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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: miniatures, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 45
1. You shall ride eternal. Shiny, and chrome….New York Antiquarian Book Fair 2016 closing arguments

book-of-eli-quote

Part of the experience of a book fair, and not one overly discussed for a reason, are the partnerships and the collaborative aspects of the book trade. You don’t necessarily have to go at this alone. Your comrades have your back (or your spine, [excruciating pun intended] which plays out when scouting or acquiring other material to add to the overall inventory.  How many times have you heard, “Oh, X, would love/need this!?” If you are willing and able, then serendipity has its moments, in addition to critical partnerships.

It was excellent for me to work along side Brian Cassidy, veteran bookseller and long-time Lux Mentis booth partner; Michael Laird, newly discovered witchcraft buddy; book goddess, Kara Accettola; the adorable and sharp, Jonathan Kearns; and equally as adorable and bright, Simon Beattie. I would also like to recognize, the entire Pirages team [good lord, ya’ll need a drink], Ed Sanders and Travis Low [horns up], Fuchsia Voremberg [hugs], Tom Congalton, and Ashley Wildes. I think Ashley encompasses the entire fair sentiment in one image:

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas.

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas. [Note: drinks handled with appropriate care]

It would be remiss to not recognize some of the book artists and book binders, very important, as representing strong work is a pleasure and a privilege. Both Colin Urbina and Erin Fletcher make overwhelmingly inspiring work, glad to have them in both physical form and function appearing in New York; Michael Kuch, again mind-blowing work; Peter Bogardus; Russell Maret, exceptional new work; Nancy Loeber, representing both fairs [shadow fair]; Christina Amato; Leslie Gerry; Mindy Belloff; María Verónica San Martín; Peter Koch; newly acquired book artist Alexandra Janezic; and of course, the dynamic duo of Marshall Weber and Felice Tebbe at Booklyn. [Do I sound like a broken record or an Oscar speech? geez.]

So, what’s next? Fortunately, we were able to jump over to the “shadow” shows both uptown and across the street to visit both book artists and snap up some “brutally cool” items for down the road to make appearances in iterations of catalog lists forthcoming.  What did strike our fancy this year? A selection of things that caught our eye:

Book of Rates Vermeil, Francois Michel. Trial of an Accused Transsexual in 18th-century France, Mémoire pour Anne Grandjean.... White Stuff, Patti Smith fanzine, 1977-1978 Honey, that Ain't No Romance, Iggy Pop fanzine Edict Regulating Prices for Executions and also for Salaries of Hangmen, 1712 Plethora of dirty pulps and bondage rags Love Poems: Homage to Housman by Samuel M. Steward, queer poet and tattoo artist Photographs of Samuel M. Steward, including images of a young Steward and one photograph with Tom of Finland Kill Me, art book (zine) by Paul Robinson of the Diodes, 1978 Essay Upon Wind, one of 12 copies printed on vellum, c. 1785 Janezic, Alexandra. "Punctuated Weaving" artist book, 2015 Walter L. Main Circus promotional poster

 

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2. Survival and Spectacle: Highlights from New York Antiquarian Book Fair 2016

No. We're good. We fang it!

No. We’re good. We fang it!

Every fair set-up and break down is a challenge, an adventure, and a chore. In the art world, “installation” is where the vision becomes cemented for the curator or artist.  Without being to fussy, installation at a book fair is similar, in that, a bookseller has the option to design visual gestalt with a display, to tell a story, or even to offend, dazzle, and educate. With that, part of the concept is driving an aesthetic attachment for a potential person to immediately hone in on something they absolutely desire to acquire for personal or pragmatic reasons.

Again, the thematic diatribe of Lux Mentis to “mock conventionalism” emerges case by case with groupings of “sex, death, and devil,” artist’s books, fine press, esoterica, and other bits of seemingly harmless or seemingly objectionable material. The process can sort of look like this:

NYBFbefore NYBFduring NYBFafter

When it is all said and done, you can hear Ian blather on in a nice little package with sound and image! Useful words and phrases to add to your regularly rotated vocabulary: “brutally cool” “spectacular” “just exquisite” “interesting bits” “fabulous” “astounding”. You can also learn how to properly stroke your beard.

