, wet with the blood that runs down his arm. The water is cold. I feel afraid as I step into it. “Robin, I’m afraid...I don’t think this is the way.” 48
I’m really cold now, and Robin is pulling me further in. His hand isn’t slippery any more and it grips me tightly, pulls me deeper. My feet leave the bottom and we swim... We swim and swim and swim until the beach is gone from view and there is nothing but us and the sea and the sky; a limbo of never-ending blue. We stop and tread water, and I think about how I have never been swimming with Robin before. He grins at me cheekily suddenly; “Your t-shirt has gone see-through.” I just laugh in response and we ﬂoat there chuckling at each other; that it should be us of all the people to end up here; him in red, and me in my invisible t-shirt! “What now?” I ask. “We dive.” “Then what?” “You’ll get to the bottom.” Now I’m afraid again, the bottom seems an awfully long way. “I don’t think I can swim that far.”
“You swam here.” “I don’t think you can swim that far,” I nod towards his chest, the water is turning red around us. “I can’t swim that far.” He says quietly, and looks down at his chest, “I’m running out of...air miles.” “Did it hurt, really?” He looks sad for a moment, and pales slightly, “Yes.” Then, “but it was only a minute, don’t tell anyone.” “I won’t.” “It’s time to go.” We surface dive, and kick towards the bottom. I pretend we are dolphins to take my mind away from... “We would make odd dolphins, you know.” Robin’s voice popped into my head, just like that! “Robin?!” I’m confused. “How are you speaking to me?”
“I need to feel a connection.....”
“We have been speaking like this since the beach. You are doing it right now.” I think back, picturing us on the sand. “Did you see my lips move at any point at all?” “No.” It’s getting darker, but I can still see him smiling. “That’s not funny, you could have told me.” “I know.” I am glad not to be alone in this cold darkness, but not too pleased that Robin can just pick at my thoughts. Suddenly we both jolt in the water. “What was that?!” “This is it, I can’t go any further.”
still? Is my perception distorted by the moving water? I look up at Robin now and he is ﬂoating above me. “This is it, I can’t go any further than this.” I see the sky through the water, so far above us. I see the trail of Robins blood tracing a line back to the surface, like a red kite string, stretched to its limit. He can’t come any further. I reach out for him now, I need to feel a connection, our ﬁnal human moment somewhere between sand and sky, locked in the water with his ﬁngertips touching mine. I look down again, the dim light is closer now and reaching for me. I see I have a kite string of my own, a thin wavering kite string made of light, drawing me closer to its source, and I drift like a scrap of paper...
“You will. Look carefully.”
Robin is further away now and already starting to fade. I look at him and he is trying to say things with his eyes, he never used to look at me with his eyes, not directly into mine like he is now.
So I look. And I see. I can almost see... something. A dim light moving, or is it
Like dolphins.... Dolphins, kites and paper... he is gone.
“But I can’t see the bottom yet.”
The light at the bottom is warm. I feel liquid. I pour myself into the light, it’s getting hotter, hotter...it burns. Robin didn’t tell me it would burn! The heat is choking me! I try to scream out for Robin, but the heat, the light, and the water ﬁlls my mouth and anyway Robin is gone. It’s just me in this place now, me and the heat and the light and the water. My last thought as I disappear is of two kite strings, one red, one white, just that. Two kite strings.
“Where am I?”
My eye hurts. I think it is my left one. It doesn’t want to open. I try the other eye, slowly, just a crack, and ﬂuorescent light seeps in. “It hurts.” I say, but it’s not like the other light.
I no longer need to ﬁll silence with words like I used to. I am calm. I can just be. I dreamed of Robin last night. We didn’t speak, I just saw his face for a moment.
“You’re in hospital...it’s been almost two weeks...” My eye ﬂicks around the room but I just want to close it and sleep. “Sorry I was gone so long,” I murmur, “I was waiting for Robin...” I like my own company these days.
