Setting up then it's snow leopard time :3
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Working on finishing touches on Gromm, come join me!
This is a kitty with a story.
She originally commissioned me for a tail way back in the very beginning of my making career. I loved her character so much that I decided to buy up the rest of the fur used so I could make her a fullsuit down the line if I ever had the opportunity to. Well, I ran a special a while back when I wanted to practice my airbrushing, and I was lucky enough to get to build her!
She was one of the clients that graciously allowed me to put her project on the back burner for the tutorial project. Neither of us had any idea of what that would actually mean at the time, but she has never been anything but patient and understanding through all of the chaos and upheaval throughout this process.
Several times along the way, I pushed myself to exhaustion trying to wrap her up in time for a con delivery, but it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I tried to sew the bodysuit on the sewing machine to save a little time, but I hated the outcome so much that I had to pull out all of the seams and do it again by hand. Even then, the amber fur showed the seams so badly that I had to painstakingly pick and trim every single seam several times to remove every single one of the fur fibers that were in the seam allowance that I possibly could. I had to learn a whole new method for zippers (thanks @Shagpoke!) to keep her looking sleek and free from unsightly gaps. I had to learn how to glue urethane rubber to other surfaces (hint: neoprene wetsuit glue!) and develop a brand new type of stitch to attach her footbottoms. No one other project has taught me as many new skills as I have learned from Katrina.
Sirfy (Katrina's human) has been a part of my career since the beginning, and I am incredibly proud, grateful, and relieved that I was able to create a piece for her that feels like lives up to my gratitude and is worth all the time elapsed. I would certainly charge significantly more for a project of this caliber today than I did when I took her on, but I held nothing back and she is the absolute best I could do at today's standards.
Good things come to those who wait <3
My hands hurt and I had to use pliers at times, but I got them sewn in. They are also glued to the boot soles, but I feel more comfortable with it having a mechanical attachment to supplement the adhesive.
Fun fact: the stitch I had to use for these didn't exist when I first tried to attach them. I had to invent one :'3
I'm still reeling from yesterday, but I got a lot done today. I finished the last bits of the zips, then patterned and sewed liners for the boots. They then were glued to the boot to allow access to the laces and zippers in the future. I also put in a pad along the back of the jawset. I patterned and fabricated a drop down tail belt, stuffed the new tail, and pinned it to the opening. It's ready to finish tomorrow. Finally, I found and glued the pawbottoms to the soles of the shoes and they'll be curing overnight.
Next steps will be gluing around the edges of the pawbottoms and the fur together, finishing the stuffing and the liners on the pawboots, and adding straps, elastic, and mesh to the mask in anticipation of airbrushing.
All day has been dealing with these things. Katrina's got vertical zippers on the feet and a bodysuit connection with the feet, which means that I had to make a T zipper junction. Each zipper requires the length of the zipper to be sewn eight times (four per side) so these zippers are an insane amount of work to do. The transition is worth it though!
One wrist is completely done, and the other is about halfway done. It's been tested and works as intended, and I'm really happy with how clean it is! This is the last difficult part of the bodysuit, so I am eager to do the last bits of the mask next. Wish me luck!
Hey folks. Last week was long and grueling. I have four pets in cones from their spays/neuters, and I volunteered two shifts at the spay/neuter clinic. This is only their second time doing this here in my area; last time they did 600 animals, and I'm waiting to hear the totals from this month. Strays, ferals, and unwanted animals are a huge problem here, and we saved hundreds of dollars for the two pets and two rescues we had done, so I really wanted to do my part to help. I cut up well over 100yds of surgical drape and helped make sterile surgical tool packs and took the used surgical linens and tools and cleaned them for sterilization and helped weigh dogs and sat with the animals coming out of anesthesia. All in all, it was a lot of work but it was nice to see all the animals and know that I contributed to fixing the issue here (pun very much intended). I mentioned that I was an artist and showed the organizer my work, and long story short I might be their webmaster and graphic artist and social media manager now :'3
It was also my birthday on the 8th, and I got my name legally changed on the 4th! I am now officially Aurora Fox, which is weird to think about. I've been waiting for this moment for pretty much my entire life. I always hated my name, and that was only exacerbated by the fact that my parents were abusive. I hated my original name so much that I didn't even change back after my divorce. So hearing my name was a constant reminder of the people who hurt me. For the first time in my life, I have my own identity separate from the 'family' that never was really mine. And it feels really good to be myself.
These things have been getting put off for months or years now, and when the opportunity arose to get everything taken care of quickly I jumped all over it. Thank you for bearing with me, it's back to work for me this week!
Finally made some visible progress today. The shoulders are edged and complete. I sewed in the wrist pad on one wrist, and I cut down the wrist of the handpaws and sewed in on the arm. Sewing down the liner to the fur edge and adding magnets to the wrist escape is next, then I can do the same for the other wrist. After that it's a simple stitch around the edges of the back pad and then he's done from the neck down :3
I didn't get as much as I wanted to done today, but I am grateful to be back in the studio and making forward progress again <3
Today was the first day that I felt like I was able to get out of bed and do a little work, but I pushed myself too hard too soon. Maybe tomorrow will be better. I do feel like I'm on the mend though.
