My library’s “Mock Caldecott” Discussion is coming up, and as part of the committee responsible for hosting the event, I get to present “Drum Dream Girl”, illustrated by Rafael Lopez as a contender. Let’s start by looking at the Caldecott Criteria and how this work meets them.

  1. In identifying a “distinguished American picture book for children,” defined as illustration, committee members need to consider:
    1. Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed;
      The artist has a clear, consistent style and demonstrates and impressive mastery of palette.  Not only do his color choices inform location (we’re obviously in a tropical location), one can almost feel the temperature shift between times of day.  His figures are stylistic, but still have a sense of realness to them; you can definitely feel the character’s emotion.  Finally, his use of texture gives each page a sense of depth and objects a feeling of weight.
      The illustrations are achieved using acrylic paint on wood board, and the media lends itself well to the artist’s style.  The colors are vibrant and the material thick enough to provide texture.
    2. Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept;
      Some illustrations show us a fairly literal interpretation of the events unfolding in the story, and others speak more in metaphor, but each one fully embodies an aspect of the story.
    3. Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept;
      Lopez’ style feels very much in sync with the cultural feel of the story.
    4. Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures;
      The illustrations excel in demonstrating the information of the story, the text is still required to fully understand the work.
    5. Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.
      This work feels very accessible for children.  The illustrations are vibrant, exciting, and full of passion.
  2. The only limitation to graphic form is that the form must be one which may be used in a picture book. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound, film or computer program) for its enjoyment.
    Yup, it does that.
  3. Each book is to be considered as a picture book. The committee is to make its decision primarily on the illustration, but other components of a book are to be considered especially when they make a book less effective as a children’s picture book. Such other components might include the written text, the overall design of the book, etc.
    This work’s only downfall is the occasional side-ways turned page.  It makes the book slightly awkward to read, but is a fairly negligible concern.  The end papers and cover art tie in well to the illustrations within the story.

Cover Art for Space Dumplins

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

Poop jokes, talking chickens, killer Space Whales, and the Last Living Lumpkin.  Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson has it all. Violet is the daughter of a fashion designer and lumberjack.  She’s just your average kid living in a trailer park in space.  She likes being with her friends, having no-school days, and going to work with her daddy.  Especially when he lets her drive the tug.

But everything changes when Space Whales eat Violet’s school.  And then her home is threatened by a spill of Space Whale Diarrhea.

Her world is turned upside down.  Her friends move on.  She doesn’t fit in at the Space Station her mother works at.  And her father has gone missing.

Violet takes it upon herself to start solving these grown-up problems and enlists the aid of her friends Zacchaeus, the Last Living Lumpkin, and Elliot, a sentient, talking chicken-boy.

This book is a light-hearted adventure in space, chock-full of silly kid humor and plenty of poop jokes.

Cover Art for Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed To Earth by Judd Winick

AAAAH!!  Is that a greeting?  I like it!

These are the first words Hilo says to his new friend D.J.  To be fair, the first thing D.J. says to Hilo after Hilo wakes up from having crashed to Earth is AAAAHH!!

D.J. is a kid who feels outshined by his parents and siblings.  They are all really good at something, but the only thing D.J. ever felt he was really good at was being friends with Gina.  Until she moved away.

Then he meets Hilo, an unusual boy with cool powers who crashes to earth.  After meeting Hilo, D.J. finds himself lying to his teachers and family (mostly about Hilo and where he came from) and being chased by robot monsters from another dimension.

Hilo is curious and loves learning new words and building things.  Things change when the evil Razorwark, a mysterious figure from Hilo’s past threatens Hilo’s new friends and community.

This is a really fun book about a super-powered kid.  If you have kids asking for superhero books, you might want to direct them to Hilo. This will also hold the interest of kids who enjoy SciFi, Robots, and stories about friendship and bravery.  Hilo is appropriate for school aged kids, and might be appreciated by Middle Grade Readers as well.

The Boy Who Crashed To Earth is the first book in an upcoming series.  The second book is due out next year.

