Daily Sketches

Daily Sketches 24 – Sunglasses and Magic Hair

Something I really enjoy about pressure sensitivity with the intuos stylus, is drawing wisps of hair.

Its true. They are broken. And scratched. I have other sunglasses that are newer, easier to see through…and not broken. Yet I still grab these before heading off to the train. Today they modeled for me. No previous experience, and they stayed perfectly still!

Daily Sketches, Illustration, Muertitas

Daily Sketches 23 – Character Art and Hand Portait

More character sketches from the land of the Muertita. After I get some proper character turnarounds for these guys they will be formally introduced to you. But for now these are some mood sketches. Everything is so different when out on paper…er…on pixels. I’m already thinking of little redesigns.


A sketch of my hand again. Its still just as hard to draw it as it was 23 days ago. Maybe it will get easier after 360 days.

Daily Sketches, Illustration, Muertitas

Daily Sketches 22 – Bystander and Muertita-verse

I took the sketch from a previous Daily Imagination and colored it. This is a scene from the land of the Muertita.

Detail bit

An innocent bystander on the train, who was quite displeased with the email he was writing.

All, Muertitas

Process Photos for “Spring From Death” Sisters!

Muertita Process for Spring 2014
Concept: Spring from Death

This post is for two reasons:
1.) To share my process because I love to see others share theirs. Seeing process is what got me believing I could do this in the first place.
2.) To show that my casting does not mean “mass production”. Each piece is still unique, and unlike any other. Resin casting will make these pieces less fragile, more archival, capture higher detail, and allow me to use materials closer to my concepts of these characters. This is different from sculpting each one individually with clay, though that will still happen from time to time when the concept and materials call for it.

I don’t make a ton of these, and I don’t make the same one twice. If you want to know when new Muertitas are available for purchase, you can sign up for my mailing list here.

Now for the process!

To show you the start of Momma Muertita #2, you can see my hilarious foil, wire, and baked eyeballs as my base! 

Just a few #process #muertita photos. Start: wire, foil, wood. Followed by #supersculpy.

Super-sculpey warms to body temperature to become soft and workable. However, if you have cold hands like me, you are gonna have a hard time. My husband devised this excellent way of keeping my sculpey warm and ready for my chilly, industrious fingers.

#supersculpy should come with the disclaimer: if you have naturally cold hands, you're gonna have a #hard time.

Close-up of some of the detailing I am able to do now that I’m making Momma Muertita #2 out of Super-sculpey. My past ladies were individually crafted out of air-drying clay, which made them very fragile, and not take this kind of detail as well. True, it takes me much longer to make her look like this, but if I can get a good mold going, I might be able to get a few daughters looking mighty spiffy!

Momma #muertita 2 detailing. Practicing texture techniques  from the #sculpting master @mattl21

Making the antlers out of wire, foil, and Super-sculpey! My past attempts broke in their mold AND the antlers…a few times. Also, the molds were a huge failure as well. I hope this new mold holds steady this time with these new, bigger antlers…
Some #process photos of #muertita antlers using wire, foil, and #supersculpy

Setting up the mold for casting my Muertitas with the talented special effect guru, Brian Blair. Check out those “key” holes around my antlers. This better work this time. Please oh please!
#Muertita casting setup with the talented (and patient) special effects guru Brian Blair. So much learning!

Went shopping and stocked up on flowers for my ladies! Just need to finish my mold, cast them successfully, and decorate!
All stocked up on flowers for my ladies! AKA the #muertita #sculptures

Head boards arrived! Just need stain and to mount the heads…once the paint is applied.
The wood boards arrived for my #muertitas! Weekend of sculpting and molds and casting is ahead of me!

Who needs a workout when you can build those arms with a slush mold? I hand tumble a thick layer or two on there, pack in some air at select locations to limit weight, then solid cast the rest.
My workouts these days. Started with a hand tumbled hollow cast, moving onto solid. #muertita #art #process

SUCCESS! The mold works! The joy! I sat cradling this firstborn for a while before I continued my next steps. I have to treasure the wins. So many thanks to Brian Blair for showing me the molding ropes and saving me even more trial and error.

After a few tests, I got to my final goal for these ladies: custom color mixing the resin itself by adding dyes and mixes of iridescent powders. This creates a basecoat that will peek through my acrylic paints and add a dewey iridescence where the paint is thinned.
Someone would like to say hello. She doesn't gave her face on yet, all natural ;) #muertita #casting #process

I LOVE mixing custom colors for my resins! I get such satisfaction from this step. It creates such a great base-coat and adds richness to my paint layers.
More muertita process

Time to dremel and smooth out edges and seams. No good lightning yet in the outdoor shed, but at least the pulverized resin only gets on me out there. Besides, headlamps are cool … ish … Well…PRACTICAL.
More muertita process

Time for hair, makeup, sealant, and mounting on wood.
#Muertita got her hair and make  up did. ;) will be an email soon about shows and available muertitas. Make sure you're on the list http://krisztianna.us4.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=fee4f084b60e7eafe438b9fa9&id=011f636e88

Transport, set-up, hang out and photoshoot with the amazing Chris Rigg.

