Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mandarin Orange Crate Helicopter Day Two

This is the fourth year that I've built a mandarin orange crate vehicle, this year I decided to try to do a helicopter. There are some problems with it but nothing that can't be solved with some adjustments, I think that it looks too boxy right now like a truck instead of a chopper so I need to remove the sides and change them out with something else.
Time is also a factor, there's a lot going on this holiday season (as always) and I may not get as much time with the piece to get the look I want.
Come back in a few days and we'll see where I'm at.
A.Shay Hahn

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pospsicle Stick Brick Walls, Rehearsal Hall Build

If you want to add texture to your brick walls, here's a simple trick. Water down some wood glue (just a bit) and brush it onto your (popsicle stick) bricks. Get some Kleenex, separate the sheets (if it's two ply -lucky yo!u!) and lay it down gently over the bricks. Go back and get some more glue/water mix and then brush it on, it will give you the textures you see in photo #1.
Once that is dry you can basecoat in grey (add a little bit of brown and black to your grey) and brush it on, once that has dried just dry brush on some brick colours and you'll have something like looks like photo #3.
Photo #2 are the fire doors that I built, these can be easily made by cutting some up foam core board (you can get it at Dollarama/ Dollar Tree etc.) take some hard card or Bristol board and glue it down, I made the rest of the hardware out of some skinny dowel and coffee stirrers.
Find some shots of old bricks and you can end up with the bottom photo which is loosely based on the Soul Pepper Theatre Company rehearsal hall.
Don't forget to head to the Cameron House (in Toronto) to see my annual show of paintings
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Building Up A Stock For 2015 Diorama Projects

There's a great craft store in Perth (near Ottawa) that my wife and I visit about twice a year. They have a whole display of small wooden bits like those pictured above. Stuff like this is hard to come by at a reasonable price but this store has a huge selection for great prices. I'm planning on getting to building some new large dioramas that are more planned than what I've made before I'll be printing them and selling them as prints when I get the first comics published.
Wait, what? Comics? Yes, heard over to the Homeless G-Men blog (see side bar) and have a look at what I've been doing for the past six months. Also coming up in November will be my annual show at the Cameron House (Toronto) so head over there soon to see some finished paintings.
Here's a link to the store's website
talk soon,
A.Shay Hahn

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Men In Suits

Hey everyone, I'm still here I've just been busy on the other blogs (see mad craft shoppe and Homeless G-Men posts) but I thought I'd stop in to let you know all is well. I still have plans to finally shoot some of the dioramas and make prints of the pics but one thing was holding me back and I've discussed it here before, normal looking figures. It's very difficult to find highly poseable (is that a word?) figures for a reasonable price. ie;  a Marvel Universe Professor X will run you over $20.00 easy, so when you find some guys like Agent J up there you scoop'em up. I actually have eleven of these dudes and soon I'll be painting them and swapping out the heads.
So yes, there are still many plans in the works and there will be more builds and tutorials for you to see. In book news I want to do one more pass on Any How Town Book One and then send it to an editor so they can fix up some of the grammar in the book and then I'll put it online for  you to read. More on that later.
Alright I'm heading out to the backyard to do some drawing today
hope all is well
A.Shay Hahn

Friday, February 14, 2014

Building A Popsicle Stick Factory

Here are the first three steps in assembling the empty factory room that I'll use for a few different shoots for AHT, Noir Town, my comic series or whatever I need it for. I wanted a lot of texture so I brushed on rough aquarium sand (photo 1) and then added a very thin application of air drying clay (photo 2) this is my first time working with air hardening clay I hope it sticks to the wood, I lightly applied a coat of wood glue to it to help it hold I also added wood glue to the grey basecoat (photo 3). I can't wait to start painting in the highlights it should look pretty boss.
In book news I am on hiatus from the Any How Town series, I just need a break from it, I have to write a new query letter, firm up the intro and then send it off to an editor for corrections. I just can't deal with it right now I get bored when I open the file and I shouldn't be bored, it's an exciting book and I want to get it out, it has been one hell of a learning experience but I'm going to work on the first book when I have the urge and the necessary commitment. I have made mistakes along the way , it's my first book I can't be too hard on myself but I really thought I would have secured an agent by now. The book will still be finished and published (along with the rest of the series) but I have to do something else so I'm working on a new book this time for a young adult audience, I've nailed the concept and the period I'm just doing a tonne of notes today to get it firmed up so I can start writing.
Happy Valentine's Day
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Popsicle Stick Loading Dock

