Show and Tell: My first custom vinyl creation

3:00 PM on 12.03.2010 // Brian Szabelski

A few months ago, I came to a conclusion that led to a promise. It perhaps all started when I began noticing that many of my cohorts in the vinyl blogosphere — SpankyStokes, Brian Slivka of Plastic and Plush, Andy Heng of toysrevil and our own Rio McCarthy — were making a few customs here and there. Others, like Jeremy Brautman were curating shows. Or like George and Ayleen Gaspar of Toy Break, they were making figures themselves.

And I had done ... nothing. I had ideas floating in my head all the time, ideas I wrote down and promised to get to one day, but I had nothing to show for it. So I promised myself that I would one day get something in a show, no matter how small it might be. And that pretty much limited me to whatever the next big open call show was. That show happened to be Munky King's Omi Show, which was not too soon before Genuine Artikle put out the open call for their Almighty Dunny show.

So, instead of getting to do the Pokemon-themed Dunny that might be my next project, you got stuck with this. Hit the jump and check out my first custom ...

... who goes by the name of Love Hamster. Say hello, Love Hamster.

Love Hamster is the culmination of hard work, that promise I made to myself months ago and the unchecked imagination I've had running since I was a young boy. It's a piece that I was, in fact, nervous about, especially after seeing some of the other Omis that were sent in posted on artist websites. It's not flashy, it's not complex and it's probably not at all the start of me becoming the next Chris Ryniak, DrilOne or J*RYU. But it's something I made, and even if it's not as cool as some other people's might seem, I'm proud of it.

Love Hamster began originally when I decided to participate in The Omi Show. Since there were four different Omi masks and I was only getting one, I conceivably had to come up with four different possible ideas. Love Hamster was, in fact, the initial idea I had for the Bear Omi mask. I realized that looked at from the right perspective, the bear face looked a bit similar to a hamster or mouse's body, and since I happen to like hamsters, that's what I went with.

In the unused photo from my Omi review you see above, I was actually attempting to hint at what my design would have looked like on the Omi, having gone into my photo editing program and spent a good hour and a half working on the picture. But I decided against using it and it was sitting on my computer ... until now.

This was the original base design I came up with on my computer. Just a plain white hamster with a little heart. The heart is on there because ... well, I needed something to help break up the design and help the little fellow stand out. So I figured a little heart in his paws might do the trick.

From there, it became an exercise in figuring out just how to apply the design above onto the Omi below. I realized that transferring a 2-D image onto a 3-D object leads to some changes pretty quickly: the eyes had to be moved close together, the mouth shortened a bit to make it look a little better. After spending about 20 minutes tracing out the face, I whipped out my fine-tipped Sharpie and went to work, repeating the process on the body. All told, it took roughly about 75-90 minutes to doodle on this little guy the way I wanted: 

And this was the end result. Unfortunately, the more I looked at the first version of Love Hamster in its black, red and white color, the more I realized that ... well, it looked like a bear and not a hamster. Something had to be done, and that something was to add in a splash of orange.

Originally, he was going to be gray, but alas, the only place that apparently sells gray Sharpies is Office Depot and I was not driving 45 minutes for a Sharpie. So orange he became, colored in very carefully. I also added in little whiskers just to be sure people didn't think it was a bear. 

I also ended up coloring more orange than I'd expected: Love Hamster's ears were supposed to be white, but I couldn't get the detail around the ears I had wanted to without the marker bleeding over onto them, so I said, "Screw it" and went with orange ears, too. I think it looks a little better, in hindsight.

Once I had him done and packed away, I sent him off to the post office and spent a whole three days worried that somehow, he'd get sent back to me and wouldn't make it to Los Angeles in time. But as I haven't gotten Love Hamster back, he either made it (yay!) or he's lost somewhere in the U.S. Postal Service system.

What honestly makes me most proud, though, is that Love Hamster snuck onto the official Omi Show flier. Bottom left corner, right below where the time is. I pretty much ran around my apartment in a victory lap upon seeing this in my inbox yesterday.

The Omi Show opens next Saturday, December 11, at Munky King in Los Angeles. If you go, look for this little guy buried inbetween all the other Omi on display there. He's the little orange fellow who loves you.

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Brian Szabelski, Editor-in-Chief
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Brian Szabelski is Tomopop's Editor-in-Chief, stuck with an ever-growing collection of figures and toys. When he's not posting on Tomopop, he can usually be found working on any number of project... more   |   staff directory

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