“It’s time to wake up.” Who is this? I don’t know this voice. I try to ask but my throat still hurts from the light and I croak like a frog...frogs dolphins and paper...where am I? I feel a pressure on my hand, and look down to see another hand touching it. For a second I think; Robin! But my eye is open properly now and I follow the arm attached to the hand all the way up till I get to the face of my sister.
I am out of breath, almost at the top of this hill I am climbing. My ears sting with the cold and I know they will be red by the time I come back down. I don’t mind, it feels healthy. Alive. From the top of the hill I can see children playing in the ﬁelds with kites. It’s the perfect day for kite ﬂying, and I watch for a while, until I see two have broken free. They rise up towards the sun, higher than me on my hill. I squint to watch them, as tails entwined, they drift away, pulled by the wind towards the light. “We can care now my Robin,” I whisper, “I told them it didn’t hurt.”
CONLAODH PIXEL PERFECT WORLD
When did you ﬁrst begin creating art such as this? What inspired you to begin? It was around three or four years ago. I had been thinking of getting back into doing some sketching and painting (something I had tried briefly several years ago) and a friend who was involved in graphic design suggested I try digital artwork to see if I liked it. So I gave it a try - and found out that I enjoyed it....in part because it’s less messy and there’s no cleaning up to do at the end! What is the process of making such detailed digital renderings? For me, the first part of the process is coming up with a workable concept. I start a lot of projects
that never get completed simply because I don’t have the experience or resources to make them turn out the way I want. I’m not a 3D modeller, so my artwork is made using purchased models. I will occasionally do some adjustments on textures if needed, but the models themselves are purchased. In some ways, I think of myself sort of like a photographer staging a scene. I don’t make any of the items that I’m ‘taking a picture of’, I just try to arrange things within the scene, set up lighting, consider colour, etc. And then, like a photographer, I’ll take several ‘shots’ from different angles and with different lighting to try to capture what I have in mind. I rarely end up with something that’s exactly what I had in mind when I started; sometimes it turns out that a different setup and different lighting works better.
What are your “tools of the trade”? I didn’t have a lot of resources to sink into software when I started (or now, for that matter), so I started with Daz Studio 4 which is offered as a free download with some base content. I experimented with the program, but found I was never fully satisfied with my finished product when I rendered with the native Daz render engine. That’s not really the fault of the software, because I’ve seen some brilliant work created straight out of Daz. But it wasn’t working for me. Then Pret-a-3D created a plugin for Daz Studio called Reality that allowed a Daz Studio scene to be rendered in LuxRender (also a free program), which is a physically based, unbiased rendering system. Light works in LuxRender the way it does in real life. The first images I saw that were created in Reality and LuxRender were quite impressive, and I decided to invest in Reality. Those are now my main tools for creating images - Daz Studio to set up the scene, and then Reality and LuxRender for the render. I’ve learned patience through this, because I have an older computer with not many resources. It can take up to three days for more for my computer to render the final image.
Do you prefer to make original characters, or fan arts such as your Sherlock piece? I think Sherlock was my first and only piece of fan art. I mainly do original characters and scenes. I’ve never been able to settle into one genre of art; most times when I’ve finished a piece I want to do something as different as possible. So, as the samples show, my work tends to be all over the map. Do you have any particular inﬂuences? Not really. That is to say, I don’t think there’s one artist whose work I’d like to emulate. I do find
creative inspiration from a lot of different artists, however. I am indebted to all the excellent artists who post their work and allow others to benefit from it. What do you hope to achieve with your work in the future? I would want to improve my technique with postwork, for one thing; I think it would make a big difference in the finished quality of what I do. But other than just trying to improve, I can’t say I have any specific goals to reach. This is just a hobby for me, and I don’t ever expect to get anything out of it other than my own satisfaction.
DAN LANE AKA
IN HIS WORDS...
I first started creating sculptures in this way about three years ago. I’ve always had a love for art and anything mechanical, add to that a love for anything unusual and off the wall and I ended up with a mix of interests that have inspired my imagination to create these pieces. I enjoy any artist that uses a lots of detail in their work whether it be paintings or sculptures, artists like Marc Quinn. His sculptures look real and his paintings look like photos, that takes a lot of skill. I try to make my work as complex and intricate as possible. This gives the person viewing them a lot to take in, people stare at my work for ages, usually from 4-5 foot away then they get really close to work to take a good look at how they are made and what is involved.
