Wedding flowers, comics, marriage, and mental load.

I attended a wedding just seven days ago, and it was an incredible afternoon and evening.

The design choices, speeches, and spirit of the event could not have been more bright and joyful.

I want to share one photo of the wedding flowers. They embodied this sense of joy; new beginnings; pure celebration, and shared love between the couple.

Babies breath, white chrysanthemum, and a light-pink rose  represented these sensations. I was definitely grateful to be there.

But where is marriage going in the future? What stresses are there on couples, and how can these be understood and solved?

To start answering these questions, I wanted to share  a short comic on marriage and relationships that was recently translated into English.

On their website, cartoonist and blogger Emma calls her comics “ugly sketches”. Regardless, the content presents a vital discussion about mental load and long-term marriage.

But you might ask, what is mental load?

It’s the finite capacity humans have for information processing.

Mental Load could also be called Cognitive Load.

John Sweller talks about cognitive load from a teaching perspective:

Humans have limited ability to actively plan, and acquire new information.

There is a finite amount of Working Memory available when processing information.

Exceeding mental load too often results in stress.

Ideally , problem solving, learning, and sharing of new information will not exceed cognitive working load (Solomon, 2015, Instructional Design).

In a long-term marriage, under the pressure of a society placing household management demands mainly on women – as Emma delineates in the comic – reducing long term marriage stress between partners flows from making a few societal changes:

  • Manage toys and gender stereotypes given to children growing up.
  • Encourage closer ties between fathers and their families by introducing more paternity leave options for parents.

Emma delineates more of these problems and solutions, on mental load and marriage, in their comic:

Source: You Should’ve Asked, by Emma

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Nendoroid Link from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

With the Nintendo Switch release, the uptick in Nintendo and Legend of Zelda discussion on social media might be close to saturation point. That being said, there is 12 days remaining to pre-order a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Nendoroid Link. Having now played the game, I think collectors or Legend of Zelda fans might benefit from knowing that the Nendoroid is still available to pre-order til March 16, 2017.

The artwork behind the Nendoroid toys is high detail, and there are two versions of the Breath of the Wild Nendoroid Link:

The standard Nendoroid Link.979497f3fddcbd31106b389dcade57d8

And the Deluxe Nendoroid Link.2daeafa4b87ee0e6ad9c38bf2b344164

The key differences are:

The Deluxe version contains “an axe, club, chicken leg as well as his hood and even a horse for Link to ride on” (GoodSmile.info).

The Deluxe versions Recommended Retail Price is 1203 more Yen compared to the standard version before tax, and not including shipping.

Pre-orders for both versions of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild Nendoroid Link are still open until March 16, 2017.

Toy photography and merchandise photography from WhimsyCalling

WhimsyCalling is a source of whimsical creatures. At WhimsyCalling, artist Dayna Corbitt creates a variety of mythical, and whimsical, monsters and creatures.

This week, I noticed Corbitt posted a short description of how they photograph their merchandise on Instagram. The setup Corbitt has put together would work well for toy photography, and gives an insight into how to photograph sculptures, toys, and merchandise as an independent artist. A useful post for anyone interested in toy photography and merchandise photography.
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I know this pic isn’t very exciting, but it is for me. I’ve been struggling with my photography setup for EVER. I finally bought a flexible tripod and decided to throw in a $12 lazy Susan. So the base is a marble slab from Home Depot that sits on a lazy Susan, which I can spin to my desired angle. The backdrop is simply a cardboard display, which is foldable and easily stored. The white also reflects sunlight. I always use natural light for my photos and brighten them up a bit in photoshop. #photography #solutions #merchandisephotography #dorkyexcitement #flexpod

A post shared by Dayna Corbitt (@whimsycalling) on Feb 23, 2017 at 3:36pm PST

You can purchase a creation from the WhimsyCalling Etsy store, or follow Corbitt to see more creatures on Instagram.

How to paint Super Sculpey with masters series miniature paints

After writing a post on Victreebel’s Pokedex entry, I was inspired to sculpt my own Victreebel miniature. This post is a recap of the sanding and painting, with some basic ‘how-to’ information in the last few paragraphs on priming surfaces and painting.

I’m using a Super Sculpey product for this project. I’m also using Masters Series Paints, and some Norton brand, wet and dry sandpaper I found at a local hardware store in 600, 800, and 1000 grade roughness.

The sculpture aspect of shaping Victreebel was not the key challenge here. My
experience base is making figures and sculpts out of clay and plasticine. The
real challenges was trying to be patient, and work slowly.

I did not succeed in having patience this time.

I baked the clay without taking time to smooth over the surface. It emerged from the over perfectly baked, but also a bit lumpy, rough, and dotted with finger marks.

The solution to this issue, was to practice sanding the polymer clay to
create a smooth surface.

Using a plastic container (which used to hold butter) as a water dish, I soaked the miniature and sandpaper in water. Then, I gently sanded Victreebel, turning the miniature back and forth under the sandpaper.

I moved upward through the sandpaper numbers, from harder to softer – from 600 through to 1000 – until the surface lost its rough texture, and the finger marks faded out.

For painting Super Sculpey, an undercoat will help, after sanding. Layering washes of colour will build up a solid coat, and reduce brush strokes.