Hey folks Happy 2014!
I always wanted to make a cool loading dock set and got to it this weekend. I was shooting the whole process and I may put up some photos if anyone has any questions about the build.
I want to mention that at the Home Depot in the offcuts area you can buy 24x24 inch sheets of luon or masonite for about $3.00 it's a great deal and really handy to have around for large walls or getting a good base for your building.
The total cost of this build was less than $20.00 it's comprised of popsicle sticks, coffee stirrers, corner bits from prestretched canvases and tooth picks.
In the world of Any How Town I'm going to go for yet another pass on Book One and rewrite my
query letter which seems to be the biggest problem with the book - I thought I had a good one and then got some feedback on it during Pitch Wars and it actually isn't very good at all, so it's time to start that over.
A.Shay Hahn

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day Four - Double Mandarin Orange Crate Tank WIP

So after getting the base coats on and adding highlights, dirt and shadows it was time to make the walker legs. I figured that it would take up less space if I built tank treads instead and here they are. I have no idea why I'm still doing this or what I'm going to do when I'm finished this piece - but that is a question for the New Year.
A.Shay Hahn

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mandarin Orange Crate Walker - Day Three WIP

 Day Three Two Colour Basecoat is on. This is the day when I start to question why I built the thing in the first place. Basecoating is dull, but you have to do it - and detailing is even worse. I think I really just prefer building the things. I think I would prefer to make more fortune just leaving them unpainted.
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Double Mandarin Orange Crate Walker, Ready for Paint!

I've added the adjustable helicopter launch pad, I also beefed up the front walls of the walker to get rid of the straight lines. I'm going to paint this soon and then see if I need to add legs to it or if it can pass without them, it's pretty.
A.Shay Hahn

Double Mandarin Orange Crate Troop Carrier WIP

I've started a tradition every year I take a couple of mandarin orange crates and make walkers out of them, it's a fun thing to do while watching holiday movies. This year I decided to up my game and combine TWO crates. As usual all materials are purchased from the Dollar Store -except the oranges of course. This is Day One - I've since added a moving platform and I'll try to get some work done on it and post a photo tomorrow.
A.Shay Hahn

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Sketches During Pitch Wars

Pitch Wars announcements are on Dec. 11th, I've been drawing a lot since the contest began, my skills are pretty rusty and I'd promised myself a few months ago that I would do a drawing a day - man that sure was forgotten about quickly.
The top drawing is off Oliver (our hero) getting on a Sputter Jack, I have know idea if he's going to be able to start it or even control it, we'll just have to wait and see
The second drawing is of Brinker one of his brother's best friends - how did he get the scars on his face? What's up with that bat? You'll just have to wait for the books to come out.
Took down my show of paintings at the Cameron House today (see my other blog, the mad craft shoppe) but I still have work hanging at Snakes and Lattes and Super Jet Intl. for the month of December.
A.Shay Hahn

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pitch Wars Sketched (cont'd)

Here are the rest of the sketches, there will probably be more especially if crazy events like Gmail actually crashing from mentors accessing their pitches (second photo) and of course the "PitchWars Hangover" as one writer called it this morning. I've been sketching as things have been happening over on twitter - who knows what's coming next?
Thanks to all who have come and checked out the pics.
A.Shay Hahn