Cover Art for Princeless: The Pirate Princess

Princeless: The Pirate Princess by Jeremy Whitley, Rosy Higgins, and Ted Brandt

 

Why are princesses constantly getting locked up in towers, expected to wait around for some goofball prince to save them?  Shouldn’t they be allowed and encouraged to have their own lives, thoughts, opinions, even adventures?

That’s what Adrienne, the lead knight/princess in Princeless believes.  The Pirate Princess by Jeremy Whitley, Rosy Higgins, and Ted Brandt is the third collected volume in the series.

Adrienne has always hated the tradition of fathers locking their daughters in towers, protected by fierce guardians, only to marry them off to whichever bozo prince or knight happens to kill the guardian.  Her father has done this to her five elder sisters and makes it clear she won’t have him do it to her.

And then he does.  The first book shows her rescuing herself and making the decision to save her sisters and give them the freedom to make their own life choices that their father is denying them.  She makes friends with Sparky the Dragon and Bedelia, the half-dwarf smith.

The second book treats us to her quest to rescue one of her older sisters, Angelica.  The most beautiful princess in the world.  But does Angelica want to be rescued?

This book opens with Raven Xingtao hearing a story from her father about her amazing Great-Grandmother, which he tells her to inspire her to become a fierce warrior.  For her father is the Pirate King, and no daughter of his will be a helpless princess.

So why is she locked up in a tower, in need of rescue from Adrienne and Bedelia in the very next scene?  She was betrayed by those closest to her.  To learn the rest of the story, you’ll just have to read it and find out.

Cover Art for Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Did you like Babymouse?  Did you like Squish?  Well, you might want to check out “Sunny Side Up” by  Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, the creative team that brought you both “Babymouse” and “Squish”.

This book takes a slightly different direction than the series we’re familiar with.  This is a more serious graphic novel, taking a look at ten year old Sunny’s summer vacation to Florida.  Which has been mysteriously changed from the original “trip to the shore” with the whole family and her best friend.  Now it’s just her and her grandpa who lives in a Senior’s community.

Sunny has high hopes for this new trip, after all, Florida is the home of Disney World!  But things don’t turn out quite how she’d planned.  Things aren’t completely ruined, however, as she makes friends with Buzz, whose dad was a chemist in Cuba, but now works as groundskeeper at Sunny’s grandpa’s community.  Buzz introduces Sunny to comics (which are super awesome) and together they start a cat locating service, finding the wandering pets of some of the seniors in return for money for snacks and comics.

Amidst the Summer Vacation story, we see flashbacks to things that have happened to Sunny back home, prior to her trip.  Things aren’t quite as idyllic as she thought, and her family is trying to protect her.

This story deals with addictive substances and how their abuse can effect young kids.  This book might be helpful to someone who knows someone going through such hardships.  I would recommend it to any readers 8 and older who want realistic fiction, a story about friendship and summer time, or family drama.

Cover Art for Lumberjanes Vol. 2

Lumberjanes Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max

Why are mysterious creatures attacking the campers at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiquil Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types?

What’s up with that mysterious Bearwoman?

Will the Roanokes solve the mysteries?  Or at least get Jen to trust them?

“Friendship to the Max” is the second collection of Lumberjane comics, collecting issues 5-8, written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, illustrated by Brooke Allen.  It follows directly on the heels of Volume 1: “Beware the Kitten Holy”.  This series follows the Hardcore Lady Types from Roanoke Cabin as they do typical summer camp activities: enduring raptor attacks, traveling through mysterious caves, dealing with dangerous mythical creatures, and weaving friendship bracelets.

The girls of Roanoke are:

Jo: the cool-headed analytical one.  She has a strong bond with April.  She also happens to be transgender.

April: the smallest girl, with a flair for the dramatic and a love of puns.  She’s also the strongest and arm wrestled a living statue into submission in the first Volume.

Molly: A skilled archer with a cool coonskin hat.  That is actually a raccoon named Bubbles.  She has a crush on Mal.

