Sunday, November 15, 2015

The New Christmas Stamps Are Out!

Wow... I have been away from my blog for sooo long! Sorry, guys...  :(

Well, a visit to yesterday's Hobby Show gives me the opportunity to get back to the blog for a quick post. The new stamps for the Christmas line are out! I have done several images for Impronte d'Autore and the Holidays ones are always very popular.

I am sharing a few shots taken at the show. If you wanna see more of the stuff I do for them, you can visit the link above.


With Annalisa and Monica

The Santa gag on the left was more difficult to come up with than it seems... but in the end it turned out quite funny, what you think?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Sister Stamps Product Launch!

Once upon a time, there were 2 sisters. No, this is not the story of an ice queen and her endearing younger sister, nor of a snowman... but still one of family and the yearning for closeness even though life has separated them to opposite sides of the world. These 2 sisters were pretty close at a young age and although very different from each other, created a strong bond in their childhood. One sister was energetic, smart, was talented in writing and crafting, and learned to enjoy all things around her. And one sister could draw a little.
As life went on, they were led in different directions and carved their nests in different parts of the world... but never lost touch. One day, talented crafting sister had an idea to use artist sister's images to make stamps... and thus, Sister Stamps was born. A venture that, in being so far away, was a nice way for artist sister to connect with all she missed back home. I know, not a riveting telling of the story, but remember, this is artist sister's blog, not that of talented, crafting writing sister.

Many of you out there may already know about the Sister Stamps rubber stamps and are familiar with all the images that my sister had released. But for those of you who don't, most images are Asian or Hawaii-inspired. Therefore, although they may be simplistic and cutesy, they represent home for both of us.

OK, now to talk about the images and adapting them to product.  It was all an interesting project for me as I learned that I had to make my own washi style backgrounds to avoid any legal issues... and try to do my own version of the kanji. But it all turned out to be kind of fun. I will show you in another post regarding my adventures in washi designing... heehee.

Here are a couple of the iPhone cases. The first one is the image "Harumi" and the second is "Misaki".

I imagined Harumi enjoying the beauty of nature and relaxing outdoors, while Misaki was adventurous and always playing... always having fun! The kanji with Harumi means "Beauty".  BTW, the design should fit all the iPhone cases as long as it's iPhone.  So, it can be customized.  I wasn't able to do the Galaxy ones yet.

Now here are a couple of the watches I designed. The first image shows "Akemi" and the second "Miyoko".

You will notice that the numbers are done in Japanese instead, so it may take getting used to them, if you are not already.  Some of you may also notice that I changed Miyoko from the original stamp image. She originally was holding a cupcake, but I replaced it with an umbrella and had her looking out from behind it. I kind of like the sweet, shy quality she has in that pose. Usually I use the kanji "Beauty" with Miyoko and "Friendship" for Akemi, but the watch already has all those numbers to contend with, so I left the words out. I thought "friendship" for Akemi because she makes friends with the little bunny by introducing him to her BFF, Daba.

This last one is that of Miyono on a mug design.

I love the idea of how Miyono is so happy and gets swept up in her dance as her expression of joy.  Even though the setting is more like a Bon Dance Festival, which is the festival where they honor those that have passed away, I still see her as joyful and her positive energy spreads out in this celebration of life.
I have to admit, I haven't designed her much with the lanterns, but this one was done early in the process and I kind of like it now that I hadn't used it recently. Sometimes stepping away gives you a new perspective, right?

And here are a few images from the Zazzle site to show what other products are available so far.

Basically, I just wanted to try and have a few products available for Sister Stamps. I know it seems kind of takai (expensive) and not so easy to get, but it seemed like a good solution,  and I will always try to alert everyone on the sales, which brings the price down to a more reasonable level.  Sometimes they have a 50% off a certain item, but it's usually only for one day (often only 6-8 hours).  And if you sign up for the shipping ($10/yr), it will save you a lot, even on one order because I got killed on the shipping the first order I made (I just ignored the shipping offer when it popped up on screen). See, the other sister is the smart one.

Anyway, don't forget to follow the Denishima_Designs page on Facebook to stay updated on all new products coming out and any discounts offered in the future!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Alice and The Caterpillar

Yes, I know it's been a while since the last post, but there was a lot of normal work to do and as they say, "duty calls". 

So this time I thought I would talk about the work done on another of the Alice illustrations. Alice and the Caterpillar  has always been one of those iconic images from the story, so... it had to be done, right? I actually started with this image as the beginning of the Alice series and even painted it just to see if I could. I am not a painter, by trade, so it was an interesting challenge for me. It's fun to be able to experiment when it is NOT your profession. No pressure, you know.

OK. So this is the original drawing I had come up with. I had gone back to the original work done in the books for inspiration, but as the makers of the famous animated film did as well, the caterpillar turned out looking similar.

But I went ahead and painted it anyway. Here is the progression below.

Yeah, so I used almost the same colors as the animated film too, right? Guess I kind of had the animated version stuck in my head. But I like the colors and really didn't want to change it so,... there it is.

But, as time went on and I had decided to use this one a little for one of the designs on Denshima Designs, I thought I may want to at least change the drawing a little  so that there is a more obvious difference in the head of the caterpillar.

Well, for what it's worth, right? That's it for this time. Hope you enjoyed my trials and tribulations through this side project of mine and take care 'til next time.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pixie Dust Away!

Where were we?  Oh yes... the films.  I was skeptical as most people were.  I mean conjuring up stories of Tink in books is one matter, but when you set things to film, it becomes like etching something in stone... there's no going back.  But I have to admit, they really came through on those small screen adaptations, and really changed the direction of the property altogether.  That world suddenly seemed cohesive, and the audience became really involved.

