Padraig the Pooka Final Photos

Published April 7, 2017 by baileyquillincooper

Here are some photos of the pooka character that I created during the Froud Faery Creature Bust Workshop at The Fernie Brae two weeks ago. I had Padraig at about 99% completed by the end of the twelve-hour weekend workshop, but I did add a few finishing touches after I took him home. Just little things like real eyelashes, whiskers, a few extra wildflowers in his bouquet, some weathered staining on his cloak, and a couple of patches on his back. I have some pretty decent unprocessed photos that I took with my phone around my neighborhood over this past weekend, so here you go!

Padraig.jpg

I found this patch of wild bramble in a neighbor’s front yard while we were out walking the dog, and I thought that it might make the perfect atmospheric background for my photos.

IMG_6555.jpg

His little streak of grisly gray hair is especially meaningful to me. It’s a tuft of yak hair from the workshop that Toby Froud had donated to our doll-making supplies, leftover from his work as a fabricator for the film, “Where the Wild Things Are.” Ok, I’m a nerd.

Another little detail about Padraig that I ended up loving after the fact is the especially creepy metallic gold glint in his pupils, which always reflects the light like a nocturnal animal in the dark. I just tried that out on a whim, and was really happy that I did!

IMG_6551.jpg

Obviously, this tricky fellow is NOT to be trusted.

IMG_6548.jpg

You can see his little eyelashes a bit better in profile.

IMG_6549.jpg

Something I really enjoyed painting (and pretty much always enjoy painting) was his freckled nose. I just love animals with freckled noses, and whenever I get to paint a prosthetic werewolf nose with this coloration I get super excited about it.

IMG_6698.jpg

Always the foolishly ambitious one at a workshop, I decided to sew the entire jar of old mismatched buttons that I found at the always-wonderful SCRAP onto his cloak. It took a little while but I love the mad-collector-packrat look it lends to him. I think he probably stole the buttons.

IMG_6702.jpg

He’s also got the grodiest teeth ever…I would definitely describe them as, “mossy.”

IMG_6703.jpg

I made his whiskers by saving the shafts of some of the longer feathers that I used in my Mama Kringle doll’s collar, then painting them with a thin glaze of acrylic paint.

IMG_6704.jpg

In case you were wondering, in the little jar are two preserved quail eggs. I bought this little curiosity at Paxton Gate because I thought that it seemed appropriate for the season.

One last detail shot of his button collection, which I also weathered and dirtied-up with a little grungy patina of acrylic paint; as well as his Celtic cross brooch, which I happened to find on eBay.

IMG_6705.JPG

Oh, and here is the back of him.

IMG_6683.jpg

Clearly, the Unseelie folk like goblins and pookas can’t sew very well.

IMG_6685.jpg

But at least they have nice taste in fabrics.

IMG_6684.jpg

There you go, Padraig the Pooka, now coming to a neighborhood near you.

IMG_6586.jpg

I guess I’m finally all caught up for now with my blogging about my latest projects! I’m expecting a ten-day long visit from my in-laws early next week, so it might be a little while until I post on here again. Either way, I plan on keeping up with my sketchbook and rapid-firing of ideas for future works in the meantime. I had so much fun making Padraig that I’ve been thinking of making more of these bust sculptures; like a whole motley crew of other Unseelie Court fae creatures that I can create to sell. In fact, just yesterday I staggered into Fred Meyer on my lunch break to buy some stuff to deal with a wicked migraine I was having, when I discovered six beautiful rustic pillar candle holders on extreme knock-down clearance. The surface on them really looks like hand-carved driftwood, and I think that they would make the most perfect pedestal stands for some future sculptures. I guess it was meant to be, and now I kind of have to do it!

Padraig Collage.jpg

Until I write again…Happy Spring!

The Froud Workshop (creating a faery bust with Wendy & Toby Froud)

Published April 6, 2017 by baileyquillincooper

Two weeks ago, I attended a weekend workshop at The Fernie Brae with Wendy Froud and Toby Froud where we made mixed-media bust sculptures of faery creatures. I was SO unbelievably excited for this event! I had already taken Toby’s amazing rod puppet workshop last year, but I had yet to meet his mother Wendy, who also happens to be a master doll-maker, writer, poet, and puppet fabricator, as well as one of my top art heroes. The multitude of art books that Wendy has created with her husband the legendary Brian Froud, as well as her instructional Gnomon Workshop DVD from many years back, Creating a Faery Figure with Wendy Froud, have been a major source of artistic inspiration for many, many years. Wendy was in town for just a short time, having flown all the way from Devon to visit with Toby and his family. I jumped at the opportunity to sign up for the workshop, and considering that I was more than just a little bit starstruck to meet the woman who was the fabricator of Yoda and the creatures of The Dark Crystal, The Labyrinth, and pretty much everything that mattered to me from my young adulthood onward, I think that I behaved myself rather well. I couldn’t resist a picture with her on the last day of the workshop, of course, but that’s to be expected.

17499364_10101717396465907_2647029883604720315_n

The weekend kicked off on Friday night with a meet n’ greet Goblin Feast party at The Fernie Brae. Wendy, Toby, Toby’s wife Sarah, and Toby’s adorable son Sebastian were all there to sign books, take photos, and accept compliments. There were enough of Wendy’s gorgeous goblins and delicate little fairies for sale to make my fingers twitch, but I remained as fiscally responsible and steadfast as any millennial who has recently purchased their first home. It didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying them up close, however. I lifted a lot of these photos of the event from The Fernie Brae’s Facebook page, by the way.

17522547_1477528745632397_1190710152514845681_n.jpg

17522617_1477528802299058_1769151555639831234_n

17523246_1477528855632386_1224221811664996163_n.jpg

17498475_1477528835632388_6148737431692356948_n.jpg

17499245_1477528858965719_1403229607454858845_n.jpg

17498809_1477528888965716_5192425912122983625_n

17499190_1477528838965721_7860476822245266299_n.jpg

17522538_1477528898965715_8122663095374354611_n.jpg

I was especially smitten with Yiren the Whining One aka Blossom, the scruffy girl-goblin on the far right.