Mal: The punk rock member of the group.  She is also the most sensitive and cautious.  She excels at creating detailed and complicated plans, which promptly get ignored by the rest of the group.

Ripley: The naive, childish and most excitable one.  She loves animals and quickly bonds with any she meets, from kittens to velociraptors.  She’s also a mean Fastball Special.

And Jen is their counselor: she takes herself and her job very seriously and tries over-hard to protect her girls from anything wacky (she is generally unsuccessful at this).  She is incredibly knowledgeable on a range of subjects from botany to astronomy.

Every time you turn the page, a different girl will become your favorite, again and again.  This lovable cast will make you want to reread these books several times as the overcome obstacles through wits, strength, friendship and a hardcore attitude.

These books are best suited to our older readers, but can be accessible to some of the slightly younger school-age kids as well.

Part one and part two of this “tutorial” have been previously posted.  This is part three!

As always, if you want to do something like this yourself, I strongly recommend you check out Dan Reeder’s work (either google him or check out his book).  I use his methods as a starting place for most of this project.

Ok, so we have a basic head shape with a mostly finished mouth.  That’s awesome.  Your next step is “fleshing out” the rest of your head.  Use wads or rolls of paper and masking tape (lots of it) to form the nose, brow, etc.  At this point I glued on my eyes and shaped the eyelids, too.  I can’t really tell you how to do this bit, because you’re making your own thing.  And it WILL turn out different than you originally plan.  Nature of the beast.  Unless you’re super awesome, things always turn out a little different.

I made some horns out of paper at this point.  Just wadded and formed and taped until I got a shape I liked, then taped them in place.  I didn’t paper mache them, just cloth.  Nice and tight, with fewer wrinkles than the skin.  I painted them as close in color as I could get to my sculpey teeth and claws and such.

I also added the ear fans at this point.  I used the cardboard tubes that wrap around some wire hangers.  I simply cut them to length and slit them to taper the ends.  My ears had three ridges, with the middle being the longest.  They were also fairly small, relatively speaking.  But I didn’t use the fans anywhere else on my dragon, so I didn’t want a huge aesthetic disconnect by having big ears on an otherwise sleek head.  Tape them together at the base, kind of mashed up a little so they splay out at the ends.  Then stab a hole in the head where you want them to go and shove ’em in.  I used hot glue to hold them in place.

Now that your head looks about how you want it, make and attach your neck.  Chances are, you’re going to do it differently than me.  We have these large, collapsible rainbow tunnels for the kids to play with.  When too many kids get too rough, the wires give out and the thing gets tossed out because it’s now dangerous.  I scavenged two of these and stitched them together, end to end.  I also collapsed one side at the “body end” of the dragon so that it looked like it was looking around a corner (it has no body, just coming out from the wall).  It turned out the tunnel was bigger around than the back of my dragon’s head, so I cut three ribs on the head-end and tapered them down.  I used lots of duct tape to hold the wires into their new position.  I also used duct tape to fix the neck to the head.  But before you do that, we need to talk about rigging.

How are you going to hang this giant thing?  Mine is attached to a safety rail on a mezzanine by several lengths of both monofilament and crafting string.  But I didn’t want to just suspend it from the paper mache.  It’s not too heavy for it’s size, but I didn’t want to take chances.  I took a length of 1/2 PVC pipe and drilled holes down it’s length.  I cut a hole in the back of the dragon’s head that would eventually be covered by the neck, then poked another hole out the top.  The PVC went into the back hole and a loop of string came out the top (the string was threaded through the last hole drilled on the PVC).  The pipe would provide the support and would distribute the weight of the strings across the length of the dragon.  This will (hopefully) prevent the weight of the dragon causing the anchors to rip out the top.  So far, it’s working.  I then threaded the rest of the holes in the pipe with loops of string and attached the neck.  Then I cut slits in the tunnel and pulled the loops out through them.  I did use a couple loops of monofilament just through the paper mache towards the front of the dragon’s face, but most of the weight is on the pipe.  By using loops, I kept my anchor points manageable for the cloth mache steps, and made it easier to hang.  When the time came to mount the piece, we held it in position and tied lengths of string to the loops, then pulled them up and around the railing.  That way I didn’t have 15 3-foot lengths of streamers grabbing at me while I worked and hung the beast.