Super Sculpey needs an undercoat with miniature paints, which I discovered. I specifically used Master Series Paints. Priming the surface with a brush on primer produced a more vibrant and full colour, even with just a wash layer.

Wash layers are a mix of pure paint, and then water, such that the painting a streak of colour on a paper towel leaves a line of colour that slowly changes to a pale, washed out version of the colour.

One of the first painting techniques for the miniature is to apply a black wash to the places where two parts of the miniature join, or where two different colours meet. In this case, it is Victreebel’s body and leaves, its mouth and top leaf, and the vine, which I made separately to glue on later.

After blocking out the joins with a black wash, and priming, I applied layers of washes to build up a solid coat of paint.

Without the primer, it took 4 layers to get close to a solid, lemon yellow colour for Victreebel’s body. For the leaves, I experimented with the primer, and the pale, meadow green colour. The result was a solid colour block in two layers.

For more information on the Master Series Paints, their Reaper Mini website has a list available paint by series, and a useful colour identification tool.

Yuri on Ice Nendoroid – Yuri Katsuki

Reporting on the GoodSmile blog – the english translation – writer and blogger Kahotan describes the new Yuri on Ice Nendoroid figure as perfectly capturing Yuri Katsuki’s personality. Particularly the hair sculpt, and Katsuki’s smile, which embraces the nervousness of the character, and the romance of the anime.

Nendoroid figures are toys with multiple points of articulation, and highly detailed, hand painted craftwork, which is used to complete the characters expressive faces, and colourful costume and hair.

Kahotan’s blog shows off a complete gallery of the new Nendoroid.

Here’s one photo of Katsuki’s confident, figure skating pose and expression:

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Jigglypuff Amiibo Toy Photography and Pokemon Fan Fiction

Just before New Year, I decided to test my photo skills with toy photography of my Jigglypuff amiibo. Searching for some scaled down grass tufts, and a specific rocky garden wall that could resemble Mount Moon, was not too difficult. Not having a professional set, or the facts on how to scale down for toy photograph, I’m unsure of the overall quality. Regardless, I think I’ve captured Jigglypuff’s Kanto habitat.

Inspired by Pokemon Sun and Moon’s character arc, and the photography, I thought of a short story and fan fiction set after the main events of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon.

If you’re not into fan fiction, that’s okay, please enjoy the photos. For others interested, please read on. Spoilers for the Pokemon Sun and Moon character arcs to follow.

December 30, 2016.

Pokemon News Press – Ume Region.

Kanto, Route 3. East of Pewter City.

With just 24 hours before the New Year, and only 8 hours until my plane back home was set to depart, I made one last attempt at venturing out to snap a photo of the round Pokemon Jigglypuff. Some experts say that this Pokemon resembles a Voltorb viewed from the front. Since we don’t see very many Kanto Pokemon in the Ume Region, aside from Kangaskhan and Cubone, I had to ask  my editor.

“But, what’s a Voltorb look like again?”.

“It’s like a Magnemite, but without the magnets and screws. And bright red.”

I didn’t ask what a Magnemite was. I had a vague idea of round shapes as a I went out on the hunt.

I had  climbed up the foothills of Mount Moon when she crossed my path. A confident looking young woman walked by. She was dressed entirely in white, save for a rose coloured backpack that looked expensive, like something that might be for sale in the Kalos Region. It was simple, cut in a rucksack style, but the quality of the fabric was clear.

I turned back to my work. I had spotted some Spearow far away from the road, flying away from Mount Moon, which loomed large nearby. The shutter clicked. I snapped several photos, as the little red, brown, and black birds disappeared in the direction of Cerulean city.

“Excuse me, did you just take my photo?”

I heard a voice. Confident. Incredulous. I turned back around, and she was standing there, hands on her hips.

“No, I’m taking photos of some Spearow. Here let me show you.”
I nudged the gallery button, and held up the screen for her to see. She walked over, and looked down at the screen. Nodding, she and stood up again.

“I thought you were maybe the bad kind of photographer”

“No not me. I’m a photographer for the Pokemon News Press in the Ume region.”

“Where?”

“The Ume region is a long way south of Kanto. You need to ride a plane, even past the Sevii islands.”

“Ooh, that’s a long way, but it’s worth a long journey if you can discover more about yourself. I arrived here from the Alola region just recently.”

“Alola? You know about Komala then!”

“Yes! One of my best friends is raising a Komala!”

We caught up over Pokemon common to both our regions. Eventually, we got to talking about Jigglypuff.

“I’m looking for one, and I’m going to add one to my team.”

“Well I’m going to photograph one.”

“Let’s go then!”

She sounded so bright and confident. I wondered for a second if she was always this energetic. Eventually, walking further toward the mountain, My neck prickled. We were being watched. I looked up, aiming my camera up at the edge of Mount Moon, just over a small patch of grass. I nudged the shutter. This was my first Jigglypuff photo.

“I’m going up there to catch that Jigglypuff. Thanks so much, good to meet you!”

“Okay. Good luck! Bye!”

And she was gone, just over the ridge. I waited, sitting quietly in the grass. With the sun just starting to turn the day into lazy, gold afternoon, I saw a Jigglypuff. It was bouncing happily through the grass. This was my second photo, something that I could publish at last.