16864502_1445025788882693_3539985724695950083_n

She was the first character that I acquired of my full collection of the limited-edition F.A.O. Schwarz Froud goblin plushes, after all.

17426220_1477528892299049_7598645651167667442_n

Ahem–anyway, the workshop! It was about twelve hours long in its entirety. The classes ran from around 10AM-5PM on Saturday and Sunday, with an hour break each day for lunch. Wendy and Toby both had brought with them a couple of examples of busts that they had either been completed prior to the class, or were still works in progress.

16807225_1439160486135890_4668390112121210081_n.jpg

16830973_1439160489469223_4550747581914962411_n.jpg

17361734_1471837046201567_8182590115463981099_n.jpg

17499257_1475211702530768_9108420640959326889_n

17458015_1475211815864090_2686674125761510585_n.jpg

On Saturday morning we started with a special guided meditation that was written for Wendy by Jessica Macbeth, the author of Brian Froud’s The Faeries’ Oracle. The theme of the meditation was the changing of the seasons; somewhat of a visual transition or a verbal release from the icy grip of Winter into the quickening of Spring, and of course the various fantastical faery creatures and spirit guides that one might personally associate with each. The idea was to stoke the creative mind and maybe spark some creative inspiration in the process. After Wendy read aloud the mediation, we were encouraged to sketch some of the characters we met or experienced within our mind’s eye. Most of the class either chose to design a Winter spirit or a Spring spirit. I myself had decided on a Spring variant of the Pooka, a shapeshifting trickster faery of Celtic mythology with blazing golden-yellow eyes that usually chooses to appear in the guise of a wild black stallion, a black goat, or a black hare…which is just perfect for Easter! Also I just might have just seen the classic 1950 Jimmy Stewart film Harvey for the first time shortly before the workshop, which only served as an additional inspiration to make some kind of strange oversized rabbit character.

harvey1-1.jpg

The six-foot, three-and-a-half-inch tall rabbit Harvey is apparently meant to be a Pooka in the film, but regardless of whether he really is or isn’t, I need to add that painting to my list of movie paintings that I want badly enough to paint for myself. I guess it wouldn’t be the first.

12799043_10101244627209287_3496249651384260762_n.jpg(Yep, that is the Boring Blue Boy from “Coraline.”)

I had even sketched a few rough drawings before that weekend just based on the description of the workshop that I had read online. I knew that I wanted to make some kind of Spring character that incorporated my ideas of creepy bunny rabbits, daffodils, and other seasonal blooming flowers.

17424667_10101709529676017_4171943910755850536_n.jpg

After the guided meditation, I had an even better idea of the type of character that I wanted to create. I saw in my mind a few more specific details, like hairstyle, teeth, facial expression, and lots and lots of freckles!

unnamed.jpg

Once we all had few ideas to work with, we began our sculptures by making an armature out of bent wire, aluminum foil, and masking tape.

IMG_6468.jpg

After this we began to evenly cover the skull armature with polymer clay, specifically a custom blend of a light flesh tone and white/champagne color Puppen Fimo, and map out the proportions of the facial features with a series of simple shapes and blobs of clay. Unfortunately, I got so heavily involved with what I was doing after this point that I completely forgot to take any more in-progress photos until I basically had a fully sculpted head, other than this great one that my friend Laura got of me…but she’s a much more fastidious photographer than I.

17457533_10153807870902395_4210883366553118073_n.jpg

Rest assured that the sculpting process was still very much the same as all of my other Froudian creatures that I’ve ever made in the past, including Toby’s puppet workshop last year.  Definitely have a look at that old post if you’re interested in finding out exactly how we like to do these things!

By the end of the day, everyone had created a very fascinating and completely diverse array of faery creatures for Toby to bake in the craft ovens. Luckily I was able to snap a couple of photos of that.

IMG_6470.jpg

IMG_6471.jpg

IMG_6472.JPG

In case you were wondering, this one’s mine!

IMG_6514.JPG

On Sunday we returned to the workshop to find that all of our characters had been baked beautifully. We promptly got to work on the painting, wigging, and clothing fabrication process. I always totally love that part, but again was a bit too involved in what I was doing to take any photos. If you really wanted to know more about that process, then check out this recent post that I wrote about Mama Kringle, another personal project that I happened to finish during the same weekend as the workshop.

The last pictures I took from the workshop itself were the amazing group photos of the finished (or nearly finished) pieces at the end of the second day.

17522592_10101716964910747_6722167653502615650_n.jpg

They all turned out so very different and interesting that I kept thinking how I would love to see either a movie or children’s book that featured the entire group as characters!

17499117_10101716964930707_4517901176952811309_n.jpg

Note Toby’s Napoleonic goblin and Wendy’s ethereal forest spirit at dead center.

17553763_10101716965000567_1506146128062502942_n.jpg

Here’s a better view of them, with my Pooka (who I decided to name Padraig) in the far left.

17499352_10101716965110347_453721983602715555_n.jpg

I really love the tongue on this last one!

17499407_10101716965170227_4594029200419800763_n.jpg

Well I suppose that’s everything as far as my workshop photos. It was such an amazing experience to quietly work on a sculpture right next to two of my artistic heroes, occasionally stopping to talk about mythology, art supplies, faeries, and pepper jack moon cheese (which is apparently a favorite Froud work-time snack…who knew!) I’m gonna cut myself off from raving any more about how awesome it was, but if you guys have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below!

In my next post I will be featuring some more quality photos of the finished Padraig bust, so stay tuned for that!

 

Mama Kringle Final Photos!

Published April 5, 2017 by baileyquillincooper

For my last Mama Kringle post, here’s a huge collection of finished photos that I snapped over the weekend. They’re unprocessed, disorganized, and taken from just about every angle I could think of because I’d always rather have too many photos than not enough! Enjoy!