Hey folks, we're not dead yet but we are pretty sure we have the flu according to the checklist on the CDC website x_x I finally managed to eat yesterday after five days, but I still can't stand up for more than a few minutes yet. I don't remember the last time I was this kind of sick, but I don't want to deal with it ever again...
This cute woofer is a year older today 🎂💙
This morning in our Telegram group I asked Patrons if they'd be at all interested in seeing some #throwbackthursday content and got an enthusiastic yes. I thought it would be fun to chart the course my paws have taken over the years for y'all!
These were my second set of paws ever, completed in September 2010 just in time for Rainfurrest. These feature my first ever silicone casts and plastic bear claws I bought in because it was long before I used resin. I didn't have a trimmer, so these were trimmed by hand with scissors.
I don't have any photos of my very first paws, but they were untrimmed DF (aka lux shag) with vinyl pads and they were about as terrible as that sounds. But this pattern here, I used it for quite a few sets of paws in the beginning.
Some of these paws are ancient!
This is a fun one because I never actually make a paw from this pattern :'3 I made it for a personal project that I abandoned, and I still have those claws floating around somewhere in the studio to this day. They were my very first attempt at claws with quicks inside.
These were painstakingly individually slush cast, circa 2011(?)
After that, my next pattern was the set I did for Mordrude, circa 2014. I sadly never actually had a formal photoshoot with Mordrude ever, but Myrkr has the same pattern and moldsets!
(I think this pattern was the first time I was really happy with my paws. Circa 2015, five years after the first attempts)
This set was my next attempt to refine my shaping, circa 2017. I was trying to do a throwback to those slender ones that I never got to actually make, but this set was a colossal failure. The fur I chose was bad (too short), the pads were so big compared to the size of the fingers that it was virtually impossible to turn them out, and the claws totally didn't do what I was going for either. I threw this set in the trash :'3
Then came my current iteration, the culmination of all of the hard work and study I've done since that first pair way back in 2010! This is by far the best pattern I've made both in terms of aesthetics and shaping and in ease of working with the pattern itself.
I'm still so happy with these paws I could scream. They're everything I ever dreamed of back when I decided to try to make my own, and I honestly can't see much I can do to improve on them from here (though I say that literally every time and I seem to keep finding ways to progress).
What I'm working on right now is a good, reliable way to cast the pawpads and claws faster. For the first time, I've been happy enough with a pattern to make an official master pattern that dramatically speeds up the tracing process. I also made a 2 part mold for pads for the first time; pictured above is the mold master copy, showing the grooves for keying the parts together. I need to refine the second part to create a thinner casting, and I believe that's what I'll work on today. I'm also in the process of making a batch mold for claws to reduce the casting time by 80%, but I think I need to test my primer with the silicone again and see if I can finally pour my mold. I'll be using the vacuum chamber for the first time to degas the silicone completely in preparation for casting my claws in the pressure pot to eliminate bubbling problems going forward (and enable cool effects like UV/glow claws and crystal clear kitty claws).
My next iterations for paws will almost certainly be 3d sculpted in ZBrush and subsequently 3d printed for patterning. This is going to open up a whole new world of opportunities for me to refine my work even further, both in terms of the overall shaping and the ease of assembly and I'm eager to have the time to get started!
In the meantime, I have some more paws to pattern out and a modified mold piece to create, so I'm going to get to work on that. I hope you enjoyed seeing how my design has evolved since those early days of vinyl and shaggy fur :'3
If you have requests for next week's blast from the past, please let me know! It's kind of fun to remember how I got to where I am today.
Early morning insomnia again, so I figured I'd take the time to reflect on the past year and the past decade as a whole. In a way, it feels like life before 2010 was a whole different life. I technically had an introduction to the fandom in 2008, but I moved to Seattle in June of 2010 and built a fursuit in the downtime I had looking for a job and that sparked a change in my worldline that I never could have imagined before. Ten years on, and now I have no idea what my life would look like without fursuits and the fandom.
(My first suit, 2010)
This road has been difficult in places, and I've made many mistakes along the way. Trusted people I shouldn't have. Didn't enforce my boundaries strongly enough. Reacted in the heat of the moment. There's been grief, and crisis, and betrayal, and loss. In all honesty, I'm going to look back on this decade in less than a fond way.
But I've learned so much. They say that necessity is the mother of all invention, and I have had no shortage of opportunities for hardship and growth. I started 2010 barely even able to use the camera on my flip phone, and now I have a professional camera and have been across the continent doing photography. I'd never recorded a video, and now I have hundreds and hundreds of hours of footage and I finally feel like I'm ready to compile this project into professional quality resources. And just in the realm of actually making costumes, I've gone from a lurker on LiveJournal to a respected artist with groundbreaking work that I can honestly say I'm proud of. I've learned how to use clay and chemicals to create the vision of the characters in my mind's eye, and I have developed the skill of hand sewing to a fine art. Obviously there are many, many more things, but my ultimate point is that I have grown from a retail slave to a competent, skilled artist and that's wild to even think about for me.
