I did this as a drawing a while back for my free coloring pages I offered here, which is a coloring page not in my for-sale coloring book, and decided that I really wanted to do a color version myself… even though its fitting well into the series would even further-delay the release of my Airships and Tentacles art book, still in the works until the last two commissions are done.
The image is one of a little girl drawing out her surroundings with a magickal piece of chalk… floating fish, airships, men riding sharks, and geometric stars like snowflakes are some of the major scene elements, but like always: there are lots of things hidden within ice formations and other elements.
Though it is incredibly cartoony (from a cartoony sketch that is no surprise), and way more colorful than I tend to do things, I rather like it… enough so that I wish I could better communicate the look online, but you know how web graphics go: never nearly as much can be seen or felt as looking at the original painting, or at least the prints which look dead-on the original painting thanks to giclee printing technology.
The original was drawn in pen and ink on 11×14 inch Bristol Board, I did the coloring with my 4-year old Adesso drawing tablet so as to preserve the pen and ink original.
The Black and White version is the Cover for Gatehouse Gazette #14, my third cover for them.
I am making only 20 of these full-sized giclees. Total size with 1? border is about 13×16 inches. They are printed on cotton-weave fine art rag paper in archival pigment inks for the sort of superior clarity and color quality expected from a giclee print.
The giclees are available at a reduced price of $55, HERE
8×10 inch metallic prints are also available, and also at a reduced price ($15), HERE.
The original was painted on a wood panel cabinet I hand-made for the purpose of doing this painting. I’ll be finishing up the cabinet when I return home.. I can’t tell you what I’ll be filling the cabinet with – but when the construct is done, I will have had a lot of fun making things to fill it with.
Though the cabinet is not done, the painting part of it is, and it was lovingly, carefully scanned for truest color and detail, and printed as a giclee for the best, most highly-detailed and most brilliant reproduction quality.
These are printed 12×18 (the original size of the work) on Canvas (for the optimal standard framing size), in archival pigment inks on 200+ year archival quality heavyweight cotton canvas. Each is coated with a UV, moisture, and scratch-resistant coating for added longevity.
25 total will be printed. All giclees on Canvas are shipped stretched and mounted withing the US, or rolled everywhere else (but you can arrange to receive a stretche copy if you wish to work out additional shipping).
Each is hand-signed, hand-numbered, and dated by Myke Amend. Each also comes with a certificate of authenticity. Both the artwork and the certificate have matching serialized holograms affixed to them (front of certificate, back of canvas) for added assurance and to protect the value of your print.
This construct is mostly wood, with papier-mâché for the balloon and the base shell of the gondola, and mesh sandpaper for the deck floor (to mimic the cross-hatched wooden cargo doors on an old deck). It took a couple of nights to make, but a lot of that was walking from basement to top floor scouring the house for possible materials, and waiting for glue to dry…
I did not really start off with any materials in mind. I had bought some of these supplies for something similar a while back, but a lot of these I found around the house as I went – so, just because I used them, doesn’t mean you can’t find something better. I am a starving artist, and also having to use what is handy because I am working after midnight, after most stores have closed. Feel free to substitute – but I have found up-sides to most every improvised material and I will try to elaborate as I go. Materials: 1) Two pre-made papier mache eggs – one large, one small. If you cannot find them pre-made at your local craft store, you can make them by simply layering papier mache around a party balloon. I used the large egg for the balloon, and cut the small egg in half to make the gondola. 2) One large wooden dowel (1 inch diameter), Eight small dowels (1/4 inch diameter or 3/16ths) 3) A spool of wire. I used framer’s hanging wire because I had some handy. 4) Drywall screen. It is a type of mesh used for sanding drywall – a fabric screen coated with abrasive crystals. 5) Some thin wood panels. Modeling stores have them, crafting stores have them. They are typically used for everything from model ships to doll houses. I cut the propellers out of these. 6) A packet of small hardwood spools 7) a packet of hardwood “pickle barrels”, 8 ) a packet of wood beads. 9) Glue – the stronger and harder the bond, the better: Gorilla glue, Tacky glue, Elmer’s glue all… 10) Paint – you’ll probably want to paint yours. I recommend some cheapy apple barrel or comparable acrylic craft paint. For the demo, I am painting everything black, but I will eventually go in with browns and brass colors to finish the job. Tools: 1) Two pen knives / craft knives. I use them for moving small parts, holding other pieces in place, and of course cutting things. 2) A drill, or a drill bit will come in handy. If you have a power drill it does come in handy – but you can make due with a drill bit stuck in the end of a wood dowel. Match the drill bit to the size of your smaller dowels. 3) A pair of shears or tin snips or some really good (or really disposable) scissors. 4) a coping saw or other fine-bladed crafting saw. To Begin: There are a few steps I do not have pictures for (but will correct this when I start the next one. I didn’t at first plan to make a tutorial of this (sorry). 1) The first thing I did was to cut a hole in the top the big papier mache egg. I made the hole just a little bit smaller than the large dowel. I then cut a hole through the other side of the egg, and pushed the dowel through. This is the mast and (possibly) smoke stack… if you want it to be a smoke stack… I won’t stop you. Either way, it is a big pole going through the balloon top to bottom. Make the big mast long enough to protrude from the top, and from the bottom about 3 inches. This mast will also be the main thing holding the gondola onto the balloon. 2) I did the same thing with the small dowels – making holes with my pen knife and poking the dowels in – one long one in the front (foremast), two in the back (for the tail – one straight out the back, one higher up), two on each side (to hold the sails) You can look at the second image down to get the general feel for where I put mine. I made them go deep into the Egg for more strength.