Dragon head with neck attached

It’s now time for cloth mache.  There’s no real right or wrong way to do this bit.  I started with the underside of the neck (both mache-ing and painting) to make my life a bit easier.  I wanted it to have large, ribbed scales, kind of like the underside of an alligator.  Again, research, research, research.  Look at pictures of other large reptiles, look at artist’s renderings of dragons.  Look at scientist’s depictions of dinosaurs.  For my scales, I cut large rectangles of bedsheet, pulled the schnibbles off them and set them to the side.  Then pour out and bunch of glue and start dipping.  I started at the front, actually just laying the smooth under-jaw skin first.  Then with the scales, I folded a small section under on one long edge.  Just to give it a little extra depth.  Then lay it in place and pinch the middle to form a ridge.  The next scale is the same, slightly overlapping the first.  Go until you’re done.

Walk away and let it dry.

Come back the next day and start painting!  This is a huuuuuuge canvas to work on, so I just squirted my paint directly on the piece.  I wanted a pale yellow-green for the underside, the rest would be a bit darker.  All of those scales got a bit of yellow, blue, and white acrylic and I kind of mixed as I painted, right on the piece.  Make sure to work paint into all the little folds and crannies.  Let it dry over night and give it a black wash the next day.  While you’re painting this, you might consider painting the underside of the jaw.  Up to you.

Cloth mache the rest of the dragon’s head and neck.  I used long, thin strips folded in half to give him lips.  I used smaller bits around the eyes.  I used a few extra teeth to give him small horns on his snout and wrapped them like the teeth.  A few smaller bits around the nose.  Small pieces cut to shape, but slightly than the ear fans were used to give it a kind of membranous look.  Then I tried to use as few pieces as possible for the rest.  For the back of the neck, I cut one large piece of sheet to size and dipped the entire thing in glue.  I snagged a coworker to help me drape it in place.  There were a couple spots where it wanted to pull away from the underscales, so I used string to truss it like a turkey and hold everything in place while it dried.

Cloth mache dragon head

I wanted this bit darker, so I used brown paint to coat all of the skin except the mouth and underscales, because those were already finished.  Work it in to all the wrinkles.  This took forever.  Once it finally dried, I used a lot of green paint, a bit of white paint, and a touch of blue paint to dry brush the proper color over the entire piece.  This went pretty fast.  I did three coats and didn’t wait for it to dry completely between them.  The first coat was a darker green and a little less dry.  Then a slightly lighter green with a blue-ish hue to it was next, more of a proper dry brush.  Finally a very light green, and in some spots very light blue were done in a very dry brush style to give highlights.

Finished dragon head

 

 

Finished Dragon head

Finally you clean the paint of your horns, teeth, and eyes and you’re ready to roll!  One nice touch is to use a large spot of hot glue on the tips of the upper teeth.  Gravity will pull it down in a drip and look like drool!

Dragon drool

Next week I’ll talk about making teeth, eyes, and the tongue.  And at some point after that, I’ll talk about the hands and arm.

Mounted dragon head

Last week I left you here with the basic paper mache sculpted and teeth glued on.  Let’s keep moving to the next step, because even if you’ve been trucking along building your own, you probably aren’t caught up to me yet.  Unless this is all you’ve been doing, in which case I apologize for the wait.

Our next step makes use of Dan Reeder’s “cloth mache” techniques.  There is a bit of prep work first, namely cutting up old bed sheets into the size you need.  Mine were too big this time around, but I wouldn’t trim them too much.  If you’re building on the same scale I did, you’d want to cut strips about one inch wide by maybe two or three long.  And you need two strips for each tooth.  While you’re at it, cut some slightly longer ones for your claws and the same size for any small horns you might be using.  While you’re cutting, I suggest pulling any loose threads.  Once you start the gluey bits, it’s going to get messy, they’ll get stuck to your fingers and will generally just piss you off.