(I got to go to freaking ALASKA for this photoshoot asdfgghhjkl)
I'm inclined to apologize for the tone of this post, and I'm very tempted to rewrite it in a different voice, but I have come to realize that the advice I have received from other people about the need to strip out the emotion from my communications to sound like a professional is so wrong that it's genuinely harmful. In cultivating my brand image, I've simply become that pseudo-excited but ultimately devoid of depth facade. Here on Patreon I let down the walls and share more genuinely, but I still police my tone and agonize about my word choice.
Of all the things I've experienced over the course of the past decade, I think that the most genuinely harmful thing has been the effect of dealing with the masses. Nothing has fundamentally changed the way I function more than the stress of being under the spotlight of the scrutiny of the community. My biggest breakthrough this year especially is that I have to accept the fact that there is absolutely no way that I can make everyone happy.
Probably not a shocking revelation for anyone reading this, but I am a people pleaser extraordinaire. I derive my own happiness from what I can do to make others happy, and left unchecked that's a recipe for exploitation. It's taken me a lifetime to actually understand what the target on my forehead is, but this is the first time I've truly been able to understand. Part of this is that I have so little self esteem and self worth, due to early childhood conditioning and grooming. My self worth is so intrinsically tied up with my work that I don't really feel like I exist outside of my title of 'artist' sometimes. But this year I feel different?
(before and after of the studio remodel we completed like three weeks ago!)
Maybe it was completing a project that was wholly unrelated to the meat of what I normally do (the studio remodel). Maybe it was the fact that I've been in crunch mode since June and I haven't had time to dwell on things. Maybe it's seeing Gromm all together for the first time and feeling like I did a good job despite everything that tried to hinder me along the way. But whatever it is, in spite of the fact that I have struggled in so many ways, I strangely just feel hope.
Something kind of broke in me last week, and I think it's going to be a huge factor in the upcoming year (and indeed the rest of my future). At this point, I have no morale left to lose.
This project was designed to be a four person team, with two people helping with the setup and clean up and one dedicated photographer/videographer. I was initially just supposed to be responsible for the work itself, plus the compilation of the book at the end. This was going to be my full focus for a solid year. So it's not a stretch to understand why one year of work for four people is four years of work for one person! And it's not as linear as that either, since obviously 4 people can accomplish more simultaneously in the equivalent man-hours than one person could doing everything by themselves.
So factor in the almost complete year of my studio being in storage because of the move and divorce and getting into this house and it's fairly clear that I've been doing as much as I can. Because the first year was marred by the profound anxiety and depression of trying to cope with the fact that I was screwed, and the second was interrupted by my move and divorce and getting a new place to live and work, and the third was fairly productive but really affected by depression and burnout, I've had kind of a skewed sense of how much I've actually accomplished.
But 2019 I have been full tilt. In fact, despite the lack of quantity of finished pieces, the quality of everything I'm doing is exceeding my expectations and I'm not collapsing with depression and burnouts every couple of weeks. In fact, I've been working in a state of semi-permanent crunch time since June. I have been beating myself up for a long time for this project going awry despite my best efforts to organize everything ahead of time, but I am absolutely done feeling guilty for following through with it despite the fact that I have been saddled with the responsibility of four people and have been giving my best energy for years. The delays in the other years kind of obscured the scope of what I've been doing, but this year has really helped me see that I am doing better than I realized.
(I mean just look at this guy, wow!)
Why should I feel guilty for being proactive about taking 100% responsibility for this project and working at my own expense to follow through with this? I certainly didn't want to have to work for literally years on what was always an extremely low budget project instead of new paying work. I definitely understand why people are disappointed, because I absolutely am very disappointed in the way that things have happened. But I refuse to continue to feel like I am a piece of human trash because I am not four people and cannot work at that capacity. The only thing I can do is continue to do my best, and accept the fact that I am not going to be able to make everyone happy. But I can create costumes that push boundaries, and I can create a tutorial series that I'm proud of. And even if everything is criticized and ripped apart and belittled and I'm judged for my mistakes (real talk: I 100% expect all of this), I can be proud that I followed through and accept the fact that even if things had gone right from the beginning there would still be some people who were going to disparage me and the work I did.
I don't know where I'm going with this anymore. But it feels good to stop pretending to not feel anything or be affected by this situation negatively.
But aside from that, I am hopeful for the new year. I could have ignored the imperfections and finished Gromm this week, but I am not going to compromise on the quality of the recordings or the costumes to speed up the process :'3 But the progress I've made can't be taken away from me, so he'll be wrapping up very soon and then I can move forward with Beaus.