Mama Kringle

IMG_6604.jpg

IMG_6600.jpg

IMG_6601.jpg

IMG_6602.jpg

IMG_6603.jpg

IMG_6609.jpg

IMG_6596.jpg

IMG_6621

IMG_6623.jpg

IMG_6659.jpg

 

IMG_6629.jpg

IMG_6631.jpg

IMG_6639.jpg

IMG_6649.JPG

IMG_6652.jpgIMG_6641

17523021_10101725736721967_186005959033670202_n.jpg

And one more, because there’s just something inherently awesome about allowing a two-dimensional character to transcend into the corporeal plane!

17813710_10101727531869477_1589911092_n.jpg

 

 

 

Mama Kringle Work-in-Progress Part 2: Costume Fabrication

Published April 5, 2017 by baileyquillincooper

Now I had created my 19″ posable polymer clay soft body Mama Kringle doll.

IMG_6367_2

She was finally all ready for some clothes and finishing touches! Costume fabrication is one of my all-time favorite parts of doll-making; probably tied with painting depending on how interesting the costume. Again, this is what I was going for:

Mama Kringle Design

For some reason I felt a little uncomfortable with the idea of Mama Kringle just being skyclad underneath her robe, so I decided to make her a pair of cute frilly undergarments that you will never see (unless you’re a creep like me who has always had to look at what’s underneath dolls’ dresses.) For this purpose I have an enormous bag of antique lace scraps that I once was lucky enough to find secondhand. Then I was even more lucky, because I happened to find in the bag a crinkly Victorian lace collar that was the perfect size to use as a one-piece negligee.

IMG_6388_2.jpg

I fitted the front of the lace to her body, then wrapped the straps of the collar around her shoulders and down her back. It really was such a perfect size that I was able to create the rest of the onesie with just a couple of carefully-placed contrasting lace panels.

IMG_6403_2.JPG

I know the garters and tiny buttons were completely pointless, but I kind of had to.

Here’s the back of it:

IMG_6400_2.jpg

Before I made her robes, I also decided to give her a fluffy layered petticoat to add some more volume to her silhouette.

IMG_6449.JPG

Next I cut out her robe. I forgot to take a photo of this before I had already stitched most of it together, but I used this generic robe pattern that I found online as a reference.

146e7769360f292bbbdddc82a33cf321

The fabric I was working with was a very messy, long-pile silver faux fur, so I didn’t bother with cutting a pattern out of separate pieces of paper. I just folded the thick fabric over and used it as a pattern for itself, cutting everything on the floor fur-side down with very sharp scissors at an angle in an attempt to make slightly less of a mess.

IMG_6453.JPG

It was still a bit of a fluff massacre, but whatcha gonna do? I also attached the white fur trim to the panels of the robe before I had sewn it all together, which was a little tricky as I had to fold the trim in half as I worked for the desired thickness. Since I don’t have a working sewing machine, I also sew all of my costumes by hand. I finally caved and bought my first thimble during this project because I had to use extra-large needle to get through this tough fabric, and after a while it was pretty brutal on my fingers.

In the following nightly work sessions I made her sleeves and feathered collar, which I embellished with antique lace and tiny real freshwater pearls.

IMG_6459.jpg

Next a few more finishing touches–more feathers on the collar, gossamer white eyelashes, a shiny red bead for a bindi, some additional delicate opalescent fiber strands in her collar, some perfect little round lavender Barbie spectacles that I found on eBay, lots of additional glittery winter twigs and flora in her hair, and a sprig of mistletoe in her hand/hair.

IMG_6495.JPG I didn’t have any mini mistletoe on hand, so I actually custom-made this for her by combining three different kinds of artificial plants together; the frosted heart-shaped leaves from one, the white berries from another, and the little yellow clusters from the third. I twisted it all together in a tiny bouquet to hide the drops of glue.

IMG_6596.jpg

And for the very last touch of magic…I wove a fine strand of micro LED fairy lights into her hair, and hid the little battery pack with the on/off switch in a slot in the back of her robe. I think the warm white glow when she’s switched on is really beautiful.

IMG_6494.JPG

Much like Lucia with her glow-in-the dark skin, she could also double as a night light! The shadows she casts of the wall are really cool; much like being in a forest at night.

IMG_6496

I’ll make one more post for the finished photos!

Mama Kringle Work-in-Progress Part 1: Design, Sculpting, Painting, and Assembly

Published April 4, 2017 by baileyquillincooper

As promised, I took a lot of work-in-progress photos of Mama Kringle. Normally I like to write a series of many entries as I’m working on a doll and so I can post my progress photos as I go along, but let’s just say that I have a lot of catching up to do this time. Due to the sheer volume of the photos I have taken since I first started on her, this entry and the one that will follow are going to be mostly photos with very brief explanations in between. If you guys have any questions about any of them or my process in general, please feel free to comment below!

I. DESIGN

Without further ado, here are first some images of Mama Kringle from my children’s book, Kris & Krampus Kringle, to serve as a reminder of the character design.

Mama Kringle Design

I usually make my dolls just based off of a singular idea or sketch and sort of make the details up as a I go along, so making a three-dimensional version of a pre-existing fully-formed character is somewhat rare for me and a lot of fun.

Mama Kringle Portrait

II. SCULPTING

I took inventory of my massive polymer clay collection and gathered an assortment of colors to make a custom skin tone. Some of them were quite sparkly.

IMG_5849.JPG

My workspace, complete with weird Netflix documentary about men who like to dress up as giant masked dolls.

IMG_5851.JPG

A pair of beautiful glass eyes that I found on eBay.

IMG_5854.jpg

A lot of the more ornate and unusual glass eyes that I buy are intended for Dollfie ball-jointed dolls. I know that the Frouds and many other doll-makers out there really don’t like glass eyes because they can be somewhat restricting and a little bit tricky to focus, but I personally really have a thing for them. There’s always such an interesting variety of them online that sometimes I will even get an idea for a character based solely on a pair of eyes that I find.

