Hey everyone! I was researching Novi Stars recently, and I was lucky enough to stumble across this gem. It is the process of how some miniaturist artists in Los Angeles, including the incredibly gracious, talented, and just plain nice Victoria Cloyes (who also happens to have her own Stop Motion animation show called “Me, The Puppet”), made the set for the Novi Stars doll commercial. I am re-blogging it with permission from An Artist’s Pride blog.
Novi Stars Commercial! Behind the Scenes
September 11, 2012
I just discovered that the commercial spots I worked on a few months ago are up online! I was fabricating little sets for this new line of doll called Novi Stars, and you can find it all over now at Target, Toys R Us, everywhere! Here are a few of the videos!
I thought I’d show you some of the things I fabricated for these elaborate miniature sets. If you watch the adds, you see the dolls “land on Earth” in the middle of this crazy electric city scape. We (I was one of 4 people working on the city) started with these basic foam core forms, and then covered them with styrene squares to create a cool texture. These are the two I did below.
I was working with some tremendously talented people. Adam Lawrence was our fearless leader and art director, and Jed Voltz and Will Potter were fellow fabricators. After all the buildings were done, and after we added a few pre fab buildings from a prop house, the boys got to work covering it with this crazy amazing (expensive) electric tape. Will created all these purple drips to fall down the buildings; it all looked super cool. Here are all the buildings on set, with a few of the little pets in the street.
I’m especially proud of a few sets I worked on. These were the set pieces for the stage set. Going on only a concept sketch, I guessed at the dimensions and geometry, and created these shapes out of styrene and foam core. Then, they were painted and lit. Here they are in the shop:
… and here they are all lit up on set. We added some speakers, and Adam built this giant light box of a stage to add drama. It looked so fantastic! I always love when sets get lit, most satisfying part of the process!
Here was a desk I built, again only going off of a sketch in a concept drawing. (aka, no measurements or dimensions of any sort, only a doll to use as reference.) I first did a mock up in paper using scotch tape, and then when it looked right, rebuilt it with styrene, using milky plexi as the table top. This was a very complex undertaking, as all the geometric sides Really didn’t want to conform to a flat top and bottom, haha. Here’s the paper mock up:
… And here it is on set! I think it looked really fun all painted and in the boutique. More on set art department, Michelle Green and Lindsey Sulski, helped out with the rest of this set, creating the little chair and desk, among other things.
Finally, my favorite piece was this crazy triangular dresser. The geometry on this thing was Quite the challenge, as it is leaning forward, And is tapered, And has drawers. Half way through making it in white styrene, the powers that be decided they wanted the whole thing to light up in blue plexi.
It was an enormous hurdle, as it is Much more difficult to accurately cut and nest thick blue plexi, than it is to cut and nest thin white styrene. I had to do 3 mock ups, ultimately. One in paper, one in foam core, one in styrene and then the final version in blue plexi. Mind you, this was being built on set, on folding tables, with the AD and Director and everyone else watching and pointing at their clocks, haha.
Very high pressure, but hell, who am I kidding: that Of Course, made it super exciting because then it was a game with a deadline. My heart was racing, and I was making sure to focus on every single stroke of the xcto blade, lest I should lose my focus and a finger all in the same moment.
This set also included a blue plexi light up wall, and a revolving tie rack “rotating closet”. Michelle and I were geeking out the whole time at the adorable little outfits, which were excellently constructed and extremely fashion forward. Seriously, they were cute. Here’s a before and after shot! Ps, Michelle made that chandelier, and I loved it so much, I asked if I could bring it home. It’s hanging in our shop.
Woo! This is a long post, but it was a super fun and exciting project, on which I met just a ton of great people. Thanks for checking it out, and be on the look out for tomorrow’s Me, The Puppet entry!
Well, once again, they made the doll look less awesome than the cartoon. Why, oh why, can’t they just make the doll look like the cartoon and not so small-eyed-with-huge-lashes? But frankly, I guess we are super lucky to have gotten a backgrounder doll at all. Why, oh why, can’t they make all the backgrounders into dolls? Anyways, I re-painted her as best I could to look like the cartoon.
Comment any time! Did you dress up as a monster today?