This step is detailed with better pictures in Reeder’s book.  So I’ll suggest you try to lay hands on a copy once again.

What I did was pour some glue out into a disposable roasting pan, then dip a strip of cloth in the glue.  Squeeze the excess glue out, but make sure the whole thing is coated, then fold it in half length-wise (hot dog style, for those of you who work with kids), and wrap it diagonally around one side of a tooth.  Repeat for the other side.  You’re making a gum line, essentially.  Repeat this process on each tooth.

Next, cut two chunks of sheet roughly the same shape, but slightly larger than the upper and lower mouth portions of your dragon.  Dip one of these into your glue, squeezing off the excess, while ensuring even coverage.  This is definitely harder with the large swatch of fabric, but totally worth it.  This will be a bit wrinkly and look awesome as the inside of a mouth.

Lay your glued-up bit of fabric inside the mouth, so that the tooth line is outside it.  I rolled the edges along mine.  Have it lay up next to your gums, maybe even draping over the edge where there aren’t teeth.  But make sure it stay kind of bunched and wrinkly in the middle.  Do this on both sides.

Walk away and let it dry over night.

Now a bit of paint!  (I know, we still have plenty of sculpting to do, but trust me, it’s easier at this point).

I used reds, blues, and whites to paint my mouth, but you can do whatever you want.  Since this was such a big piece and was going to need a lot of paint, I squeezed my acrylics right onto the fabric, instead of dealing with a palette.  I used more red/pink than blue, and a goodly amount of white.  Just squeeze it out like condiments on a gigantic hamburger, but remember you can always add more.  Then I used my brush to not only work the paint around and into all the crevices, but also to mix colors as I went along.  That said, the inside of the mouth is not an even shade, some bits are bluer, some redder, some lighter, and some darker.  It’s cool.  I feel it looks more realistic.  My arms aren’t all one even shade, why should my dragon’s mouth be different?  At this point, I painted the tongue and hung it to dry, since it was painted on all sides.  I will address building the tongue in another post, I promise.  There will eventually be one dedicated to the extra bits (eyes, teeth, tongue).

Walk away and let it dry over night.

Come back for a black wash.  There are several methods of doing a black wash.  Mine is probably the laziest.  Squirt some black paint in a throw-away cup, pour some water in on top.  Mix it up so it’s pretty thin.  Almost like ink.  Now work the thin paint into the nooks and crannies.  Let it run down the valleys, and fill the deep spaces.  You can alternately try just painting a light coat over all of first coat, then dabbing it up on the raised parts with a clean, damp cloth.  I didn’t.  What you’re doing with this step is enhancing the shadows.  All those deep places will seem a little more exaggerated and dirty.  It’ll be great.  When you’re done with this step, walk away and let it dry over night (we do that a lot).

If you want, you can dry brush on some highlights the next day.  I didn’t.  To do that, mix some paint that is slightly lighter than the original coat.  Take a dry brush, put a little paint on it, wipe off a little, then briskly work your brush over the raised portions of the fabric, so the paint only comes off on the highest parts.

When all of your paint is dry, it’s time to re-attach the mouth.  The wire hangers I used for the fingers and whatnot had the cardboard tubes rolled over it.  I used two of those to reinforce the jaw.  And another to support it  on the inside that would be removed later.  Use tape and those tubes to position the lower jaw and tack it in place.  Then add several layers of paper mache.

