Stained Glass Class – Week 1

stained glass cartoon

Our local art center was offering a class on stained glass window making, so my wife signed me up as an early birthday present.  It’s one night a week for 8 weeks, so I thought I would document some of the process on my blog.  The first week we learned about all the steps in the process, the tools involved and tried our hands at making different styles and shapes of cuts on scrap pieces of glass.  Towards the end of the class we got to pick out a “cartoon” of a design we liked, and duplicate it with carbon paper onto a sheet of oak tag like paper.  I originally considered trying to do a custom design, but thought I’d stick to one of the designs the teacher brought for my first attempt.  This was the design I liked the most.

stained glass board

One of the things on the extensive list of supplies we needed to get in the first week was a board which we would be doing all the layout and assembly on.  We could purchase one, but I took this as homework and just made one.  It’s 1/2″ plywood with about a 3/4″ high right angle border.  The lines I just added to hopefully reveal if my angles start going wonky.

inkscape cartoon

The other thing I did was digitally recreate the design from the cartoon in Inkscape so I could quickly try out lots of combinations of colors to fill the panels.  Eventually I settled on this design.  Now I need to head to the local art glass studio to buy some glass ahead of the next class.  Then I get to start cutting.

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My Portable Digital Art Studio

These are all the things I lug around in this compact sling case that makes up my portable digital art tools.

  1. Surface Pro 3 tablet.  It’s my poor man’s Wacom MobileStudio.  The Pro 3 was the first Surface version I felt comfortable buying that seemed to be mature and functional enough for the cost.
  2. SR mini USB keyboard.  This was the largest keyboard I could find that would fit in the bag and still had the function key row (Inkscape).  It’s PgUp and PgDwn and nearless useless though.  I am also way to cheap to purchase one of the fancy typepad covers, though they seem pretty awesome.
  3. Surface power cord.  This and the keyboard sit next to each other in the front half of the big pocket.
  4. “AAAA” batteries for the pen.  Who knew that was a size?  I got these from Amazon in a four pack.
  5. Surface Pen 4.  Even though I purchased  3 tablet, the 4 was already out and I had heard the Pen was markedly better, so I purchased one.  This is the most expensive thing in the bag, next to the tablet itself.
  6. Staedler 0.5mm mechanical pencil.
  7. Sakura Pigma Micron 01 pen.
  8. Hobo glove.  I had been using a simple dimestore knit glove with some fingers cut off for awhile on my desktop Wacom Intuos tablet.  When I got the Surface Pro 3, I thought I’d buy a glove actually made for this purpose but didn’t like it as much.  So I went back to the hobo glove, which I can throw away and replace when needed for next to nothing.  The glove and all the pens go in the large front pocket.
  9. Edimax bluetooth/wireless adapter.  Microsoft was nice enough to break the internal bluetooth and wireless radio with an update once, so I purchased a little adapter to get everything working again.  They have since fixed the issue, but I keep this guy around just in case.
  10. Surface Pen nibs.  I honestly have never even tried any of these and am still using the default one that came in the pen.
  11. USB Thumbdrive (32Gb).
  12. Altoids tin.  I use this tin to hold the last three listed small items and various other things in one place.  It shares the top front pocket with the next two adapters.  The tin is a little noisy, someday I’ll find something in a similar size that’s quieter.
  13. iVanky Display Port to HDMI adapter.  This is a great little adapter to connect the Surface Pro 3 to an external display whenever I need to.
  14. Amazon basic USB hub.  I got this little hub since the tablet only has a single USB port that I often need to have a few things plugged into. (keyboard and mouse/keyboard and thumbdrive)
  15. Solo Tablet Slingbag.  Originally I had a simple neoprene slip case for the tablet that I could fit a few other flat things in, but definitely not the power cord.  I looked at many different bags/cases and settled on this one, and I have been very happy with that decision.
  16. Not pictured, I also carry a clear plastic ruler, which in some cases is the easiest way to draw straight lines on the tablet.

The Surface Pro 3 is still running the native Windows OS (too scared of breaking this hardware with a Linux distro), but all the open source software I use has Windows distros.