I always start by making an internal structure for the neck and skull out of looped armature wire, epoxy putty and fine jeweler’s wire for some extra grip, shaped pieces of aluminum foil, and then masking tape.

IMG_5855

IMG_5857.jpg

IMG_5858

I made sure to gore out some eye sockets before putting any clay onto the skull.

IMG_5868.jpg

Then I mixed up all this clay by hand. It took a while.

IMG_5869.JPG

I seriously need to get me a food processor.

IMG_5870

I then set the eyes into the sockets as I began to cover the skull with clay. This is how I started to form the face with basic shapes first.

IMG_5873.jpg

IMG_5874.jpg

IMG_5875.jpg

This is what she looked like by the end of my first all-too-brief sculpting session.

IMG_5878.jpg

This one is from my Instagram, probably after I returned to her for another brief session a day later.

IMG_5886.JPG

Another Instagram photo after she was ready for her first trip to the oven.

IMG_5895.JPG

A wonderful thing about polymer clay is that you can bake it in layers to better save your work. It definitely helps you to prevent stressing over things while you’re working quickly, like delicate facial features that you wouldn’t want to accidentally smash when you’re working on the ears or the back of the head. You can bake most polymer clays at least three times before the coloration or texture changes that much.

Into the oven with you!

IMG_5896

Creepy…I really love my Amaco craft oven though.

IMG_5897.jpg

The glitter clay shines even more after it’s been baked!

Ears next.

IMG_5913.JPG

Next I made her hands, while watching my old Wendy Froud DVD and rocking out with my rod puppet, Lucia.

IMG_5952.JPG

As per Wendy Froud’s hand sculpting technique, they actually do start as a simple throwing up the horns shape before I add the other fingers on one by one. Apparently I didn’t take any pictures of that, but here they are going into the oven.

IMG_5925.JPG

Just waiting around for some hair.

IMG_5953.JPG

I think all the glitter clay worked out great for her skin, but by this time I had also discovered another kind of special effects Premo Sculpey clay at Blick called, “Opal.”

IMG_5964.jpg

I thought this one was so cool, and was pretty excited to try it out in her hair!

IMG_5965.jpg

I made the basic structure of her hair by twisting many different other colors of polymer clay together into tapered rope-like shapes, fixing them onto her scalp, and then adding additional little branches onto the larger ropes in the same exact way. Working my way in a circular pattern from the forehead and the nape of the neck to meet in the middle on the crown of the head, I eventually ended up with this.

IMG_5969.JPG

III. PAINTING

Time for some paint!

IMG_6206.JPG

I love that photo.

After trying out many different kinds of paints and doll-painting techniques over the years, I now prefer to use many thin glazes of acrylic paints over the polymer clay until I can build up the depth of color that I want.

IMG_6222.JPG

I occasionally will also use glitter and metallic paints, acrylic varnish for varying levels of shininess, and even stuff like nail polish and clear nail varnish for things that I want to be really shiny and wet-looking (like a tiny doll manicure!) Mama Kringle ended up being very colorful and sparkly, and a very fun one to paint.

IMG_6223.JPG

Next I made her some feet, which were even balanced enough to stand on their own!

IMG_6224.jpg

Although you can only ever see the tips of Mama’s shoes poking out from her robe in all of my illustrations of her, I decided to make the the tops of the shoes a little bit fancy. I looked at lots of photos of Victorian shoes for reference.

IMG_6279.JPG

I think they looked way better after I stained them with acrylic paints so that they would more closely resemble worn leather.

IMG_6280.JPG

Here she is all painted and ready to be assembled!

IMG_6285.JPG

IV. ASSEMBLY

To assemble her body, I began by making a basic skeleton out of armature wire with a spinal cord, pelvis, and stick limbs. I used more epoxy putty on the pelvis, kneecaps, and wherever I needed to make some strong joints that would’t shift around while I got the proportions on the shoulders and the limbs right.

IMG_6286.jpg

I also added some wooden skewers to the femurs and other larger bones for some additional strength.

IMG_6289.jpg

I made her elbows on loops of wire like hinges so that I would be able to pose her arms later.

IMG_6293.jpg

Next came the foil.

IMG_6297.jpg

In case you are wondering what I was watching this time, it’s “The Secret of Roan Inish,” a charming Irish film about Selkies. It was great to watch it again along with my small collection of other Irish movies around St. Patrick’s Day!

IMG_6298.jpg

Side view:

IMG_6299.jpg

First layer of masking tape to hold her all together:

IMG_6300.jpg

I later added a bit more masking tape to bulk up the limbs and strengthen the skeleton.

IMG_6329_2.jpg

After I get a strong yet still posable skeleton, I begin to flesh out the body with batting…yes, just like in the Wendy Froud video in the background.

IMG_6344_2.JPG

Batting sticks to itself and is pretty easy to shape and sculpt with a little finagling, so I usually tend to make a pretty detailed body shape with this step.

IMG_6342_2.jpg

The very last step that I do before I move onto the costuming is I make a cloth body stocking over the batting. This creates a more cohesive “skin” and holds everything underneath in place. To do this I use some kind of thin, stretchy fabric; lycra in this case, and carefully stretch it over the toro and the limbs. I cut it all to size and then glue and hand-stitch it tightly over the batting “guts.”

IMG_6367_2.jpg

And there you have it, the design, sculpting, painting, and assembly of Mama Kringle! The last bonus photo I found on my camera roll before I moved onto the costuming was one of Mama standing next to Lucia for a size comparison. For the record, Lucia stands at about 17″ tall, and Mama Kringle is about 19″ tall without a stand. I’m really enjoying working in this larger scale!