I'm excited about Beaus because he's all foam fab from here on out. No molds. No casting. No scissor trimming muscles until my hands are aching. Just foam, razor knives, and contact cement. I tried to balance the three builds to be roughly equivalent in terms of total labor hours and total materials cost, but Tiberius and Gromm each had a higher ratio of labor hours vs materials costs. Beaus, just because of the sheer size of him, is going to require a lot of materials, which is balanced by a slightly lower level of labor hours. I expect to be able to get through Beaus more quickly and I'm really eager to get started.
(I'm pretty sure this was tutorial #1, look at the date!)
The reality is that I don't have the ability to make a prediction about how long it is going to take for me to compile the book itself. Historically, I have put together my tutorials in photoshop as a collage. That's what I was originally going to do for this, render each page individually and then create a pdf with everything. Need to change the text? I'd have to go to the image and force everything to fit into the square via creative editing. If I screwed up and I need to insert an additional image? I'd have to redo everything after that one too. It would have been a nightmare, but I have been learning how to use InDesign and it's going to be a whole lot easier than I thought it was going to be. But I have tens of thousands of photos that I need to sort through and choose between, instead of just what I needed, so that's hopefully not going to be a problem in terms of adding time to the process.
The videos were a stretch goal to begin with, so I am going to worry about processing those afterwards. I've been dabbling with Premiere Pro instead of a barebones 'elements' version from several years before I even started this, and just in the last few weeks I've learned about transitions and lower thirds and call outs and lots of other functionality that will make everything easier for me to create and make my future edits lots more professional looking. I'm learning how to use OBS software for streaming, and how to create a custom hotkey bound keyboard that will save me time. I've come a really long way since I ruined my first few videos because I held my camera wrong and took sideways videos :'3
But the end of this project is finally in sight for me. Because of the nature of fabrication and the fact that Beaus' head is at the stage of final detailing, finishing Gromm means that I'm well beyond 2/3 done. I'm closer to 3/4 just at first glance, but I am very hopeful that I'll breeze through the bodysuit portion of Beaus. It's a lot of foam and a lot of fur, but he's not going to have any markings to add complexity and his shapes are much more simple than the kind of detail sewing I've been dealing with lately. I simply sew longer seams faster, and I haven't ruled out the possibility of machine sewing yet (test results aren't up to standards yet but I have a couple of things to try before I give it up). But I see that light at the end of the tunnel now. It's felt this whole time like nothing I do is bringing me closer to completion, but Gromm seems to be the milestone that really drives home how much I've done and how close I am to being done with this project and moving forward with my life and my career, and I'm going to use that feeling to fuel my progress. 2020 is the year where everything changes.
I'm not exaggerating either. The new studio setup is already having a positive impact on my mental health and increasing my overall productivity. I literally don't know what to expect when I can devote my best energy to my clients again, but I definitely expect a dramatic change. I didn't have the stability or support that I do now the last time I was only doing client work and not worrying about recording. I was struggling with severe anxiety and depression in a dysfunctional, detrimental relationship, charging so far below minimum wage for my time that I had constant insecurity in every aspect of my life and hopelessly unable to make a significant change in my way of doing things because I couldn't get ahead of my queue and also solve every monetary emergency that occurred along the way. Those were the dark days, and because of the fact that that was my whole career up until the project started I literally don't have a frame of reference for what it's gonna be like once I have the ability to throw so much more of my focus and energy into creating.
(a highlight reel of paws, because I'm good at them)
And frankly, I don't know what I want to do going forward either. Of course my first priority is to get my client projects done and home to everyone who has continued to show me a kind of patience I couldn't possibly imagine, but I am still very much unsure about the long term future. The market is doing incredibly well for makers as of late. Indeed, the going rate for a professional made suit has doubled since the tutorial project began. But I still work so slow in comparison to other makers that to charge an equivalent rate for my time as some of my peers I'd have to price my work nearly double what I am now and frankly I don't know if the market can bear that.
Here's a fun fact: I haven't paid taxes for years now. Not because I have ignored it and just not filed, because I have been netting less than the poverty line where they start taking taxes out. And I'm tired of working myself to death and literally being broke the entire time. So I am going to have to fundamentally change my way of doing things one way or another. These current client projects are going to be a litmus test for me in a big way. Either I'm going to be able to finish them in the amount of labor hours that will justify continuing to focus on big custom projects as my bread and butter, or despite my best efforts I'm going to have to admit to myself that I can't sustain my income on the big projects and shift my focus to smaller pieces that are more lucrative and passive sales/income.
This is why I'm so on the fence about taking another project before I can really assess the situation further. I've been doing a thing for years where I finish two projects before I accept a new one. I've been trying to whittle down my queue desperately so I can make realistic adjustments to my prices that reflect the rising expectations of quality and internal finishing level.
(I'm pretty sure every single fur edge on this guy is totally raw, but I think he was the first set of pillow pads instead of raw foam padding I did and I think I did a neck edge maybe? It's been a while, circa 2013!)