By the way, did ya’ll see these lenticular moving picture/motion stickers at Wal-Mart? They were only $1! But tomorrow Halloween stuff goes on sale, so they’ll only be 50 cents, so get several packs! These little stickers are the perfect size for your haunted dollhouse and any Monster High set-up. They are very creepy-cool!
Close-Up of Beethoven (de)Composing (hee hee, thanks Mr. Brice for that joke!)
I have loved Monster High from the time I first bought Wave 1 Lagoona and Clawdeen back in 2010. But I have always HATED Bratz. Hate them. They look skanky, cheap, and have some of the ugliest eyes in the history of dolls, not to mention they have almost no nose whatsoever and lips that look like female gentalia. So when Bratzillaz came out, I was really taken aback by how beautiful the glass (they are actually plastic but whatever) eyes are, especially Meygana’s, but at the same time I still hated that they were Bratz. So I immediately joined the “Bratzillaz is totally ugly, cheating, copy-cats of Monster High. Monster High Forever!” camp. Even when I saw Vampelina and thought she was kind of cool (again, especially the eyes), I still didn’t buy them and continued to debase them. This pretty much was my viewpoint:
But when I went to Target, (Novi Stars were on sale for $7.48! Oh yes I bought some)
I interrupt this blog to tell a funny true story that happened while I was there:
Funny true story: While I was looking through the Novi Stars, a man came through and started looking through them too. He called his daughter’s name several times and she came running from the next aisle over (she was about 7 or 8 years old). “Look at this, they’re on sale,” he said, handing her Una Verse. The girl SQEALED with delight and said “Ooooo! I’ve been wanting this FOREVER but you’d never buy it for me!” Then she ran back to where she had been before, calling “Mom! Mom!” You could still hear her even on the next aisle: “Look what Dad wants me to get!” The dad (still standing next to me) shouted (to the girl) “I was just showing you! I didn’t say I wanted you to get it!” He seemed just a little sheepish and taken aback at his daughter’s reaction. It was the funniest, sweetest thing. Haven’t we all been there? I think they must have bought it for her because they didn’t put it back. She held it close to her chest with a huge smile on her face and was practically floating when she walked by.
Okay, back to what I was saying:
while I was looking through the Novi Stars, I saw the Bratzillaz Switch-A-Witch packs had been marked down. Marked down to $5.98 for the 2-pack and $3.88 for the single doll pack. I was pretty astonished that they were so cheap. “Well,” I thought, “$10 for 3 dolls is pretty good. The black-and-white one looks like a alien from Original Star Trek’s “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” episode (I know about this because I took a “Science Fiction and U.S. Culture” class to get a History Minor degree), and the silver eyes on the yellow/white one are pretty amazing. If nothing else, they’d be great re-paint practice for that price. Besides, they are a lot like the Monster High “Create-A-Monsters. And I LOVE the Create-A-Monsters.”
So I bought them, still not liking them much.
And then I got home, and opened the box, and put them together.
And now I am a little ashamed to admit that I am a little besotted with Bratzillaz now.
First, I have to say something about the whole “Assemble Your Own Doll With Interchangeable Pieces” concept:
When Monster High first came out with the Create-A-Monster packs, I was elated. I think that is one of the best, most enjoyable concepts in doll history (except of course for their greedy, stupidness of leaving a few pieces out so that you could not have whole, matching dolls, just one whole matching doll and a bunch of pieces).
People have been criticizing MGA Entertainment for doing the same thing with the Bratzillaz Switch-A-Witch packs (except that S-A-W have ALL the pieces to make full matching dolls, even the single pack that looks like the equivalent of the CAM Add-On packs). I think this is stupid on many levels. Even when I hated Bratzillaz, I thought it was stupid to argue against the S-A-W because Monster High is making CAMs. No one says that we should only have Barbies because they invented the fashion doll and everyone else is just a unimaginative, copy-catting imitator (Barbie (Lily Bilder) probably was not the first fashion doll (even in 1:6 scale), that’s not the point. I am making a analogy). Competition is good. Because of it, we have options, lower prices, better quality, and more innovation. I LOVE the assemble-your-own customizable dolls with interchangeable parts and wigs. This is a terrific concept. I am glad it is catching on. I would love to see all doll lines do this. I can’t wait for the day when you can swap heads to give them different facial expressions (shocked, laughing, sleepy, bored, fuming angry, etc.).