IMG_6369_2.JPG

Ok. Well that was pretty exhausting, and I again apologize for all the major catch-up posts that I’m having to do now! The good news is, you won’t have to wait very long at all for part two of the work-in-progress post since she’s already finished now, and I just have to type it all out. Be sure to check in again for that sequel soon!

It’s Been Forever

Published March 30, 2017 by baileyquillincooper

It’s been forever. It’s honestly been so long that I kind of don’t even want to bother going into everything that’s happened to me since November. I’ve also been so stressed out over the past couple of months that I hardly even remember any of it. So here’s the extremely condensed version, in bullet points.

  • We bought a house. It’s our very first one, it looks like a fairytale cottage, and it is perfect.
  • Immediately after moving into the new house in early December, we got slammed with four freak blizzards that hit not even a week apart from each other. Well really, it was more like four and a half. After Portland Snowpocalypse IV in January 2017, which was the biggest and the baddest of them all and gave us an entire foot of snow overnight, we also got hit with a final ice storm just for good measure.
  • The flurry of the holidays came and went, and as promised my book was released on Amazon on Krampusnacht, December 5th, 2016. Between prolonged moving drama, DIY home improvements, blizzards, blizzard-related car troubles, fulfilling mountains of Kickstarter rewards for my books campaign, and a minor concussion from slipping on the ice and cracking my head on our new front steps, we somehow still managed to throw our first Yule housewarming party at our house, and I somehow still managed to have that book release party at The Fernie Brae. Toby Froud even came to the party to buy a signed copy for his son, Sebastian. It was truly unreal!
  • I also got to participate in my first tabling event for my book, the Eyeball Burp Zine East Portland Holiday Bazaar at the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space. It was the first year of this particular event and was a lot of fun despite all of the stressful things we were going through at the time. I really hope to do it again this year, as well as a lot of other events like it (since I should presumably have a lot more time for this kind of thing the second time around.) My book has been for sale at The Fernie Brae and Vine Gogh, the painting studio where I teach classes, but the next time around I hope to have more time to market it to all the indie bookshops like I had originally planned. Honestly with the way everything went down at the end of last year, I was super lucky to have even accomplished all that I did, so I really can’t complain!
  • Just as soon as we thought things were finally starting to calm down a little in February, Grendel squeezed through a gap in our fenced front yard to chase after another dog, was hit by a truck right in front of our house, and then ran away. We were both home when it happened but neither of us had actually seen the accident occur. I was inside of the house and Martyn was outside with Grendel when it happened. Martyn was just around the side of the yard taking out the trash when he looked up to see Grendel tearing down the street at an unnatural pace. Although Martyn is a really fast runner, Grendel was completely terrified and running so fast that none of us could catch him, and we soon lost sight of where he had gone. There was a good hour when we couldn’t find him, even with the help of the man in the truck who had hit him, a random bystander on a bicycle, Martyn in my Beetle and me on foot calling his name everywhere around the park and the neighborhood. Luckily the man on the bike happened to see Grendel run into the yard of a neighbor who lives on the other side of the park. The woman who lives there and the man on the bike discovered Grendel hiding behind a shed in her garden. Grendel then went to the emergency vet where it was determined that he had no broken bones or serious injuries, only some significant bruising and all his nails worn down to the quick from running so frantically. It took many difficult nights of doggie painkillers, assisting him in lying down and standing up, and dealing with an obvious bout of PTSD, but eventually, he recovered.
  • In March we got zapped big time on our taxes due to a silly error on a W-4, celebrated St. Paddy’s Day with our friends regardless, and then Martyn found out that he was being laid off from his job at the magazine. This was of course in many ways completely terrifying for us, but we were also both in many ways ready for a major change. When we found out that Martyn would be losing his job in two weeks, we just tried our best to stay calm and view it as another blessing in disguise. Martyn put together a gorgeous illustrated resume and went door to door searching for anywhere that would take him. He was hired at a local pub a week later, where we both suspect that he will actually be much happier. His orientation was yesterday and he will probably be starting his training next week.
  • The latest incident has been Grendel tearing up our house while we’re gone for the past couple of days. We’re not exactly sure what the issue is, but it’s all pretty extreme and out of nowhere. The latest unusual theory involves my old phone that Martyn had decided to keep for himself and use just for Spotify. A few days ago it apparently “woke up” on its own while inside of a drawer, and proceeded to sound off alert bings and buzzes for every text message that had been received on the current phone all year. Martyn realized that this could possibly be the cause of Grendel’s sudden and unexplained freak-outs when he was home with Grendel today, heard the old phone in the drawer buzz and his own phone bing with a Facebook notification, and observed Grendel waking from a deep sleep to start panting, drooling, growling, and trying to look out the window to determine where the sounds were coming from. We really hope that we might have solved it this time, but we’ve bought him another crate just in case. Unfortunately even that won’t fix our shattered blinds or all of the other damage he caused…but this is just another big expense and stressful situation that we have no choice but to get through.
  • And lastly, through ALL of this, I have just been all the more determined to continue creating in my new art room and to wrap up some projects that have been taking me much longer than I had originally anticipated. My idea to create posable mixed-media art dolls of all three of the characters from my book is well underway. I actually just finished up Mama Kringle over the past weekend and plan on taking some quality, non-Instagram photos of her this weekend.
  • I also was still able to attend the Toby Froud and Wendy Froud workshop at The Fernie Brae over the past weekend. It was a completely amazing experience that I still can’t stop thinking about it. We created polymer clay and mixed-media bust sculptures of faerie creatures over the two-day workshop. Everyone’s pieces turned out to be so beautiful and so different from each other that the group photos were really something to behold. I was pretty proud of my own piece, which was a creepy Spring pooka who I have decided to name Padraig. I will also be posting some photos of him after the weekend.

So there you have it, that has pretty much been my life over the past few months. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram all of this might have been extremely redundant, but I just felt that I needed to get the crazy catching-up post out of the way before I could return to my regular work-in-progress entries. I promise that my next post will have actual work-in-progress photos of Mama Kringle, and I actually remembered to take many of them this time! Until then, farewell, and thank you all so much for your continued understanding and encouragement. Getting all of this out has been a major relief!