When I first started, lining *anything* was so uncommon in the community that it wasn't expected. Raw foam was the norm, and it was a feature if it was built on a balaclava and therefore lined. Raw fur edges on all paws and sleeves and necklines. It was a whole different world of expectations than what exists now. Not that I mind that, but the amount of time that these internal features adds to the build is not trivial. This equates to a lot less than I can effectively finish in the same span of time. I just refuse to lower my quality standards to keep my prices low, so I either need to be much more efficient or shift my focus onto things that have a higher payoff vs work ratio and only do a few big things occasionally. And honestly, I don't know which route I'd rather take at this point.
(left side is technically 2008, I never took many pictures of myself and this is embarrassing but we're all friends here, right? These are my second ever set of ears :'3 Right side was me delivering Kraton in December 2017 because I don't really like a single picture of me since then at all :'3)
All I know for sure is that I must create, I will literally never do a huge project like this ever again no matter how much I trust the people involved, I'm done hating myself for sticking to my project in spite of the hardships involved, and I'm eager to see what the next year holds for my future.
Thanks for being a part of this decade of my life, and I look forward to exploring the future with y'all ~<3
Aurora Fox, Anatomical Aesthetician for Kitsune Illusions
What day is today? Idk, we are tired... We got a late start again today, then we got conscripted for some pedantic laboratory work. I did some graphic design work because their logo file was very low resolution and they needed a poster made, so I had to figure out what font was used and replicate it exactly. I'd love to be able to do work for them in the future, and it was a great productive diversion (not to mention that I'll be paid for my time). Anyway. I put up 2/4 windows worth of rice paper decals this morning and they are so, so nice that I decided to switch my desk area to be in front of the window. It's a simple swap of two identical sized sets of cabinets in different configuration, so no big deal. We also managed to level out the risers, which was a messy process but it was necessary. The cuts needed to reduce the width of the lazy susans were a little bit of a hassle, but we managed to do it and get the back wall of cabinets installed! It's finally starting to sink in that I'll have all the space in the world to create very, very soon and I still kind of can't process it fully... Either way, tomorrow we will try to finish up the cabinets and laminate, and maybe get a start on the countertops. We're having diminishing returns because we're pushing ourselves so hard, but we really want to get this done in the time we have. Let's all hope that we are efficient tomorrow!
Not terribly exciting today, but I finished the padding pockets in the legs and did a quick tutorial on how to do a draped pattern for the chest pad. Should be finalizing the padding tomorrow!
There's been an random shooter situation in Midland/Odessa. Details are still coming in, but both of the shooters are no longer a threat, and we're both home safe (I'm not doing great mentally, but that's pretty understandable). One of the shooters was apprehended 5min from our house. I kind of don't have words. People are dead. I just cannot.
I know we're probably the only people you know here in west Texas, so I wanted to make sure you were sure we were OK.
I don't know, I needed to put a title and I couldn't come up with anything more clever :'3 It was 119°F today so I didn't get much done until after the sun went down. I'm really happy with these though, so wish me luck with gluing them down!
This has been a day where nothing is going right. My small scale pattern was a colossal failure, I don't have enough of this fur to do what I need to do (despite my tetris skills), the wefting fibers I ordered don't match the fur so I have to return it and get more from somewhere else. I'm frustrated and I don't know what to do with myself now. Let's hope tomorrow goes better.
Since Denfur I've been really soul searching, and I've decided to go ahead and start working on some of the things that I've been delaying in the effort to put 100% of my productivity into the tutorials. One of those things that I have been dying to do is a complete overhaul on my Patreon page, including revising the tiers. I have a clear idea of what I want to do, but I have a lot of tier descriptions to write, graphics to edit, and rewards to put together for the new tea club perk I'll be introducing. I'm going to try and have everything in place on the 1st of September, so please pardon anything being a little weird or incomplete until then. The end goal is to make more content and opportunities available to more people and reward my long-term patrons, so I hope you will enjoy the new set up when I get finished!
The picture above is a new tier art, done by the amazing @padmabhujaga on Twitter (who you should totally check out because they are a great person creating incredible artwork) <3
This whole endeavor started out as a random seized opportunity. A friend of a friend had an opening come up unexpectedly in her room, and I knew that Kyou's work was having a rare bit of not being overwhelmed with jobs, so I decided to go for it and give him a chance to have more than one day at a con this year. The scary thing is that of course as soon as I make commitments, everything at the lab gets insane again and jeopardizes the whole trip :'3 It literally happens every single time, and naturally this time was no exception. But we made it!
Kyou and I ate nothing other than sushi, ramen, and izakaya fare the whole time we were there X3 That might sound crazy, but we can't get anything even close to that good in town so we took advantage while we could! Some of the best adventures from the whole trip were excursions for meals, and I really enjoyed getting to hang out with Riley, Werewolfram, and Galleta for sushi and ramen! I so rarely have the opportunity to have company at all that these kind of experiences really have a big impact on me.
