Procrastination Problems

This, I believe, is my greatest trouble with anything – procrastination. And currently, it doesn’t help that I work 3 jobs (with a 4th job that I’m going to start giving time to as well) – so any bit of procrastination ends up eating up the one or two hours I had to give to chores, tasks, or art. This is why I haven’t updated in a while, and my art has stuttered a lot and slowed.

My particular brand of stalling tends to be sleep. Or laying in bed. In particular, this is difficult when it’s early in the morning – I find it hard to force myself out of bed, preferring to roll over for a few more minutes or checking updates on my phone. Lately, I have had some time to get on my computer – and I end up on Stardew Valley, which is incredibly addictive and makes me feel like I’m accomplishing so much when I am only furthering my save file. Not a bad thing at all, but it’s irritating when I realize how much meat-space stuff I also need to do.

In the past, I’ve tried a few different things – rewards, punishments, pep talks, criticising… It doesn’t really work, I find. Not for long, at least. In recent times, I have been able to get myself going by focusing on the pleasure of doing the item – the reward of seeing a chore finished, or experiencing the word of art. This is helped along by my general good mood – when I’m in a depressed state, I couldn’t give a shit less what happens, so long as I don’t have to move (which is why I tend to throw myself at projects when I do have the energy).

It is admittedly an ongoing problem. I have in no way even slightly fixed the issue – but it’s something I pick up and examine when considering my behaviours and what I’m doing, or when I’m frustrated. It’s my greatest hurdle, even more so than my full schedule and depression – at least depression lessens every so often!

Well, I am hoping to go on and finish a few more blog posts for the day, so at least I have it done. Thank you if you stayed til the end of this ramble, and look forward to my next post – where I explain my paper clay recipe!

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All together now~!

Once I got home from my trip, I whipped up a batch of paper clay and attached the back fin. Not gonna lie, I have been itching to do that since leaving! I’m so excited to see it all together!

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There’s still a few little touch ups to do before painting – several on the bottom, and the occasional hole or rough patch on the rest of the body. This also includes finishing the back hole where the cord goes through, and removing the red tape I used to protect the cord and is visible once clay’d in.

I’m chomping at the bit to do the next part, but I am having to force myself to wait. You see, I want to do some paint swatches before I throw myself wholeheartedly into painting. My friend lent me some iridescent blue that is supposed to shimmer, and it’s best on light colours. I want to try it out on a few different colour schemes – black with the iri-blue, or maybe with white and another blue, before the iri-blue? You see, I haven’t decided what colours I wanted to make, only that I want that iridescent. I also want to see what it looks like, because I may decide against it after all.

Only a few problems, though:

  1. I lack many colours; I have only white, blue, purple, red, and two yellows. While I could mix things together, I really wish I had at least a black to try a base of pure black.
  2. I’m not sure if I want to sandpaper the body down before I paint. I hate sandpaper but maybe the look will be better.
  3. I have no idea where that iridescent blue even is. (Wow, who could imagine with that IMMACULATE CLEAN STUDIO losing something so small?!)

I plan to sit down with pieces I’ve made as try-outs to try out the colours. At the very least, I can get the base colours down and try sandpapering. It’ll be interesting mixing the paints (and then matching it and making enough for a full body ugh). Hopefully, that happens soon. Maybe Thursday (I wrote this that day before I touched any art stuff, and this will be scheduled for tomorrow.)

Fin-icky details

Hahaha I hate myself a little for that pun.

Today we talkin’ about fins, pals, and other fin-ishing details.

But not actually finishing because I still gotta do some other shit to my girl. I just wanted another pun.

So, on the actual body of the fish, I was doing touch-ups. Finding holes where the clay didn’t perfectly seam. Tidying up uneven spots with a bit more clay. Giving a handjob to her light rod to make it a bit bigger. Adding dimension to teeth. These little things that I had no idea I would later be writing a blog post about and thus took zero close up pictures.

I did, however, take pictures of my fins! That was a very interesting process, trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. First, wire fins:

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Oh my god, I hated this fin. I hated how annoyingly hard it was to make them – the paper tissue would not glue to the wire, and actually bending the wire into the shape I wanted proved difficult and very hard to make a second one. Plus, compared to an actual angler fish fin, did not have enough sticks (bones?).