3) To strengthen your masts’ joints with the body, pour glue around where a dowel meets the balloon. Then, with the pen knife, add beads around the mast. This mass of beads and glue will make a nice collar to keep the mast from sliding back and forth, and it will also reinforce the balloon where they meet (see image below).
4) For the gondola (above) I cut the smaller egg in half. I also cut a round hole through the bottom where the large mast will just barely pass through (enough to give it a strong bond). 5) I cut a little semi-round divot out of the back and glued a barrel into it (the main boiler). I then glued a barrel in the front to balance it (it also makes a nice wheelhouse). From there, I covered the top with my drywall screen, which a cut with a pair of tin snips. 6) Engine assembly: two short bits of the small dowels on the sides, one as a cross-pipe, and two pickle barrels make the main engine assembly. I drilled holes into the sides of the pickle barrels so the crossbar could be glued in securely.I also drilled holes in the back-ends of the barrels so that I can put my propeller shafts into them. 7) For a touch of added decoration. I also added some wood beads to the top of the assembly. 8 ) The rest is just decor – wood beads cover where the mesh meets the egg, little wood pins add a touch more decor to the deck, a thin shim of wood and some more beads makes a solid walkway to the wheel.
9) For the propellers, I cut two of the small spools in half with a coping saw. I drilled my hole through first – and then I fond that I could just leave the spool to spin on the drill bit while I pressed the blade of the coping saw against it. It worked like a mini-lathe. Follow my example there at your own risk – it may be dangerous. 10) I then carved 4 thin propeller blades from the thin wood slats (using the utility knife) and I glued them to the top of one of the spool halves. Then I glued another spool half on top of the propeller blades, sandwiching them in between. 11) Repeat the above step for a second propeller.
12) I cut the ends off of another spool, and used them as end-caps on a 3-inch piece of a small dowel. Again, I drilled holes in the spool first, so the end caps will go around the shaft. These end caps will allow your propellers to spin freely, without the worry of them falling off.
13) Lots of black acrylic paint. When adding a patina to anything, it is often easier to go black to light, especially when it comes to acrylics. Slather the stuff on – not only will it add strength to your construct, but it will smooth out the surface of the balloon.
14) I cut the sails from the drywall screen (abrasive sheets). I pretty much just held them up to the masts I had made, and cut n small steps until they were just how I wanted them. Then, when the sails were the right size and shape, I tied them to the masts with thin wire. I did not have any thin wire handy, so I unraveled the framer’s hanging wire. I tied in about 4 spots per mast. If it is hard to tie, you can twist the wire instead… that may even be better. 15) For the jib sail, I had to secure some of the thicker wire between the top mast and the foremast, so i could have something to tie the sail onto. You could probably use a really thin dowel for this and have a *much* easier time.
15) With the sails tied on, I poured glue through the sails where they met the masts and cables. The nice thing about having used the mesh – the glue passes right through the holes.
16) I put the propellers onto the shafts I had previously end-capped – make sure the holes through the propeller are big enough to allow for spinning (they should be if your drill bit is the same size as the small dowels). If not, give them another pass with the drill… some glue might have gotten in there, or the pieces might have shifted before drying. 17) If they spin, or if you don’t care if they spin, you can now glue the shafts into the holes at the back of the engine assembly.
18) Done… or for the most part. I have ideas on what color I am going to paint mine – but you know the principle: put paint on a brush, brush paint where you want it – use smaller brushes for details, bigger brushed for bigger areas – ‘not too much more I can tell you there.
I’ll post pictures of mine when I am done. For tonight, I have to let everything finish drying…. then off to the World Steam Expo on Wednesday night/Thursday Morning.
I was asked earlier today what the status (particularly current remaining count) of the 32×22 (full sized) giclees are, and since I feel it may interest repeat visitors and new visitors alike, I thought it would be good to repeat the information given here:
Of 50 to be made, ever (no “Second Editions”, no “Bonus Editions”, no “Super-duper Extra Golden Millennium Editions Plus!!!”), minus the one I am keeping for myself, 10 remain.
Of those 50 “the Rescue” giclees, 2 have been stolen (1 disappeared in shipping and was replaced with the next print, 1 was stolen from an owner), 2 have been destroyed (1 accidentally, 1 purposefully).
That leaves 46 existing, meaning only one in 139,417,298 people planet-wide will have one of these things when they are gone.
I am saving 3 for upcoming gallery shows, 1 for myself, and I keep 1 print on hand for every print that is in transit (to have a replacement on hand for those who order, just in case something goes wrong).
So, when another 5 of these have sold, they’ll be out of stock online, and I think they’ll have pretty much seen their last Holiday season here.
I say these things not to pressure anyone into buying, but as a heads up. And my refusal to release future separate editions, is to protect and ensure the value of those prints purchased from me.
I do 1 set of full-sized limited editions from each of the three support types (metallic, canvas, and fine art rag paper), and any open editions of any of those support types are at a reduced size – and of course un-numbered and un-certified.
Thank you for visiting – thank you everyone who has purchased prints here (and enabled me to make artworks for a living) – and thank you everyone else who has made this possible – for every blog, every article, every friendly link or friendly mention, for every url scrawled out on a bathroom wall, and every child named “MykeAmend.com” – You people are incredible, even those of you which don’t exist but might.