Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dunny Time!

Finished this little bugger up today... He's a 3 inch Dunny that I started painting in my tutorial post:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And the winner is...

Thanks for all you guys who entered my impromptu Win a Kaiju contest! Not a single entry failed to make me chuckle! It was hard to pick a winner, but I had to go with the one that made me actually laugh out loud-- it kinda caught me mid-sip as I was drinking, and it just worked for me. Sometimes simple jokes are the best ones, so I picked this one for the winner:

Mysty, thanks for making me spit my drink at the screen when I read the entry! To me it just fits perfectly with what's going on in the picture.

Email me ( your address so that I can send you your prize package!

Thanks again, everyone! You guys are THE best!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Brusha, brusha, brusha!

I've been asked by more than a few people over the last year or so if I'd post a work in progress or tutorial piece to share some of my tips 'n' tricks. Now... I don't know if I really have any authority to be giving anyone advice, but I figured I'd just show some of techniques I've learned over the years. I'm not the most knowledgeable guy in the business, so don't take what I say to be the end-all, be-all of customizing information. I'm just sharing what techniques I've used over the years I've been working with toys.

One of the most effective techniques a toy artist can employ is drybrushing. Drybrushing is the act of applying a very small amount of paint lightly across a surface so that only the slightest amount is transfered from brush to surface. It allows you to build up and blend colors to give depth and weight to your work. The most effective drybrushing is done over a slightly textured surface; the raised portions of the surface will grab the drybrushed paint and allow the color in the lower portions to show through. It's a really cool effect that's super easy to achieve.

First off... you're going to want to give your paint a slightly textured surface to which to adhere. The easiest way to do that is to prime the surface with a layer or two of paint. I use acrylic paint because it adheres to virtually any plastic used in toys--there are a few exceptions, but most designer vinyl toys are great surfaces for painting. Using enamels or oil paints can result in poor adhesion, and a paint job that will remain sticky FOREVER!!!!! BOOGAH!!!

I like to work from dark to light-- I don't know why I do, but I just like it. I've base coated this toy, a 3 inch tall Dunny from KidRobot, with flat black acrylic paint. Flat paint will give you a more textured surface, and texture is your friend!

Ignore my messy work area-- I'm one of those quirky weirdos that can't have a tidy work-space... I tried it and it sucks. I use almost any small, shallow container I can get my hands on to mix my paints. I find that the caps of those capsules you get out of bubblegum machines to be PERFECT for this. I also use the trays that action figures come in. Bottle caps, medicine cups, and cut-off paper cups will do just fine too.

OK... so I realize that it's hard to see my paint for the clutter, so I brought out this piece of craft foam to mix paint. One neat little tip: using craft foam is a REALLY good way to help clean excess paint from your brush as you work; while you are mixing the paint the foam is absorbing it-- you wind up with a pretty dry brush when you do this.

To build up from black you have to use a little black. The idea is to blend the color on your brush from black to red. The reason for doing this is to create a gradual color gradient from dark to light. So I take a little black and a little red and apply them close to each other. This allows you to quickly grab a tiny bit from each and mix it as you go along. It also serves as a visual guide to the history of the values you've created as you go along.

Using your brush, snag a little bit of black and a little bit of red and mix them up. You want a color that's almost black with a hint of red. Use a paper towel to wipe all but the tiniest amount of paint from the brush. You see that brush there? I've been using that brush for about 8 years. It's a cheap-o Wal-Mart special. It came in a bag of 15 brushes for 5 bucks, and it is still the best brush I own for doing dry brushing. I've had brushes that cost three times what that bag of brushes cost that didn't work as well as this one does. It looks like it has been to hell and back, but it still works like a charm. In later pictures you'll see how it has adapted to a curved shape from being scraped across surfaces over the years!

Using the color you mixed up, lightly brush the surface of the toy. If the new color barely shows up, you did it right. If you get globs of paint on the surface, you might want to lighten your touch or wipe off some more paint from the brush-- maybe even both. You're only wanting to lay down the smallest amount of color.

Grab some more red and mix it into the last glob of paint you mixed. You're building up from black to red, remember?

Here's the next few applications of paint that has been built up from black to red. You'll want to paint a slightly smaller area than the last you painted each time you paint... you're not building up the color; you're building a transition to a smaller highlighted area. This gives the object you're painting a depth that makes it pop visually. Darker colors are perceived by the brain to be farther from the eye while lighter colors do the exact opposite. So, in a sense, you are toying with people's minds-- you're a magician!!!

Now that you've built up the color to a vibrant red, you want to just knock it out of the park! To really make the surface look like it's going to jump out at you, use the tiniest bit of white! See that snaggly brush? The veteran of a bazillion drybrush attacks!