So, that was tossed to the side. I instead decided to make ones where I used a drawn template and placed clay within this template to create the bones. This was the jackpot!

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This would eventually become one of the fins on my fish now. When it first was dried, I found that it wasn’t too hard to pull away from the parchment paper. I had flipped it over to allow the bottom to dry thoroughly, and laughed when I realized it had also pulled up the marker, and it was such an interesting effect. I also found that there was ‘crusties’, which I simply used one of my sculpting tools to run along the edges and scrape off.

This same technique, but with the parchment flipped over to create a reversed one, made a second one. I made the bones thicker this time because I had accidentally broken one of the bones of my original one and had to put paper clay on and let it dry again before I could work on it.

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Shit

Soon I had my two fins, and what beautiful fins they were…

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The next step to come would be getting the membrane on, so to actually look like fins. Before starting, I was super worried about this step. On Monday’s post, I will explain more. See ya then!

The Clayening of Angler Fish

Around this time, I had figured out my method of making paper clay, and how I liked to put it on. So, what better time to start my fishy?

angler fish session 1

I started on her eye and the side. I loved the bulging look, and just how weird they are. After all, fish eyes are really weird and why not go the extra mile? Generally angler fish eyes are a bit more set in, as the bulging is probably a bad idea, but eh.

I remember being super nervous as I smoothed out the paper clay, and realising that I had no idea if the second session would mesh, once the first was dry. I knew it would shrink; would this create ‘seams’ when trying to blend dry and wet?

angler fish session 2

The answer to “WOULD IT BLEND” was a “YES”. Not that the dry layer would moisten up again and blend that way, but you could smooth the new wet stuff over and blend it in that way. When dry, they wouldn’t pull away. So, after several batches, I finally got it mostly done, inserted her light, and sealed up her bottom.

Fun fact, tape is not strong enough to fight the pull of shrinking clay as it dries. I apparently did not take a picture of this, so I’ll try and explain it.

Over the hole that I had used to insert the light, which was about 3 inches by 3 inches, I put on red tape to give my clay a ‘bridge’ to dry on. However, the clay I had only covered like… half of the bottom? So I let it dry and when I returned to it a few days later, I found that the clay had shrunk and curled up (you’ll see this affect with my fins as well). The tape was pulled off, and I broke off several chunks of paper clay so I could make it even again.

Fun fact, breaking the clay with my bare hands was surprisingly difficult! This shit is strong as fuck, yo!

Once done the bottom, I cemented in the light bulb with very careful paper clay placement. In order for it to dry upright, I had to tie a string around the light and attach it lower down.

 

angler fish light installation

Up until now, I had been using entire batches of my clay at a time. Usually, that was how I signalled the end of a session – I was all out of clay. Near the end, I had actually made a double batch to allow myself a longer session.

After this, everything changed. By everything I mean I was in a different phase where I used less clay and focused on details. More on that, coming this Friday!

The Creation of Angler Fish

“Why did you decide to make an angler fish lamp?” you, the hypothetical reader, may ask. Also, my brother. I think I scared him when I showed the things I have done. (coughgenitaliacough)

Well. The short answer is, ‘iunno, seemed fun’. The long answer is, at work a lamp broke. Instead of throwing away the bit that makes a lamp a lamp (iunno what you call it – the wire with the bulb socket?), I took it with manager’s permission.

I spent a day thinking about it, and then went, hey aren’t there fishes with these lights on their head? A bit of googling brought up some images, and I was like, yup. This is what I will do.

So, with some old signage (also from work – it’s a trend I have, of taking garbage from my employments to make things), I made the angler fish.

angler fish skeleton

She’s beautiful. :’)

With her body created, I started layering on paper mache. This was last summer, by the way, so I got to let her dry outside! I miss sun… Also, the picture looks a whole lot better than when it was in the basement.

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(could’ve cropped it, but I wanted to show my pup. She liked it when I was outside all the time.)

