Insight Into The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium…
What brand of chalk pastels do you use and why?
I have a few favorites and the one thing they all have in common is intense pigment and permanent colors that do not fade. Choosing soft pastels can be confusing… every brand claims to be “the most color fast”, “the best available”, etc but only when you work with it several times and save your art for several years will you truly know if the claims are true. I use Rembrandt, Unison, Daler-Rowney and Loew-Cornell (and like them best, in that order). I have also used Sennelier, Mungyo, Art Pro and Prismacolor but I don’t recommend them for various reasons (too gritty, color doesn’t last or isn’t strong enough or not enough variety in color). You may be surprised to find Loew-Cornell on my list as it’s not a premium brand but it’s the diamond in the rough! I pay more for my chalks, clays, and other premium supplies because they give me a far better finished product.
Do you give classes or tutorials?
No. I’ve spent years developing my own techniques, mixing various mediums to create a custom material and I’ve created custom tools for myself. I don’t use toothbrushes, rarely use paint, and generally use materials for purposes other than their intended use. These ideas are unique to me and my art, so for now I’m jotting them down to publish in a book some day. You may notice I often add “Etc” to the list of materials in my Etsy listings, and that’s because I often use unusual materials to achieve ultimate realism.
Why don’t you use Facebook (or your Pinterest or Twitter) more often?
Most of my time is consumed making custom orders and I have a large, busy family. I sincerely love interacting with all of you, but there never seems to be enough time to keep up with social media.
Why isn’t your blog connected to friends?
My blog is CMS… an extension of my website provided by my webhost… (it’s a little complex, not user-friendly like Blogger, etc). When Google discontinued “Friend Connect” a few years ago I had no idea how to connect my WordPress blog with others. If anyone is familiar with blog code and wants to help me out, please let me know. I would love to have my blog connected with all of yours… I feel like I’m on an island over here! LOL 🙂
Do you sell at shows?
Teresa Layman and others have encouraged me to do the Guild Show several times but the truth is I would have to work for many months to build up enough stock and wouldn’t have anything to sell online and no time to fulfill custom requests (an additional reason to consider limiting or suspending my custom order list indefinitely). Also, I’m creative… I don’t like making multiples. I prefer to craft OOAK and extremely limited edition pieces. I would love to do the Guild Show soon!
Will you make me a copy of another mini maker’s work?
I get this question all the time… sometimes it’s a blatant request (folks send me photos), other times it’s more subtle… and I’m sorry but my answer will always be ‘no’. As an IGMA Artisan I’m committed to upholding the standards of the Guild and as an artist I make common items in my own style and never recreate the intellectual property of others. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – unless you’re a mini food artist. 🙂
How long did it take you to become an IGMA Artisan?
My journey to become an IGMA Artisan was relatively quick but not everyone is the same (boring world if we were), it’s just a matter of time and practice. The common focus of folks who message me about this appears to be that they’re in a rush. It’s a great motivator to have your competence validated (I get that) but the timing of the journey doesn’t matter as much as the destination. When I opened my Etsy shop in 2010 and began selling on eBay, my food art was definitely the work of an amateur. I look at photos of those pieces and cringe (a great topic for a magazine article)… applying to the Guild was the last thing on my mind. I was deeply dissatisfied with my skills and totally focused on making 1:12th food that looked real. By the time I was there (2013) it was my husband who suggested I apply. I guess he thought I was ready, so maybe that’s the best way to go about it. Have someone you trust give you their opinion of your work and (good or bad) accept their critique. Do your very best, believe in yourself and don’t quit! You can get there. 😉
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IGMA Artisan Robin Brady-Boxwell