Walk away and let it dry.  When you come back, you can hot glue the tongue in place and it might look a little like this:

Dragon head and jaws - in progress

July 31st was Harry Potter’s 35th birthday (the fictional character, not the books themselves).  To celebrate, we hosted a day-long program at the library featuring wand-making, potion brewing, astronomy lessons, crafting our own spellbooks, fortune telling, two games of Live Wizard’s Chess, and a viewing of Sorcerer’s Stone.  But the piece I was most excited about, and the piece that is still able to be enjoyed, was a “life-sized” dragon I built as a decoration for the library.  It was largely successful, but did not turn out quite the way I’d planned.

Wizard standing with a dragon

My original plan was to build a head/neck, and arm, and a hand.  Which I did.  These pieces were to be rigged on the railing of a mezzanine loft in such a way that it would look like the dragon was climbing down from the loft.  That was less successful.  But the thing still looks amazing and people are still coming up to the desk to ask/talk about it.  I thought I’d offer a multi-post look into my process for anyone who wants to attempt so monumental a task themselves.

To start, my supplies list:

  • Newspapers, lots of newspapers
  • Plenty of tape (good masking tape or cheap duct tape)
  • wallpaper paste
  • huge bottle of white glue
  • old bedsheets
  • sculpey clay
  • tin foil
  • round tea light holders
  • hot glue/gun
  • lots and lots of acrylic paint
  • brushes
  • utility knives/scissors
  • craft string
  • monofilament
  • 1/2 pvc pipe the length of the neck w/ holes drilled periodically along it’s length
  • Paper Mache Dragons” by Dan Reeder

Worth noting: it took me about a month to finish this project.  I only worked on it about an hour or so a day, between 3 and 5 days a week.

I used Dan Reeder’s book as inspiration, an excellent starting place, and reference on technique for a few fiddly bits.  I recommend anyone who has little to no experience with paper mache, sculpture or cloth sculpture to definitely get his book and use it as a guide to your first project.  (Also, if your skillset could be described as “beginner”, you probably want to start smaller.)

The pre-first step: measure your space, then plot a scaled graph to sketch on.  Use an easy scale if you can, like 1:12″ or 1:10″ (1 inch on paper is a foot in real life, or one inch on paper is 10 inches in real life).  This will help you figure out how big to make each piece afterwards.

The first, first step: shape your head from paper.  Here I used the ball technique: grab a sheet of newspaper, crumple it into a ball.  Grab another sheet of newspaper, put your ball in the middle and crumble the new sheet around it.  Keep doing it until it is either a) the right size, b) too big to manage, or c) too big to wrap more paper around, whichever comes first.  Then wrap them in tape so they hold their shape and don’t come apart.  For the skull (or back half, depending on how you want to look at it), I used 4 balls, taped them together, then filled the gaps with more paper, rolled or wadded up, and sealed with tape.  For the jaws (or the front half), I used four cones and a hemisphere.  Similar technique to making the paper balls, but crumple them into different shapes.  Again, fill the gapes with wads/rolls of paper and seal it with tape.  Then I attached the two parts with more tape, filled the new gap, and sealed that with tape.

Dragon head formed from paper

 

Here’s a picture of the giant (and heavy!) head form I started with.  It’s lumpy and kind of ugly and that’s ok!  Also, that’s my size 11 sneaker for scale.

Second step: paper mache that sucker!  There’s lots of ways to do paper mache and lots of recipes for glue.  I don’t like the flour and water glue because it’s always lumpy and I don’t like the smell after I’m finished.  I use wallpaper paste and a bit of water.  I can’t give you an exact ratio of glue-water.  You want it thinner than it comes out of the bucket, but not runny.  Add a little water at a time until you get a good consistency.  Before you start gluing, you should prep your paper.  I tore New York Times papers into 1/4 sized sheets, give or take.  They were big enough to cover lots of space at a time, but small enough to be manageable.  Now, when we were little, we just shoved out paper in the glue and went to town.  That’s messy, don’t do it.  Put your fingers in the glue, wipe it across the paper, then smooth it down with still-gluey hands.  Repeat until you have at least 5-6 layers.  You can refine your shape at this stage, adding more paper in areas to get the look you want.