Pitch Wars Sketches

I submitted to Pitch Wars this year a contest that pairs writers with mentors who work on manuscripts together and then go on to an agenting round. You can read more about it at Brenda Drake's blog here
While tweaking my query letter and the first five pages of my manuscript I would take breaks and do sketches of Oliver and Eaglet to post over on the twitter hashtag "PitchWars" to let folks know how it was going. This is the first batch of sketches, I'll post the rest later.
It's been a lot of fun chatting back and forth with other writers on twitter, it's the first time I've really felt a part of something in a long time.
I haven't heard anything from the mentors I submitted to but the announcements aren't until Dec. 11th so I'll do my best to not be too distracted and keep on working.
many thanks to Brenda Drake for putting this contest together.
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Growing Ranks of the Adventure Fellas

(Click to see the Adventure Fellas Team!)
We're up to six figures now (which sounds like I'm talking about money, but I'm not) I'm just calling these guys the Adventure Fellas for the hell of it. I need lots of folks who look more like the figure at the end (which is an Indiana Jones body with an AT-AT driver's head) who I'm calling Clark Gregg for now.
Painting is going extremely well today for the show at the Cameron House (head over to the mad craft shoppe blog to see the work) the Reception will be Saturday November 2nd from 6-9pm with music by the Rattlesnake Choir.
Get in touch with me if you have any questions
A.Shay Hahn

Friday, October 4, 2013

who's next on the mod block?

Now what you see here are a Star Wars Mandaloran Clone guy (on the left, I cut off his "dress" in an earlier blog post) and a fantastic Russian soldier from the last Indiana Jones film (which really that bad, except for how they treated Ray Winstone) we're going to first switch heads, then add some gear and make two completely new figures - stay tuned.
In painting news (see the mad craft shoppe blog) things are going really well, the show will be up in a couple of weeks and the Opening will be on Saturday, Nov. 2nd from 6-9pm with music by the Rattlesnake Choir- at the Cameron House of course, it's gonna be a good one folks.
A.Shay Hahn

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mr.Fantastic man of plastic

Just a quick paint job and the addition of a G.I Joe Retaliation bomb disposal vest that I cut down the middle to make a jacket. I'm going to paint some high lights on the tabs and other bits to give it some dimension.
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Character A Day

Right now I'm up to my elbows getting work ready for my annual November show of paintings at the Cameron House so I haven't had any time to write or build anything, it's all paint, paint, paint.
What I am doing is taking one figure a day and modding it and getting it painted, here are some G.I Joes that I've been swapping heads and vests etc. to make new characters.
I hope to do one a day and then when I'm ready to switch back to building dioramas and writing Any How Town I'll have a whole whack of characters to work with to pose and make some cool photo prints or perhaps, maybe, just maybe build some scenes that I'll illustrate as comic panels.
I am still stinging a bit from the amount of rejections that I received about Book One so I'm going to do another pass on it, but I've been doing my research and my optimism is high that a literary agent will see the value and talent and work that I've put into this world. I've been reading summaries of other books in the MG market and I'm still at a bit of a loss at the lack of interest in the series, but that's a problem for another time.
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Reindeer Moss and that is all

Picked up some Reindeer Moss today at a Dollar Tree, it's less tightly packed than that combat coloured thick ropey fake moss that is usually sold at Dollar Stores, should come in handy filling in well, grassy spots I suppose.
A.Shay Hahn

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Marvel Girl, Mods and such

Once I get myself a little further ahead than I am now with my paintings for the November show at the Cameron House (see "mad craft shoppe" blog, sidebar) I may attempt to do some modding. I picked up this Marvel Girl figure at a Toy'r'Us and I figure that she'll be perfect for the experiments in painting, application and sculpting that I want to try. I won't be doing anything to crazy I just want to take this figure and make it look like 1) it's clothed 2) it doesn't have a mask on 3) cover up those ridiculous boob marbles.
The ending of Book Two (which I'm on a short break from) is really coming together, I even surprised myself with a couple of new revelations in the story, which felt great.
A.Shay Hahn

