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Author Interview: Becca Campbell

I made it through my month in Canada and had a splendid time. Things have been interesting since returning home and I find myself trying to figure out the exact direction I want to move in and how to get there. Things are blurry, but hopefully will become clear soon and I’ll have more to share with you about my experience. For now, I wanted to share this interview I had the opportunity to do with a self-publishing YA author. I found Becca Campbell’s book through Goodreads, where I signed up to read an Advanced Reader Copy. It was the first time I’ve participated in an ARC reading and it was quite enjoyable, though the timing was derailed due to everything going on. Here’s an introduction to the book:

Steven Novak

 

Empath

Becca J. Campbell

Supernatural empathy isnā€™t a gift, itā€™s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jadeā€™s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her. Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces collegeā€”and the worldā€”with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings. When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal. Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Becca Campbell Author Portrait

Empath was an enjoyable quick read for me. I zoomed right through it in an afternoon. I really loved her villain. He was extremely sinister and creepy. I might have to admit to him being my favorite character even though he’s quite despicable. If you are interested in reading Empath yourself here are some links you can follow:

Indiebound | Amazon | Goodreads

You can find out more about Becca and her books on her website Ā and follow her on Goodreads. Now for the interview!

Ā 

About Empath

How did the vampire, werewolf, and fantasy saturated market affect your process in the creation of Empath?

Honestly, it didn’t affect it. While perhaps in the vein of those types of stories, the Flawed series is quite different, and many readers have commented on the originality. I don’t read a lot of books in those genres, other than poking my nose in one now and then just to see what’s popular.

Empath was more influenced by a combination of the sci-fi movies and shows I watched at the time (Heroes, X-Men, etc.) and old-fashioned love stories like the Anne of Green Gables series. Since writing Empath, I’ve discovered more books that combine real-world situations with super powers or other special abilities. I like that trend, though I typically try to avoid all the vampire and werewolf books.

Who is your favorite character in Empath?

Ethan was the most fun to write, but Logan is probably my favorite. I have a pretty big crush on him. He’s like a combination of Edward Cullen, Wolverine, and my husband (don’t tell him I said that!), with other mysterious drool-worthy qualities thrown in for good measure.

If you had to choose to have either Jadeā€™s empathy and Ethanā€™s blindness which would you pick?

I’m a visual girl and of all my senses, my vision would be the last I’d give up, but even considering that, I think I’d prefer blindness over what Jade has to deal with. I’m a pretty down-to-earth, even-tempered, laid-back girl, so dealing with even normal emotional drama wears me out. If I had Jade’s curse, I’d probably have to go hide out in a hole somewhere.

Can you give us any hints for what might be next for Jade?Ā 

Jade’s story is pretty much over, but she continues on in the rest of the series as a side character. Book #2 Outsider focuses on Josh, and Book #3 Protector is about Logan, specifically how he handles the new development of his relationship with Jade. In that way, she plays an important role in Book #3.

Will we hear more about Loganā€™s history in future books?

Since Book #3 is all about Logan, bits of his history trickle into the story. We will see him discover some of it for the first time. Logan has his own hurdles to overcome, and Jade is a big part in his growth as an individual–and not necessarily in the way he’d prefer.

What do you most want readers to take away from Empath?

We all have our own flaws or struggles we would like to distance ourselves from–some large and some small. Often attempting to overcome these weaknesses is a lifelong process, one that can be incredibly painful. I wrote the Flawed series to explore the biblical idea that our greatest weaknesses have a larger purpose, and if we can discover that, those challenges may even turn out to be our biggest assets in the end.

 

Putting It All Down

When creating and writing them, do your characters speak to you in your mind? Do you ask them questions? Do they heckle you about what you write about them? Do you know more about them than you put in the story, such as their favorite foods, family history, pet peeves, etc.?

I enjoy developing characters and I create character profile sheets for each main character, antagonist, and secondary character. But beyond that and what’s needed for the story, I don’t delve too far off course, just for the sake of time management. There are so many stories I want to write, that I try to keep focused on what’s important rather than getting bogged down in too many details.