Third step: Wait.  Wait for at least a day, maybe two.  That was a lot of glue.  It needs to be totally dry before doing anything else.  I actually did three layers on top, waited a day, flipped it over, did five layers on the bottom, waited over the weekend, flipped it over, did another two layers on top, then waited another day.  While you’re waiting, you can make other parts.  Sculpt the arms, hands, wings, teeth, eyes, whatever you’re building.  I’ll go over my arm, teeth, and eyes on another post.

Fourth step: Once it’s completely dry, step back and look at it.  Figure out where everything will go, mark it with a sharpie where you’re putting eyes, horns, ears, etc.  Also mark the line for the mouth.  Look at dinosaurs and alligators/crocodiles for reference!  Take your knife and saw along the line for the mouth.  One part should come away at this point.  That is your lower jaw.  Flip the head over and pull out all of that paper that’s making this thing heavy.  Now you’ll notice that he’s missing his upper palette (my dragon was apparently male, use whichever pronouns you’re comfortable with).  You need to correct this.  I used duct tape loosely draped across the gap so it was slightly concave.  Once the tape covered the hole, break out the glue and put two or three layers of paper mache over the tape.  It doesn’t have to be as many here, it’s not as structurally important.  Wait another day so everything is dry.

Fifth step: warm up your hot glue and glue down your teeth!  I will cover my method for crafting teeth in another post.  To figure out shape and spacing, I recommend looking at dinosaurs and alligators/crocodiles for reference.  Pinterest is your best friend for this.

Dragon's lower jaw with teethdragon's upper jaw with teeth

Here’s photos of what my upper and lower jaws look like at this point.  In the second picture, you can also see the beginning of the sculpt for my arm.

 

Eyes front, gentlemen!

Posted: July 23, 2015 in Rants
Tags: , , , ,

Ok guys, we need to have a talk.  Your staring is totally inappropriate.

Cartoon wolf/male gaze

Every day, walking down the street, I see some seriously skeevy dudes acting like that wolf in the cartoons.  Some woman/girl is walking down the street, just trying to get from point A to point B, and some guy literally stops what he’s doing, turns around to follow her with his eyes, leans back, and watches her until she’s out of sight.  What the hell, man?  Do you know how creepy you look?

And don’t try to give me any BS that it’s meant as a compliment or something.  It looks creepy, and every woman I’ve talked to says it feels creepy.  So knock it off.  You look like a predator.  And not in a virile, hunter-provider sort of way.  In a I-should-put-you-on-a-government-registry sort of way.

Now, I’m not saying you can’t notice when an attractive person walks by, or is sitting across from you on the subway.  Everybody, men and women, notices.  But you can notice and not be creepy.  Didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s rude to stare?  You are not the center of the universe.  She is not there for your viewing pleasure.  So be polite and keep your eyes in your head.

Put yourself in her shoes for a minute.  You’re walking down the street, alone.  You walk past two guys who are much bigger than you.  As you come level with them, they notice you.  They stop their conversation and stare at you, sizing you up.  You walk a little quicker, more determined.  They turn their entire body and watch you walk by.  You can feel their eyes on your back as you keep walking.

Do you feel threatened?  Are they thinking “hey, that looks like a cool dude we should grab a beer with sometime, maybe see a game together.”, or “hey, I’d like to do unspeakable things to that dude that Penthouse wouldn’t even print.”, or “hey, I bet that guy has some cash in his wallet.  His pants are so tight, I can see it.  It’s like he’s asking me to rob him.  Yeah, I’m going to beat him and rob him. . .”?  You have no idea.  But it probably feels like that latter two.

I’m just a bystander when I see other guys leering at women on the street.  I don’t know these women and I don’t know you, but you look so creepy and predatory, I kind of want to punch you, just to be on the safe side.  Because while you’re thinking “Damn, she’s fine!”, I’m thinking “That guy is a creepy predator and is going to start something.”

Bottom line: it’s not flattering, it’s not a compliment.  It’s creepy, it’s predatory, and you need to stop doing it.