Tulip Bride (in progress)

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It’s coming along. There’s still a lot of embellishing left to do but it’s a more complete picture than when it began.

I did add the facial features but I’m still not sold on them. In the final rendition I may photoshop those marks out and go back to the plain face. Unfortunately those blasted taxes took more time than anticipated (but at least they are almost done) and it’s time to move on to the next Art. I’ll be sure to post when this piece is finished and post some more of the behind-the-process pictures as well.

Paper Craft

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So, I have this project…

Yes, in addition to the 2 webcomics, the 3 blogs, and the cookbook project I have a graphic novel that I’ve been working on for several years. Well, okay, that’s not true. I have a graphic novel that is 1/3 scripted, 2/3 plotted and absolutely undrawn as yet. I have a graphic novel that hasn’t been touched in so long I’m not even going to link to it’s progress blog because it’s so very sad with neglect. But it does exist in it’s way, and I think about it every time I see my reference materials or script drafts sitting there gathering dusts.

At any rate! It’s a wedding story, very chick lit, set in New Orleans, with an undercurrent of occult–a thread throughout the book involves a tarot deck, cards of which pop up in unexpected places. Only problem is, when I started writing the story, the deck I needed didn’t exist yet.

Being the DIY diva I am, no problem, I’ll spend a few years researching it and make my own! And, being an artist, that means putting my spin on things, themed to the max, and (perhaps) a bit more complicated than it might have needed to be. I’m collaging each card’s image. (That’s 78 collages for the unfamiliar.)

So really it’s two projects–the story and the deck–and both are languishing.

Being wedding themed, I finally hit upon the idea (after much back and forth as to what to do with the court cards in the Minor Arcana) to have one of each suit represent a season and the remaining each represent a month, and all would be brides.

I’m sure you can see where this is going, then, as Miss Tulip Cotillion was perfect for a fantastical spring bride. So, this little paper project is now going to be the first completed art for the deck. I love progress.

Tulip Bride (in Progress)

Here she is after one evening’s work. The bones of the image are there (tulip-girl is not yet mounted to the shimmery lavender backing nor is the tree in it’s final spot) but there’s a lot of details–a lot of embellishment–left to go. This’ll be my main project for the weekend (that and, ugh, taxes). Which means that there will probably be further updates this weekend as I get to various points in the process.

I don’t know exactly which card she’ll be for. It has a lot to do with symbolism, both of the tulips–yellow ones mean hopelessness, according to their old meanings, perfect for the reverse of the card, while the current meaning is sunshine and cheerful thoughts–and the card that it is meant to take the place of. So far, though, flipping through my original notes, the Queen of Rods is actually looking like a good fit so far. But we’ll see.

So far I’ve used a few scherenschnitte techniques as well as paper tole (the spacing of some of the layers to add a shadow-like appearance; the link will take you to another one of my eHow articles). Before it’s through this will be a true mixed media piece as wire, beads and a bit of fabric are all in my plan.

The biggest debate I’m having, though, is whether or not to detail her face. On the one hand, a stylized shape lends more of a modern-art, everywoman feel to it; on the other hand it may just look unfinished. I’ll probably save that bit for last, anyway. Maybe cut a spare head and do a test run to see how I like it. Decisions, decisions.

A few disclaimers for those who’ve read this far or might be curious: Yes, I know not everyone is down with the woo-woo aspects of the Tarot–it’s okay. Along with astrology, which I’ve also researched over the years, I consider it more a tool for contemplation and meditation than divination. The future is what we make of it, but being more aware of potential influences never hurts, now does it? Yes, I also know the importance some place on these cards. This is why I’ve spent quite a bit of time studying the histories and meanings of the cards. I am, by no means, an expert, but I do respect what the cards represent to practitioners and I approach this project both from the artistic and spiritual sides. This will be a functional deck when completed.

Any questions? I’ll be happy to answer them. You can comment here or send me an email at randomactscomics[at]gmail[dot]com

Link Love: Paper Cuts

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That’s the good, intentional, artistic type of paper cuts. Not the accidental owie type.

As promised, I wanted to share a few resources for paper cutting/scherenschnitte for those who might want to explore the technique a little more or just like the very pretty things to look at.

Rob Ryan
rob-ryan.blogspot.com and misterrob.co.uk

Rob Ryan does these intricate, funky, organic, word-filled papercuts that just blow my mind. His style is very distinctive and it’s really something to check out if you like the more freeform types of art as opposed to some of the more stylized examples you might see elsewhere.

elsita.typepad.com/allaboutpapercutting/ by Elsa Mora

Elsita’s paper cuts are absolutely exquisite and I get a little thrill when she posts a new piece. Her papers are just so detailed I could look at them for hours and even a quick glance will teach you something about the craft. I especially like the way she’s able to add textures so effectively. Take a close look at her pieces and see the fantastic details she adds in every corner. Exquisite! (wait, I already said that, but it’s true enough to say twice!)

papercutting.blogspot.com by Cindy

She does amazing work and is totally generous, too. Check out her archives for the Template Tuesday posts where she has a printable image you can use to make your own paper-cut art. I especially love the beginner templates she posted as Papercuts for Kids. Don’t be fooled by the name–those medium templates include some adorable creatures and a wee monster!

Okay, those are my top 3 paper-cutting posts. I hope you check them out and become inspired to do something creative, whether it involves paper cutting or not 🙂 What will you create today?

Intro to Scherenschnitte

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Did you get creative with the scissors this weekend? Well, now it’s time to break out the craft knives.

At a book festival a few years ago I came across a woman working on a beautiful Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract). The artist specialized in intricate paper-cut borders and it was just amazing to watch her work. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by the paper cutting that also goes by the name Scherenschnitte.

Spring Flight by Scraps

Scherenschnitte (pronounced sharon-sh-net or sharon-sh-net-eh, depending on the country) is deceptively simple. It’s sort of like that old saying of the sculptor who takes a block of marble and removes what doesn’t belong. In paper cutting you just remove what isn’t a part of your picture.

In order to have the best look on the front, it’s best to draw or print your design on the back of your paper. Remember to reverse any words your using unless you plan for folks to read it in a mirror!

Just like the paperdoll style we talked about last week, you have to make sure everything is connected within your design, so get creative with your connectors. In the picture to the left I used bands of sunlight to keep my bird in place.

You can see my step-by-step process for “Spring Flight” over at eHow.com.

Paper cuts can add a really elegant touch to your home when framed for decor or bring a smile to a friend’s face if used as a card. They can be fun or formal, and tomorrow I’ll share some of my favorite resources and blogs that use Scherenschnitte in amazing ways!