Of course it all affected our work in a big way... but I thought it was a nice evolution.  They began to create stories written with new characters that are not in the films, but did contain some main elements from the films that contributed a great deal to the new adventures.

Below is one of the images from a story completely centered around the music fairy, Trill. 

And this book was focused entirely on a scout fairy named Mika.

I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to work on character designs for some of these new personalities that shared a secondary role in a Tinker Bell story.  The first image below features Trindle and the second, Rolo who both appear in the book Tink In A Fairy Fix.

If I remember correctly, there was a lot of freedom as to what the characters could look like as long as the design followed the storyline so I often would visualize the character according to what the name sounded like to me.

For Rain and Skye, I only had their names to go on... no storyline was given at that time, so it was a little more of a challenge, but in a way,... even more fun.  For Rain, I wanted her to have the feeling of being wet, in a way... her hair should feel like rain... her clothes should indicate a a feeling of water falling... and particularly raindrops.  

In the case of Skye, I immediately thought of a light breeze and felt she should seem light and graceful.  So, I had done the image on the left.  Then, I offered another version of her a little more "grounded"(on the right) but with a funny little puffy hairdo to indicate clouds. 

It was a great journey to see the property develop and, the books that represented the films were fun to work on as well.

Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure

The Great Fairy Rescue

The Pirate Fairy

Oh, this next one was an interesting one for me.  Although the illustrations I have done in the chapter books are littered with backgrounds of my invention, I never really had to design a specific location that was particularly important (and therefore had been spared the pressure).  But this one crossed my path for the Fairy Dress Up books.  I had to design the bedroom for Zarina.  They already had her house established in the film, but didn't have her specific room designed so I had a little freedom to set the stage for this.

It was kind of fun trying to remember elements that she might have gathered on her pirate adventure and add them to her decor as well as her pixie dust alchemy equipment.

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast

And I was lucky enough to work on a few publicity poses for a couple of the films.

Secret of the Wings

The Pirate Fairy

I was even able to work on some character designs for the Pixie Hollow Games and a little on the latest film as well with the early development of Nyx.

For the Pixie Hollow Games the director suggested I take inspiration from the colorful costumes used in Siena by the contrada people during the famous Palio race celebrations... and having been there in Siena many times, it was great to do the research for this project!

The character of Nyx in Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast was really enjoyable, even though a short-lived project for me. And it was fun to work closely with the director of the movie. I really liked what they ended up with in the film... she is a stronger character than what I had interpreted.  But I did enjoy the fact that they kept my porcupine needle idea for her weapon.  There was a question of whether the real needle was that large in relationship to the fairies, but I had given them a real one (that I had bought from a Native American craft supply store) to show that the needles could be quite large.  It was brilliant of them to extend the design of the porcupine needle (stripes) to that of the entire scout team in the film.  They did a great job!

Whoa, that was long, right?  Well, don't worry,... it's the last post about the "Tink Years".
I am grateful that I have been able to participate in this venture.

I am not sure if there will be any future films, but this latest movie, I think, is a stellar piece of work.
Makes me wonder what's next. Well, for now, let's just say "arrivederci" to our friend, Tink... and hope the next time we meet, it will not be in a space trilogy set in the future on a planet containing a deadly Pixie Tree virus threatening the fate of the Neverland galaxy. ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tink... The Continuing Saga

Here we are again, and this time I want to share with you the development on a couple of the fairies.

Some of the main characters of the initial stories – like Rani, Fira or Beck – never made it to the films and thus became the lesser known "girl gang" that surrounded Tink. But their counterparts – Silvermist, Irridessa and Fawn – despite being secondary characters in the books, found their way to the screen.

A few fairies did make the cut:  Rosetta, Vidia, Queen Clarion and Terence.  Unlike Bess, Lily and Prilla... Oh yeah, and Mother Dove...  who don't even have a conterpart in the films.

Speaking of Prilla... she was the "youngest" of the fairies... or should I say newest?  This gets confusing because, you know, they don't age.  Anyway, since everyone had a talent, they gave Prilla a unique one.  She had the ability to astral project her way into the "real world" and visit children.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.... no fairy left Neverland back then.  So, she was kind of important to keep the belief of fairies alive in the real world to ensure all the other fairies' existence.

Not going to bore you with ALL the fairies, just wanted to touch upon Vidia (at first, "Invidia").  Back then, she was a villain.   She didn't hang out with anyone... kind of Maleficent-like, she was the bad fairy that lived apart from everyone else (who all lived in the same tree, BTW).  She seemed kind of like a Grima Wormtongue (LOTR) that preyed upon the fears and insecurities of other fairies.  Basically, negative karma.

Anyway, back to the development process:
As I began my studies, it became painfully apparent how much my skill level was not up to par for this property, and had to practice a lot to begin to understand it.  This involved a lot of research... and a lot of just drawing.  I began to just draw poses.

These are only a few examples I kept over the years.  I did many that were so horrible, I had to quickly throw them away before they sprouted more heads and burned holes in the walls.  But as tedious as it was, I had to get the feel of the characters until they were more of a natural extension than just a drawing.  Guess that's what they call "finding the character".

It got a little better as time went on and things developed more.  Instead of trying desperately to cling on to the designated "models", I started bending towards the influences of Fred Moore and Norman Rockwell (for children poses).  And interestingly enough, girls from Anime.  You know, the cute ones... but not so... fully developed.  The posing for the pvc anime figures were perfect to help with getting the feel of these characters.


I was just starting to get the hang of it... and then, they decided to make the films...
(to be continued)