Also, here are some photos of our new house for the sake of having some photos in this post!

Redfin photo:

15285065_10101556964976897_4106905954791975293_n

The day we got the keys:

15284119_10101556948554807_7252275862980429846_n

Grendel’s first day at our new home:

15326348_10101560741428857_8721573999991025780_n

Our house after the first couple of snowstorms:

15542066_10101591066187797_6391485364766572717_n

Our house during Portland Snowpocalypse IV:

15940686_10101624508384367_3203343792388403326_n

I need to get some Spring pictures now that the snow has finally thawed and the flowers are starting to bloom.

Oh, and here’s two last bonus photos from the book release party at The Fernie Brae!

15338857_10101578986755077_1046402515820731487_n-1

15492531_10101578986765057_3888735203684404116_n

What’s Happening Now

Published November 16, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

On Tuesday of last week, which was the fateful night of the election, I came home to find these boxes from Book Baby stacked high on my doorstep.

14938232_10101530536085607_2090595405682965519_n

It doesn’t get much more exciting than that, and they came out beautiful!

books.jpg

I especially love that they now have a barcode and ISBN number on the back!

books back.jpg

When you scan it with a smartphone it gives you the title of the book and all of the places online where it will available for pre-order up until the release date (which is December 5th, 2016.)

barcode.jpg

I had meant to post right away with this update, but then I couldn’t really bring my mind to focus on writing anything after all of the chaos on Tuesday and the week to follow. Instead I decided to spend some time organizing and ordering the remaining supplies needed to put together the backer rewards packages.

So far, I now have…

The postcards:

postcard front.jpg

postcard back.jpg

The Christmas cards, or Krampuskarten:

krampuskarten.jpg

The majority of the buttons printed; all ready for @powerpoppins to take to the button press:

buttons.jpg

A bulk order of shipping supplies now ordered and on its way to me:

71ateGUfI5L._SL1500_.jpg

Custom sheets of metallic gold sticker seals also ordered and on the way, which I plan to stick on all of the front covers of the first run of 150 books to mark them as the special first-edition copies:

gold stickers.jpg

Two metallic gold Sharpies, for signing all of the first-edition copies:

sharpies.jpg

And a new (mostly vintage) outfit to wear to my book signing and release party. The dress is traditional Dirndl style from the 1950’s coming to me from Amsterdam, the peasant blouse is from the 1970’s and coming from California, and the horns are made from expanding foam in a silicone mold cast of actual goat horns, created by an FX sculptor in Boulder, Colorado.

il_570xn-1096311559_cd9u

shirt.jpg

il_570xN.493705743_g5hf.jpg

It looks like I’ll be having my book release party at The Fernie Brae on Sunday, December 11th. I’m currently planning the event with the owners of The Fernie Brae, Bryonie and Eric Arnold. It’s going to be such an honor, and as we finalize the details of the event I’m starting to get really, really excited about it! I will be sure to keep all of you posted as soon as I’ve got an official press release about it.

So that’s all the major stuff that is going on right now, besides the obvious that my book is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and a few other online retailers. I’ll also be putting together an order form of some kind very soon so that local people will be able to order from me directly and not have to pay for shipping. Again, the official release date is December 5th, which actually falls on Krampusnacht. The more pre-orders I can get before the release date, the more books the big online retailers will want to stock in their warehouses so that they can have them on hand, available for immediate shipping…which is always a good thing!

All I can say, folks, is that it’s about to hit the fan for real. My fortune cookie from last night not only had two fortunes inside of it, but it just might have been onto something.

15085671_10101540247898057_2682778670051651820_n

I’ll be doing my best to keep you updated over the next couple of weeks, so don’t give up on me just yet!

Back from the Grave (Post-Halloween)

Published November 5, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I’m back, guys! Here’s a very brief recap–the Kickstarter campaign ended at 134% funded, I was able to order 150 books from the publisher Bookbaby instead of just 100 because we totally KILLED the original goal, and then I channeled the souls of multiple personalities throughout the month of October, because Samhain aka Halloween is actually my holiday despite my somewhat out-of-character choice to write my first children’s book about Christmas. Writing all about October would probably take several long posts and I’m sure that nobody really wants to read that, so I’ll just rapid fire a bunch of choice photos from the past month that you may or may not have already seen if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram.