What is important to note is while we go gangbusters with stuff, selection is important, as well as time management, you can fiddle around with one shelf for hours, believe me.  That being said, all in all, installation was smooth and considerate, every shelf both notes and confronts a narrative.  See for yourself.

Thunderbook Front display case with miniatures, artist's books, and the illustrious "Thunderbook Fine bindings (top) and 'challenging' perspective material, artist's books, including Leslie Gerry Gisela and Dangerous Women Punk rock Miniatures Sex, gender, and sexuality Occult and Death Gallery of artist's books

 

Next time: Gettin’ granular, or how to give good looks and books.

 

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3. Modeling Clay Maquettes

When all you need is a quick reference sculpt, you can use modeling clay. This oil-based clay never hardens and can be infinitely recycled.



This behind-the-scenes video snippet shows how I used modeling clay to visualize the lighting for a painting of a snake attacking the nest of baby sauropods. (Link to YouTube)



I based the stone figures of Ebulon (Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara) on a modeling clay maquette as well.


These maquettes take only minutes to make, but they provide a wealth of information. You can turn them to any angle or put them into any real lighting environment. Note for example how the warm light bounces around in the little shadows on the lit side. 

I recommend using clay with a light gray or cream tone, which photographs well while allowing you to see the qualities of light and shadow. 

After you're finished with a project, you can smoosh it together and use it again on the next job. It's cheaper than oven-hardening polymer clays like Sculpey. Modeling clay is non-toxic and safe for kids. 

It is is available from several manufacturers, using closely related trade names:
Plastalina(various neutral tones)
Modeling clay (light gray)
You can also get Air-Dry modeling clay, but it won't be reusable after it dries and hardens.

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4. Using Maquettes on Location

Today is the release of my new video, "Fantasy in the Wild."



In this excerpt I show a fast technique for making a reference maquette that's practically indestructible and it can be put into almost any pose (Link to YouTube). It's also a fun, quick build that you can do with a kid.


I hot-glued braided cord along the arms to simulate the hydraulic lines. The pins were supposed to suggest antennas.


The maquette was helpful while I was out on location generating picture ideas and then doing the final painting.



I also used a maquette in the Rhinecliff location to help me imagine the flying car.

In its 71 minutes of running time, "Fantasy in the Wild" is packed full of practical tips that you can use regardless of your preferred medium or subject matter.

It's really a story of imagination meeting observation.
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"Fantasy in the Wild: Painting Concept Art on Location" is available today only for 10% off its normal price.
HD MP4 video download....$14.95 Today only.... $13.46
DVD (Region 1 NTSC).......$24.50 Today only....$22.05



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5. How should you paint a maquette?

How should a reference maquette be painted? Here are four options to consider:


The first option is to paint it white, or leave it white, as in the case of this maquette bust of Dinotopia's Arthur Denison, which I sculpted out of Sculpey polymer clay. White is best if you're using it for direct observation, because you can really see the subtle plane changes and the effects of reflected light. 


Gray is the best color for photographing because it tends to stay within the range of the camera's sensor against normal backgrounds. White objects often exceed the sensor's range, leading to clipping. I generally use a matte gray spray primer because it's fast and gets into all the small cracks.

If your maquette has a variety of surfaces and textures, you can paint the maquette to look as real as possible. When you photograph or observe the polychromed surface, a lot of subtle color interactions become apparent. 

This maquette of Waterfall City is made from cardboard, styrofoam, modeling paste and two-part epoxy sculpting compound for the sculptural details. I used acrylic paint for most of it, and metallic enamel for the dome. 


For this one, I just used two colors of acrylic, tan and gray, with the gray stippled on with a big brush. It's made from foam-core board, cardboard, styrofoam eggs, modeling paste, gesso, and two colors of acrylic.

