I’m making another in a series of bird inspired dolls, this one is vaguely based on the Tawny Owl. Button jointed dolls are fairly easy to make, I always follow the pattern and instructions of Jan Horrox, a wonderful and inspiring doll maker, then modify things according to my wish. The most challenging part is to put a face onto the head.
These dolls have needle sculpted faces, which takes some practice, then the features are drawn on with Micron pens and water-based coloured pencils. A steady hand is essential and the results can’t be guaranteed.
Once the face is drawn then it has to be sprayed with artist’s fix, the solvent type. These dolls are more ornamental than play, although I try to make them robust enough for older children. Next stage is to attach the head, then make hair, or in this case feathers of some sort.
I finally got round to painting one or two models, using a tiny amount of acrylic, two coats. I don’t supply paint in the kits but they are very cheap, at pound shops and such. Models are on sale at Basically Wooden.
I have enjoyed using Affinity Designer and it’s sister products Affinity Photo and the beta Affinity Publisher, but the lack of a trace function in Designer is a serious drawback. Compared to CorelDraw (£599) or the endless cost (and irritation) of Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer (£50) is fantastic value for money and there are no extras or pressure to use on-line ‘services’. So, why is it taking the developers at Serif EU such a long time to add trace?
Designer was launched almost five years ago and whilst Serif have never specifically promised to have a trace function users have always wanted it, and eventually gone elsewhere – Illustrator or CorelDraw. Inkscape (freeware) manages a trace function but Inkscape can be clunky and it’s interface a little daunting. The power of current computers is such that the trace function should be straightforward. Come on Serif!
Still toiling over another model/toy boat. Laser cutting is a great way to make things and the precision available constantly tempts me to make more complex designs. But complex is not necessarily the way to go, when what I am looking for is play value, simple clean lines and ease of assembly.
This (detail) drawing in Affinity Designer is getting quite complicated, hopefully the final design will reflect the ideas above, rather than any underlying complexity. I had a trip down memory lane trying to measure the length of an arc. Finding π on the keyboard was not as straightforward as it should be – Alt 227 won’t work for me, I don’t know why.
Many years ago my father taught me to use a fretsaw and then a treadle fretsaw; I was so proud to make cut-out models and shapes, happy to spend cool evenings in our tiny kitchen sawing, sanding and gluing with a hot, smelly glue pot and a sticky brush. Dad made lots of wooden toys – forts, garages, vehicles &c., often working from plans in Hobbies magazine. He invariably gave them away. I think he would have loved the laser cutter.
I am using Affinity Designer to create another plywood model boat – the world needs more – and I have nothing bad to say about this £50 app. But it cannot rival the likes of Autocad (more than 10 times the price). One thing I want to do is measure irregular objects on-screen and that is proving tricky.
In the physical world the flexible curve is invaluable but is there one for Windows? It doesn’t appear so, only straight line rulers are available. So, print out the shape, check the printout size matches that on screen, then measure with the flexible curve. There must be a better way?