Midterm Progress: 3D Illustration

Mid-Semester Report for 3D Illustration


Project 1: The Designer Toy

I have the pattern and have started sewing the Tardi-bears. I have to give up on creating an army, because time does not permit it. Focusing on making 3 really cool Tardi-bears is more important at this point.

I took Paul’s advice to go for the grotesquely cute. To do so meant straying from my original idea of a more realistic bear/microbe hybrid, and instead making a big eyed/big-headed/squishy weird thing.

Some troubles I’ve had is with sewing in general. I have not used a sewing machine in years because I find fabric to be the most frustrating medium to work with. I also sewed 8 left arms for the Tardi-bear, which is unfortunate now that I no longer need extras for my army. I am slowly re-learning how to use a sewing machine, which is exciting. In general, this entire process is proving to be incredibly anxiety inducing though. I spent the weekend fighting with the sewing machine, and nearly completing one Tardi-bear, only to be unhappy with the results. I’m thinking of making them smaller, because currently they look like bowling pins with big heads.

Preliminary Sketches:


Preliminary Patterns and Tests



The result as of 3/25:

This sad misshapen creature and my disaster of a living room.  I don’t want to look at either right now.


Project 2: The installation/diorama

My original plan: Make an army off tardigrade plushies. Why make only 3 Tardigrade bears when I can make 50? Who came up with this brilliant plan? I admit, this idea was incredibly ambitions and I am currently re-evaluating my life decisions that led me to this place. I wanted to make something cute and grotesque and squishy, and making many iterations of the plush would enable me to create something large and ridiculous. I liked the idea of a comforting and squishy installation because stress and sleep deprivation leaves me wanting nothing else. Perhaps others feel the same way. Why not create a comfortable space for them to contemplate their existential quandaries and a creature for them to cry into? It is the kind thing to do.

The new plan: TBD. All is lost.

Project 3: the Editorial Illustration:

Two doctors face off: one with a vaccine, one with incense and a plague mask. Children play together, passing a ball back and forth, their skin spotted with red bumps. Is it a coincidence that the rise of anti-vaxxers and measles outbreaks are happening concurrently? It feels like a battle between science and misinformation.

The measles children have been brought to life but are incomplete.The characters have been created from wire armature, foil, paper tape, and paper clay. Clothing is required. I don’t know how to clothe them yet. Eyeballs are needed to show their haunted expressions. Measles must be applied to their flesh. Do I want to do this traditionally, or photograph them and apply the virus digitally? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Project 4. The Story Illustration

The story I chose is “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” from a book by the same title.
I have been drawn to this story since I first read it, partly because of Kay Nielson’s gorgeous illustrations, but also because of the role reversal of genders in which the female protagonist is the adventurer. For this project, I’m choosing to ignore the sexist undertones that still exist within the story, and take it as the fantastical fairy tale that it is. It has many similarities with the story of Cupid and Psyche: Girl marries invisible person. Girls family convinces her to look at him while he sleeps. Girl discovers that her husband is gorgeous, and while senselessly gawking she accidentally spills candle wax on him. Husband was cursed by a witch. Girl has to go through trials to get her guy back.

The three scenes I am illustrating:
1. The beginning. The father gives his daughter to a polar bearing exchange for riches. While she goes of her own volition, it is because her father convinces her. the polar bear is in it’s very basic form.

2. Three is an important number in this—and most—fairy tales. The girl goes to look for her guy after he and his castle disappear. She meets three women who each giver her an item to aid her in her quest.

3. The girl is dwarfed by the north wind as she rides it to the castle. The stones show through the clouds in the distance, and the castle walls are monolithic and imposing.

I had the intention create a sort of shadowbox with the 3 scenes, but I’m still figuring out the logistics. I am currently working on creating the separate pieces to join together (mostly armature, cellu-clay, and paper tape), and might be looking into the addition of found objects.