Ta da!
Spring From Death

* * *

Special thanks goes to Matthew J. Levin (sculpy mastah) and Brian Blair (casting guru) for their patience and time while my noobness spilled out. Oh, and of course, thank you Internet for the vast knowledge shared upon your bandwidth. May your loa be strong.

Also, a big thanks to Miss Monster. She doesn’t know who I am, but her process posts made the craft of sculpting and mold making feel like an adventure I wanted to be on. Plus her creations are faaaaaaaantastic!

*  *  *

Obligatory cute kitty share. I turn the floor heater on when working into the wee hours of the morning, and the kitties join me. Nocturnal friends FTW.

All, Daily Sketches

Daily Sketch – Blue Thoughts

blue thoughts

All, Daily Sketches

Sketchin’ on da choo-choo – purple glances

Sketchin’ on the train with my iPad, playing with some brushes. Also, studio is done. I just want to get some nice daylight photos for you all this weekend accompanied by a proper post. SO EXCITED! SO MUCH ART TO FINISH!!


All, Muertitas

Mini Muertita Process – Failures and Wins

Trial and error by learning from videos on the internet has led me to FINISHING casting my first Mini Muertita, I also call Muertitita. I present photos, failures, and some process, all while in the background life said “Oh, hey, let’s make you stronger by throwing some ill-health, bad-timing, living-situation-changes, car-troubles, financial juggling, and your own-damn-personality drama at you – ALL AT ONCE” for a few months. Don’t worry, everything is finally smoothing out . I DO feel stronger for it . . . now.


GOAL: to create well made, solid resin casts of a smaller Muertita, Muertitita, that can ship easier for out of state shows.

Creating the original from SuperSculpy in a process I learned from the esteemed and amazing Matthew Levin

Working on a mini #muertita. Learned armature, sculpy, and better sculpting overall from @mattl21 Matthew Levin. Still learning too, now from trial and error.

I'll have to figure out how much neck texture is too much for casting...i feel some informative mistakes will be in my future

Mini #Muertita is ready for her oven time!

1st attempt at casting antlers
Nope. Just nope. Badly built seams led to leaks everywhere. They were just so tiny and detailed!! I am finding new and more material-expensive processes for the antler casting right now. Until then, each will still be custom for the Muertititas.

2nd attempt at applying SmoothOn Rebound brushable mold 
1st attempt was a major bust (Baa Haaa, see what I did there? Sorry. Anyway.) The 1st attempt I didn’t measure, mix, or apply quite right – but I didn’t know that at the time – so it was mostly goo that never dried and I spent 3 weekends scraping, wiping, and cleaning it off my sculpture. There might have been some tears. But this second one came out great, with about 4-5 layers on it.

Mini #muertita : Second attempt at #casting #smoothon seems to be going better. #art #sculpture #process


The Support Mold
This was by far the easiest, both times.


First Cast
Wow was I ever lucky! It came out beautifully! This moment was amazing. I was sweating from my excitement. The only thing I can compare it to is the very first time I unwrapped a present as a child. The mystery, then the reward of the surprise hidden inside was pure elation! Mini #muertita #casting success! So exciting! Antlers were a total fail but this...this is #thrilling

Second Cast
Almost a total fail. My studio was in-flux so I poured my cast outside which made for some funky airbubbles. As it cured, tied onto wood atop some moving boxes, I left the room. Mew, one of our cats, didn’t approve and knocked it down. The resin leaked and solidified. I had to hammer the mold apart to release my Muertitita which was riddled with air-bubbles. Luckily it was salvageable. Then I made another brush-on-mold and support cast all over again so I could make more of those pretty little faces to paint. I’ll post a photo once I get my little army going.

Well. Had to hammer my mini #muertita out, since the resin leaked and bonded with the outer cast after the cats knocked it all over while it was curing #oops #restart I'll just make another #smoothon brush-on mold and cast ...

By the way, here he is: Mew, The Art Critic.
Aww, look whose helping me unpack #evil #cat #cute

Paint and flowers
At this point it was about acrylic paint, flowers, and paint sealant. It was actually more therapeutic working small than I expected. Well, what I expected was shaking hands and difficult-to-make details. Instead, it was satisfying to mull over the tiniest little line and curve.

The Photo Shoot
Chris Rigg is a long-time friend, as well as a very talented and hard working photographer. Its great to see him work.


Yep. There is is. All done. Prepare for the army!!

To follow more of my process, I usually post it across TumblrInstagram, and Facebook.

All, Daily Sketches

Sketchin on the choo choo – Skulls!

Playing with the “mirror” draw effect in sketchbook pro. For the symmetrically challenged like myself, this is faaaantastic! I draw only one side and the other reflects automatically – sweeet!

I have been working out the idea of a sugar skull coloring book with some educational blurbs about Dia De Los Muertos, so you might see a few more of these skully sketches 😉


Drawn on the iPad whilst commuting on the train.

All, Daily Sketches

Sketchin’ on the choo choo 2

iPad sketch while commuting on the train using the app sketchbook pro. I think this may be a Pug-Unicorn-Kitten.


All, Daily Sketches

Sketchin’ on the choo choo

Just sketching on the train, on my ipad, using the app sketchbook pro.