14448894_10101481188019527_2361734016782109957_n.jpg

14495301_10101481188279007_6126348030670852023_n

14448918_10101481989433487_8702586933700039121_n

14572234_10101481987701957_1119516882078250976_n

14520434_10101482234582207_1474874056285674503_n

14556741_10101485590232457_3953423074236847382_o-1

14448921_10101481704120257_4034593122306266807_n.jpg

14523175_10101481876569667_14717854828133311_n.jpg

14463096_10101481907617447_3760810167905110062_n.jpg

14494773_10101485708814817_2531043367983500206_n.jpg

14724647_10101505563535797_8355227491958815296_n.jpg

14708100_10101509599178337_954311855016189107_n

14720479_10101509585291167_112917051906886093_n.jpg

14650051_10101509583579597_3127928481286964281_n.jpg

14650046_10101509587152437_838265135747349460_n

14729289_10101509582287187_1358385567199399104_n.jpg

14925628_10101516794463927_8864157315340176924_n

14591793_10101516715656857_1285430852220646191_n

14633069_10154177505302753_2904055553322943849_n.jpg

14595659_10101518293454937_2436958601250297141_n.jpg

14563439_10101516692722817_8134610487301621881_n.jpg

14222156_10101516763940097_1460583066059250638_n.jpg

14632999_10101516750896237_23695796809659891_n.jpg

14900617_10101516769044867_212500153701580338_n-1

14925786_10101517986140797_35010410902594922_n

14915293_10101518001230557_4519153733828230725_n

14595569_10101518656861667_933481389761384442_n

14900596_10101518652151107_3810166809025283673_n.jpg

14611153_10101518650299817_1289155083861230126_n

14915442_10101518718423297_1494716388946527453_n

14915230_10101518736926217_5571932062200629587_n-1.jpg

IMG_5181.jpg

IMG_5183.jpg

14907089_10101520121371777_3052131411447876378_n

14955988_10101520124809887_3563262965874474213_n.jpg

14937263_10101520229265557_8715120198919320748_n.jpg

14390838_10101520268926077_657195748723181511_n.jpg

14962620_10101522955537087_4010312954987016944_n.jpg

14900329_10101522957473207_771922159443512035_n.jpg

14633088_10101520275802297_7073285976627244456_n

I’ll also include a couple of distant past flashback photos to wrap up this manic Halloween montage, because they are pretty special. This one is from our very first Halloween together (and the very first incarnations of the same Sarah and Jareth costumes in the photos above that I resurrected for one last ride to The Fernie Brae.) This was now TEN YEARS AGO!!! Just look at it–I think it was even taken with one of those ‘digital cameras’, remember those?!

1928790_508973072117_9936_n

The last flashback photo I will include is one that I probably post every year, because it’s one of my favorite pictures from our wedding four Halloweens ago. Our anniversary is October 31st, 2012.

14907628_10101520221720677_4254040378368813289_n

We were both working so much all throughout October that I was actually worried that we wouldn’t get to celebrate our anniversary or the best holiday ever, which thankfully did not turn out to be the case! Before I was certain that we’d have enough time set aside to celebrate our special day, I had booked a room in Eugene for the following weekend. The plan was to spend a day exploring the town and then to go to the Eugene Witches Ball at night. We’ve decided to keep our plans, so this weekend is now going to be like Halloween part two! I have a lot more to write about regarding some exciting news about my book, but for now I will wrap this up and save all of that for another post. I’ll be posting again very soon…I promise!

 

Kickstarter: The Final Three Days

Published September 28, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

The Kickstarter campaign for Kris & Krampus Kringle has come a looong way since I last posted! It seemed like we were at 70/80-something percent funded for a good while, and then this past Friday it really hit the fan. Over the course of the day the campaign got five new new backers in addition to two adjusted increased pledges, and shot past 100% funded! When I last checked this morning it was at $2,910 or 116% funded because the goal was only for $2,500! I’ve had so many fears and self-conscious doubts along the way that I’m still kind of in shock with how well it’s been doing, and there’s still three days left to go until time’s up!

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-12-21-14-pm

With all of the additional funding I am hoping to order a slightly larger first run of books from Bookbaby. That way I’ll have enough for all of the backers who have reserved their copies first, and some left to bring to the local indie bookstores and libraries here in Portland on consignment or donation. I want to see if the same library on Belmont where we hold our monthly Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators Meetup group would be willing to take one off my hands.

Some pictures I posted on Instagram featuring the custom Krampus button sets that my husband Martyn is making as rewards for the backers. In case you didn’t know, he runs his own button company out of our house called Power Pop Pins, and his buttons kind of rule!

14432942_254733264928129_5636517266762571826_n

Close up so you can better see the designs on the smaller vintage Krampus buttons. I’ve always found Victorian Krampus Christmas cards, or Krampuskarten, to be simultaneously beautiful and hilarious!

14368882_254734181594704_9054087334366826064_n.jpg

On Saturday Martyn and I spoke with four different independent comic and book shops that had an interest in stocking my book during the holidays (and a few that might even let me read my story to some kids!) One is a children’s book store on Alberta Street called Green Bean Books, and the other three were all on Mississippi Avenue–Bridge City Comics, Another Read Through, and Reading Frenzy. I also hope to speak with Floating World Comics sometime soon and possibly some people at Powell’s Books. The Fernie Brae on Hawthorne is my favorite place of all of these, and they’ve always been there to cheer me on as I worked on my book. It’s going to be the biggest honor of all to see my book on the shelf in their little bookshop this Christmas right next to their various signed Brian Froud books!

Another photo I had posted of all of the buttons pinned to my stocking. I really didn’t want to have to look at any of the Christmas stuff in the garage at this time of the year, but I figured that I should share because it was kind of a clever gift-giving idea that Martyn thought of last Christmas when he made me some special “I don’t like Star Wars” buttons as presents.

14463080_256159268118862_4551743853137111834_n

Beyond my daily annoying posts about Kickstarter on the Official Kris & Krampus Kringle Facebook page and my working double shifts at both jobs multiple days in a row to save up some extra cash for an upcoming big purchase, I haven’t had a lot of time for much else. I did get a very brief start on the illustration for my own Krampuskarten that I’m making as part of the backers rewards packages. They’re going to be based off of this vintage Christmas card of St. Nicholas and Krampus on a motorcycle:

34827_r646x20000

Only my version is going to be of my own characters when they were reckless teenagers. This was the pencil sketch:

14390955_253019761766146_6928885527575582925_n

Here’s it with some of the inking done, but as you can see I haven’t quite finished with that step yet:

14433037_253684951699627_3976522395663503716_n.jpg

If you’ve been following me on Facebook I apologize that I don’t really have any new visual material to share with you. Thankfully this weekend I might get a few seconds of free time so I can finally bust this one out and post it again when it’s all finished! Overnight Prints did such an amazing job with my last professional artist postcards that I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

In case you haven’t seen them, these are my professional artist postcards. Overnight Prints printed them with a beautiful soft matte finish that really lends itself to my style.

Postcard Front and Back

So anyway, that’s it for now. I CANNOT WAIT for this campaign to finally be over and done with, it has been more hard work and headache than I ever could have imagined, but I’m forever grateful that it’s already funded so I can stop stressing about it so much. I’ll post on here again after it ends!

