Familiar Oddlings is going to be on Patreon!

I’m putting together a Patreon page where you can support me making oddlings — and get some cool exclusive stuff while you’re at it!

Familiar Oddlings will launch on Patreon on February 20th

But what is Patreon, you ask?

Patreon is a membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service, with ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or “patrons.”

 

What will Familiar Oddlings on Patreon be like?

When you become a patron for Familiar Oddlings, you get a chance to win a custom felted snonkey!

Green Banana Snonkey, needle felted

Everyone who signs up as a patron will be entered into a snonkey giveaway. When we reach 50 patrons, I will randomly draw the name of the winner, who will get to choose what kind of snonkey they want.

Some of the prints available

And that’s just the beginning! There will be all sorts of other cool things, like exclusive photos and videos of my work in progress, prints, and even a discount in my etsy shop. You’ll also get to participate in polls to help me figure out what type of oddling to make next.

Why am I doing Patreon?

There are so many projects that I wish to pursue, so many new oddlings I want to felt, and even a book I’m working on illustrating in crayons. With your support and feedback, I could bring these projects to fruition. Having you all at my back will give me the courage to step beyond my comfort zone, learn new skills, and ultimately bring more oddlings into the world!

To be honest, I am both terrified and thrilled about this new step for Familiar Oddlings. I feel like I’m taking my first wobbly steps as newborn giraffe. All gangly and awkward and eager to get moving.

Thank you to everyone for being part of this exciting journey with me!

Remember, February 20th is Familiar Oddlings Patreon launch day!

Kaleb Sleeping Portrait

I drew a crayon portrait of my twin sister’s oldest child, Kaleb, for Christmas. This spirited little one is such a fantastic bundle of energy, it’s these rare quiet moments that catch me by surprise and squeeze my heart even tighter. I adore this guy.

He turned three on December 30th.

Kaleb Asleep in Crayola crayons on illustration artboard

Paul and Andrew Portraits

For Christmas this year, I made crayon portraits of my two nephews on my husband’s side of the family. These adorable little guys are the sparkle in the family! Paul is three years old and Andrew will be two in February.

Portrait of Andrew, Crayola crayons on illustration artboard
Portrait of Paul, Crayola crayons on illustration artboard

 

I’m so happy to have them in my life. And on December 26th we welcomed a brand new little nephew into the family! I’m looking forward to drawing another portrait for baby Tyler.

Anthopleura WIP Video

I’ve been working really hard on the needle felted Anthopleura sola, the Starburst anemone, but making all those tentacles is taking a long time. So I thought I’d give you guys a peek into the process by…

… making my first needle felting video! View it at the link:

 

Below are some stills from the video with a bit more information.

MixRoving1_web
I found a yarn that was the perfect color to blend with my other roving (loose wool ready for felting or spinning). I only need to take it out of its loosely spun strands and make it into roving. You can do this with any yarn that is %100 wool, or any kind of felt-able fiber.
MixRoving2_web
Using specialized carding combs, I blend the two colors of roving together. You can get combs like these from Etsy or your local craft store.
TentacleCore_web
Here you can see I am wearing leather thimbles on my fingers and thumb. I use a wooden needle holder that I’ve found to be the most comfortable. Even though it has multiple slots, I typically use only a single needle. I felt on a Woolbuddy pad, which is a mat of densely felted wool that works just like a foam pad but better.

The start of the tentacle is a core of plain undyed roving, which is then covered and expanded upon with the blended roving. After rolling the wool into roughly the shape of a tentacle, I poke it repeatedly. The barbed needle does the felting by grabbing the strands and tangling them around each other with every poke. Slowly the tentacle starts to form and hold its shape.

TentacleGreen_web
I stretch the blended roving out in a line to get the tentacle long and thin.
TentacleBlueTip_web
I add blue roving to the tip of the tentacle.
AnemoneTentacle_web
The tentacle is complete and ready to join the others on the anemone!

Thank you for watching my process! This is a long and intense project and I’m glad to have you all along with me.

Check back for photos of the finished anemone.

Happy Cephalopod Week!

Today is the final day of Cephalopod week 2018! I couldn’t miss it so here’s a special Friday blog post!

CrayCuttle
Cuttlefish Stare, Crayola crayons

The cuttlefish is my personal favorite cephalopod, which is kind of like saying chocolate is better than pizza — I am so lucky to live in a world that has it all! All cephalopods are incredibly cool creatures! But if you absolutely HAD to choose, which would be your favorite? The always charismatic octopus? The cryptic nautilus? The huge-eyed squid? Tell me in the comments.

Happy Father’s Day

I hope you had a wonderful time yesterday celebrating the father(s) in your life, whether he is your brother, friend, son, in-law, grandpa, or simply your dad.

I used Crayola crayons to draw this father bat-eared fox and his kit. Not only are they adorable with those huge ears, these foxes have heartwarming family dynamics. There are many other examples of wonderful fathers in the animal kingdom as well that are fascinating to learn about. Marmoset monkeys, for example, are extremely devoted to their young. The large Rhea bird is also a diligent father who looks after his chicks with great care. Do you know of an animal father who takes a leading role in child care? Tell me in the comments.

A Griffin for Valkyrie Completed

I have a fascination with the often bizarre artwork found in Medieval manuscripts. Sometimes the creatures depicted are extremely ugly, other times there’s great charm to their awkwardly proportioned features and perplexing color choices. Look at the giant bird feet on this blue and gold one below. There’s an appealing flare and commitment to the style on that one that just thrills me. And look at the expression on the one in the top right corner. It could easily be the face of some hilarious meme. I love the patterns you can find worked into the griffin feathers on some of the drawings.

Examples of griffin art from Medieval manuscripts

 

It was with these key elements in mind that I undertook the task to recreate a Medieval manuscript drawing in the 3D medium of needle felted wool: strange color combinations, overt feather patterns, not-quite-right proportions, and an emphatically cranky expression. Capturing the expression was probably the most difficult part, but I think next time I shall endeavor to start with a larger piece. Working on such fine detail at that small a scale (this griffin is only about three inches tall!) was brutal. I think he turned out wonderfully cantankerous, however, and Valkyrie, the proud owner of this gift, was happy to receive him.

Manuscript Griffin, needle felted wool over pipe cleaner.

You can see the beginning of this diminutive magical beast on my blog post A Griffin For Valkyrie.

Belly Painting

My twin sister is expecting her second child and to celebrate her pregnancy, I painted her gorgeous belly. I used the Proud Body Pregnancy Belly Painting Kit. She wanted a floral design and after looking through Pinterest together, we came up with this painting:

 

Working on an art project with my twin is a great feeling; working on art project ON my twin was tremendous fun! The little one inside kept moving, responding to my brush strokes. I have never done any body painting before and it was a challenge to work quickly enough that it wasn’t uncomfortable for all involved. Older Brother, only two years old, simply could not wait until it was done for cuddles.