Friday, August 31, 2012

A Brief Guide to Art "Dolls"

When I was in Portland, attending the AFA 2012 gathering, I participated in Els's "Paper Doll" tutorial. This was a very useful wee lesson, although I never did finish the doll I made then (using the fox template). However, coming home I initiated a trade with the very talented Jennie - who makes masterful and detailed art dolls, however, since they are animals, I am from herein going to call them "Card Critters."

This is the first Lemur Card Critter I made:

As you can see, there's nothing particularly wrong with him - he has 9 moving bits - 4 legs, tail, neck, head and each ear.

But then Jennie sent me this adorable chap:

As you can see, not only is he double-sided, but every ring on his tail is hinged to move AND look at how she has cut out all those bits of spiky fur individually.

Suddenly my efforts started to seem a little pitiful. It was back to the drawing board.

So how does one go about making a Card Critter? This is what I learned from Els's tutorial:

Firstly, draw out the critter you want to make.

Excuse the bad scan, I could not be bothered inking it.  As you can see, I have continued through the various parts using my vague knowledge of animal anatomy to decide where things should be hinged. I have only drawn one forearm, because I intend to make two identival ones. The hindlegs, however, are slightly different.

Then I traced out each piece (ie: forearm, lower arm, hand, etc) onto a piece of acid free photocopy paper. Outlined them in sharpie and cut them out, before glueing them onto card. Then I cut that out. To do the back side, I glued pieces of paper onto the rear of the card, before cutting it out, so as to get the size exactly right.  I lined up the parts, colouring them at this stage. To do the body, I used two different pieces of card, sandwiching the tail and head between them. As with the paper, I trimmed the second using the first as a guide. Where possible, I used the same brad for as many bits as I could. This means that I didn't end up wasting brads, and also the critter did not look too cluttered.

Here's the completed lemur:

As you can see, he can manage a fair number of poses! 

He uses 11 brads and has 14 moving parts.

Next up was a raven. Now I'm onto my third and starting to feel a bit more confident, so I decide to do something really clever. I want to make his wing open. Easier said than done? Definitely!

Firstly, here is the raven's sketchwork:

The body was straightforward enough. His lower mandible is hinged, which means he can open his beak, although if he opens it too wide it looks a little weird! His neck join is articulated which means he can look down at some scavenge. His feet - which you cannot see on this page, are in three parts - the leg, the foreclaws (3) and the hindclaw. They are connected with a brad at his ankle, meaning he can almost clasp things. I decided not to go overboard and hinge all four claws separately. His leg is hinged at the thigh and at the ... well, I'll call it elbow as I no longer remember the appropriate term. His tail feathers (he only has three currently, but I may add more) spread out and yes, his wings do open.

Here he is in all his glory:

Making the wing was the hardest part, and regrettfully, I have had to hinge it at both the shoulder and towards the rear, as it is too heavy to allow for greater flexibility and still remain stable. Ideally, I should have used thinner card. Anyhow, as you can see the secondaries are both on the same piece of card. This has been scored so that it folds in half, allowing the actual secondaries to fold over his body. I realise this may not be 100% anatomically accurate, but would challenge anyone to do it completely realistically! The primaries are a separate part, and they are connected to the secondaries only by one brad at the hand joint. When folded down, they can be angled to cover the lower bent bit entirely, as can be seen in the top image. Alas, I have not yet discovered a way to make them stay down, as the card is too thick. I am going to attach a paperclip to his spine for his journey to Washington State.

He has 15 moving parts, using 10 brads (one of which holds the wing in place and does not allow movement).

Next I shall be making an owl.


Lauren said...

This doesn't seem to have all loaded. I love the lemur you received in return.

Mary Walker Designs said...

The bird is amazing.

Cindy D. said...

These are so cool! I'm almost tempted to try one but eek, don't know where to find the time! The one you got in trade with the meticulous fur cuts is certainly awesome, but yours are as well. Your second lemur in particular, wow! The owl should be great!

jennie wallick said...

Angela, you have become a master at paper art crittera. Great tutorial, Jennie

Lorien Shaw said...

I love my raven...he is carefully displayed in a manner that allows me to change his position, and I have placed a magnetic snail nearby just in case he gets hungry. LOVE him so much...