Don’t Give Up On Your Fairy

Finally photographed the fairy I started working on a while back. She’s been finished for around a month. But rather than buy fake leaves and blossoms, build branches and paint a sunset, I figured I would just wait ’til spring and use the tree in the backyard. Was it easier? Maybe. Building your own scene takes a lot of work on the front end, but it means you have a completely controlled environment when shooting. That means you don’t have to worry about the sun moving, the wind blowing, standing on a bucket or bird poo.

Dimensional Illustration Fairy in the Blossoms by Jameson Gardner

One of the first shots... terrible.

One of the first shots… terrible.

I got a few good shots, though. And the real blossoms and real sun worked out nice. It didn’t seem like it would when I started. I hesitate to include it, but I am going to post one of the first shots I took to prove how bad it can seem when you start. Don’t give up till you’ve got ‘the one’—I had to move to the other side of the tree, rig her up with wire instead of thread, stand on a bucket and knock over my camera before I was satisfied.


Fairy body in progress

Taking the photos isn’t the only part where solid effort and perseverance is valuable—I’ve learned from experience that if you want something to look human outside it’s clothes, it has to look human inside too. A wireframe covered in clothes and stuffed with fluff just doesn’t do the trick. This means I sculpted the whole body even though most of it was going to be covered in a dress. It seems like extra work, but it is definitely worth it.

Fairy Wings in Progress

I cast the wings from clear acrylic using a silicone mold that I made with a polymer clay original. Again, seems like more work, but I couldn’t think of any other way to get the translucence and form I wanted.

Finished model and dress

Hair and dress? You bet—hand made and carefully applied.


Finished Icebergs

mini icebergs cast from resin with plaster snow

Well, the icebergs are done. That is a big step for this next image. The translucent greyish bluish parts are cast from resin in my custom molds. The whitish snowish looking parts are plaster that I left on the resin.  The smaller berg was broken out yesterday and was relatively easy. The mold for the bigger one wasn’t sealed properly and so the resin soaked into the plaster. That meant it didn’t break out and I had to grind it down to the resin, which took forever.

These are two cutter bits that I bought for my rotary tool for this job.  The one is unused and the other was used only to get larger iceberg out.

two rotary tool cutting bits, one used for cutting resin out of plaster for miniature iceberg, the other new

Molding Miniature Icebergs

carved foam iceberg, to be used in casting clear resin model

So, I am making those icebergs that I was researching previously. I have experimented a lot with molds and casting recently to make my little man’s head. Many of the methods I tried failed, despite the guarantees on the packaging that they would be fast and easy. None of them seemed like they would work very well for casting an iceberg 50 times the size of the head.  So, I made up my own way… it wasn’t fast or easy either.

I used a “lost styrofoam” method. I carved my iceberg shape from styrofoam and then encased it in a layer of plaster.  I wrapped the plaster in aluminum foil (hoping that would make it easier to break free later) and then poured another layer of plaster on top of that.

To remove the styrofoam, I used a blow torch. Probably not very environmentally friendly, but I won’t be trying it again, because it wasn’t very eye or lung friendly either—despite my use of safety glasses and breathing mask.

Once the foam was gone I coated the inside with a clear poly-acrylic spray and then a casting conditioner.  Then, I poured the clear resin, into which, i had mixed a little blue pigment shaved off of a nupastel.

The images here are from my second berg.  The first is finished, but had a few issues that I hopefully prevented in the second.  I haven’t broken it out of the cast yet. I am doing that later today so come back tomorrow or just follow the blog to find out how they look!

Oh, and yes, I am holding the mold upright with juice cans.  Juice is a great way to drink something sweet without a lot of added sugar, carbonation or caffeine and pears are a natural source of fiber 😉

iceberg mold with a layer of plaster and foil, to be used in casting resin modeliceberg mold with second layer of plaster to be used in casting resin model.iceberg mold with clear resin poured, casting modeliceberg mold with clear resin poured for casting model