Sometimes when scenes get cut (in Empath I cut somewhere between 30,000Ā  and 40,000 words from first to final draft), there is a lot of minor background information that readers don’t know.

Was there ever a character in one of your books that you found very hard to write?

Early into the writing of the story, I had some trepidation about writing in Ethan’s point of view and what it would mean for me to enter the mind of a serial killer. Could I handle delving into that kind of darkness? Would it change me somehow? For a while I avoided writing Ethan’s scenes. I knew they would come into play at the end of the story, but I wanted to stick with my non-psycho characters for as long as possible. I’m not sure why I was worried. When I finally dug into Ethan’s character, he was a lot of fun to write, even with the dark brutality that makes him think so little of capturing and killing women.

It’s much easier to write this type of darkness than to read it. I think the reason for that is because as a writer, I know my creation is made up, but as a reader, stories are much more real. In that way, we writers toy with our reader’s minds, which seems a little unfair. Although, the readers get the fun of being able to enjoy a story without knowing the ending. So I guess it all evens out in the end.

Do you listen to music while you write?

I do when I need to really zone in and crank some words out. But it has to be instrumental. I prefer an interesting mixture of heavy and light, and I’ve created my own Writing Music station on Pandora. It’s derived from stuff like the Vitamin String Quartet and Apocalyptica.

What does your writing desk/area look like?

Clean, and then a little cluttered, and then messy, and then I go through a cleaning spree and it repeats. I have moods where sometimes messy doesn’t bother me and other times everything has to be organized and de-cluttered.

Long-hand, typewriter, or computer?

Computer! I’ve always been a fast typist, and I try to get words down in the quickest method possible.

What type of research did you have to do for the book, especially your villain?

I researched the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths (Ethan is a psychopath) and traits associated with the former. When I figured out his fixation with fear, I researched the various types of phobias.

Other research was mostly on locations. Some of the places like Carlsbad Caverns I’d personally visited, but I still enjoy collecting pictures and information about the places I write. I also researched the different variety of insects and animals Ethan used as pets/torture devices.

 

Publication Notation

What has your experience with self publishing been like?Ā 

I watched a friend do it first, so he sort of paved the way for me and was great when I had questions. Then he hit it big and sold 100,000 books in his first year. I’m still waiting to hit it big, but I’m not giving up anytime soon. I recently passed the 500-book milestone, so I’m pretty proud of that. Whether success is fast or slow, I think the key is to just keep plugging away.

How many books have you self published?

I’ve published three novels and two short stories. (My work also appears in two short-story anthologies.)

How did you choose the covers for your books?

For the Flawed series I used Steven Novak, a cover artist who had been suggested by a friend after I drooled over her book covers. Since each Flawed book focuses on a different main character, it was important to have a different person on each cover. I had the rough layout in mind and the images chosen, but he performed the magic of putting it all together. I’m extremely happy with the covers for this series.

 

Author Wrap Up

Favorite obscure word?

Surreptitious.

Is there a word you hate?

Silhouette. I don’t hate the word, just trying to spell it. I can’t tell you how many times it took me to get it right on the first try. I still sometimes misspell it.

Do you write in the genres you most like to read?

That’s a tricky question, because my reading varies so much. There aren’t just one or two genres I read. I’d say I write in the genres I like to watch. My favorite shows are television sci-fi dramas (Lost, Heroes, Alphas, Fringe, etc.), so I write in that arena, but with more focus on the love story angle.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write, and write a lot. Write because you love it. Write for yourself. Stick with your story(ies) and don’t give up until you get to the end–don’t you dare leave a book half-written!

Beyond that, find a support group–preferably several peers and several who are seasoned authors–and lap up their wisdom. If you want a great place to find other writers, check out JuNoWriMo.com. I’m the co-creator, and next June will be our third year with this event. A bunch of us all hang out online and write novels in June. It’s a great way to make friends and form critique groups.