Kickstarter Insights: Trolls, Witches, Anxiety, & Triumphs

Published September 12, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 4.49.39 PM.png

It’s been ten days since the launch of Kris & Krampus Kringle on Kickstarter, and here are some things that I have learned:

1. Reddit is pretty disappointing as a forum for sharing creative endeavors.

I suppose that I already knew this from every other time I’ve tried sharing art or creative posts on there in the past, but this latest attempt did a pretty good job at reminding me. Perhaps as an artist who loves monsters and horror just as much as I love children’s books and fairytales, I’m still dealing with some of the usual difficulties that I always face in trying to find the right niche for my work. Make a children’s book featuring a misunderstood monster protagonist, and narrow-minded horror purists will hate you, many traditionalists in the children’s book universe will think you’re just another sicko weirdo, and then there’s all of the people from neither camp who just happen to get upset by any new or unique ideas.

When speaking about Reddit specifically, this must be the equivalent to leading three billy goats to a bridge as a sacrifice. I generally find trolls to be ridiculous, comical, and a little sad by nature…and although I have never come across one skilled enough to really get to me on a personal level, I do think it’s a shame that so many of them exist. Trolls are merely a product of their environment, and their increased numbers are often proof of a depressed land ravaged by fear, hate, and apathy. Perhaps because it is in their nature to hide from the light of day in conscious isolation beneath the shelter of the internet forum, then it is only natural that their population expand to fill the growing void left behind in the place of community and enlightenment.

So… You say you like the krampus mythology and then take a fat shit on it by not actually using the alpine mythologies? And then you want to advertise your book on a completely unrelated subreddit? Is it possible to down vote someone so hard they actually physically suffer for it?

More diluitutation of folklore through pop culture. Thanks, Disney.

(I had to include this picture from Faerieworlds–it seemed oddly appropriate!)

14241628_10101452972164327_6790162279710549742_o

All I’m saying it is, it would be nice if I knew of some more supportive online forums for creatives to share their art and encourage each others’ hard work and innovation. If you know of any, feel free to direct me in the comments!

I will mention that the most supportive online groups of strangers that I have come across so far (besides other fantasy illustrators) are forums on Reddit and elsewhere that are associated with the Pagan, and most especially Wiccan, faiths. I suppose this doesn’t surprise me too much either; I have always found this community to be a very accepting bunch and this is part of the reason why I have always been drawn to it. For the past several years we have celebrated both Yule and Christmas in my house, so I chose to make a secular holiday book that focuses on family and acceptance as opposed to specific beliefs and religion.

2. Kickstarter is terrifying, and a brand new major source of anxiety!

After about a year and a half of perfecting my book, I of course wanted to set up the best Kickstarter campaign that I could possibly come up with. Besides backing a project once, I had never used Kickstarter before and was completely ignorant to how crowdfunding works. I spent about a week researching how to make a campaign, and then three days and three very late nights actually writing the campaign and trying to get it just right. I dreaded making the video most of all. I absolutely HATE being on camera above all else, but I did understand the importance of having a video so I knew I would just have to suck it up and give it my best try. Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m just lucky my husband Martyn who shot the video also knows how to edit. SO AWKWARD!!!

14232412_10101452253669197_4392461697129956735_n

In the beginning, I very foolishly believed that launching the of the Kickstarter campaign would be the perfect thing to calm me down and take my mind off of the whole house-hunting and first-home-buying process. Well, I was half right. Although I have temporarily stopped wearing out the Redfin app on my phone, I now find myself constantly checking on the Kickstarter app, the Official Kris & Krampus Kringle Facebook page, and the temporary Instagram business page that took over my old account, @krisandkrampus 

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-4-32-40-pm

Perhaps the most terrifying tool that I have discovered so far is called Kicktraq, a site with some kind of mystical math-wizard that uses daily averages to predict the projected success of your campaign. I almost didn’t want to look, but curiosity killed the cat. Here’s the chart for Kris and Krampus Kringle, which appears to be updated every couple hours. Below is a screencap from right now:

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-3-25-42-pm

Both of those seem pretty unrealistically optimistic to me, but whatever, I’ll take it.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-3-37-15-pm

Then there’s that whole challenge in finding a balance in knowing when put yourself out there and spread the word in order to be seen and adequately promote yourself, and when to remain silent for fear of annoying everyone in your social circle. I’m shy and not very good at that. I would much rather simply ignore the timer on Kickstarter and just let nature run its course, but luckily the fear of inadvertently self-sabotaging my only chance at getting this book published and letting all of my backers down has kept me far, far out of my comfort zone. I’m constantly thinking about what else I can try to get the word out, and every time I get another backer, I get such a rush of excitement and hope…which eventually starts to fade as another day ticks by and my relentless feelings of self-doubt return. This must be what an addiction to gambling feels like. I know that I seriously need to relax, but despite the outcome when it all ends at in 18 days at midnight on September 30th, I really can’t wait until all of this is over!

3. I am surrounded by friends and family who truly love and support me.

All anxieties aside, my experience with Kickstarter has also reminded me that I still have A LOT of friends and family that truly love and support me in all that I do. I recognize the names of all of my current backers with the exception of two strangers (who still might be people I know, but you don’t have to use your real name on Kickstarter.) I also have received massive encouragement and support from all my friends on Facebook; vouching for me by sharing my posts, ‘liking’ the Kris & Krampus FB page (140 people and counting) and not to mention all of the really kind and thoughtful comments! It’s because of them that I got this email only one week after the launch.

14225433_246818102386312_7800719288175391409_n

I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude whenever I really think about it, and this is the only thing that truly calms me down and keeps me going. That’s all I’ve got really got for you right now, just a slice of life, a neurotic ramble, and a little glimpse inside my head. Perhaps it will give you better insight at what it’s like to run a Kickstarter campaign for your ultimate creative accomplishment and labor of love. I think it’s entirely stressful and terrifying, not at all for the faint of heart, and demanding of every ounce of strength and courage that you can muster…but probably all worth it in the end!

 

 

…Right?