First, let’s look at why I had doubts these about these and thought they would be ugly:
The photo ideas are lame and ugly to the point of being foul. They look like clowns. I don’t want clown dolls, thanks.
NOTES: Just so you know (and I’m sure you have already read this, but it bears repeating), one cool thing about these is that the doll bodies are different sizes. The pink/green one has a thinner waist, but shorter, thicker legs. The black/white one has the thinnest legs, and they are longer than the pink/green one. The yellow/white one has long legs like the black/white one, but her calves are thicker. The black/white one and the yellow/white one are the same height. The pink/green one is a little shorter. The heads/head-shapes are all different too.
WHICH COLOR WAS PAINTED ON? On the pink/green doll, the torso and head are actually pink. The green half is paint. The limbs are not painted. On the black/white one, the torso and head is white, the black half is paint. The white limbs are white, the black checkerboard pattern is painted on. The black limbs are not painted. On the yellow/white doll, the head and torso are white, the yellow half is painted on. The limbs are not painted.
Happily, the colors all aline with the limbs all matching (YAY!) so everything matches perfectly on each side EXCEPT for the black/white one’s hands. The black hand is a right hand, but the black side is the left side (BOO!). Luckily, it’s not hard to repaint only two hands, and fortunately black and white are colors that are easy to match.
Also good news, the Monster High stands fit on these, but only if the waist is bare. Since the Monster High stands are in precious short supply now, I know this is little comfort, but I thought I would let you know. Unlike the Monster High CAMs, the S-A-W don’t come with stands. But they do have all the pieces to make full dolls.
So I customized mine. Some of the design decisions weren’t the best in my opinion. I hate “pigtails”, so I took the elastic bands out of the purple/white wig and brushed it out. The black and white wig obviously should go with the black/white doll, but it doesn’t come in the 2-pack, it comes with the yellow/white doll. And the green-blue eyes don’t work with the black-white doll either. I think she should have had the silver eyes (even though the silver eyes are so lovely they work with any doll, and they look really good on the yellow-white doll too). But the silver just looks better in the black/white doll. So I swapped the dolls’ eyes. I tweaked a tutorial I saw on another blog. Here is what I did:
BRATZILLAZ EYE-SWAP TUTORIAL
Step 0: Get supplies together. You will need Bratzillaz heads, something durable, blunt, and thin enough to fit into the neck hole of the doll head (I used scissors, but a un-sharpened pencil or the end of a cap-able pen or a dowel would also work), a bowl, water, a microwave oven, and a towel.
Insert the blunt object into the doll head hole and push against the back of the eye. I didn’t need to heat the vinyl to get the eye out, only to get it back in, but if you need to, you can heat the vinyl around the eye first (more on heating in Step ) to make it easier to remove the eye.
The eye will begin to bulge (it’s rather freaky looking). As soon as a corner of the eye (the eye is kind of squarish, it isn’t actually a ball), use your fingers to work it out of the socket.
The eye is nicely fool-proof. It has 2 short pegs that fit into 2 corresponding holes in the back of the eye socket, so you don’t need to worry about them going back in crooked. They are also marked “L” and “R” for Left and Right. Nifty, right?
Okay, after you have removed all the eyes, it’s time to put the ones you want where they go. To do this, get a small (microwave safe) bowl and put water in it. Microwave it until it boils (a couple of minutes ought to do it). It doesn’t need to boil long. As soon as you see a rolling boil, turn it off.
Put the head back on the blunt object you pushed the eyes out with, and hold the eye sockets in the hot water. You don’t need to put the whole head in the water (so you don’t get water in the head via the neck-hole, and also so the head isn’t too hot to handle), just the eye sockets.
After half a minute to a minute in the hot water, take the head and quickly use your towel to wipe the water out of the eye socket (use a clean, dry towel, not a wet towel. A cold, wet towel will cool the vinyl and defeat the purpose of the hot water bath).
Then squeeze the eye socket WIDE open (it will open really wide–you can’t get it wide enough without heating it first, I tried).