I also finished the paws for Galleta in the hallway on the first day of the con, as per tradition :'3 This is one of (if not the) first times I've been able to bring something for show and tell to the Patreon group dinner, which was really cool for me! In-person delivery is always a little scary as an artist, but it's also one of the most rewarding things I get to do.
We also had some shenanigans! I brought a 5ft diameter beach ball, and Kyou and I spent literally hours blowing it up because I literally never thought of a pump for inflatables :'3 We ultimately managed to do it, and this ball really had a life of its own. Between Werewolfram's photoshoots, little kids, an appearance at the dance, and PepperCoyote's story about the people across the hall from him spending more than 20min deflating it enough to fit through their room doorway (and not mentioning it hitting the light fixtures more than once) it really seemed to be a hit!
We also visited the factory of one of my staple teas, Celestial Seasonings. I had a dragonfly land on my finger, we smelled all the things, and I bought a *lot* of teas that I can't find locally. It was a fun little excursion!
Last but not least, on the way home we took a little detour and stopped by the place I had in mind for the photoshoot location for Gromm! I'm going to do a post just about the location shortly, but I have to tell you about the harrowing escape we had :'3 We drove off the highway on a dirt road until we realized that Google was literally directing us to the center of the park and not like, a visitor's center. Thank Sagan for all wheel drive on Hachi, because I don't think I could have made it in our Smolcar. We got back to the better maintained dirt road and drove fairly far back into the park to select a couple of ideal locations, then turned around and headed back out to the highway. Well, a herd of cows seemed to have materialized out of nowhere and they were blocking the whole road. I cautiously approached, but they didn't move so I backed away slowly. The group started to approach the car, so I backed way back along the road. It became clear that they were just going to keep following us, so I found a good place to get the car off the road and tried to make a wide circle around them and get back to the road.
That didn't at all go how I expected. They were pissed, and they all started to run at the car :'3 I really tried to give them a wide berth, and thank Sagan for that because I had to go as fast as I thought possible on the bumpy field to stay ahead of the herd of cows charging us from the side. Ever seen a bull in the rear view mirror catching up to your car??? Because I have :'3
We narrowly escaped and made it back to the road safely and without damaging the car, and despite the fact that I think the experience traumatized Kyou a little bit it was a fun experience to have just once in a lifetime :'3 I'll definitely keep much, much more distance next time!
We got in town around 2am this morning, which was brutal x_x
So that was our Denfur trip! I'll compose the other post about the photo location later this evening, and I'll also be working on a schedule for the next few weeks as well. I have a lot of goals! Cons like this one where I get to spend some time with my friends, clients, and patrons (there's a lot of overlap there) and mingle with other artists really help me recover my motivation and inspiration. I'm really glad that we were able to make it happen on short notice, and I'm ready to push hard on finishing up some suits!
It's been a really long day. We got up early and had to take Hoshi to the boarder first thing in the morning, and then the first thing I ate I had an allergic reaction to... I intended to sew on the way up here, but I only managed to get one pad sewn before the benadryl coma kicked in. I've been so drowsy all the way up that Kyou basically drove the whole time :/ let's hope tomorrow is better and I can get my sewing done.
Also, last reminder for the Patreon group dinner tomorrow! We'll start meeting around 6:30pm and heading over to the restaurant around 7pm. I really hope everyone here will join us!
Not terribly exciting, so not a lot of pictures from today. I got the rest of the pads in the first set of paws, finished the fur sewing on one of the second set, and got a little ways into the second fur. I took a series of videos on the Telegram group of me trying to flip the paw out, so if you want to watch me struggle with it for like 25 minutes there's that :'3
After a long 7hr drive, I pulled into the museum parking lot. I walked around the museum for a bit, and then took a bunch of videos on the Patreon Telegram group of the exhibits before I went around again with the DSLR and got some good shots with the CPL filter on. I made a few attempts to draw, but I have had a migraine for hours and it just didn't work out like I'd hoped for. I have plenty of pictures to work from at home, and I had a great time, so I still think it was a successful trip! Thank you so much again for making this happen for me <3
(P.S. I touched everything I was allowed to)
Got my drawing kit and my camera gear all together, and my clothes are packed. I'm heading out at 8am and should be getting to the museum tomorrow around 3pm. I hope you all are ready for a flood of content tomorrow! This museum is just so, so cool and I've been dying to be able to really devote some time to studying in here. I owe it all to you and your contributions, your pledges are what made this possible for me! Thank you so, so much for helping me afford to improve my knowledge and my craft <3
My Patreon app was on the fritz last night, but I was just going to tell you that I took the day off so you didn't miss much. I spent today sewing pads, receiving packages, dealing with the crimped fur (they gave me a discount), and doing house chores. I'm really hoping to finish this set up tomorrow, wish me luck!