And here you have it... you've given the Dunny a glowing belly!!! But more than that you can see how the surface is no longer flat black... without sculpting any details on the toy, you can trick the eye into believing there's more there than a flat surface.

Try it with different colors and try blending them together. Experimenting is the best way to learn everything you can. Just remember: you can't really mess up! If you do, just paint over it with flat paint and go back at it again. Each layer of color you paint over gives your work a bit of extra character... you never know what kind of crazy stuff you'll find sitting right below the surface of your toy!

Hope that helps! If any of these tips helped out, please let me know, so I can help out more in the future. If any of these tips caused your head to explode like a balloon full of chili, please let me know and send video or pictures. I'm sick and twisted that way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Caption This!

I got a really cool package in the mail today, and it had an extra kaiju toy that I wanted to share with one of my readers here. This little goon is called Gaigareid-Neo, and he's from one of the Ultraman series:

He's made of soft vinyl and stands about 4 inches tall. He's a really cool little dude that you don't see everyday!

To win him and a few other crazy things I'll throw in your package, just caption this picture:

I want to laugh... so make a caption for this picture that's as funny as can be! The funniest caption will win the prize package! Post your entries in the comments section below! You have until Saturday night to enter, so go for it! One entry per person, but feel free to tell your friends! Have fun, kids!


A little while back I posted a sketch that I did... I had hoped I'd keep up with my sketching, but I've been too busy with commissions to have time to sketch (I know... I need to make time to do it), but it seems one of my doodles inspired my good friend Eric Wirjanata to draw his own version of one of my sketch characters.

The critter in the middle of this sketch:

inspired Eric to create this one:

WOW! I don't know about you, but this one knocks it out of the park for me! Eric really took the doodle and made it his own character!

I love Eric's work... he has a talent that has hints of Robert Crumb and Gary Baseman with a unique blend of other influences. You can (and should) check out his site to see more of his stuff. Not only is he a great artist, he's a great guy!

Besides... anyone who can make a turd with crab claws look cool is a master in my book:

Friday, September 3, 2010


Well... it has been a loooong time since my last installment of HORRIBLE TOYS I SHOULD NOT HAVE BOUGHT, so I figured I'd post this for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure... these things are awful!).

I went to the Dollar Tree today looking for good, cheap crap to waste money on. I found something that matched 2 of those traits: cheap and crap.

Meet the men and woman of S.C.U.M.:

This is a 3.75 inch toy line produced by the good folks at Greenbrier International (AKA: the people who make the horrible crap they sell at Dollar Tree) called S.T.O.P. vs S.C.U.M. I'd go into explaining it all, but it really doesn't matter because it's... well... horrible. Here's the card back so you can see what it's all about:

This is, from left to right, Lady Lead, Cyclops, and Skull Hawk:

Cyclops is the leader of the baddies:

He's utterly, magnificently disappointing-- if you were looking for a good action figure. If you were looking for something stupid to make you laugh at the massive amounts of fail, then he's pure gold!

This is Skull Hawk. I have NO idea what he does for the team, because mine came on Cyclops' profile card:

I imagine that his official position in the S.C.U.M. corporation is "Suck Master." I love how his eyes are painted so far off from where they were supposed to be that he has this comical "SAY WHAAAAAA???!!!!" expression by accident. AWESOME. You'll notice that none of these pictures feature the guys without their guns. That's because they are made with the guns in their hands... yeah... S.C.U.M. soldiers are hardcore... they NEVER let go of their pieces.

This beautiful dame is Lady Lead. She's this psycho man-hating hired assassin. I think I'm in love:

With a face like this, you can only hope that the little disclaimer about the likenesses being fictitious is terribly wrong. Hubba hubba! Ugh. She has the absolutely worst construction out of the crew, and that's saying a LOT. It took me a good 50 tries to take the pictures of her standing up, because she was intent on falling down. Seriously, her legs swing back and forth like a bell clapper.

These figures are one fall from a height of one inch from shattering into a million pieces. The plastic is of a truly awful quality, and I believe that inhaling the fumes from it has caused me to become infertile. So, guys, if you were thinking about paying to get a vasectomy, just go to Dollar Tree, buy one of these suckers and huff away at the fumes. You'll be as sterile as can be in no time!

To be honest, the sculpts on these guys are actually pretty decent. It's the final product that's so bad. The detail and articulation is pretty decent for a dollar toy. It's a shame that they were made out of toxic plastic and painted by a pack of rabid baboons.

As bad as these suckers are, I can't help but love them. They're truly magnificent abominations cast in plastic. If you see them make sure you collect them all... they're worse than bad!