People notice different things the second, third, and forth time they look at them and that’s what I really like. A lot of the parts I get are given to me but I do like going to boot fairs and bric-a-brac stores to find weird items. Since I’ve had a bit of media exposure I get people giving me all sort of weird stuff, I’m not always sure what to do with it but I keep it just incase, my workshop is full of interesting stuff. Although I have been making sculptures for about three years I have only gone public since April this year in that time things have gone a bit crazy. I have been featured in a few local newspapers, several Facebook pages and blogs, online art magazines, the BBC evening news, and just recently featured on a very well know art magazine’s website. I have exhibited my work at a few galleries as part of group exhibitions and in July I have my first solo show at the What if? Gallery in Dartford, Kent. Later on this year I have been invited to exhibit in one of London’s best commercial galleries, I should have more details on that in the coming months. After that the idea is to keep creating and keep exhibiting and see where it takes me.
n r a C l E presents
l a v i n
In a far-off distant land where lyrical magic dances and the sky is host to falling musical Notation, where the lions roar and the ice cream coated mountains reﬂect a dying burning sun There rests a place of beautiful hypnotic sensation, a place where the realities lie within the Senses of one’s own imagination. El Carnival is a home for the wonderful, the quirky, the strange and The magniﬁcent. Once upon a Summer dreary where common sense belongs to only a boring Professor’s theory, El Carnival arrived afoot within the lowland deserts where it came to lay and rest Awhile but meanwhile while no audience was compulsory and no proﬁt was sought a vast array Of vivid characters came to play. ❋ Up went the tents, the marquees and the stalls. Shallowly Barbara with her screaming and Shattering voice would practice in her dressing room. Limpit Strimpit was a man of exceptional Weirdness who could do a whole manner of dastardly tricks – he could smoke 3,000 cigarettes all at once. He could walk with one leg and one hand, he unhinged his ears and tied them to his boots and He could hammer thirty nails into his toes and still dance a jig to the orchestra pit. The Orchestra Pit Was home to the travelling lips, a brass band of awesome jazz who had lips with exceptional size and Giganticness, the sound they could emanate from those fast feluting ﬁddlers was quite a mesmerising Sound that shattered the false teeth of old women and burst the eardrums of constipated knee slappers. Oh there were so many astounding c haracters to meet and greet at this astounding travelling troupe. 69
There was Mr Maverin Smyathers, a curious lion tamer with a moustache of amazing length that Was oh so big that it could be used as a whip to tame those majestic animals. There was Sugary Flute And his incredible juggle buggling shape snarling elephants that blew their golden bugles’ as they Led the troupe into its new home. You could meet the invisible man but for the fact that he had no Vocal chords as well as no clothes which made him quite a pointless act in some points. ❋ The Laughing dancers did smile in a line with a Summer haze meandering upon the lightly heavens. From one majestic top to another we met a seductive almost hypnotic mime whose name has never been uttered. She was no ordinary mime, there were days and moments in which she could be found on the common street busking her way through life but up above on the clouds of wild wonder, where many a ticking clock did endlessly chime, where saddening clowns scurried under an umbrella from the rain that followed them wherever they walked – our muted mime would play her trade. She possessed all the mundane tricks we have seen and heard but this mime could create most deep from within. For what she could mime – she could so create. All upon an average evening with this troupe quite a dazzling show this mime could perform. White make-up adorned the face with a shirt of black and of white. Red thrills did act as braces for baggy black trousers and tiny black lips from which no syllable was uttered. She would create the illusion of a box all around her from which she nimbly stepped forth. The innocent crowd member was invited to step in and once there off they would go into a garden of weaving hand claps, broken down daisies and heavenly cool waterfalls. Streams that ran in all directions that delivered thee to