The North Wind:

The Bear


DVP Final Project: Video Interview



“I aim to make my work a counterweight to destructive forces operating in the world. Since the surest way to predict my own future is to try to create it myself, I look for inspiration in light and color. As a painter of landscape and still life, I choose to create images inspired by nature’s energies. Giving visible shape to my internal vision fosters healing in myself and others, moving artist and viewer alike from where we are toward some better place.”
-Annie Shaver-Crandell


Annie Shaver-Crandell sits across from me on a wide bench seat with floral pillows. Green fronds from potted plants grow unruly, crawling to the window by her corner. She wears jeans and a paint-stained dress shirt. The late afternoon light trickles through the window, painting her face with a soft glow. I fumble with the camera and the tripod, forgetting the questions I meant to ask. I think I arrived right after she woke up. She watches me patiently, stoically. We have met twice before, under the pretenses of a family affairs. I know little of her, except that she is distantly related too my boyfriend, and is an artist. She’s sort of intimidating, despite her relaxed posture. I stumble over words and say “Umm” a lot. She says, “I’m putty in your hands. ” Then we begin.

Originally from Oberlin Ohio, Annie Shaver-Crandell moved to New York City to pursue a graduate education in Art History, specializing as a Renaissance and Medievalist art historian. She taught at City College of New York, and is now a semi-retired painter. For the last 50 years, she has resided in NYC in her NoHo loft, where she also teaches art classes in the sunny, spacious back studio. She reminds me not to take pictures of her students work, which litters some of the easels. “I don’t even make a mark on my students work without their permission,” she says. “I hate when teachers do that.”

Within her apartment, the walls are a gallery of oil or watercolor Still Life paintings and Monotype prints. Much of her work is based on nature: flowers, animals, or scenery. Her paintings have spontaneous brushwork, energetic colors, and soft edges. Its easy to see the influence of impressionist painters. Because much of her work is done “Plein Air” style, the images must be captured in the moment. Light and subject matter are impermanent, so quick brushwork is the only way to ensure that she can capture the essence of what she sees. She also has a sort of “so what” attitude to painting: Make one and go on to the next.

One can observe many types of opposition in her work: spontaneity and control, light and dark, color and contrast, and even in her own life of city living and nature escapes. She says she’s attracted to “boundaries,” something particularly apparent in her Plein Air paintings. The boundaries in her paintings feel expansive though. They offer serenity without redundancy, and vibrate with color. There is an emphasis on the separation of land by water or sky, and afterwards, from a colorful painting and a white gallery wall.


Yeti Cat Cafe: The Process


The basic Idea for the cat cafe was to create something that would be collapsible (thus more easily stored in a NYC apartment).  By using interlocking pieces and support beams I was able to create 2 story puppet theater.

The Concept Sketches:



The Laser cutting:


The Finger Cats:




The Yeti HEad:


Eating Alone: Digital Video Production Midterm Project

This is really what happens when Ben is out of town and I’m left to my own devices.

My initial idea for the project was to create something artsy and moody (as most of my work turns into that), but I found myself put off by the pretentiousness of it all.  I shot some preliminary videos and didn’t like how they turned out.  But, because my boyfriend was  out of town all week, I binged on junk food, knowing that he would not be around to save me from myself (ie. eat my snacks before i get to them.).

I had the idea to record something mundane, but to make it strange and silly.  Because food is so often a theme in my work, I thought it would be interesting (or rather, obnoxious) to create a video of myself eating increasingly strange things.  This video was intended, in part, to be a funny and vaguely passive aggressive thing to send to my boyfriend.  It is my way of saying, “This is what happens when you leave town for a week!”  It would also serve to explain why food in the fridge had teeth marks in them.  I used some spooky sounds from freesound.org as the background music to add to the overall strangeness of the video.  I also wanted to fully acknowledge how horrifying it is to hear chewing and see closeups of eating.

For editing, I chose to create lots of cut scenes with Medium shots to extreme closeups. I also took out some frames from each clip to create jump cuts and jerky movements.    I am mostly happy with how it turned out.  I wish that many of the closeup shots were in better focus though.  I’ll know for next time.

Video Shot with a Canon EOS D70, sound recorded with a shotgun mic attachment, all ambient music from Freesound.org.