I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I enjoyed thinking up questions and talking with Becca. Don’t forget to check out Empath!

Until next time
– Joules

Imagine That!

I have been going quite mad these past weeks because today I’m headed to Canada for a month! This is my biggest piece of news to share with you. I’ve been accepted as one of four students/apprentices for the August 2013 Imaginism Studios Workshop. I will be spending all day, everyday for a whole glorious month learning illustration with my fellow apprentices under theĀ tutelageĀ of Thierry Lafontaine, one of the senior artists at Imaginism Studios. Each day during the week we’ll have lessons and homework and on weekends we’ll go on field trips to do things such as meet other artists, sketch on the subway, or see a place likeĀ NiagaraĀ Falls. We’ll be learning techniques and theories of illustration and using them both digitally with photoshop and traditionally with acrylics. Other senior artists from Imaginism Studios will also stop by to talk or give lessons when they are available.Ā We’ll be living in the Imaginism House together as well, learning, dining, hanging out, and basically being a family of artists. Spending so much time immersed with art and other creative people has me over the moon, really I think I’m in the next galaxy over!

If you’re not familiar with Imaginism Studios, they are a group of artists who create beautiful concept art, movie pre-production art, and children’s book illustrations. They work with companies such as Disney, Pixar, and HarperCollins. If you’ve seen Tim Burton’s Alice & Wonderland, you’ve seen characters they created concept work for. You can view quite a number of their various pieces here. Thierry Lafontaine also created the cover for the young adult book, The Peculiar, which I am anxious to read. When the cover features a mechanical bird with wings of gears, how could I resist it? Here it isĀ in all its steam punk glory:

I’ve admired Imaginism’s work for a number of years and I still can’t quite believe I made it into one of their workshops. My mind is well and truly boggled. I’d feel as if I’d slipped through the cracks like a shadow and snuck into the workshop if it wasn’t for individual interview and the personal communication I had with Thierry during the process. And since I don’t appear to have been kidnapped by sadistic faeries who make your dreams come true, only to wake you at the last second, I’m determined to soak up as much knowledge as possible and thoroughly enjoy my time in the company of such wonderful artists. I really encourage you to check out their artĀ on their website or through deviantArt. There’s so much to look at!

Well, I’m off to Oz (er, Canada anyhow) to learn from the wizards of illustration. I’ll do my best to post all sorts of lovely details and images, but the workshop is intense, so I may not have the time! If I don’t post before, I’ll be up and running again in September with all sorts of great changes for the website and plenty of artwork to share.

Squee!
– Jools

The Genius At The End Of The Line

I have quite a bit of news to share, but I thought I would start with the conclusion of the Sky Whale saga. First, I’m extremely proud to announce that my sculptureĀ was chosen as one of 20 finalists for February Tale art for theĀ Calendar of Tales Project! It’s featured on the official websiteĀ hereĀ (scroll down or click to February and heā€™s a thumbnail below the winner). I am beyond thrilled. The whole experience has been one of the most encouraging things to happen to me and led to a number of other very exciting experiences.

Neil Gaiman

One of those experiences was attending a signing tour stopĀ for Neil Gaiman’s new novel,Ā The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.Ā Ocean is a dark and enchanting story about childhood, helplessness, and old magic. I won’t write a full review since there’s a plethora of them out there (a few of my favorites here, here, and here), but I quite enjoyed reading it. It’s a quick, entertaining read, but also something you can really dive into and dwell on, discovering new meaning each time you read it.

The signing event was in Saratoga Springs, NY, a 5 hour drive one way, but as this is Neil’s last US signing tour I decided to make the trek. Traveling through New York was beautiful. I stared in wonder at layers of misty blue peaks as I passed through the mountains, great tree covered slopes on either side of the highway. I drove in morbid hail storms composed of periodical cicada swarms. The poor bugs do not fly very well across roads. They’d get sucked into the vacuum of traffic; their little bodies bouncing off cars and blowing across the pavement. I also had a heart pounding moment as a ratherĀ suicidalĀ deer leapt across four lanes of highway passing in front of my car.

