Art Toys News: handcrafted toys

Making Designer Toys: Sanding, painting and Repetitive work

By Oasim Karmieh

I have started making designer toys, art toys, figurines, sculptures or whatever you want to call them, every artist or collector I talked to had a different name for it about four years ago.

This year (2019) I had the chance to share a table at ToyCon UK with my best mate and one of the Artists that I love Liam "2PetalRose" Scriven, it was a double dream come true for me, and it kinda snowballed into a hat trick (more about that soon)

Let's get back to making toys and what do you do when you spend 6 hours a day sanding, cleaning, prepping and painting. Most of the discussion subjects at ToyCon after all the (Your work is impressive, I can't believe I finally got to see your work in person). It was either about sanding, painting toys, what kind of paint do you use, what resin do you use, what sealer do you use, what technique did you use to make that and so on.

The most repeated subject was sanding toys and especially when you talk to amazing artists like Muffinman sculpts, (have you seen how F***ing clean his sculpts are? have you?huh?) I have been admiring his epic work for over a year now, and I heard about him from my clients. And I had to check his work for myself, and I was beyond impressed.

Well. This year I got to meet the man, the legend and while we went over lots of oh my god and so on, we reached the sanding part, and one of the questions was what do you do when you sand? Cause sanding is sculpting, but it's a super repetitive task that takes hours and hours. He told me he listens to many Podcasts and I used to do the same, but I noticed that I couldn't keep a rhythm with podcasts when I'm sanding or painting designer toys. 

Even if the host has a beautiful voice that you are used to its rhythm the guests are always different, and that change of voice throws off my rhythm, I told him that I used to listen to podcasts, but I can't focus as good as I do with Audiobooks. Don't get me started on music I cannot listen to music while I work, I used not to be able to do any work without music, but maybe I'm getting old, and my brain is not that good anymore. Reminds of this cartoon, Milt Kahl's was one of Disney's nine old men, a genius of its time.

 

 

I don't think I would be able to clean, prep, sand, paint my sculpted toys without Audiobooks, I would def go insane, each designer toy takes about 8-10 hours of clean-up sanding, prep and paint. When I release a new toy with a run of 10-20 pieces, I estimate the time in audiobooks hours.

Here is the list of books I read in the last 2-3 years and In my entire life till the moment I have started making toys, I didn't read 10% of the number of books on that list, not even when I was in Uni.

I mostly like Sci-Fi but there are a couple of Business books and a couple of Selfhelp books (yup...I'm human, F*** off).

 

1. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, Narrated by Jim Gaffigan

 

Dad is Fat one of the first Audiobooks that I read; I got this book when my wife was pregnant with our daughter Emma-Rose, and after listening to a couple of "parenting books" which I hated. This book was beautiful; I was terrified that I will be a dad, and you can't imagine how much this book helped me.

 

2. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi narrated by my all-time favourite audiobook narrator the one and only Will Wheaton (yup, Wesley Crusher, I know right!!) his voice is impressive.

 

 3. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull, Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.

It is a hard book; it's about business, tech, art, animation it goes to show that creating animated movies or anything creative that has tremendous success is not that simple. (Artist that think, that only the art is essential to sell a good story, will not like this book)

 

4. Lock In (Book 1) by John Scalzi narrated by the kickass Will Wheaton 

This book is so good; I will not reveal anything about the stories from the books that I share. And I will only tell you what I liked about it; I will not share meh books. 

 

5. Redshirts by John Scalzi narrated by Will Wheaton (I know, I know it's John Scalzi and Will Wheaton, well I read all his books because they are just amazing)

First time I listened to this book I did not like it at all. I stopped around chapter 2 or 3. But then I gave it another go after a couple of months, and I really couldn't stop. Here is the thing about Audiobooks if you are having one of those days where your inner voice is trying to figure out lots of shit in your life it's super hard to focus on them, maybe that's just me.

 

6. Old Man's War Book 1 to 6 by John Scalzi, narrated by William Dufris.

About this series, it's an excellent sci-fi series with epic battles, humour, great characters, love, parents, war, politics, and it's soo good. (I'm not a book reviewer, not sure if you can tell)

 

 7. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor 

The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

 

8. Give and Take by Adam M. Grant PhD

A Revolutionary Approach to Success

 

9. Contagious by Jonah Berger

Why Things Catch On

 

10. Leap First by Seth Godin

Creating work that matters

If I would choose a couple of "Self-help/business oriented books" this would be one of them the 2nd one is next in line.

