Wednesday, 21 January 2015

WCC: World of Warcraft Shadow Box

   I sort of inadvertantly abandoned my WoW Crafting Challenge just over a year ago; I took a break because 2013's Christmas sales (this blog is that old?) were taking up too much of my time to be able to maintain it, and the same went for Atherya's diary. I had intended fully to come back to both of them, but...I suppose I got used to just not doing it. The time got filled in with other things.
   I did manage to get a couple of things up last year, but they were things I'd already started work on before going on the hiatus, so nothing new really happened.
   I'd like to try to return to the challenge, but the truth is that I'm feeling a bit burnt out with crafting after the Christmas just passed, not to mention the fact that, while I can still come up with a few other mediums I've not used yet, I can't seem to get excited about doing it. I do have some diary entries for Atherya backed up, but I've been hesitant to post them because I don't want to start and then abruptly stop again, you know? I'd rather try to get back into consistant posting.

   Anyway, I dug out an old piece that never made it up last year, in part because it was never finished. A friend of mine in the US makes wonderful watercolour shadowboxes, and I fancied trying my hand at one. She uses nature as her subject and she's very good at it, and she's also helped me a little with making this piece.
   My skill with drawing and paints don't have a chance in hell of meeting Connie's, but I think I got quite lucky with both my Night Elf and my Orc. I admit that I cheated with the background, though. I knew I couldn't create enough to fill a background, and I wanted it to be set in Ashenvale because it's one of my favourite zones, so I may have taken a screen shot of a clearing in Ashenvale and printed it out... It printed quite poorly, though. But honestly, I promise that I did try to paint the background. I wasted much paper and many paint in my numerous attempts, and in the end I had to admit defeat to that aspect, and to compensate I made the tree roots larger than I wanted to (clearly my tree-making skills are epic).
   But the two figures are the main focus, and I'm really pleased with their outcome. I drew them A4 size initially, then scanned them into the PC and printed them much smaller so I had several line drawings to work with in case I messed up the watercolour, but I surprised myself. The Orc's shading leaves a lot to be desired, but I was content to settle on it. They were a nightmare to cut out, too.

   I think there could be a little more in there, like something treeish in the top right corner. I can't think what it could possibly be, and now I look at it, I remember that that was actually what stopped me from finishing it early last year. I decided yesterday, though, to just put together what I had, knowing it would only remain unfinished otherwise. Besides, if I really want to fill that top corner, I can still fix something in place easily enough by gluing the tab to the wood rather than slotting the tab into the background.
   I also can't decide if the window lid thing should be removed or not. The plastic window isn't as clear or crisp as it could be, and the frame around it - the thinnest one I could find - casts too much shadow into the box. I suppose that should be fine because Ashenvale isn't exactly the brightest of places, but the excessive wooden colouring around the edges of the box sort of creates too much of a contrast...buuuut it also forces you to view the contents head-on rather than from an angle which hides the wooden surfaces inside and adds a bit more depth...I really haven't got a clue.

   But I am happy with the outcome.
   It's made from a simple wooden window box, cardboard and paint, but because they're so long, the tabs from which the Orc and Night Elf are suspended have been reinforced with jewellery wire - you use what you have, really :P
   Like I said, I used a screenshot for the background, and I drew the Orc and Night Elf out on a full sheet of paper before scanning them in, cleaning up the lines and printing them far smaller. I used watercolour paints to colour them and I'm quite pleased with that, though the Orc could do with more shading. The tree was hard as hell to paint, I don't do well with purples for some reason, but I'm happy enough with it, and then it was just a case of folding cardboard tabs to go behind each piece, though the grass just have folded bases.

   To be honest it really wasn't a trial to make, it was a harder job just finding a box the right size and getting the drawings right. If there were enough takers I'd LOOOOVE to do a shadowbox competition, maybe just to make a scene - any scene - to any location in the game and use a screenshot for the background as I did.
   The trouble with arts and crafts, however, is that people get quite paranoid about their skill rather than just having some fun with it, and end up not trying. All of my friends are like that. I'm not the only creative one out of my tiny little group, but I am the only one that does anything with it, while the rest look at it and say "I wish I could do that" but have never once tried, and probably won't, either.
   A crafting competition has been on my mind for a while, if I'm honest, even while I haven't been blogging - the idea actually occurred to me when I started the crafting challenge in 2013, but like I said I'm not sure that anyone would be willing to participate, and I'd need some pretty great prizes for the work that would be put in. Just what they'd be, I don't know.

   Well, if anyone thinks they'd be interested in participating in a crafting competition, or a shadow box competition, please do let me know. I might put a more detailed post together about where to find materials and a step-by-step how-to. With a shadow box all you really need to buy is the box itself, the rest is just paper, a printer, and paints/pens/pencils, so it's actually a cheap option.
   I'm going to be quiet now, because this idea is growing on me big time and I don't want to go getting my hopes up. I might make a how-to for a shadowbox anyway, maybe put it up here or on my other blog, so at least if anyone is interested they can have a look.

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