The silver Christmas tree ball provides a record of the entire surrounding light environment, a trick I learned from the world of visual effects, where they always shoot a mirror ball and a gray ball in principle photography to record the lighting information for the digital team in post-production. You need this lighting information to really understand the combined effects of various light sources on any given object in the scene.
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The original archway maquette, along with the Arthur Denison and Lee Crabb sculpts are on view at "The Art of James Gurney is an exhibition of about 25 original paintings on the UARTS campus in Philadelphia, through November 16.
Dinotopia: The World Beneath from Amazon

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6. French Circus Carousel Miniatures - Rotates Mechanicals

986_987_french_circus_carousel
This was resized in my Studio for the MINIATURE / CIRCUS / CAROUSEL / LOVER.
Handmade in my studio. The Artwork is from an Antique print.

French Circus Carousel Miniature
• The expression image d'Épinal has become proverbial in French and refers to an emphatically traditionalist and naïve depiction of something, showing only its good aspects. Info sourcs- wikapedia
• Épinal prints were prints on popular subjects rendered in bright sharp colours, sold in France in the 19th Century. They owe their name to the fact that the first publisher of such images — Jean-Charles Pellerin — having been born in Épinal, named the printing house he founded in 1796

It took over 2 days for me to print, cut and assemble.
Each tiny Circus figure is carefully cut and assembled to the interior wheel.
---------------
DETAILS •
---------------
• THe small one is 4-1/2"" High x 2" diameter base
• Working mechanical.
• The inner carousel rotates clockwise as the viewer turns the bead on the top.
• Each CIrcus performer is cut out separately and glued into place on the wheel that rotates.
• The center post is wood, the topper is a dimensional AB plastic crystal bead with the very top being a gold colored bead -all the rest of the Carousel is of cardstock paper.
• Reproduction of a paper toy.
• The coloring may vary from the original Antique print and shades shown here.

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7. Maquette Magic


(Video link) Here's a new video which features some of the original reference maquettes that I've built for Dinotopia. I shot them so that they line up with the final paintings.

Many of these maquettes—and the resulting paintings—can be seen in the Lyman Allyn Art Museum exhibition, which opens today in New London, Connecticut.

Photos of the maquettes also appear in the behind-the-scenes supplement that's part of the new edition of Dinotopia: The World Beneath, published this month by Dover/Calla.

The long pull-back shot was done with the motorized Lego dolly on an 8-foot run of PVC pipes.

I'll be at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum on October 13. The exhibition will continue through February 2, 2013. Preview more art from the show at the blogs Lines and Colors or Underpaintings.

You can order a signed copy of The World Beneath at jamesgurney.com
Previous book trailer about writing with dip pens.

14 Comments on Maquette Magic, last added: 9/27/2012
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8. Article on Vehicle Maquettes

The new edition of International Artist magazine, on the newsstands now, has a special article that I wrote about building materials for scratchbuilding vehicle maquettes.
I show several examples made from polymer clay (Sculpey), cardboard, and kitbashed plastic model parts.
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More kitbashed models by Juliano Redigolo

3 Comments on Article on Vehicle Maquettes, last added: 9/26/2012
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9. Submersible Maquette


Reference maquettes don't have to be made from Sculpey. Any materials that you've got in the studio or workshop can come in handy (which is a good excuse for being a lateral thinker and a packrat).


I constructed this very rough maquette for Arthur Denison's submersible using cardboard for the body profile and a clear plastic egg shapes, which I filled with kit-bashed plastic model parts. The long gray pieces came a model railroad supply store.

As you can see, I didn't follow the maquette closely at all, but it was really valuable for imagining Arthur Denison's submersible. I also referenced reconstructions of Bushnell's Turtle, a Revolutionary-era submarine ancestor.


Combined with a kronosaur maquette that I had on hand, along with underwater photos of whales, I felt more sure of myself when I tackled a more difficult scene like this one, from Dinotopia: The World Beneath. 

4 Comments on Submersible Maquette, last added: 9/17/2013
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10. Hatching Triceratops


I painted a hatching Triceratops for the article on baby dinosaurs in the new issue of Ranger Rick magazine.

I suppose I could have painted the scene in sweet pastel colors and bright morning light, but I imagined it more as an urgent moment of crisis, where life hangs in the balance. So I set the scene at night, as if dazzled by the intrusion of a photographer's flash.

