ooak fantasy art dolls

𝐎𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐎𝐛𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧: 𝐀 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐀𝐡𝐚𝐛 𝐏𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐭 | 𝐌𝐨𝐛𝐲 𝐃𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐀𝐫𝐭 𝐃𝐨𝐥𝐥

I’ve had a fair number of sketches similar to the image I created for my Captain Ahab piece, “Ode to Obsession”, for years. I’ve been intending to make a Captain Ahab portrait and actually read Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” for years. Recently I’ve finally read the book and crafted a Moby Dick inspired art doll, but it’s telling that I was able to make an image that gets the theme of Moby Dick and Ahab’s disastrous pursuit of the white whale across without ever having read the book- most of us know this story without having ever read it! That’s the power of Melville’s Captain Ahab: he is THE archetype of when passion and drive crosses-over into self-destructive obsession and ruin. He’s transcended the pages of the novel and become the cliche, the shorthand of the thing he represents.


Watch the Captain Ahab Art Doll Being Crafted



Designing a Moby Dick Art Doll

When creating the Moby Dick art doll, Melville describes Capt. Ahab, aside from his iconic whalebone peg leg, as having a scorched face, grey hair, and a scar that runs the length of his face and body, which I wanted to capture in my interpretation. I’ve seen other interpretations of Ahab that make him look hardy and vigorous, but when I imagine him, I always see him as this hard-angled, hollowed-out sinewy character. I really liked this idea of Ahab solemnly looking out and being tangled-up in his harpoon line and though it’s kind of subtle, he has a noose cast about his neck, foretelling the doom that he seeks and the prophesy of hempen rope being his end.

Captain Ahab art doll sketch


St. Ahab: Patron Saint of Creatives

I find myself thinking of Ahab as a patron saint of creatives or anyone that has a passion, a drive for what they do but the path is unclear and even perilous. Many artists find themselves making emotional, relationship, and financial sacrifices to chase that white whale of earning a livelihood doing the things that they love. And since we don’t only have an effect on our own life, we impact the live’s of those around us, the pull of our creative pursuits could also take a toll on our loved-ones as surely as it did Ahab’s crew. The ups and downs of a creative life can be harrowing and it’s often trying to even know if you’re heading toward your white whale or if the risks and the inner turmoil will pan-out and be worth it in the end. The only thing you know for certain’s as scary as all of this has been, is, and will be, looking back and regretting not even attempting the pursuit would’ve been infinitely worse.



I do want to pull this back from the bleakness a bit and say that we right now live in the best times to try to be a creative! The fact that you can attempt to put your art in front of thousands of people across social media and various websites, the only thing it costs you is time, and find-out if anyone cares- that’s such an opportunity that all of us creators shouldn’t take for granted. This opportunity simply wasn’t there for creators that were trying to put themselves on their career path and previously only a few people at publishing companies were the ones to decide whether your art was “good enough”. Now if you figure-out how to market your work and amass only a few thousand dedicated fans that you work’s for them, you can have a sustainable career and life, just getting there is full of headwinds and crashing waves. And for that I think it’s worth risking the venture!

Prints of “Ode to Obsession” are available through my store here:

  • Limited Edition: https://www.thedreamsyndarts.com/thedreamsyndstore/ode-to-obsession-captain-ahab-portrait

  • Open Edition: https://www.thedreamsyndarts.com/thedreamsyndstore/ode-to-obsession-captain-ahab-portrait-cwas5

Here is the finished Capt. Ahab illustration! If you would like a print, it is available as a  Limited Edition  and for a limited time, as an  Open Edition Print .

Here is the finished Capt. Ahab illustration! If you would like a print, it is available as a Limited Edition and for a limited time, as an Open Edition Print.


Thanks for joining me so far and here’s to the adventures we have in future! To be the first to know when I launch new polymer clay art videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the bell icon. Catch all of my videos here:  https://www.youtube.com/thedreamsyndicatearts. You can also find many of the supplies I use in crafting here: https://www.thedreamsyndarts.com/supplies-gear/. And sign-up for my newsletter (in the sidebar) to get the latest studio goings-on! Thanks so much for joining me on this journey and until next time: Make. Believe!

The Devil May Cry with this Devil Art Doll Repair 👹

This devil art doll's name is Diavolo Malvolo and he fits that old wedding tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, and something new as the blue devil himself is an older work, the illustration's new, I borrowed some dry-rotted wood to make the "cliff" he's standing on, and well, the blue part's pretty obvious, isn't it? In this latest video, I take the devil art doll that's been sitting on my shelf and reveal his dark, disturbing secret... no, it's not that he's a devil- that much's obvious! The secret is this: he has crevice along his horn and ear- he's damaged goods. Over the course of the video I try to repair him, but do I succeed? Watch and find-out good viewer!