  • Krita
  • Inkscape
  • The GIMP

The one thing I would still like to find is a USB mouse that is really flat/low profile that would fit in the bag.  Working in Inkscape in particular is very tedious without a mouse.  I normally steal one from my laptop bag when needed, but it would be nice to find one that fit in here.

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Coloring Momo – Krita Process

    coloring momo

I thought I would post all the steps and layers I normally use in Krita to do digital inking and coloring.  I built all these images after the drawing was complete so it would show the stacking of all the layers on the right.

Continue reading

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Mini-Master Swords

Mini-Master Sword

Last weekend I had some rare unaccounted for time and was able to crank out a project I’ve been meaning to do for a while.  I took the design my youngest and I put together for his Legend of Zelda Master Sword, and shrunk down quite a bit from the blade and two inches from the handle.  Instead of painting and staining details, I decided to try my hand at chip carving them instead.  (Check out this sword!)  I think for my first foray into that skill it came out ok, but I can definitely use some practice to improve.  I left one of the swords uncarved.


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Quilling Frames

quilling frames

My wife picked up these four matching quilling cards of the four seasons at an art show in Iowa this summer.  We couldn’t figure out how we wanted to frame them, either as a long row or a square. In the end, my wife liked the idea of framing them as these two pairs and we could display the frames either way.  The biggest challenge was that the quilling was on the form of 5×7 cards, so I didn’t have much to work with for margins.  I tried to add a complimenting splash of color and a very thin mat inside an equally thin frame.  The wood still needs some work, but we haven’t decided on a final finish yet.

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Name Shelf – Emerson

Emerson Shelf with Toys

This was a present I made for our friend’s adorable bundle of cuteness, Emerson.  His first birthday is in a few weeks and we were home for the weekend so we decided to deliver it early.  It’s a pretty big deviation from my old designs for name shelves (here|here|here|here) but this one won’t cover the name when you use it and has a bunch of different places to put things.  The large letter is designed to unscrew from the back so they can easily finish it however they would like.  I previously teased this new design here.  Some process photos below.

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Inktober Recap

Inktober Tools

I usually do a single post with all my inktober doodles in a final gallery, but I thought this year I would lead off with all the tools I used.  Clockwise from top left:

  • Custom sketchbook cover by Batsugan leather
  • Canson 5.5 x 8.5 sketchbook
  • Rotring 600 0.5mm mechanical pencil
  • Pentel brush pen (did the lion’s share of the inking)
  • Sakura Pigma Micron 005 pen (used for fine details and some shading)
  • Sakura Gelly Roll white pen
  • Pentel 0.5mm blue pencil lead
  • Pocket sized memo pad

One of my many horrible drawing habits is not trying to figure out what I’m drawing before diving in.  Many artists do multiple thumbnails and then various rough sketches on light tables to lock down the composition before starting to work out fine details.  To curb this impulse, I started at least doing tiny gesture sketches in a pocket sized memo pad before starting in my sketchbook.  I feel it has helped me get a better idea of what I’m trying to capture.

Gesture Sketches

Here’s the gallery of all this year’s inktober doodles.

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Mysterious M

Mysterious M

I had time to make a thing this weekend, and this blocky looking “M” thing is part of it.  Alas, it is also going to be a gift so I can’t post much more than that until it is given.

Inktober starts tomorrow!  (I’ll probably only upload them on the weekend)

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Quick and Dirty Key Hanger

Key Hanger

Now that we have more than two drivers in the house we have started this weird shuffling of cars that required a central place to leave the keys.  I thought that was the perfect excuse to get out in the garage last week and make a thing!  It’s very quick and dirty, made of spare parts I had lying around.  Maybe I will paint or stain it someday.  An exceedingly short person would also notice that the method I choose to affix it to the refrigerator is not very pretty (an old harddrive magnet).

Key Magnet

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Leather Sketchbook In Person

Sketchbook Cover

Well before we moved I had received my custom leather sketchbook cover from the amazing Batsugan Leather Co., which I drooled over for probably too long, but then had to safely pack away for shipping.  It is truly an exceptional piece of craftsmanship I am honored to own, and perfectly does everything I wanted and more.  He made me another awesome book, but it’s a gift so I’ll have to wait to show anyone that.

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