Making, Crafting, Creating... aka Whatcha workin' on?


My first attempt to work almost entirely in Clip Studio based on an old photo. While the workflow is similar to what I’m used to in Photoshop and GIMP there are just enough differences in how it does things that this took about an hour longer than it would have normally.

I posted it up on Deviant Art to the collective sound of crickets. But feeding that particular internet void has made me slightly more motivated than me giving marketers a place to drop spam on Instagram. I might just go back to leaving these things in a box under my bed since it works out to be largely the same in the end


We were talking about using photo references recently…

And here’s the photo, unedited but for BBS-friendly scaling;


Okay, old problem that many of you know already…

Problem: I am trying to work as an artist in the least expensive way I know how, to live and paint in an apartment in Tijuana, Mexico. Selling anywhere, but primarily the United States.
My primary issue: An increasing number of people who ask me to paint for them simply want me to copy images they send me, a task which I find dull and disheartening (especially the crap photos).
I have little issue with subject matter, but I can’t seem to convince clients to just give me a little of their time to gather them together to take a photo of them in a natural grouping so I can have some room to be creative and original in composition and setting. I feel that this is a crucial component for building a repuation, so that people can have a good sense of my (now) developing style and artistic sensibility.

I want to know how some of you feel I could express this and remain steadfast without offending potential clients and losing business?
To be fair, a couple of my last dozen clients understand my struggle to try and elevate my art, but I really wish to figure out how to explain to the average person that copy work is not really helping me advance without offending them.
I’ve considered giving a steep discount as an incentive to let me have my way, but I still need to make enough to survive (which really ain’t much by USA standards).

I give you an example (I have no idea who this family is, but it’s definitely the most whitebread photo I think I’ve ever seen)…


And a pose I caught on my own of the neighbor’s daughter and her friend, from a high vantage point, relaxed and informal…

To be fair, I can’t do anything about the whitebread-edness of the family, but I most likely would have asked them to sit around that patio table in the background as if they were interacting with each other instead of the camera, so I could get an interesting grouping and some play with the shadows.


Could you charge them more for the more creative composition? Call it the premium service. It may be that some people prefer the more expensive product, no matter what it is.


I just did a little animation test for the aforementioned project I’ve been working on. I’m planning to show my daughter tomorrow morning.


So did you get a voice actor somewhere or was that your own voice with some kinda slick software trick?


I recruited one of my college students who had a girly voice and pitched it up an extra octave.


What a piece of junk!



We muderfied an old bike to power the thing:


Finally done!

Did I mention that it’s amphibious?


I just started getting serious about metalworking with a lathe and mill. My mentor has set me up with old but rugged machines, and only the minimum of tooling. But the incredibly cool thing about this learning method is that the current project is always to use everything you have learned or made thus far to build a new piece of tooling, which will be essential to go on to the next step. But the whole process involves pretty challenging thinking, and I am really having fun.


What kind of wood is that?


The last three, going up from the bottom, are spalted acacia, huon pine and camphor laurel. I can’t remember what the first two were.


Camphor laurel, huh? I bet you could make a nice chest out of some.


The only problem with camphor laurel is that the fumes get a bit eye-watering while you’re working it.

Otherwise: lovely soft wood with nice visual features. And because it’s an invasive weed over here, easy to acquire in bulk quantity at no cost.


I made stress testing machine for biomechanics about two years ago, but it’s still in use regularly, and quite interesting how cheaply it was made.

I’ve originally posted it here:

I, and a colleague once needed a stress testing machine with 1-2 micrometer positioning accuracy and capable of measuring forces as low as 100 micro Newtons for our PhD theses (we were testing mechanical properties of tissues for pharmacologic experiments). In the lab we only have large machines in 100 kN - 6000 kN range. When I said that we could assemble one for about 1k$, no one really believed, but we got small grant for it.
The machine had a large subwoofer speaker as an actuator, controlled in closed loop (with linear encoder) using modified audio amplifier and CNC controller. To isolate it from external vibration we embedded a bicycle tube in machine table. We assembled the machine in my flat, and when we proved that it works correctly, suddenly there was a lot interest in it :slight_smile:

Here’s the machine:

The the subwoofer inside it:

And a crossection showing a bicycle tube inside:

The stepper motor on machine does absolutely nothing :slight_smile:


I made this lathe part today, it is pictured with part of the broken original.

I have only recently been getting serious about machining, and this was a pretty complicated part for me to make.


Playing with the lathe again:

Spalted pistachio wood, from my Dad’s yard. Bugs/fungi killed the tree (henced the spalted-ness), so we’ve got a whole tree’s worth of it.


Nice work, lathe masters!

I made specialized trim molding on the 1959 table saw. Turns out you can cut coves by running 45 degree fences, and I inherited one of those fancy schmancy molding cutter heads from my Dad.

And I split and stacked a cord of wood or thereabouts.