bustling deserts, blanketed silence and the watches that stopped when time meant no more. There they would stay in the mimes’ creation until they wished to come back, who knows how long that would take. And from this, imaginary ropes that if continued to climb led you into the heavens above to dance with the Ice maids. She would twist imaginary hula hoops that began to emanate colours of blue, of red and white. Mirrored pieces of glass would appear from the mime artists hands as she crafted whatever shape would come from her hands. Up and above your gaze would ﬂy to snoozing trumpet tromboners and merry fezzwinkle dancers. The amazing animals from all corners were quite a sight from the glass eyed monocle. The lions would discuss 19th Century Western Philosophy; the tigers did play chess while the almighty grizzly bear did apply a whole host of hats that he collected from around the continents of rhyme. Slivering snakes did change their colour and glow through the dark while masked Bruges Crocodiles did dance in unison an elated Can-Can. ❋ Disbelieving witnesses stop for a drink of malt and hot Dansk that enables the hair to grow on and on Down to the ground and out the door as well as breath of ﬁery persuasion. They must hop on quick for the bar rotates on a spinning dial of all mystical colours. The seductive bar maids with slender long legs but with horses’ heads always make sure the drinks are ﬂowing for the maddening laughter of many a frowning clown. You may sit and play cards with the man made of ﬁre but beware his poker face for he’d simply combust. Now the bourbon has had its way and off you trot with horns for ears and trotters for hands, such a wayward turn of events for the unsuspecting tourist. If of theatrical persuasion you may fancy a turn with the Lady Guild of Flamnius Puppets where the ladyman puppets come to sing and dance at the dash of some
mystical ash. Through and out to the Purple hazed Grass of Strawberry zeal and lemon quash you may hear the jangling bangling of Herbert T. Warer’s sultry Mandolin as he states: We are here you are there Madness and eloquence surround you everywhere Lost on the shores of trickle down mirth For the eye of imagination we will give birth Not a question to be asked, no need for a dime You will lose all sense of structure and time Jitterbugging caterpillars do turn a merry waltz For the masked ﬂamingos do cry a winey billow for a yearning schmaltz
So much to see, so much to be but alas El Carnival will always move when the sombre lady does shed a tear from on high above. Up go the sticks and off the elephants march with bugles blowing and Dr. Billhickle and Master Saint Squire trumpeting their trumpets calling one and all to see their show. The Elephants do march as in their wake the Acrobats dance, the trapeze acts soar with the cages and boxes being pulled as if to battle. It is not unusual for many a juggling clown and symbol smashing monkey to bide their time atop these cages and boxes. Oh and maybe ... just oh so maybe ghosts of the howling wind do sit and witness what show they once lived before the moons called them to slumber. ❋
❋ And so you must not be late for the acrobats do twist and jump and ﬂoat and soar but for all They survey and how high they leap they are high above for so long a time assembling so many a structure cobbled together from wood and sticks and a whole host of red bricks. The tightrope is pointless, the tightrope is futile but maybe just maybe rather intriguing for the tightrope leads out of town towards the falling moons where crystal shards of Blue and White have embedded themselves in the ground, an ageing companion to the host of automobiles stranded from the collapse of all you have known. The hall of mirrors leaves terror for all for if you go near voices and whispers do beg and do call. The Mirrors are endless; they are everywhere and anywhere, windows through to the worlds of ﬁgment, many a portal and dimension stacked upon each other forever and ever. Nobody and no one knew how far the hall stretched, many went mad and some were lost. A reﬂection was not just a reﬂection – reﬂections of everything, of nothing, of the lost and the macabre as well as reﬂections which might just leave a door ajar...
So much more to say, so much more to see – the knife throwing dead, the ﬁre breathing dragon tamer and the ghost ride that never stops but never began that will show so many a shadow believed to be real. Alas the hour glass turns and again you will stand at the gates of El Carnival.
