Crafts have been popping up everywhere and spawning a number of business’s. This is wonderful news for the consumer not so great news for the crafter. Most people specialize in one or two crafts. Some people become full fledged artists and branch into many mediums in order to present an idea to the masses. So what else is out there to set yourself apart?
If you paint consider teaching yourself to make animation cels. Animation cels were once hot commodities and extremely expensive to collect. Now a days a decent animation cel can be made for around 20 dollars. Just bear in mind the copyright infringement. Fan cels can be made of Disney and Looney Tune characters however these cannot be sold without express permission from the companies that own the trademark.
So how do you go about making a cartoon cel? First you need a character. For practice purposes I’m using a picture of Cowboy Bebop. The character needs to be engaging or involved in some interesting activity. The second thing that must be decided is the background. For this cel because it is a practice cel I’m leaving it blank.
Backgrounds should be done separately using pens, markers, or paint. You can also get stock backgrounds and print them on paper. This allows the character to ‘ pop ‘ out. The following materials are needed for the cel;
Overhead Transparencies or Acetate sheets
Black needle point or thin permanent pen
Acrylic or glass paint
several brushes of different sizes
Take you character sheet and tape it down. Lay a transparent sheet over it. Tape that down. Then take your pen and trace the outline of everything you want on the cel. Now comes the tricky part. Most paintings start with the neutral colors and paint is added to build up highlights and shadows.
Painting a cel requires you to paint backward. First all the highlights. Then all the small parts such as eyes, nose, mouth. etc. If there are clothes or fur involved make sure hen you paint the flesh you don’t accidentally paint out of the lines.
The best thing is to paint the flesh over the layer of paint that covers the eyes mouth and highlights. Think cartoons not paintings. Cartoons generally do not have a lot of blending involved. The paint you will quickly learn is added in layers. Most of the time the back of the painting resembles a blob. When you turn it over however you are left with character cel. This character cel can taped to the background and then the entire picture should be framed or matted. Here is a rather simple character to give an idea of what to practice on. Again mind the copyright! You may not get caught selling pictures of Pluto and Mickey but if you do the fine is incredibly hefty!
Maybe painting isn’t your thing or you don’t want have any character ideas that seem good enough to turn into cels. Maybe your talent lies in jewelry. This is very popular craft and most jewelers are insanely jealous about keeping their jewelry ideas secret. The average consumer has a huge variety of bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and beaded work to pick from.In most craft fairs you will find more then one vendor selling jewelry so it’s imperative you stand out.
Consider switching to chain maille. There are a variety of kits that can help you get started. http://chainweavers.com is a wonderful site with many different levels of chain maille. Chain maille is making a name for itself because of it’s versatility and the small amount of tools it needs. Because of it’s rise in popularity as functional beautiful jewelry, jump rings for chain maille have changed. No longer just silver or gold the rings can be bought in every color of the rainbow.
The material for chain maille has also changed so innovative weavers can use every metal imaginable and some incorporate plastic and rubber rings to set their creation even further apart from the mainstream jewelers. With practice you can jump into this craft and began turning out your own creative pieces.
You can also take your work to a specialty. Make glass tabs, book marks, rosaries, bead for a cause, or carry on bags! The internet is a treasure trove of all the various ways out there you can put your jewelry making skills to work.
Maybe you find jewelry boring. Maybe you enjoy getting your hands dirty by sculpting with clay. Polymer clay and sculpty clay have come a long way. They are offered in literally hundreds of colors. Most people involved in sculpting know the work of Christi Friesen. She has literally made her own style using polymer clay and other objects. If you haven’t heard of her consider getting one of her books and start sculpting!
Again though you might find your work is lost in the hundreds of thousands pieces out there and you want your booth to be different. Take the clay sculpting and step into cloth sculpting. You can make the hands feet and head out of clay but give your character a soft body.
Branching into this kind of work might cause you to team up with a person who can sew clothes for your character. If you want to go into cloth sculpting there is no better artist then Lisa Lichtenfels
http://www.lisalichtenfels.net/ her work is so realistic it’s positively awe inspiring.
You can also specialize in other clay objects. Goblets which can be made to follow a certain kind of period. Empty eggs shells can be coated with polymer clay and painted or sculpted into a work of art. Kaleidoscopes can be both fun and interesting with the addition of clay.
So there you have it, some ideas to ponder and perhaps work on. Remember every craft you learn gives you an opportunity to shine and branch out into making new and unique items.