3D Project 4 Proposal: Yeti @ the Cat Cafe, a Character in Context

I’m often inspired by mythology, lore, and the monsters within these stories. I think that all mythology has some root in reality, even if it’s just an abstract embodiment of human fears. I still grapple with the ghosts of childhood.  My attraction to stories is fueled by my escapist tendencies.  Perhaps this is why so many of my projects take on a sinister or absurd tone.

Creating texture on a hand puppet is my main inspiration for the project.  I sketched out many variations of possible hand puppets to create, but struggled between creating The Tooth Fairy, Krampus, and the Yeti. In a perfect world I could make them all, but for now, I onluy have time for one.  I was really attracted to the idea of creating long fur out or yarn and fabric, as well as possible playing around with felting.  The Yeti won.

In researching Yeti’s, I came across some really great Conspiracy videos “proving” the existence of these creatures via footage of a lumbering white figure..  I came across many more articles that link Yeti DNA samples to various bear species.  Using reference photos from monkeys, bears, and Wampas (thanks Star Wars!), I was able to come up with a design that incorporated apelike features, big hands, and floppy fur. I hope to find a balance between sinister and silly.



When asked about where he gets  his ideas for stories, Neil Gaiman said, “You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if…?

What if….a Yeti were at a cat cafe in Brooklyn? Is he a tourist? Is he looking to adopt? Did he get put there by mistake?  Are the other customers frightened or intrigued?  How to the cats interact with him?  Who knows.  This has the makings to become a major sitcom though.

The hands, feet, and face will all be made of epoxy clay.  The outer covering will be plain fabric covered in many layers of whitish yarn, twine, and other fabric.  The interior of the puppet will be a mateless glove.

I plan on using the laser cutter for much of the background.  I want all elements to be collapsible (much like an Ikea furniture set).  I don’t have room to store things in my apartment, so this is always the constraint.  By using the laser cutter, I can cut thin`gs to interlock with one another.   The cats must be felted though.  And there needs to be A LOT of them.

In the end, the backdrop will be a floor, 2 side panel walls, and a back wall with a hinged door.  Lighting will likely be an LED lamp.  I want to capture video footage of the Yeti in the cat cafe too, because the world needs this right now.




“Specter” DVP Group Assignment

DVP Group Assignment

Our initial idea for the video was a pre-finals nightmare, solidly based on a reality where everything at school is broken when it’s most needed. We wanted to channel the anxiety of needing to print and submit files, running from one room to another, and dropping papers along the way. Getting various shots of Elena running was critical, as well as close ups of her hands and face. I was inspired by the film analyses of Pans Labrynth and Dark Night. I noted how little the camera stayed still. It was constantly in motion, even if just a slow sweep in one direction or the other. I wanted to create something dynamic, with smooth cut scenes and fluid movements.

Lauren, Elena, and I all had very similar storyboards. The story: Elena during finals, with everything going wrong (the computer freezing, the printers down, the paper cutter not working), and ending as she wakes up from the finals nightmare.

Filming was easy. Lauren, Elena, and I all took turns shooting footage, and were able to agree on the most important scenes. Lauren’s background in film was a trememdous help when it came to dynamic camera movement and abstract shots.  The snorri-cam and tracking shots were lots of fun to shoot as well.  The only challenges that arose came about from the other people in the room. We had to film around them, and migrate to multiple areas within the 8th floor if our previous spot was taken over.

When it came to editing, I realized that I didn’t have all of the shots i wanted, but I also didn’t want to create a straightforward narrative. I almost completely threw out the storyboard and had to start from scratch. In the beginning, editing was difficult, only because I wasn’t sure what direction to take with the story. I started looking for “spooky music” and created the movie based on what I found. In the background, there is ambient electronic buzzing music and Tibetan singing bowls. To my surprise, much of the raw audio we captured from the camera was usable as well. The use of sound and music allowed me the flexibility to have blacked out areas of the screen, while still progressing the story.

One things that surprised me the most was how different each of the videos turned out.  Elena’s video was humorous, while Laurens was moody.  Much of the footage I omitted, they used.  It was also interesting to see how sound could transform the same footage in such different ways: the use of ambient noise versus dramatic Vivaldi concertos, or  sound effects versus the absence of.

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