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Canvas Supports, Wood Kits and Rest

Got a great chunk of Book Two transcribed yesterday so I'm taking the day to do some drawing for my annual show at the Cameron House in November (mark your calendars now) and maybe this evening I'll get around to do some building. The top photo are the canvas supports that come with the prestretched canvases you can buy at most art supply stores, these things are awesome for your diorama builds, I use them to make wheelbarrows, crates, stair treads you name it.
The second photo is one of the wood kits that I posted yesterday, just look at those circles! Circles punch outs are great for adding detail to wheels, so if you see a kit with circles I suggest you snap them up.
Alright down to the studio to cause some chaos, head over to the mad craft shoppe blog (see links, right side bar) to check out my paintings.
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wood Kits, Pellet Guns and Edits

Back from a great weekend out of town, hikes in the woods, digging through abandoned Mika (how do you spell Mika?) pits, shooting pool,buying Wasabi Horseradish and all the while doing edits on Book Two and finding some small holes that have to be plugged in Book One and Two.
I thought I was really and truly finished with Book One but I have to go in and make some changes, the first chapter has to change, it moves, but just a little too slowly for my liking compared to the rest of the book, I did say that set ups are set ups, but I found a more fun way into the book. Here's a tip don't start with your character waking up, that's a start for you, not for the reader, so kill it and find something better.
The Book Two adds are going to be great, look forward to getting them in there, as long as it may take  I might hold off on pursuing agents until I'm finished the third book, not sure about this yet, but maybe that's the way to go, it's going to be killer on my pocket book but I want these books to sell and be loved, as much as I have loved working on them.
Picked up these great wood kits just outside of Ottawa, I've never come across these ones before (Canadian Made!) they will make fine additions to the models.
On a sad note I came home to hear that James Gray has left us, he was an incredible musician, a great keyboardist, accordion player and one of a kind curmudgeon. The stages across Canada will miss you James, I'll miss hearing your music in the many darkened bars I frequent.
A.Shay Hahn

Friday, August 2, 2013

Query Letters, Climaxes and the Editing Dog

First off, I wrote a great chunk (22 pages) of the end of Book Two yesterday, sure it's barely legible and covered in notes and scribbles, but it's a huge leap forward. I've mostly been editing in the second book, clearing out stuff that was either slowing down the pacing or just sounded awkward, but I hadn't written the ending yet. I had notes that told me where I was going, the last chapter was pretty firm but I had to get my characters there in a way that was fun, action packed and clear, and I did it, very, very happy.
Secondly, I hate my query letter, when I first wrote it and revised, it was very concise, very clear about the first book in the series, but it wasn't any fun, it really didn't reach out and grab you, this was a huge mistake on my part as I've sent it out to 25 agents,  this is a big set back, in hindsight I shouldn't have starting contacting agents without spending more time with the letter, I am doing some revisions on it and making it more unique. In fact the word "unique" was only one of the mistakes I made writing the letter, of course it's unique, I have to tell them why.
I've also stopped drinking coffee, one in the morning, and then switching to non caffeinated tea, I was guzzling the stuff while editing and all it did was upset my stomach and reduce my patience, so that also was a mistake.
I don't always know when to take a break and walk away to collect my thoughts, luckily my dog Double tells me when it's time to go on his walk. First he waits patiently for the right time, then we discuss the matter and then he puts the full weight of his tiny head on my arm and stops the writing before I put something down that I might have to change later, it seems to be working.
have a great day,
A.Shay Hahn

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tragedy, WorldBuilding, Big Questions