 

11. Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

If you like this book make sure to read The War of Art, every artist beginner or senior should read this book.

 

12. Anything You Want by Derek Silvers

40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur.

 

13. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

 

14. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

 

15. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

 

16. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

 

17. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Narrated by the fantastic voice of Duncan Steen

This book is significant to me, cause it helped me through some bad times, the book is impressive, and the voice makes it that much better, I think I read this book at least six times now.

 

18. Start with Why by Simon Sinek 

How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

 

19. Childhood's End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke narrated by Eric Michael Summerer

 

20. We Are Legion (We Are Bob): Bobiverse, Book 1-3

This book is one of my favourite Sci-Fi series; it's soo good, and the level of humour in this book is just so smart.

 

21. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi narrated by Will Wheaton

What can I say I love John Scalzi and his books are so much better with the voice of Will Wheaton

 

22. Dune by Frank Herbert 

This book feels like a movie when you listen to it, the music the Audio effects makes it so immersive.

 

23. Artemis by Andy Weir 

And narrated by the beautiful Rosario Dawson, man I love her voice.

 

24. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi narrated by Will Wheaton

It's nothing like any sci-fi book that I have ever read, such a good listen.

 

25. Head On by John Scalzi  narrated by Will Wheaton

The 2nd book the Lock in Series.

 

26.Altered Carbon Series by Richard Morgan

 

27. The Singularity Trap by Dennis E.Taylor Narrated by Ray Porter.

 

28. Red Rising by Pierce Brown and narrated by the bloody amazing voice of Tim Gerard Reynolds. 

I have to say something about this series, cause it's fucking amazing. I have laughed when reading books, I have been sad while reading books, but I was never Angry, rightly pissed off while listening to a book, at what was happening in the story, it's gorgeous, I cannot wait for book 7.

 

29. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (the father of Sci-fi)

The only thing I can say about this book, I can't believe how good it holds up today and how modern it feels keeping in mind this was written in the 70s.

 

30. Armada by Ernest Cline narrated by THE Will Wheaton (Oh yeah!)

This book is soo much fun!

 

 

31. Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer 

If you call yourself a nerd or a geek you've got to listen to this. I listened to the first three books while I was working on my Hellbaby designer toy.

 

 

I'm going to end this list with one of the best books I have read ever in my entire life so far. The last couple of years have been a bit hard, I went through some difficult times emotionally, mentally and physically. I first heard about this book in an interview Tim Ferris had with the CEO of Shopify, and I had to check it out, the title was just too exciting, I'm not exaggerating when I say this book changed my life and the way I see life and people around me.

 

32. The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi

 

I hope you find this list helpful, if you read any of those books, or have read them already I would love to hear your thoughts. And for those who think I got paid by Audible to create this list, you can rest assured that it's true and I'm living in Bali writing this blog post and enjoying my ginger beer. (in case you didn't get the joke, I haven't been paid by audible, I love using Audible if anybody at Audible reads this I could use a couple of free credits).

 

 

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Designer Toys that will enrich your collection

By Oasim Karmieh

Designer Toys that will enrich your collection

Handcrafted Art Toys

As all artists since the beginning of time, we always search for masters and mentors to look up to,  whose work speaks to us on a spiritual level, those artworks that touch our hearts or engage our minds or maybe even enrage us. So, when I started my career as a Toy Designer, I needed to find beacons to light up the toy crafting path ahead.

“Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?” – Gabrielle Roy

2PetalRose

handcrafted toy

His nickname is just perfect and incapsulates the beauty of his art toys: 2Petalrose, aka Liam Scriven from London UK, is one of my all time favourite toy designers. His handcrafted toys are just exquisite, his style is so unique and so detailed that you could spend literally hours just gauging at his gallery and instagram account, just to make sure you don’t miss any of his hidden details. One of my favorite posts on instagram was when he showed the sole of one of his beautiful resin art toys with the comment “I know you won’t ever see it but…”; that kind of commitment and effort shows you the amount of love that goes into each piece of art that he creates.