My fingers are still tender and sore from sewing the pads yesterday, so I switched to a less strenuous sewing task today and worked on the fur for another pair. I might do another day of 'easy' sewing tomorrow because it's still a bit more tender than I'd like. My other fur order came in today, but unfortunately it was poorly packed and everything is creased. I'm waiting for a response from the company and hopefully they'll be able to rectify it for me or else I'll have to spend a few hours fixing it myself. Hey, tutorial opportunity I guess, right? Ughhhh...
For funsies, have a picture of my new small sewing kit. The tea tin holds safety pins, and the star tin holds my needle! It's holographic vinyl on the outside :3
Phew. Sorry for the late post, but I just finished working now. It took me almost six hours to sew in this set of pads. The moldset I made leaves the toes just a few millimeters more thick than the original pads were, so it's a bit more complicated to sew them in than the original design. I'm going to have to redo the top part of the two part moldsets before I take a new batch of these things :'3 OK, it's nearly 11pm so I'm signing off to get ready for bed!
First thing in the morning, I dragged myself out of bed to cast another set of pads (not pictured because they're still curing). Then after some errands, we went on a Joanns excursion in search of a UV reactive fabric for a forever in the future R&D project. Afterwards, I spent a few hours sewing paws!
First set of pads are good! I drove to the next town and got more backing material and something else I will show you later! I'm two seams from done with the arm muscles! I'll be able to finish up with those tomorrow and move on to the shoulder blades!
And last but not least, thanks to everyone who came on Patreon last month, I have enough extra funds to attend a special event at the Museum of Osteology for artists! I totally got derailed this evening figuring out how I could make it happen, but I worked it out and I bought my ticket and everything! It'll be a little rough the weekend before Denfur, but I desperately want this so I'm going to make it work! I'll be attempting to sketch out some of the anatomy diagrams for my tutorial series and I get to do it in the evening without screaming children! So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting my art and I am so excited to share this experience with you all!
It was well over 100f today, so I decided that rather than overheating in the studio, my time was better spent on paws. I put together a logsheet to keep track of the different iterations and steps for each set first. Then I traced a bunch of sets of each color, but I was only able to get a few of them cut out today. I'm still waiting for a supplier to restock a needed fur this week some time to order the last of the fur I need, but I got my Reynolds order this morning so I'll be starting to cast up pads and claws tomorrow since they can cure while I'm working on Gromm. All in all, it's been a pretty productive day!
Talk about stressful, I managed to get these things done and dropped off at the post office five whole minutes before they closed :'3 but they're done and on the way to Kieran for Anthrocon! I'm exhausted and I'm going to take the rest of my weekend off and try to get some sleep.
Today I have been working on sewing in the claw sheath liners. It's painstakingly slow, tiny detail stitching and I have a few more still to go. After this is claw installation!
I swear to Sagan life will not stop throwing every obstacle at us. Friday night I managed to give myself a vicious 2nd degree steam burn on my right wrist because I had less than 3hrs of sleep. I've never hurt myself as bad as this, and I'm trying to work through it regardless. We have finally after 4x of trying got the alignment fixed from hitting a nasty pothole, and on the way home from the shop we picked up some road debris and got an unrepairable flat tire. So that's at the service center overnight because they were nice enough to take it despite the fact that we arrived after they were closed. I'm so, so tired...
I managed to get the seams picked, claw sheath liners patterned, cut, the back side sewn on the machine, and clipped on the fur to be sewn tomorrow. After that, it's just sewing in the claws and stuffing the toes and then I can get them sent out for AC :'3
Hey foxfolk. On top of two <3hr nights of sleep in a row, today I had to bury one of the feral cats I've been trying to care for over the past few years. This is a picture of him from better days, asleep on my outside casting chair. He wasn't really my cat, but I loved him as if he was and I'm devastated. I don't have a lot of pictures because he was extremely skittish, but towards the end he was coming to me when he was called to, and he was finally letting me pet him. Now he's in my zen garden under the little tree in the shade.
Goodbye, Not </3
Kyou had an appointment today and I opted to stay home and sew paws instead of going with because I lost Wednesday and Friday to being sick and sleep deprived. I managed to get almost 3 extra hours of sleep, and sewed for 11hrs. Finished up the fur on the Kierpaws and got the pads sewn in! I'm pretty tired now, so I'm calling it quits for the day. Cross your fingers for me, I really want to do the liners tomorrow and sort out the claws!
Finished the final leg pad pocket and stuffed/capped the tail, then moved on to the arms. This is difficult sewing but wow these look great! It's going to take a small forever to do this sewing because it's blind sewing with a straight needle and my fingers hurt, but I am really excited to see these finished!
I was going to die if I didn't share this immediately, the pad molds are a complete success! There's a little bit of clay residue on one of the casts, but that's typical for a first casting and just wipes away easily. I'm going to pour the second set in a few hours! I'll need to get some more before I can cast the pink sets, but I am incredibly excited about this prospect!