I limited the colors to yellow ochre and a dull slate blue, leaving out greens, reds, and pinks. The whole composition includes a wider shot of the nest, with shell fragments, and mud caked on the eggs. I painted everything in shallow focus to evoke the impression of wildlife photography.

This photo of a hatching turtle provided the stimulus for the pose. I liked the way it reached one foot to the ground, and seemed to be gasping for air. But a photo like this is just a starting point.

The shapes of very young Triceratops skulls are known from fossils.

I needed to know the exact light and shadow design of the whole scenario, so I sculpted a small maquette from Sculpey. 

The egg is a thin layer of Sculpey applied over a styrofoam egg. I didn't know what would happen to the styrofoam egg when I put it in the oven. 

It was awesome! It sort of shriveled up to nothing, leaving the Sculpey shell. I spray painted the maquette a flat gray and took it outside in sunlight to figure out the best lighting. 

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11. I AM A WITCH’S CAT

We’re so excited to share with you I AM A WITCH’S CAT, available this week, written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster.

I Am a Witch's Cat

We in the HCCB School & Library department are pretty huge fans of tiny things (dollhouse food, figurines, these amazing things . . . you name it), and we couldn’t be more delighted to have found a kindred spirit in Harriet Muncaster. Harriet’s book tells the story of a little girl who believes that her mother is a good witch and that she is a special witch’s cat, and it’s illustrated with photographs of handmade miniatures—characters, furniture, accessories, and details, all lovingly crafted and composed into scenes. We just love it to pieces.

Harriet was kind enough to give us a behind-the-scenes looks at her process for creating the fantastic art from I AM A WITCH’S CAT.

Harriet Muncaster:

I have always been fascinated by tiny things. When I was young I spent my time making miniature houses and clothes and writing minuscule fairy letters. That love of tiny things has never left me, and so, when I took illustration as my degree at university, it felt almost natural to start making my pictures in 3D. I create dollhouse-sized scenes (or sets, as I call them) out of cardboard and fabric and then photograph them to make a flat picture.

In these photos, you can see some of the process I go through to make the scenes. If it is a room, I usually start with a box-like shape and then put in the flooring and wallpaper. I either paint the wallpaper on or make it on the computer and stick it on as you would proper wallpaper (like in the bedroom scene below)!

Beginnings of the bedroom scene

Beginnings of the bedroom scene

 

The furniture is made from card stock. It gives me a lot of freedom to make everything from card because I can literally make it into any shape I like. I can use the card to make something really fancy or really plain and in whatever style I like.

I also like the way one can use lighting when creating a 3D picture. It is possible to really set the mood by using different sorts of atmospheric lighting. My favourite bit of lighting in the book is the scene where Witch’s Cat is saying goodbye to her Mom at the door and the coloured glass in the door is shining against the wall in a rainbow pattern. I got this effect by using coloured cellophane sweet wrappers and then shining a light behind them.

9

Experimenting with some lighting filters made from coloured cellophane chocolate wrappers as seen in the hallway scene

 

The hardest thing to make in the book was the trolley in the supermarket scenes. It took me absolutely ages and was extremely difficult and fiddly to make! It’s definitely the most delicate thing in the whole book.

8

The checkout scene in full, with trolley

 

One of my favourite things to make in the book was the patchwork quilt on the bed. I just love the colours in it, which are quite autumnal. I tried to incorporate a lot of autumnal colours into the room scenes, as it is a Halloween book.

1

Trying the mom character for size, with close-up of patchwork quilt

 

It feels very magical when a scene becomes finished and you can look right into it and touch it. It’s a real, tiny little world of its own with its own atmosphere and feel to it. I love how tangible it is!

5

Kitchen scene in the early stages

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Food boxes all ready to be put into the scene.

Thank you so much, Harriet!