I arrived inĀ Saratoga Springs to find a lovely town, full of old Victorian homes, a castle-like military museum, and much more I wish I could have explored. The hotel was incredibly nice and the staff welcoming and friendly. I even had amazing cabbies who provided me with descriptions and explanations of the town and splendid conversation about karma, following your dreams, and how your beliefs influence your art.

The crowd of 1,500 Gaimanites at the Northshire Bookstore signing event
The event itself made for a fantastic evening spent in the company of 1,500 other Gaimanites. (On the left you can see about 1/2 to 2/3 of the room.) The crowd was incredibly diverse, but we laughed, clapped, and cheered as one. Perhaps we make up our own periodical swarm, emerging for Neil Gaiman events and bonding over our shared love before sinking back underground where we feed upon roots of stories and novels until the next gathering. However short a life a gathering may have, the friendships you have a chance to form last much longer. I bonded with a wonderful little group of people with whom I share a surprising amount of hobbies and interests outside Neil’s work. I’m already looking forward to visiting them. One of my awesome new friends,Ā April, and the Saratoga WireĀ generously gave me the use of these photos.

Neil Gaiman being interviewed for the Off The Shelf radio program for the Northshire Book Store for the Ocean At The End Of The Lane tour

Neil Gaiman being asked to tell a dirty joke

Neil was entertaining as always and I really enjoyed listening to the story of how he wroteĀ OceanĀ and the excerpt he read from it. They recorded a radio program, including the story of the book’s creation, during the event as well. It’s absurdly fun to think about how I’m one of the 1,500 audiences voices in the recording. You can listen to itĀ hereĀ if you’d like, it’s a great show. There was a Q&A session in which we learned that Neil can keep all the secrets in his hair and that is indeed where the metaphors come from, and we had the dubious pleasure of hearing him tell a dirty joke that nearly got him expelled from school as a child. On the left is his face upon being pleaded by the host and audience to tell it. Below is his face while telling it. It matches the voice he used perfectly.

Neil Gaiman telling a dirty joke in a funny voice with a dorky face

Neil also read us an excerpt fromĀ his upcoming children’s book, Fortunately The Milk,Ā a hysterically whimsical story about the adventures a father has while attempting to bring home milk for his children’s breakfast. I am anxiously awaiting the release date.Ā Here’sĀ a clipĀ of him reading fromĀ Milk at another event.

While listening to Neil speak is always a treat, I didn’t attend the event solely for that delightful experience; I wanted to thank him.Ā Neil’s work and words mean so much to me, giving me endless inspiration for my art, encouraging me to follow my artistic dreams, and giving me the courage and motivation to do so (notably hisĀ Make Good Art speech). In thanks for all this, I decided to give him a print of a painting and make him a Sky Whale sculpture.

A wool sculpture skywhale given to Neil Gaiman

Making Neil’s Sky Whale was just as much fun as making the original, perhaps even more so since I didn’t have to stay up for 25 hours to finish it! I followed the same creation process for Van (as I’ve dubbed him, continuing with the Van Gogh theme) as I did for Vincent. I’m very happy with how he came out; his colors are more vibrant and the wings and tail are much more sturdy. I had a blast photographing the two whales as well. Here they are swimming together.

Two wool sculpture sky whales swiming in space

To protect Van in his travels I made a special storage box from a shoe box, iridescent wrapping paper, and a silver marker. I drew a Sky Whale on the top as well as quoted the line from the story. The sides say various things like “100% wool sculpture” and “Thank You!”. The box is lined with starry yellow tissue paper as well.

A special iridescent box made to hole the wool sculpture sky whale for Neil Gaiman

One really amazing thing happened while I was making the box. I found the Northern Lights! Amazing what a box and the reflections off of the wrapping paper can do. I think I will make another box, just so I can hold captive a little of the magic of the aurora borealis.