 

WATCH DEVIL ART DOLL REPAIR 👹

 

As you might have seen if you made it to the end of the video (I say in an accusatory voice), I made an dimensional illustration with this handsome devil art doll. If you'd like one to hang on your wall, you can order a print from my Etsy store.

 

You can bring this handsome devil home from  my store .

You can bring this handsome devil home from my store.

Just in case you're still in suspense- I was able to repair Diavolo after all through the use of plumber's epoxy and epoxy resin as well as a fresh coat of paint. Huzzah! I hope you enjoyed your chance encounter with the devil! To be the first to know when I launch new polymer clay art videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the bell icon (but because YouTube's wonky, you can also join the newsletter). Catch all of my videos here:  https://www.youtube.com/thedreamsyndicatearts. You can also find many of the supplies I use in crafting here: https://www.thedreamsyndarts.com/supplies-gear/. Until next time, make. Believe!

BRAMBLING 🌲| Making a Fantasy Art Doll

And finally, a brambling is full born... or is it sprouted from a little acorn? The biology of the little fae creatures aside, this fantasy art doll is completed! All told, he probably took around 16 hours to craft (including accidentally sculpting two right hands for him! Unfortunately, not the first time something like that's happened, I assure you!). In prior videos I shared the process of sculpting and painting him in-depth and in this most recent one, I sew his clothes and show-off a bit of the staged set that went into making the finished dimensional illustration.

 

Watch Brambling | Making a Fantasy Art Doll

 

I enjoy characters with fanciful clothing and while the brambling's clothes are meant to have a utilitarian, rustic look to them, I was able to add some visual interest with the fae creature's asymmetrical, tattered cloak. The clothing was distressed by wrinkling, staining with acrylic paint, sanding, and then hand-sewing the fabric directly on to the art doll's body. I usually make a point of distressing an art doll's fabric as i like the viewer to imagine the secret life that the art doll has when they're not around. A life with a bit of mystery and magic's a better one! Lastly I set-up the scene by arranging fabric, vines, butterflies, and even used some small tree stumps! I photographed this mixture of found objects and then spent a little time post-producing the image in Photoshop.

 

Here's the finished dimensional-illustration:

You can find a print of this illustration here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/601530840/brambling-fey-fantasy-fine-art-85x11?ref=listings_manager_grid

You can find a print of this illustration here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/601530840/brambling-fey-fantasy-fine-art-85x11?ref=listings_manager_grid

 

I hope you enjoyed exploring this magical fey creature as much as I have! To be the first to know when I launch new polymer clay art videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the bell icon (but because YouTube's wonky, you can also join the newsletter). Catch all of my videos here:  https://www.youtube.com/thedreamsyndicatearts. You can also find many of the supplies I use in crafting here: https://www.thedreamsyndarts.com/supplies-gear/. Until next time, make believe!

Painting the Brambling | Painting a Fantasy Creature Head

Now that the brambling's head is sculpted to my liking, it's time to lay down some paint! When painting a fantasy creature head, it's actually kind of important to ground yourself in realism because bramblings are elusive in the wild! I had to do the next best thing and bring a couple of tree branches into the studio. Who'd have thought realism's the best strategy when painting a fantasy creature head? By looking at this tree branch I could observe that it was largely a warm grey tone with moments of green and brown on it rather than that iconic brown Crayola crayon that we might all instantly imagine.

 

Watch the Brambling Head Be Painted with Acrylics Here

 

I used a range of earth-tones in painting the fey creature's head- siennas, umbers, ochers, and greens with touches of grey tones to dull-down the pigments. I also painted the head generally lighter than I would have naturally due to the fact that I was about to embark on trying my hand with an ink wash technique...

EXPERIMENTING WITH INK!

ACRYLIC INK

In painting this head, I tried a technique that was new to me: using an acrylic ink wash with dark toned ink. I had carved a lot of bark texture all over the brambling and I wanted a way to darken the recessed areas that didn't involve my painstakingly painting in dark tones and then carefully trying not to undo this work as I painted-in lighter tones. Before I used the technique on the actual fantasy art doll head, I tested on scrap sculpted piece I had (who'd have thought I was doing myself a favor when I accidentally sculpted two right hands for this art doll?!). Admittedly, I still feel like I can do a better job at highlighting sculpted details with this technique, but overall, I'm happy with the outcome.

 

If you would like a print of the Brambling final image, you can purchase it HERE.

 

I hope you enjoyed exploring this magical fey creature as much as I have! To be the first to know when I launch new polymer clay art videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the bell icon (but because YouTube's wonky, you can also join the newsletter). Catch all of my videos here:  https://www.youtube.com/thedreamsyndicatearts. You can also find many of the supplies I use in crafting here: https://www.thedreamsyndarts.com/supplies-gear/. Until next time, make believe!