Check out Harriet’s great blog for a whole lot of miniature inspiration, including a post about how she created the cover art for I AM A WITCH’S CAT. And in case you haven’t quite had your fill of tiny for the day, here are some bonus photos:

Hallway wallpaper design

Hallway wallpaper design

Design for some of the the food boxes in the shopping scene ready to be printed, cut out and folded into 3d boxes

Design for some of the the food boxes in the shopping scene ready to be printed, cut out, and folded into 3D boxes

Mom character. Checking everything is good with her position and the way she is holding the vacuum cleaner

Mom character. Checking everything is good with her position and the way she is holding the vacuum cleaner

Characters, furniture and accessories all neatly boxed up to be transported for exhibition

Characters, furniture, and accessories all neatly boxed up to be transported for exhibition

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12. Figurehead Maquette


When I visited his Baltimore studio a few years ago, my friend Patrick O'Brien showed me a maquette of a lion figurehead that he built for reference on one of his marine paintings. I'm trying to talk him into letting me use it for a hood ornament on my Mazda.

Patrick O'Brien, Marine Artist

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13. Foreground Miniatures



Michael Paul Smith takes photos of his favorite town, called Elgin Park. The pictures look like snapshots from some midcentury utopian town.


Most of his photos involve some cars parked on the street and buildings and trees in the background. There are no people. 
The photos are actually taken in the present day. There's no digital trickery involved. Everything is shot in-camera. The cars and street are miniatures, propped up at tabletop height. 

Mr. Smith doesn't use a fancy camera, just a cheap point-and-shoot. These cameras work well, though, because the small apertures don't give away the trick with shallow depth of field. The great thing about this method is that you get all the lighting, reflections, and occlusion shadows for free, because the models are in the same light as the background. 

Mr. Smith is an excellent modelmaker, and he has made hundreds of cars and dozens of buildings.

This video takes you behind the scenes, where he generously shares his process—and his backstory.

Use of foreground miniatures in "The Aviator"
The use of foreground miniatures is an old visual effects technique from early days of moviemaking. It's still used by low-budget filmmakers and the occasional big budget film. (here's more info on that from Vashi Visuals).


In this shot for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," the ship was only 20 feet long, and the people were standing way back in the shot.

Photos of Elgin Park via Studio 360
Film by Animal Media Group
Vashi Visuals
Book: Elgin Park: An Ideal American Town (8.5"x11" landscape hardcover book

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14. Irving at Illustration Master Class


This is Irving M. Caldwell, one of the students trying to blend in at Illustration Master Class in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

Irving M. Caldwell, gouache, 5 x 8 inches, by James Gurney
I painted this as an hour-long demo yesterday, trying out the idea of combining observation with imagination in an on-the-spot painting. 

Right before the demo, I borrowed some Super Sculpey (thanks, Alex!) and made a tiny maquette. 

I held the maquette on the easel clamp in front of me and rigged a light on him. I then used the studio clutter behind him as raw reference to construct the scenario.

I constructed most of the easels and people in the background with big brushes, using semi-abstract strokes, but keeping the strokes carefully in perspective.

Meanwhile, Brad Kunkle (kneeling, lower left) was demonstrating how he does gold leaf. Photo by Irene Gallo.

There are about 100 students from all around the world here, representing both digital and hand-painted techniques. In between long hours of working on their week-long fantasy paintings, they attend lectures and demos. One student told me she learned more in this week than she did in years of art school. The workshop sells out every year.


To celebrate after my demo, I challenged Chris Kalin to a tournament of unicycle jousting, which ended—not surprisingly for an art event—in a draw.
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Illustration Master Class faculty this year includes: Brad Kunkle, Greg Manchess, Rebecca Leveille-Guay, Donato Giancola, Mike Mignola, Iain McCaig, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Dan DosSantos, Scott Fischer, Mark Chiarello, Greg Ruth, Matthew Kalamidas, Irene Gallo, Jon Schindehette and Jeremy Levine.

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15. Market Square and Maquette


"Market Square" and the archway maquette I built for lighting reference are both now on view at "The Art of James Gurney" exhibit at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia through November 16.

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16. Blum’s Mendelssohn Music Hall Murals

Cincinnati-born Robert Frederick Blum (1857-1903) is perhaps best known for his paintings of Venice and Japan, but in his day he was also renowned as a muralist.


His most ambitious mural undertaking was the decoration of the Mendelssohn Music Hall, home of the Mendelssohn Glee Club, which was once located at 113-119 West 40th Street in New York.