The painting I made is of Cabal and Lola, Neil’s white German shepherds. Cabal recently passed away. Neil wrote a heart breaking postĀ about CabalĀ and having recently lost a beloved pet myself I wanted to commemorate Cabal for him, so I got out my watercolors and started to paint. I’ll have a separate post about the process, but here’s the final 5×7 piece.

A watercolor painting of Neil Gaiman

Here’s the print I presented to Neil.

A giclƩe watercolor print of Neil Gaiman

A smile from Neil Gaiman in the Saratoga Spring NY Ocean At The End Of The Lane tour

While I only had an incredibly brief moment with Neil (he did have to sign things for 1,500 people after all!) I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. When my work slid down the table he picked up the print, showed it to the managers and other people with him, and exclaimed “This is glorious!”. I’m not sure I’ve ever smiled quite that big before. Then I was in front of him telling him I was one of the Calendar Of Tales artists. He saw the Sky Whale and said “You did that one? I love that one!” I then handed it to him and said “It’s for you!”. His jaw dropped and he grabbed me over the table to give me a hug and kiss. My heart exploded into myriad happy bits and shards during that most amazing and awkward-over-a-table hug. I managed (hopefully coherently)Ā to say thank you and there was a card explaining everything in the box. I then shook his hand and walked away with a full sparkling-happy-shards heart and delighted smile.

I later tweeted Neil saying thanks for the wonderful evening and I hope he enjoyed the gifts, he replied “So beautiful”. I learned from Cat Mihos, who was a huge help to me answering questions about presenting the gifts to Neil and helping it flow smoothly in line, that my work was safely on its way to its new home.Ā I’m not sure the English language contains enough fantastical words to describe just how magical the whole thing felt.

The next day I was home and back to the everyday, but now my everyday is just a little brighter for having been a part of the Calendar Of Tales project and meeting Neil and I’m enthusiasticallyĀ anticipating where all the inspiration I’ve gathered will take me next. Thank you again Neil, and thank you Cat for all your help!

I hope you’ve enjoyed what’s probably the longest blog post I’ve written so far! Have a wonderful night and I highly recommend a bed time story by Neil.
– Jewls

Creation Of A Sky Whale

It isn’t often that I remember to document the actual process of making one of my wool sculptures. I get so caught up in it that I just keep stabbing and suddenly I realize I have no pictures of the thing getting its head put on or it’s 3/4ths done and I haven’t taken any pictures yet! Thankfully, while creating Vincent, my Starry Sky Whale, I remember to take photos regularly. I’m rather excited to share the process with you because I tried a few new techniques!

I’ll put up a dedicated blog post to how felting works at some point, but to summarize for those who don’t know, to needle felt you stab a ball (or any other shape) of wool many hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of times with a special needle to compress the wool into shape.Ā The needles themselves have little barbs in them, like inverted fish hooks, that allow them to catch the fibers and tangle them together when you stab the wool.Ā Here are some of my tools:

Most of the tools I use to create my wool sculptures

To create my Sky Whale, just like with any other sculpture, I started off with a basic shape around the general size of what I wanted the finished piece to be. I chose to make his core a different color as well because I have quite a bit of it and rather less of the colors I wanted him to appear. This first picture is right after I felted the giant ball of fluff into shape. Next time I will try to get a photo of the amount of fleece I use before starting. You have use a bigger puff of fleece than what you want as the final sizeĀ since it compresses so much. The ball of fleece I started with this time was ratherĀ unwieldy!

The beginning shape of the needle felted sculpture

After I have the basic shape, I then start to build up and define it. When I use a separate core color I only build it up to a certain point because I’ll be covering it with another color and don’t want it to end up too large or for the core color to show through. I left the tip of the tail poofy so I would be able to create a strong joint when adding the tail.

