It's been a bit quiet in the Cave of Pixels recently, as I've been away on holiday! That's right, the wife and I took a well deserved break in the USA, spending time in Manhattan, Long Island and Washington DC. It was a great trip, and I couldn't resist making a visit to every Nintendo fan's home away from home, Nintendo World NYC!
It's a fairly low key storefront, but inside is a plethora of merchandise, catering to fans of the older games as well as the new! I ended up buying a couple of T-shirts, a koopa trooper plushy, some Super Mario Bros playing cards and a small 8-bit Luigi model. Here are some more pics from the trip:
We had a great time, but don't worry, beading has commenced and I have some awesome projects in the pipeline. Updates to follow!
Last week I finally got round to remaking a bead picture that I wasn't happy with. You may or may not remember the Marilyn Monroe/Miami Heat mashup picture I made a couple of years ago - here it is next to the original pic I used in the design.
I had seen the image on T-shirts in the crowd at Miami Heat games and decided it would make a good bead pic. I went large, making it to fit a 50x70cm frame, or at least I tried to! Back then I was a rookie in the bead game, and this project was a little more than I could handle at the time. Firstly, I hadn't pierced any holes in the tape before ironing it, and I over melted a patch of beads in the middle. I did manage to cut them out and replace them, but they looked noticeable compared to the rest of the picture. To try and hide this I ironed the front of the pic too (something I rarely do). This had the effect of making the picture warped and not totally flat. When I finally went to frame it, I realised I'd made it too small for the frame! To try and remedy this I added a couple of rows of beads along each edge (which took ages as I couldn't use pegboards), and ironed them together. This had the effect of making the edges look uneven and it still didn't fit the frame perfectly!
So overall, this picture was a NIGHTMARE to make. It was fine to look at from a short distance, but up close, all I could see were the numerous flaws I knew it had. And so last week I set myself the goal of starting it on Monday night and finishing it by Friday night.
I made a new design, this time using just black and white, and various reds. I also decided not to bead the background, in order to save time and beads, and also make the picture stand out against the background more. So I started, and immediately realised I didn't have enough light grey and dark grey beads... Not a good start, but I ordered what I needed and set about making what I could.
Luckily the beads I ordered turned up promptly, so it was only a couple of days before I had all I needed to finish!
Eventually the beads were all laid, and I corrected the design to more closely match the original picture.
Ironing went a lot better than last time, and the size was also perfect for the frame. Here are a few comparison shots:
As you can see from the pics, the old picture looks a lot less even, ironing-wise. It also shines a bit too much for my liking. The main reason I prefer not to iron the front of bead pictures is that it's pretty much impossible to get the beads to melt uniformly, especially when you use a mix of brands like I do.
I mounted the picture on black card, which makes it stand out brilliantly. Below is a close up, and also a pic of the portrait in its natural habitat, my downstairs toilet!
It took just under 9 hours to make, consists of around 12,000 beads, and I think it looks way better than the first one I made!
Last week's update didn't happen as I had a lot on at work, and was only working on one project, so I thought I'd consolidate my news this week, because EFFICIENCY!
The first update is that I went to The Star pub in Surrey to see my artwork on the wall! I've written more about it here, so please check it out if you have a minute!
Now to the beads! I've started a little gaming series of box art backgrounds with sprites on them. Here are the ones I've done so far:
There are more to come, and once they're framed they'll be ready for the next London Gaming Market in July.
The other gaming stuff I've done involved revitalising a few old pictures:
The Mega Man stage select screen was kind of floating precariously in the frame, so I mounted it properly on some card. I didn't like how the Double Dragon picture looked, so I added a mount to spruce it up. The Silent Hill nurse needed a new background, as the old one had somehow gotten damaged, so I replaced it and put it in a better frame.
But the main project was a big one that took up all of last week. 9 hours' work and approximately 12,000 beads went into my new version of Marilyn Monroe in a Dwyane Wade jersey:
That's all you're getting of her for now, as I'll be making a more detailed post about it soon!
This weekend I got the chance to visit The Star pub in Dorking, Surrey, and see my artwork on their walls! Every artist loves to see their art on the wall somewhere, and the more public the better!
Here are a few pics I took while we were there:
My stuff will be on display during all of May, and nearly half of it has sold already! The folks at Game Over Gaming have done a great job of setting this up and promoting it, so once again a big shoutout to them! I dropped some more artwork off with them this weekend too, so some of the pieces that sold may well be getting replaced with more of my art soon.
Aside from awesome art on the walls, it's well worth a visit to The Star if you're in the area - it attracts a very cool crowd, has a cool retro arcade machine and plenty of board games too.
Today I can finally reveal a bead project I completed a couple of weeks ago, but had to keep quiet, as it was a present for my wife's birthday. She's a huge Foo Fighters fan (we both are), so I hunted around for pictures and finally settled on this gem:
That's frontman Dave Grohl giving you the finger. I played around with sizes and decided that making it to fit a 50x50cm frame was the best option, in order to give it adequate detail.
The first colour design I made is below on the left. I felt that it included too much dark brown in the hair and t-shirt (as you can see in the pic above, there is little brown in his hair, and none in his shirt), but I didn't want to remove dark brown from the picture completely, so I made another design in black and white, with the intention of using the black and white parts for the hair and shirt, and the colour parts for skin.
I spent just over 5 hours using both designs to place the beads, trying to keep the hair as accurate in colour to the original pic as possible.
Once I'd laid all the beads, I compared it to the original pic, and a few things stood out that needed changing.
Firstly, there was too much Hama Light Grey dotted around the picture. His face and hand were heavily speckled in it, and it didn't look natural. I think the Perler program thinks Light Grey is lighter than it actually is, as it looks less obvious in the design - I may have to reprogram the RGB values soon. So I replaced a lot of the Light Grey with Perler Sand colour.
Next, his wedding ring and middle finger tattoo weren't clear, so I tidied them up and made them more prominent. Same with the red band around his wrist and the lace for the cross round his neck.
Lastly, the face. The Perler program I use always has issues with eyes and teeth, and this picture was no exception. While his eyes could be seen, the colour wasn't accurate, and they were surrounded by Hama Grey. I replaced the Grey with Hama Beige and used Hama Pearl for the whites of the eyes. The teeth were also too grey, so I replaced a lot of them with Hama Pearl, and also tidied up his bottom lip and beard.
The end result is below!
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.