November 19, 2017

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The making of a Sea Pony

November 19, 2017

A couple of days ago I found myself slowed to a halt in my local supermarket as I attempted to saunter past the egg section in search of canned beans. The object of my distraction was one of those always too-early toy displays that pop up in the months before Christmas . Nestled within the uncanny valley of life-sized talking dolls and plastic trucks were lavender boxes containing some pristine white toy ponies. "Beautiful Steeds & Loyal Breeds" proclaimed the box in a nondescript script font. Sign me up. 


My brand. Pony of the Sea has a deliberately unusual name. I wanted a name that would make people curious about what it represented. I feel like the name itself denotes that sense of storytelling that is integral to both illustration and design. A paintable pony felt like like the perfect project to create a unique art piece that linked closely with my brand. The pony mascot that can be seen in my logo and on my business cards is portrayed not as a sea horse as would be expected, but as a pony in a rubber ring sailing the seven seas. Not merely a creature comfortable in a familiar habitat but one that enjoys exploring uncharted territory. With this in mind, I began to draw on the statuesque pony, ignoring my brain's cry of "sacrilege" as I desecrated forever another immaculately blank canvas (I have the same problem every time I have to break in a new Moleskine). 


While the box came with its own set of acrylic paints and some basic (rather unhelpful looking) brushes, I immediately thought of my oft-neglected Posca paint pens. The pony itself looked to be made out of some or other vinyl substrate much like a Kid Robot toy. 



*Note: I tried to take a nice picture of the box, but Wawa thought that it was important for my potential readers to know he is both a cat and a damn good one at that.


Because this toy was intended to be painted on, I didn't bother to add a any sort of base coat. Black Posca paint pen in hand I simply began drawing - outlining where necessary with a clutch pencil first. When I first started drawing with the paint pen, it was slightly dry, which gave me a lot of control over the line work. However it began to dry out a little too much as I worked, so I did that thing where you press down the nib to stimulate ink flow.


Unfortunately this caused the ink to flow more than I'd like and I had to dab the nib once or twice to minimize smudges. Still, the pen started generating a thicker, more solid line.



As I worked, I found that in places where I had made tiny dots, the paint started to flake. I just went over them again. The paint came out sufficiently opaque to appease my dark soul.



All in all I was pleased with the final product and took him out into the sun for a photo shoot. I feel like some sort of fixative spray might be in order, but I'm not entirely sure where to start.


I decided not to cover the entire surface area of the pony, leaving the extremities white. I think this grants the pony an ethereal air. On his legs, I just tapered the pattern using my favourite squiggley doodles.






Now that I've escaped the confines of 2D art, I'm going to dig up that pair of canvas lace ups that I bought a couple of years ago intending to paint but never did. With projects like this you sometimes have to rip the band aid off immediately or you never get around to doing them.


Like and share this post if you enjoyed it and feel free to comment on what you think I should draw next! 



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