© J.N. Cornes 2014
Your art has an extremely traditional style to it. What would you say has been the biggest inﬂuence on your work? I’d say the music I listen to and some books. I’m a big fan of The Beatles. Kishi Bashi, The Shins, Wilco and The Strokes are some other bands that are always in my playlist. As to books, my favourite is ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, ‘Brodek’s Report’, ‘Magnus’ and ‘The fall of Rome’.
T O H A K U M A R U
What inspired you to become an artist? I started drawing when I was a kid. Growing up, I tried doing many different things including turning English major in my studies, translating books and mapping. They were all fun but nothing makes me happy like drawing does. I really hope to get into an art college of some sorts in the future and to do art as a career.
What are your “tools of the trade”? Watercolour and a Staedtler pigment liner. Lately I have been trying to use ink because I like the organic feel of the lines that ink and dip pens give. Do any of the characters in your work have stories of the own? Most of them do. It is actually quite hard to draw without a story, although I don’t think of the story before drawing, I just make it up as I go along. It makes the whole process more enjoyable and less serious. Some of your work is beautifully simple, with a “less is more” feel. Is it hard to know when exactly a piece is truly ﬁnished? The piece goes along with the story like I said in the previous question. So when the story is finished, the piece is done. What do you hope to achieve with your work in the future? Besides pursuing art as a career, I just want to get better at it and probably make comics or illustrate books.
Precious the Art of
etsy.com/shop/Rhissanna facebook.com/rhissanna.collins rhissanna.blogspot.com/ 79
What inspired you to take up doll craft?
I love that moment of discovery.
I’ve always made dolls. I have a very early memory of constructing figures from plastic hair curlers and hair pins and playing with them. I have a feeling that these dolls were vaguely unsatisfactory, even for a three year old. At age six, I tried peg dolls, with flour and water glue. Not a huge success. Although I had a lot of fun in the actual making of them, I still found the results disappointing. I wanted to make something better than my hands and skill could manage.
What drew you to conjoined twins?
I think that’s the core of what drives me to make dolls. I’m trying to make the doll in my head and every time I finish a figure I get a tiny, teeny bit closer to that ideal. I’ll never get there, of course, but the journey - that’s the thing. The best dolls teach me something new; a new technique or a way to do something better.
I’m becoming the two-headed doll lady, which is a title I’m happy to embrace. The very first set was made for a commission. A customer contacted me and said, please would I make a little doll with two heads. Everyone else she’d contacted had turned her down. And then she added: could I make them cute, and not creepy? That was a challenge. There’s some fabulous creepy art dolls out there, really exotic and dynamic creatures. But a conjoined doll that looks sweet? Was that even possible? So I gave them an outrageously frothy dress, I had them glancing at each other and they can sit and hold hands. And they opened up the door for all kinds of enquiries for two-headed dolls.
Hubby always said I should make edgy dolls. Turns out he was right!
The sewn and stuffed limbs are painted and sanded and painted again and sanded and painted once more and sanded...you get the general idea. This technique of applying acrylic paint to fabric and sanding between layers produces a surface like butter-soft leather. It’s smooth to the touch, with deep colour and binds the cloth visually with the paper clay sculpting. All my dolls are constructed this way and I show the process on my blog, for other people to try.
What are your “tools of the trade”? I discovered paper clay after a domestic tragedy. My oven broke! I couldn’t use polymer clay any more as it needs to be cured in an oven. That meant trying a new medium that seemed to be very popular with doll makers. I didn’t like the paper clay at first. It can be like sculpting with wet marshmallows, it can take forever to dry hard, (especially in Arkansas which is very humid in the summer.) and it has to be painted and sealed for protection. But what it does do is bond to fabric and that’s what makes my dolls possible.
Essentially, those are the tools. All the figures are made with this basic method, even the conjoined twins. Do you like to give name and character backgrounds to your dolls?
The heads are sculpted over a plastic egg, although I have used real eggs cleaned out. The head is attached to a shoulder-plate which is then smooshed into the cloth torso while the clay is still wet, making a strong bond. The rest of the doll is made from cloth, like a rag doll, and the hands and feet are modelled in wet clay directly over the fabric. When it’s all dry, it’s there for good.