Giving the wool sculpture a more defined shape

Time for the first experiment! I imagined my Sky Whale with a mottled skinĀ of blues, purples, and greens, with bits of bright sparks of starlight. The only way to achieve that was to card many different colors of fleece together. I’ve blended wool before, but trying to get something mottled appearing was new. I’ve discovered it’s actually very easy if you are using more than one texture of wool! The base blue and red colors were wool roving, which is smooth and has all the fibers going in one direction. Blending two rovings together generally creates a very smooth, even blend. The mottling colors of green, purple, and cyan were batting, which wasn’t smooth at all. Bits of the wool clumped together and the fibers went in all directions. It was perfect for creating the blobs of color spread throughout the base color. It was really fun learning to use the different textures to their best advantage.

In this picture you can see the pile of all the fleece colors waiting to be blended by combing them on one side of the brushes and the resulting blend on the other. It was really quite satisfying to mix them.

Carding together multiple types of wool fleece and roving to create a custom color

While I was carding the fleece, Jude was busy sneaking into my box of wool.

Photo of my cat curling up in my felting wool

Lilith found it highly amusing to bat at Jude through the plastic, which annoyed him, especially since the racket alerted me to the intruder in the wool.

Photograph of my cats playing with the wool balls

Once I chased the cats out of my wool and finished blending the color I wanted to use for his skin I started applying it to the core.

Covering the basic of the needle felted whale shape with the final color

After that I created a second blend for the belly color and refined the shape even more. I also defined the tail a little.

The needle felted whale sculpture now has its full shape and beginning of a tail

Now came the hard part and the real experimenting began! I wanted to create feathery fins, but I wasn’t quite sure how to achieve it. I could felt every feather, but that would have been very time-consuming and I didn’t think it was possible to securely felt them to a thin fin without it getting over felted and cutting off. I thought perhaps I could wet felt a swatch of material and cut them out, so I got some of my blue fleece and made my first wet felted swatch!

To wet felt wool, you crisscross layers of fiber and then get it wet with hot water, add a little soap, and then agitate it. This causes the fibers to felt together. I was surprised at how easy it was and how quickly the felt came together as compared to needle felting. Here I have my square of layered fibers in a pan between some bubble wrap and tulle. I then got it wet and soapy and rubbed it against the bubble wrap and tulle, like you would rub a balloon on someone’s head to cause their hair to stand up.

Starting to wet felt some wool

Here is the resulting swatch of felt.

A square of wet felted blue wool

I then cut it into strips and started covering the strips with the skin color. Unfortunately it didn’t work out the way I was expecting and it was labor intensiveĀ to cover the strips.

Cutting my handmade felt into strips

At this point Lilith made it clear I’d paid enough attention to the “wet stuff” and she would not be ignored any longer.

My pure white cat flopping down on my work

After I’d appeased the hellion I decided I’d try felting the whole fin and cutting the feathers into it. Since I’d been able to cut the swatch of wet felted fabric into strips without it fraying the way a needle felted swatch would, I was optimistic that if I wet felted the whole wing it would stay together after I cut the feathers. First I loosely felted the basic wing shape out of the blue fleece and covered it with some of the skin color. Then I got the whole thing wet and soapy and proceeded to wet felt it.

Wet felting the wing of my sky whale sculpture

It worked splendidly! After drying the felt with a hair dryer, I cut strips into the wing, then refined the edges by needle felting it. I also added some more skin color as the wet felting had caused it to blend more and lose some of the mottling. Here you can see one feathered fin and one fin before I cut the strips into it. The ends are loose so that I can firmly attach them to the body of the whale.

A felted, feathered wing and a wing before cutting the feathers

The tail of the sky whale was a little more tricky because I had to felt it directly on the body instead of adding it like the wings. Here’s the basic shape needle felted in the blue roving, which gives it the stability when wet felted.

Adding wool to the tail of my needle felted whale

And here’s the top part of the tail after it’s been covered in the skin color and wet felted, you can see how much more dense and sharp edged it’s become.

The mottled color has been applied and wet felted onto the sculpture

This is the bottom, which is the same teal color as the belly. I did the same for the wings.

The teal wool on the bottom of my wool sculpture sky whale

Here is the tail after I cut in the feathers and refined the edges. Getting them both wings and sides of the tail as symmetrical as possible involved quite a bit of trimming!

