Artisan Crafts Week Hi everyone!
Let me introduce myself. My name is Miaushka. It comes from “meow”, which means something like “that-little-one-who-meows”
You might have seen my handmade toys or even possibly seen my tier 11 druid cosplay, or maybe you just happened to stumble upon me. I am doing different World of Warcraft-themed handmade crafts: from complicated and laborious cosplay to various toys and mini-sculptures. Now that you know more about my artistic background on DeviantArt, I want to tell you how one of my favorite toys
, a tauren-druid wearing the Ulduar tier 8 set, was done step-by-step. One day I decided to make two tauren toys: a male and a female. I began by making the accent marks on their faces and staves not paying attention to the detailing of their armor yet. I wanted to make simple starter leather gear like when they first started leveling. I had even sewn body pieces for both of them, but when it came to the faces I realized the female tauren was too cute to just wear simple clothing. She needed a full, good-looking set of armor.
Gorgeous art of tauren male and female by Jason Chan.
The Male tauren is still not finished, since the first one took a lot of time to craft: from May to August. If I was an office worker, crafting it from 8am to 8pm with no rest-days would be something like a month. This was difficult work indeed, in which I have never faced before. But I liked it and now I’m planning to make another one, a portrait toy of someone’s character.
Tauren female wearing tier 8 raid set.
So, as usual, everything starts from sketches: from face to armor. At this step I decide to decorate the dress with fur, beads, sequins, glass, feathers, felt and velvet; and to make the spaulders from polymer clay, glass orbs and hemispheres. These sketches show how I progressed with the design of the tauren's face, spaulders, and dress.
There is one thing I should let you know: I don’t really bother taking work-in-progress pictures, I can’t afford pausing the creative process for good-looking staged photos. That is the reason why sometimes I can’t show you certain steps, for example; I haven’t taken the photos of sewing the body of the tauren.
Once I am satisfied with sketches; when the body is sewn and the face is modeled, I start modeling spaulders in polymer clay, fitting them to the plush base, so they will sit well and be properly proportioned to the body and face.
Few words about the polymer clay: I use Sculpey Original (brown). I have tried many types of clay before, and found out that this one is perfect for me. You may ask, why do I use brown
clay? If you have seen my works and work-in-progress photos before, you know that polymer clay that I used in my first works was white. But the fact is that the toned clay lets you recognize the volume of object better, than the white one.
Examples of white and brown polymer clay use.
But let's return to spaulders. I use glass orbs as well as hemispheres to create an interesting glowing effect that will have them reflect back the bright sunlight. I also give a wooden texture to the polymer clay, paying attention to such details as knots and direction of wood fibers.
Tools I use for sculpting and texturing: When I've finished modeling the clay and the spaulers are looking okay, I bake the polymer clay parts as shown below.
1. Rubber brush (the best tool for modeling, ever);
2. Palette-knife (I use it not that often) and cutting tool (perfect for making fur texture);
3. Ball stylus (I use it for some round details) and something I don't know what (I don't use it);
4. Scalpel (it has a lot of functions: adding the volume and texture, removing the excess).
I use an aerogrill for baking the clay.
After baking I carefully sand it, eliminating all the defects. There should be no fingerprints or burrs! Now the face, horns and spaulders are ready for the next coming steps: priming and painting.
This is how polymer clay parts look after baking and sanding.
Tools I use for sanding: two types of sandpaper and needle files.
And at this moment I switch over to the other parts of the future toy. The next step is sewing, decorating the dress and fitting all parts to the plush body. The dress base is rather simple – it consists only of four parts, and since the fabric is soft it will be easy to embroider – I’ve chosen a nice smooth cotton. Sometime later I will also line the dress, but for the start I just sewed the parts of the dress together by hand – all the seams will be decorated and embroidered.
Fitting all the parts to the plushie. Start decorating the dress (reference is on a background). Beading and embroidering is a very, very laborious task. It takes a huge amount of time, so I only have enough space to discuss the belt here.