(I'm sorry I couldn't resist the pun :'3)
Got some pads cast for Kierpaws and a set of black wolf pads. I was going to start with pink, but I think the seal on my rubber was faulty (you can kind of see that the blue cannister label is oily and stained) and it was way darker than the usual color. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get a pink tone out of it, so I opted for black. I did some complicated math and figured out that I can get 3 pad sets out of a trial size of rubber, so I can do one more with the remaining rubber and then I'll get a new batch for the pink sets at some point soon. I also got a bit of sewing done on a Kierpaw (the other is already sewn) and I am trying to finish them up this weekend so I can focus on recording next week.
I'm eager to be able to do more than an hour at a time in the studio... But it is what it is, and I have to make the best of it. I finished sanding the gunky paint off the rest of the claws, then I used hot glue (literally the first time I've ever used it) to stick them to the board again temporarily for priming again with a much better primer. They'll be ready to sand up again tomorrow, and hopefully at that time I'll be ready to mold everything. Fingers crossed!
Feels so good~
We're trying to acclimate our new addition to me being out of the room during the day for short periods of time, so I got two 30min sessions earlier in the day and a couple of hours late tonight. I managed to find the wolf handpad mold and dremel in some channels for the rubber to level out between the pads, pour a master cast (which is curing as slow as possible, making me feel the most nervous), find the claw mold, and cast 12 claws for a new mold (a full set plus two extra). Assuming everything comes out nicely, I'll be able to pour new silicone molds sometime soon and start getting ready for taking some paw commissions :3
The hailstorm last night was another doozy... Not only did we have to replace a window pane in the house (this is the room with the main litter box in it, so it was very urgent), but we have dents and a chipped windshield on our brand new car :'3 Luckily the car damage is minor this time. We also had some fallen branches as big around as Kyou's arm (pretty stout) from our trees, and our internet line was ripped from the securing panel (still works, it's just hanging really low) from the winds. I haven't had a moment to breathe all day, and Kyou's running hotter than I am x_x I'm really, *really* hoping that tomorrow afternoon will finally let me get some work done, or I'm going to lose the shred of sanity I have left :'3 Thank you all for bearing with me through this chaos!
Today I cracked open my sketchbook and found these while I was looking for a fresh page to draw in. Apparently Kraton and Kyou remember some of them, but I don't :'3 Nothing terribly special, but I didn't do any suit work today and I still wanted to post something!
My hands feel like they're going to fall off at the wrist, but I managed to finish sewing Gromm's bodysuit and tail today. I'm going to take the next three days off from sewing to recover and clean up my mess(es) from the last few months of frenzied building, and Monday I'll get to work on the padding pockets and other inside details.
In other news, Kyou bought a Silhouette Cameo 3 for the studio! We picked up some vinyl with a combination of sale prices, coupons, and clearance items, so I am excited to play with the new toy soon. Anyone want a logo decal?
I got less than 4hrs of sleep last night, so I had a really slow start this afternoon :'3 Despite the delay, I managed to get more than half of the white/tan seams done, and the tail is complete. Tomorrow for sure!
I managed to finish the white/white seams on Gromm's bodysuit. I think I'll be able to finish the tan/white seams tomorrow! Long seams are easier and quicker than little ones.
This filled out the SD cards, and I had to do another backup of everything new. One of the SD cards was dreadfully slow, which Loghan said was a sign of impending failure, so we ordered a new one that's designed to withstand five years of repeated read/write cycles. I still have one newer one in the meantime, but it's a bit more of a hassle when I have to make do with one. This last transfer was 106gb of just a portion of the bodysuit sewing, so the old card absolutely handled hundreds of GB of footage over the life of the card. The bottom picture is the current state of the archives. The four at the bottom are the raw archives; P is the new footage repository which is then propagated to the other three. I'm very close to having to shelve the 4tb and begin to use the 2tb for the third copy of all the new footage from that point onwards...
Finally, our Telegram group hit 10,000 photos and videos today with the last picture in the collage above! If you're not there and you want to be, please let me know your username and I'll add you to the group!
I didn't take any pictures today, but I did a bunch more sewing on the bodysuit fur for Gromm. All the tan/tan seams are done, and one bilateral half of the white/white seams are done. I might be able to finish the rest tomorrow, but it might be Wednesday. We'll see!
I would have gotten a little further today, but we had another big thunderstorm with hail today. The lights were flickering, and the thunder was shaking things in the studio, so I lost about an hour of work waiting for the worst of it to pass. Luckily, the hail was only pea to marble size this time, but my garden looks worse for wear... Kyou's cactus caught one hailstone though!
I don't know why I didn't think of posting this here until now, but look at these beautiful creatures in the wild! I wish I was there, hopefully next year!
Are these pictures getting dull and monotonous? Imagine how it feels to stare at this for hours a day :'3
I'm almost done with the tan fur seams, which is well over half of the sewing on the bodysuit. I have a few white seams to do, then just the long seams between the two colors. I'm really trying to be done with the fur this week, but I am really struggling to sit down and sew for 6+hrs per day like I would like to do... I'm doing some physical therapy on my right arm for the wrist pain that's been underlying, so that's promising!
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