Does a character have to have a personal tragedy in their lives to be the catalyst and motivator in their quest?
I wrestled with this a lot during the early days of writing the first book (as yet unpublished) of the series. Did Oliver need something to happen to him that helped propel him forward - when writing query letters is it important to include this information? Oliver's family has suffered tragedy, his brothers have been injured in the war, both in ways that have changed them, would it be too much to add another dead brother to the mix?
Should I start off a book with a nightmare about a dead brother?
 I thought and wrote about it a lot in my notes - it felt moribund to me and played out in books - "Oh look he's got a dead brother, he's an orphan etc. etc.
Death is not that romantic to me.
I wanted these books to be about a young kid who grows up on his adventures, he brings villains to justice, he exposes ugly truths, why should he be crippled emotionally too ? If we was, it may have made him weak, unable to find the reserves that he needed to complete the journey that he's on, he's a young kid, if he was already fragile and something upset him wouldn't he just run home to his Mother ? What would his parents be like if they too were getting over a tragedy ? The book would begin with such a heavy pall over it I wouldn't want to read past the fifth page.
Why do some authors insist on beating the crap out of their characters so they can find just a little bit more courage inside them? It reads like total bullshit to me.
I want my books to be entertaining, I want a kid to have fun, yes fun, reading my story.
I want this series to fool the reader, not in a malicious way, it begins as one story and gradually as things are discovered a larger picture is revealed that changes the main character and everyone around him. I think a middle grade reader wants to identify first with the characters, they want to see themselves and if the world I have built presents itself as sunny first, so be it, because by the time we get to the end of the quest that world is a very different place, darker, and more dangerous.
Here's a link to literary agent Gemma Cooper's blog entry on world building, there some good stuff here and some great shots of the Harry Potter Studio Tour, she makes good points about time, how long does it take for a character to get from one place to the other? This was a major issue for me when writing my series and I had FUN, yes fun figuring out all kinds of methods that I could use to move my main characters around in good time.
I have received two rejections in the past two days, one from what I would call a "Longshot Agent" one that I submitted to but who wasn't quite looking for my type of project, close  but not quite a match and the second was someone I would have liked to work with. It's tough I guess I've set up a couple of challenges for myself that would be better explained in a conversation but if your query/writing sample doesn't give enough or hook them immediately, just move on.
I don't mind the rejections, I've received 11 so far of about 25 queries that I've sent out, it's a competitive time in publishing especially for MG and YA fiction.
No pictures for you this morning, maybe later on.
A.Shay Hahn

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Villains, Sea Shanties and 12,000 words

I really enjoy creating villains and the books are full of them, there are all kinds of dastardly and nefarious gangs running amok in the streets each with their own distinct uniforms and preferred methods of combat. In the second book I've also written one song and am finishing another that ends the book, luckily I have many musician friends and I can already picture one group in particular performing the songs at a book launch. There is just so much I enjoy about these books that I'm able to take everything I loved as a child from comics to movies and mix it all up and pour it out.
I've got room for a lot of new pages and I'm currently writing the first climax of book two, feels good.
The above drawing is of one of the gangs, not giving away their name just yet but I do have a couple of Marvel Universe Juggernaut figures that I could mod pretty quickly to look like the guy above, but that will have to wait, gotta get to the end of this book first.
A.Shay Hahn

Monday, July 29, 2013

Modern Times, Airport Trucks and 12,000 words to go

As you can see while I was laid up with a mangled jaw I did do some small builds for the dioramas I made a bunch more of these cogs for another "Modern Times" themed diorama, this time I'd like to do a classic Clock Tower set complete with moving hands and all kinds of ropes and pulleys. The second photo is of a small fuel or baggage truck like you see at the airport.
I'm back into editing on Book Two and really enjoying chopping out the dead stuff to make room for the 12,000 more words that I need to get to in the next couple of weeks, I did get a bit stuck for awhile, obviously the break at the cottage has done me some good and I'm hacking crap out like there's no tomorrow.
As always if you have any questions about the Book Series or the diorama builds send me an email.
A.Shay Hahn