The common consensus amongst doll makers is that the doll knows what it wants to be. We all start out with an idea about what kind of doll we’re making. We have the design and the sketches and the swatches, but the doll we end up with can be something quite different to what we’d expected. It’s as if the doll makes some executive decisions during the creation process.
This isn’t meant to sound spooky (unless you’re really disturbed by dolls). It’s just the way things are. It’s why most doll makers have a box of spare heads and dismembered limbs. It’s why dolls can wait weeks or months to be finished, because we don’t know who they are until they tell us. So, yes, mine all have names and histories and identities. Some are louder characters that others but that’s fair. Some people are like that, too. Art dolls are a strange concept in themselves - dolls which are not toys, but simply there to be looked at. Why do you think people are drawn to them so much? I think art dolls have such a huge following because they’re a very accessible kind of art. They’re always figurative, they’re often part of a narrative and they’re highly decorative (that wasn’t meant to rhyme.) People who like dolls REALLY like dolls and they seem to be drawn to representations of the human form in all kinds of artistic media. The art doll is a satisfying way to humour that desire.
for every interesting experiences. I really like to see if I can match the customer’s vision, so that the doll I make is the doll they already have in mind. What do you hope to achieve with your work in the future?
Doll making has taken me much further than I’d ever hoped. I never expected to be making dolls people would be interested in; I thought it would just be a furtive hobby. I hope to keep at it, to discover more dolls hidden in the clay and the cloth and make them come to life. I hope they keep teaching me new things, as that’s the best part of doll making and the dolls themselves are the best reward for the craft.
There’ll be a (free and easy!) doll pattern on my blog to celebrate this issue of Last Laugh Magazine. A small doll that’s suitable for dressing or mixed media work or, you know, kids to play with. I’d love to see what people make.
I think of my figures as dolls first and art afterwards, because I really hope their owners will play with them. I deliberately make my dolls tactile and flexible and their simple joints should guide them into natural sitting or sleeping poses. They’re designed to be picked up, gently carried, conversed with. I’d feel a little sad if they were all sealed in some glass cabinet. Then they wouldn’t really be dolls at all. Are you available for commissions? Dear me, yes! I like working with the client, making sure they’re kept up-to-date with the piece and posting images so they can see the progress and make suggestions. Some customers like to get very involved, others want me to run with the idea, both make
â€œI think of my figures as dolls first...I really hope their owners will play with them.â€? 85
We are three Illustration students from the Netherlands. We offer our art (paintings, drawings etc) for a reasonable price. More information can be found on our Facebook page:
facebook.com/aiaillustration This page is currently in Dutch. English translation is available upon request. 86
....from Sarah-L-B (creator, designer, happy I took out the trash)
Promo Contest Winners List
A big thank you to everyone who participated in the contest/giveaway these past few weeks. I must also thank all of the amazing artists who kindly donated their work. All of the prizes have now been mailed out to their wonderful new owners! I may choose to hold another contest in a few months time, so fear not if you’re not a winner; there shall be other chances to win! The winner of the prize bundle is:
Rachel Prior (UK) The runners-up are:
Deanna Petersson (USA) Fran Morales (Spain) Congratulations! * * * DISCLAIMER * * * This month’s magazine was brought to you by binge watching Trailor Park Boys, mouring the loss of Rik Mayall (God rest “The People’s Poet”), tweeting celebrities, gross amounts of Twinings Tea, late nights, burnt pizza, mass emailing, brain farts, square eyes and drooling. Oh so much drooling over the art. 88
Important changes for issue 9: A guest editor! Yes, it’s true! Because I am going to be away for a few weeks I am leaving the wonderful Amy Lee Adam in charge. Amy will be in charge of ﬁnding and choosing the talent for the August issue of Last Laugh. If you wish to make it into issue #009 she is the one to contact!
firstname.lastname@example.org Normal service shall resume once I get back. Until then, you can drop all of your suggestions and submissions to Amy. She is really helping me out and I must say a big thank you - you’re a life saver! I have faith that she’ll do a really splendid job. 89