The belt is made of genuine leather. I planned to use a big glass cabochon to decorate the belt, so it will harmonize with the spaulders. In order to hold the cabochon on the belt I braided it. Then I decorated it with various goldish beads and sequins. Due to the wealth of goldish things, the outfit became kind of Asian-looking and sometimes the toy seemed to have the feel as if she was dressed as a little Indian girl. But once I made the green parts of the dress, decorated with feathers, this impression faded away and all the parts harmonized with each other.
Braiding the glass cabochon with beads. Decorating the belt with beads and sequins. The finished belt.
After beading the belt and fitting parts of the toy to each other, I started fully decorating the dress: you can see on the photos, I cut and dyed the fur on the top. I used a few kinds of leather: one for the corset, one for the back side of the dress, etc. I did not only paint the leather, but also made it look old because in my honest opinion, battle gear shouldn’t look brand-new or just sewn. I then made the green part of the outfit from felt and velvet then beaded the edges of the fabric. The feathers that I used here also looked new, so I dyed them.
Making a corset. Fastening the belt, decorating the green part of the dress with feathers. Little by little the work eventually comes to an end. After which I leap to the next step:
I prime the polymer clay parts and model small details like hands and bracers.
This is my first time using black priming for everything except the eyes. Eyes should be primed in white since there should not be any dirt at all on that area. I modeled the hooves and decorations for the bracers during this time.
Next step is rather interesting in my opinion – painting the pupils of the eyes. It’s because that it is easier to paint it on flat paper, than on a 3D figure. I should constantly inspect the figure from every side to ensure that the eyes are looking good and not slanting. On the photos below you can see that I used my sketches to make the pupils, but the first attempt was not ideal – the eyes were “sliding apart”.
I discovered this after making the Onyxia toy – at first glance everything looked perfect, but from one angle her eyes were looking wild. Since then I always paint eyes carefully and with caution.
Trying to paint the pupils of the eyes. Making all the parts together.
Saucy Little Onyxia, the daughter of Deathwing, proud black dragon.
But when you look from below, she's like: "I WILL BURN YOU, FOOLISH MORTAL AHAHAHAHA!!"...
That is the reason why you should check the pupils from every side!
When I properly placed the pupils of the tauren and all the details are primed, I started painting them with acrylic paints and brushes of various sizes: the smallest ones (size 0-1) wear out quickly because of acryl, lasting 1-2 times and it is not that easy to find new ones in the store. Brushes also wear out because of lacquer, which I always use for my toys (this makes them sunproof and the colors do not fade).
Painting the face and the spaulders.
One of the most important tasks is thinking over the functionality and eliminating any signs of defects if they exist. For example, I always sew all the glued parts together, since the toy can be given to children – additional strengthening will do good. Sometimes my toys take strength tests by my young daughter: she looks at it for some time, touching as well as moving it, I then assess the damage and strengthen the delicate parts. By the way, crush- and stress-test by a child is the most honest and fairest method of testing, ever
Stress-test of Shivertail.
After painting I lacquer all the parts, attach them to the body and decorate. Since this toy also has eyelashes – I glue them to the eyes and dye where it is needed.
The next step is making a staff. I decided in favor of the [Staff of Trickery], but it came out too bulky and disproportionate next to the toy. Then I decided to make something more simple and delicate, the [Explorer's Walking Stick] fit well.
On these photos you can see the process of thinking over the staff: the [Staff of Trickery] is rather large and does not fit, so I decided to make a simple and elegant [Explorer's Walking Stick]. Also you can see the finished hands and horns of the tauren, alongside the helmet of this tier - crescent moon, which will harmonize with the staff.
This is how these staves look in-game.
When the staff and all other details are finished, what remains is to check how the toy stands by itself. It turned out that the hooves and the staff were enough to support the toy
, and it was not even necessary to put a wire into the tail. I should note, that there is no framework or anything else inside. The stability of this toy depends on the properly made sewing pattern.
Final photos of the toy: stability test.
When the toy is done, I did a photoshoot outdoors with natural surroundings You can find more photos on my DeviantArt.
So with this, this is how you can make a nice-looking designer toy from materials easily obtained from any store nearby, with the use of your imagination, inspiration, labour, patience, and a huge amount of time and dedication of course
Thank you all for your time and attention!