After cutting and defining the feather fins on my needle felted sky whale

Now I had the wings and tail finished, so there was just the dorsal fin left. I ended up using the few “feathers” I’d made with the strips of wet felted fabric, so they didn’t go to waste! Here is the whale after I attached all his appendages. He’s almost done! It was really nice to see him come together all at once.

My sky whale wool sculpture almost finished

I defined his mouth and added the seed bead eyes, but when I looked at him, there was just something…missing. He didn’t have enough spark. That one thing to make him really stand out was missing. By this time It was around 5:45am since I was working under a deadline of 12noon. I actually called him done and started taking his “portraits”, but the missing something kept bugging me. After trying and discarding a few ideas I realized he didn’t have enough contrasting stars! I grabbed some yellow wool and started adding little sparks of light all over. Here you can see his size in relation to my hand and the first couple yellow stars I’d added.

Needle felting the final details of my wool sculpture sky whale

After adding a bunch of yellow sparks, he was finally complete! What a handsome fellow if I do say so myself. He was so much fun to create and I enjoyed learning all the new techniques. He also taught me to never ignore that niggling feeling that something is missing!

My needle felted sky whale created for Neil Gaiman

 

You can see details shots of him as well as a photo-manipulation of him in space here!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my process. If you have any questions about it or any of the techniques, leave a comment! I love chatting about felting.

**Update**
Vincent was chosen as one of 20 finalists for February Tale art for theĀ Calendar of Tales Project! Wow! Iā€™m so excited!! He is featured on the official websiteĀ hereĀ (scroll down or click to February and heā€™s a thumbnail below the winner)

May you travel long and well among the stars!
– JĆ¼lz

Starry Sky Whale

Fourteen days after posting my concept art and my Sky Whale wool sculpture is complete! I had to pull an all nighter on Sunday Night to get him finished and photographed so I could enter him in the Calendar Of Tales Project, but it was worth it. His mottled skin came out quite nicely and reminds me of Van Gogh’s Starry NightĀ (which seems to influence any of my work involving space!), so I named his coloring after the painting and the whale himself, Vincent.Ā Here he is in all his sparking glory. What do you think?

My needle felted sky whale created for Neil Gaiman

He’s 100% wool, no wire or filler, though he does have seed bead eyes. He was so much fun to make and quite challenging too, since the fins/wings required some experimentation and new techniques. I’m going to put up a “making of” post to talk about the creation process, (now found here) but for now I just want to enjoy the fact that he’s finished! And share all his detail shots with you of course. Ā I really love the way his face came out, it makes me smile!

The face of my felted sky whale sculpture created for Neil Gaiman

Excuse the moon, but I really like this angle to show the way his fins curve.

The tail end of my needle felted sky whale created for Neil Gaiman

Here is his wingspan. I should have stuck a ruler in there for perspective, but he’s 12″ from wingtips to tail-tip as well as across. His body is 9″ and the tail-span is 7″. He’s the largest thing I’ve felted yet! I’ll definitely be felting more larger items though, they have such a presence.

The wingspan of my sky whale wool sculpture created for Neil Gaiman

It’s been really dreary out, so I haven’t been ableĀ to take a nice “portrait” of him outdoors, plus, when I read Neil’s story I imagined the place where “the skies and seas are one” as an amalgamation of the ocean, sky, and space, so I give you thisĀ photo-manipulation. It was fun experimenting and learning new techniques to make a space scene too. All around making Vin was quite educational.

A photo-manipulation and wool sculpture of a sky whale created for Neil Gaiman

**Update**
Vincent was chosen as one of 20 finalists for February Tale art for theĀ Calendar of Tales Project! Wow! I’m so excited!! He is featured on the official website here (scroll down or click to February and he’s a thumbnail below the winner)

I would love to hear what you think of him, so leave me a comment below!
– Jools

PS. You can now view the making of Vincent here!

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F a c e b o o k
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