2PetalRose

Foolsparadise

designer toy

The art toy that I fell in love with designed by Foolsparadise (Alan Ng) was Keiko. I was hypnotized by the twisted vibe that these art toys emanate. And to be honest I didn’t know why I felt they had that twisted ooze, until I had a talk with my friend Trustpigs (aka Nick Curtis) and he told me that in fact the founder of Fools paradise created the main characters of his handmade toys series as inmates of the Fools Paradise asylum, which specialized in people who thought they were human-animal hybrids. Thus we later got the interpretations we now know, which were how these characters see themselves… like Keiko as a bear-headed vixen.

Foolsparadise

THE Jason Freeney

collectible-art-toys

If you haven't heard of Jason Freeney or at least seen one of his famous art toys, I'm sorry but you must have lived under a rock. His works are so deep, literally and figuratively, his dissected toy are the most famous ones — from the balloon poodle to the dissected lego figurines. Lately he released a toy collection of dissected super heroes with Mighty jaxx which I absolutely love.

Jason Freeney

KOZIK

art-toys

Frank Kozik's art toys are so badass and so in your face; some of them are political and all of them are non-apologetic, they have the right amount of juxtaposition. The more you learn about his work and about his personally, the more you love his art toys and you will end up like me buying at least a couple of copies for your personal art toy collection.

Frank Kozik 

crackedhatchet

designer toys

His style is a mixture of clean shapes and dynamic poses, with a handmade feel, and in my opinion that mix is what sets his art toys apart from everything that is out there. And on top of being a great toy artist, he is a machine when it comes to the amount of toys he can create, all handcrafted, hand cast, hand painted. He is an amazing dude, but you can already tell from how awesome his Art Toys are.

whereschappell's Instagram

Plasticell

handcrafted toys

The first art toy that I saw made by PlastiCell was the famous Tupac shakur figurine, and I gotta tell  you, the way these guys where able to capture the essence of Amaru, from the beautiful peaceful pose, to the amazing hand painted details on the bandana… Don’t get me started on the tattoos that look soooooo badass. The amount of work that goes into each figurine is just mind-boggling. You have to follow the guy on instagram, so you can see the amount of love that goes into all their beautiful handcrafted  art toys.

Plastic Cell 

Playge

toy designer

Dangerous Badass Cuteness — the characters these guys create are just too hard to describe, cause when you tell somebody that they are the most badass and cute toy you have ever seen, they look at you as if that’s not possible for an Art Toy. The juxtapose of cuteness and badassery is just awesome; combining the cuteness of their goggly eyes, with their shotguns, bombs, chemical weapons, bazookas, and most importantly the gas masks. And did I tell you that they are wearing real clothes? And that it comes with tons of accessories— make sure to check the pockets.

Squadt

 

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Which part of the Art Toy making business you enjoy the most?

By Oasim Karmieh

Which part of the Art Toy making business you enjoy the most?

Today I shipped my 23rd handcrafted Art Toy.

I have started this Toy Design studio 9 month ago and I’ve done so many stupid decisions that I stopped counting, but in a weird way I really enjoyed all this hard process. But as we all know, Mistakes are for learning.

handcrafted art toys

 A friend of mine kept asking me which part of the whole process of the toy making I enjoy the most. I used to answer with “I love all the stages” and I heard amazing Toy Artists say that they enjoy the concept or the hand painting, or the casting (actually I don’t think anybody enjoys resin casting). Frank Kozik says that the best part is "Making the deal, the rest is just busy work”.

But, after shipping my 23rd art toy, I finally have an answer to the question “Which part of this Art Toy making business you enjoy the most?” Best part of starting a toy design studio is when I ship the Art Toy , the moment I hand write the thank you note to all my clients, the moment I wrap it up in bubbles, the moment I put the figurine that I spent so many hours from concept, to digital sculpting to 3d printing to cleaning, sanding, priming, air brushing, hand painting and glueing, shipping the product is the moment you know it’s out of your control, you can't tweak it, change it, polish it. The moment I drop off that package, the art toy is out there to be admired, cherished, loved and judged.

karmieh toy design 

I’m going to leave you with this beautiful quote by Seth Godin, whose books have helped me so much in this new journey:

 

Sign your work...If you're not proud of it, don't ship it. If you are, sign your work and own the results. We'll know who to thank. If you work for a place where work goes unsigned (internally, in particular) it's worth asking why. Seth Godin

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