Slightly fish-related wallet

I’ve had a really nasty pink fake-leather wallet for quite a few years, and after I painted the fake leather shoes I realized that I could probably make my wallet less disgusting.

I might have actually made it more disgusting, but in a very different way. The process with basically the same as the shoe process. I sanded down the leathery bits until the shininess was gone (not that it was particularly shiny. After years of use it probably would have been fine without sanding), gesso’d all the bit I sanded, then painted over it with the thicker artist grade paints. Then I sealed it with two coats of glossy varnish.

The whole thing!

This panel has a nasty drooling mohawk-dinosaur, a rainbow and some weirdly ugly and spastic looking birds.

This panel has an octopus driving a tractor to clean up a lot of anarchy-fish. Please note that I wish I knew how to draw an octopus, but I don't.

This was sort of an experiment. Normally when I set out to paint a thing, I always what to paint something that looks exactly what it’s supposed to be. So for this project I wanted to force myself not to do that. Therefore, I was not allowed to Google “octopus” or “tractor” to find pictures so that I knew what they looked like. So I’m left with a slightly odd looking octopus and tractor. Which seems fine.

The paint has held up well so far for the last week, which is good! This didn’t take too long, probably 6 hours. And I finished last week. Yay!


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I painted this pair of half-jeans during my freshman year of college. They were a bit too small at the time, so I haven’t really worn them much. So they haven’t been washed yet. I wonder if the paint would stay on.

It's a bee and a rose. I HATE BEES, but this one looks friendly.

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Unexplainable colorful shoes

Something new is finally going to happen here. And it’s… pleather! Okay that’s not actually exciting. Read on…

This year, my winter term project was painting things (more on that later). The first thing I painted was a car. So afterward, I felt a little bored with canvas shoes. I decided to try something a little different. To prep the car for painting, we had to sand it so the paint would adhere. I thought, why couldn’t the same thing work with pleather shoes? I found a nice pair of black hipster boots and decided to try.

First, David and I sanded the shoes. When doing this, it's important to get all the shiny bits off... shiny is what the paint won't stick to.

Then, I covered them both in gesso, to help the paint stick better.

Then, I painted colorful blobs on them, and painted busy patterns over them.

Then I sealed them with varnish (a cheap kind of satin craft varnish), and was done!

All done.

These took an incredibly long time! At least 20 hours. I finished them last week. I’ve been wearing them a lot, and have noticed some sad problems. The first problem: they squeak. A TON. It’s pretty awful, but I think it’ll get better with time. The second problem: They have cracked in the areas where the shoe bends a lot. It makes sense, but it didn’t happen with the canvas shoes which is perplexing. I have theories as to why this might happen. I used artist-grade (or whatever it’s called… classy fancy paint) acrylics, which are thicker and form kind of a skin. I didn’t dilute the paint at all, so it was a thicker layer. That’s basically my only theory.

I’m going to keep wearing them to see if the cracking worsens or if there’s a way I can fix it. Maybe if I dilute the paint with a flexible thinner or something, that could help… or maybe not.

I repainted them afterward with a more decent glossy varnish, so now they squeak all over again. But I thought that might solve the cracking problem (it didn’t). But it’ll be interesting to see how the varnish protects the paint, how long it lasts, etc.

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Puff the Magic Dragon shoes

I made these for my friend Liz who loves the movie Puff the Magic Dragon. I couldn’t find pictures online, so I just watched the movie over and over until I could draw things from it. It is the BEST movie, so it was definitely worth it.

The shoes are hard to describe, but they're chronologically organized.

Something sad is happening on one, and something happy on the other.

In one, they have some pie. In the other, Puff is very discouraged.

This was the last pair of copyright-infringing shoes I’ve made, so I’m glad that they worked out! I finished these in January 2010 and they took… around 20 hours, I think.

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Friendship-specific shoes

I made these for my friend Caitlin in…uh…March 2010, maybe. She gave me some suggestions, but basically told me to paint whatever I wanted. That’s a dangerous thing to say.

One of them is a shark eating a plane, and the other is a unicorn and a narwhal in love.

These sides have chickens and a trout.

These sides have "catlion" and Skittles the lobster.

These were so much fun! I wish I spent more time on them, though. I’m happy with the front parts but the side panels are pretty shoddy looking. I should have put more thought and effort into the design.

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Winnie the Pooh shoes

I made these for my mom in January 2010. And… that’s all I have to say about them… PICTURES.

Tigger and Pooh

Rabbit and Roo

Piglet and Eeyore

I like these, but I don’t have too much to say about them… I don’t really like painting other people’s characters very much. But these look okay, and I like the painted black outline.

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Body system shoes

This is a pair of shoes that I had for…uh…probably over a year before I actually finished them. I started them, and then stopped, and then went back to college and left the shoes at home, and then when I got back I realized I finally had to do them. They were for a friend who was really into physiology.

Neurons and skeletal system

Digestive system and nervous system

Respiratory system and cardiovascular system

Once I really got started, these were fun! I’m not technically very proud of them, since I needed to finish them pretty quickly. I wish I had spent more time on them… it’s definitely a theme I’d like to try again, I think it has potential.

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