I was very happy with how she was taking form, even though there was spots I had no clue how I was going to tackle when I got there (how does one fin?). Thankfully, I was smart enough to leave her with a hole in the bottom so I could put in her light – this wouldn’t happen until much later, when the majority of her body is clay’d up.

Next time, I’ll show you the claying process, which has been the longest part so far.

Journey to paper clay

Damn that title sounds a bit more epic than this will actually be.

Paper clay is a fantastic recipe from Jonni at http://www.ultimatepapermache.com. She has a ton of videos and articles, as well as guest articles. I don’t remember how I decided to make the paper clay, I simply remember deciding to do paper mache because it was cheap and easy. Paper clay just kinda came along for the ride. Somewhere along the line, paper mache became the second option, with paper clay being my favourite.

In the beginning, the clay results were … mixed.

Torso - Fooling around

I have zero clue what I was even doing bros.

In this, you can see the results of several different attempts – from this clumpy dry stuff, to a weird smooth one that had a ton of lumps in it. The reason for this was my misunderstanding of how to make the stuff.

So, the actual recipe calls for: 24 g of toilet paper, soaked and squeezed to become 110 g of wet toilet paper, 1/2 cup each of flour, cornstarch, school glue, and drywall compound, and 2-3 tablespoons of mineral oil, with flour added in to get your desired consistency.

However, when I started creating it, I somehow got the impression that the toilet paper was a full roll.

This is so not right. So very much not right.

24 g of dry toilet paper is a fairly sizable clump. About 7 pee’s worth, let’s say. But it’s about 75 sheets of cheap dollar store TP which is much thinner than the nice stuff. So with a whole roll being approximately 175 sheets, the mix had these giant clumps that would not blend or play nice. Getting the amount of TP figured out helped immensely.

Next thing that changed it all was the method. So, beforehand I was trying to use a blender to get it to what I assumed should be a cake batter-like consistency. What happened was I found this video that helped me figure out what I was doing wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmpab4UNP7U

(Chezlin’s Paper Clay video)

Basically, once I got it all mixed together, I was to pull it out and knead it into more of a bread consistency, which fixed the last of my problems! Now I have a nice mix that I can make in about half hour including cleaning time. I keep it pretty sticky, preferring to use water to smooth it onto things. I tried adding extra flour to part of a batch so I could roll it out into fins for my angler fish; I quite liked the results, and will probably use this for items that aren’t being smeared onto a body.

In order to apply my smearing clay, I wet my hands to prevent sticking and to help squish it into place. It’s dirty and so satisfying. I have been slowly using tools to try new techniques, but often feel a little lost at what to do – I never really was into clay and the like, finding it difficult to mould and a pain in the ass. Plus, with the need to fire it (or hope it doesn’t crack and fall apart when dry), it became difficult for me to even want to explore the medium of clay too much. Paper clay seems to solve those issues!

So far, I’ve done a lot of playing around – a foot, genitalia, some weird teeth thing, the torso up there, and finally my angler fish lamp, of whom you’ll see a lot.

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 Angler Fish lamp, in progress

One of these days, I’ll make a video showing how I make and apply my version of the paper clay.

Today’s Footnote 



How much does my paper clay cost me?

Toilet paper: I buy 4 rolls at $1.30; each roll is 175 sheets, and I’d say I’d use not quite 1/2. So, the one package creates 8 batches. $0.16 for each batch.

Mineral Oil: I use 2-3 tablespoons, which is approximately 30mL to 45 mL. One bottle of 500mL costs … $12? Sure. $1.08 for 3tbsps, per batch.

Drywall compound at $15 per 3.5L or 3500mL, with 1/2 cup coming to about .11L. … I think my math says 0.50 per 1/2 cup, so sure.

School glue 3.8 L for $30. Eh, we’ll double the price of above, so let’s say $1.

Flour $1.25 for 907 grams, with 1/2 cup being 64 grams. 0.09 per 1/2 cup – usually I’ll add about 1/2 cup more, so let’s say 0.20.

Cornstarch $1.25 for 2 lb with 1/2 cup being 94 grams. 0.13 per 1/2 cup.

All together: Approximately $3.05 per batch.
Unless my math is wrong, which to be honest it probably is.