The first was called “Moods of Music,” started in 1893, and followed soon after by “Feast of Bacchus,” from 1895. The Bacchus subject is shown in two repros above: Note Blum in the top black and white image, photographed working on the mural at center.

Each frieze was 50 feet long and 12 feet high. The twin panels flanked the proscenium arch of the concert hall.

Blum executed the murals on canvas in a studio that was too small to unroll the composition to its full extent. He opened it one third at a time, but wasn’t able to see it all together until it was installed.

He developed the composition for “Feast of Bacchus” over a period of three months by sculpting groups of small figures in clay and setting them on a ledge, rearranging them as a tableau until he was satisfied with the relationships of the figures. According to an observer at the time, by using this method, “he could study each figure in the round instead of in the flat, could block out the perspective, could tell which knot of figures to make prominent and which subordinate, and, in brief, handle a plastic theme in a plastic manner.”


After sculpting the maquettes, he sketched the design in color, posed models for each of the figures, and made individual studies of the costumes and decorative details.

13 Comments on Blum’s Mendelssohn Music Hall Murals, last added: 10/31/2011
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17. My Name is Chris and I'm A....

Yup, I confess.

I'm a bookaholic.

I realize this as I'm trying to clear out bookcases and make room for my other obsession - miniatures, also known as "too much stuff."

Every garage sale, every yard sale, every church sale, every thrift store, every mention I read online of a book, I check it out.

Sometimes, no, make that a lot of times, I buy. Hence, I now have eight plastic bags (and counting) to take to the thrift store to recycle. I do want to check first if the local homeless shelter would like some. I would so much rather take them where someone would appreciate them.

As I sort, I realize there are a lot of books that maybe looked good before, but I know won't get read. Books are like clothes, tastes change. What once looked good, no longer does. :>)

So the sporadic sort, which often feels more like moving stuff from one room to another. But at least this time some of it is moving out. Progress. On another thought as I sort - yes, maybe eBooks do have advantages after all. (My books and eBooks are on my website.)

And hey, while you roll your eyes, I dare you: make your own confession. What do you have too much of? I'm not the only semi-hoarder, er, collector, around. (Weight, wrinkles or gray hairs don't count.) Fess up.

6 Comments on My Name is Chris and I'm A...., last added: 11/16/2011
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18. Miniatur Wunderland


(Video link) The Miniatur Wunderland of Hamburg, Germany sets a high standard for model building, not just miniature railroads, but airports, ships, and fire trucks.

5 Comments on Miniatur Wunderland, last added: 12/6/2011
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19. Part 5. The Origins of Dinotopia: Treetown

Something I never got to do when I was a kid was to build a proper treehouse.

There were big trees in front of our house, and lots of scrap lumber in the garage. But my dad didn’t want me hammering nails into the living trees.

I think he was also afraid I’d drop stuff on people’s heads when they walked by on the sidewalk underneath. He was probably right. But I was determined to have my treehouse.

I tried propping loose boards in the branches of our tree and disguising them with bunches of leaves. The lack of nails made my tree platforms a bit dangerous.

Once a board fetched loose underfoot and half of my treehouse collapsed and fell fifteen feet down. I almost went down with it.


Even as an adult, I still wanted my ideal treehouse, so I had to build one in Dinotopia. I didn’t stop at just one treehouse. I made a whole town in a forest, with sleeping baskets and suspended bridges between the trees.

 
What would it feel like to live up there? I visited my friend Henry Wheeler, a Quaker farmer, who let me study the giant oak he had out in his back field. I climbed the tree and sketched the views from the upper branches.


I broke off small branches and and brought them into the studio to use as the basis for a reference maquette. I beefed up the trunk with modeling clay to make it thicker. Now I knew what it felt like to be in every part of Treetown.

I knew what the wind sounded like in the branches, how the whole structure groaned and moved in storms, and what the dry leaves smelled like in the autumn.
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This series of essays is adapted from the illustrated afterword of the new Calla Edition 20th anniversary edition of Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time 
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Calla Editions
"Origins of Dinotopia" series on GurneyJourney:
Part 1: Childhood Dreams
Part 2: College Obsessions 
Part 3: Lost Empires
Part 4: Din

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20. wnycradiolab: c86: Chris Burden - Metropolis II Four years in...





wnycradiolab:

c86:

Chris Burden - Metropolis II

Four years in the making, and currently installed at LACMA
Watch a short documentary about it HERE

via Art Blart

“Miniature cars speed through the city at 240 scale miles per hour; every hour, the equivalent of approximately 100,000 cars circulate through the dense network of buildings.”  Damn! 





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21. Menzel's Maquette

Here's a painting by Adolph von Menzel called “The Disturbance,” which shows the response of two finely dressed women to the arrival of an unexpected visitor. 


According to a primary account, "To study the candle lighting accurately he had constructed a tiny parlour with a small piano and two little lights and as well a tiny dressed puppet. He already begun the painting in 1843. On the first sketch a young lady is walking up and down in the room. He later changed his idea into an unexpected visit in the background."

Thanks Christian.

7 Comments on Menzel's Maquette, last added: 4/12/2012
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22. Langweil's model of Prague



(Video link) Antonín Langweil began as a painter of miniature portraits. Then, starting in 1826, he began his big project: a detailed model of the city of Prague. 

He measured each building and then drew the elevations on stiff paper. 

Then the paper could be folded and attached together. This is a good way to make reference maquettes, too.

Langweil's Prague is scaled at 1:480, and includes not only an accurate portrait of each building, but also tiny details such as signs and sundials.

The model is a valuable document for historians of the city because it shows how things looked before 20th century modernization efforts.
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4 Comments on Langweil's model of Prague, last added: 5/11/2012
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23. Sert's Maquette Tableaus

Josep Maria Sert (1874-1945) was a Catalan muralist whose epic works grace the walls of the League of Nations in Geneva and the Waldorf Astoria and Rockefeller Center in New York.


Many of his compositions teem with artistic groupings of larger-than-life figures.


To gather information, he posed human models, but he also constructed elaborate tableaus of small mannikins or maquettes. These little groupings gave him scope to try things that might be impossible with real humans.


He used rods to hold them in position. He dressed some in little costumes to figure out the clothes.


Mannikins only give a rough approximation of a real figure, but they're often a helpful starting point. Sert started drawing and refining right over the photographs. The grid helps him transfer the pose accurately to any scale.


For scenes of storms at sea, he sculpted waves from clay, and placed model boats into them.

Josep Maria Sert  (He also goes by the Spanish name José María Sert y Badía)
Thanks to Jim Vadeboncoeur for telling me about this guy!

Book: José Maria Sert : La rencontre de l'extravagance et de la démesure
Related GJ posts:
Lay Figures
Scaling up with a grid

10 Comments on Sert's Maquette Tableaus, last added: 5/22/2012
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24. Jordu Schell's Monster Sculptures

Jordu Schell wants to scare the daylights out of you.

In Allentown, Pennsylvania last weekend, Schell gave a lecture about designing monsters for Hollywood movies. I'm an admirer of his work, so I sat up front and sketched him as he spoke about the things that scared him as a kid.

He started out by showing examples of weird animals in nature, then gave an overview of creature design in movies, and spotlighted some of his inspiration from the field of illustration, ending with examples of his own work.

Schell has done concept work for “Avatar”, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”, “300”, “Hellboy”, “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem” and many other films since he began in the field in 1987. He also makes props, masks, model kits, and effects — and he offers classes.

Jordu Schell website gallery
Video of a sculpture demo
Large gallery at Monster Brains


1 Comments on Jordu Schell's Monster Sculptures, last added: 6/7/2012
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25. Ludgate’s strutter models

Dinotopia enthusiast Glenn Ludgate of Australia has been working for a while now on a whole fleet of Dinotopian strutters.

These maquettes are all scratch built, and are based on the biologically based vehicles that appear in Dinotopia: The World Beneath.

Go Glenn!

Many of my own original reference maquettes will be exhibited at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum show, which opens September 22.

7 Comments on Ludgate’s strutter models, last added: 9/12/2012
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