Then work the eye back in. It is kind of hard. The picture below is misleading–I had to put the wide white part of the eye in the socket first before I could get it to go in. I also had to wriggle it, manipulate it, and push really hard. Be careful not to only use force though or the sharp edges of the back of the eye will cut the vinyl around the eye).
Okay, so these are my original characters made from the Bratzillaz Switch-A-Witch Wave 1 packs:
Chia’s name is a play on the word “chiaroscuro” means “the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition”. The “Cheron” part comes from the planet in Original Star Trek’s “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield“.
She also looks like she could possibly be some kind of chess-board person straight out of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. She looks pretty mysterious and quietly powerful.
I used the black-white wig, but to get the black side to match the black half of the doll I had to turn it around and make the back of the wig to face front. Happily the back of the wig looks cool too, maybe even cooler than the front because the back has a stripey twist of black and white right down the middle. I tucked the fringe (bangs) (which I HATE) up underneath the wig cap to hide it.
This doll is SO PRETTY in real life. Everything about her just works perfectly. Her subtle, sweet smile, the half-green, half-pink lips, the one-green-eye-and-one-pink-eye, the pastel colored skin, the shorter, sturdier stature. If you have held one, you know what I mean, If you haven’t, you can’t imagine. Really, pictures don’t do her justice.
Even the hair is pretty, once it is pulled back.
The first thing I thought once I had put this doll together was “ICE CREAM CLONE!”
So I named her Polly-Esther and she is a Ice Cream Clone. If you know what I’m talking about, high five and fist bump! You are a hoopy frood my friend! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you have been missing out.
See, the Ice Cream Clones Polly and Esther are characters from a play called “The Clumsy Custard Horror Show And Ice Cream Clone Review” (by William Gleason). When I was in 10th grade, my high school put this play on. I wasn’t in drama, but some of my friends were, so I went to see it. It was SO GOOD. It was random, silly, hilarious, full of adventure, and the audience got to participate too! If you haven’t read or seen “The Clumsy Custard Horror Show“, you need to!
This is what the script has to say about the Ice Cream Clones:
Narrator: “The Ice Cream Clones. Created in Dacron’s [villain] subterranean laboratory by fermenting pistachio nuts and strawberry ripple ice cream.” (In our play, one Clone was dressed in pink with a bright pink wig, the other was dressed in green with a bright green wig). (page 15)
Narrator: “The incredibly horrible, nasty, no good, rancid Ice Cream Clones.” Polly: “Don’t forget devious.” Narrator: “Was there no level to which they wouldn’t stoop?” Esther: “The lower the better!” (page 56)
Worfle [hero’s friend]: “Don’t worry about the Clones. I’ve settled with them.” (page 78)
Anyways, the Ice Cream Clones were awesome villainesses. It doesn’t say exactly what the Worfle did to them, whether he ate them himself, fed them to the Clumsy Custard, or simply tied them up and let them be blown up with the underground lab. But whatever it was, I like to think that there was enough left of them to scrape together and make a Clone with again. Hence, Polly-Esther, the Ice Cream Clone.
This doll is taking me a bit longer to think of a name for. I was looking at her one day, at each side in turn. The white side with the blue eye reminded me of the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian legend. And suddenly the other side, the yellow side with the green eye and purple hair made me think of the witch Morgan LeFay. I’m not sure if she sprang from some powerful spell the Lady of the Lake and Morgan LeFay cast at each other, Harry Potter-style,
or if she is just a coat-of-arms come to life, but she has something to do with castles and legends.
I was glad they had ALL the pieces to make full, matching dolls in both packages. I wouldn’t have bought them otherwise. That certainly beats stingy Monster High. However, the limbs are made of plastic that is more rubbery, and the joints are, well, very conspicuous and a little awkward looking. The rubbery legs bend forward too far at the knees. I like Monster High much better on these accounts. The harder plastic is better quality, the knees don’t bend forward further than a regular human’s do (other than Robecca). and the joints are subtle. The wigs are nice, no pegs, they fit on the head very snugly like a hat.
The dolls themselves are stellar. They look far better in home, out of the box than in the store. I thought the perfectly symmetrical split of color was stupid initially, but now I love it and I think it is very original and cool. The eyes are wonderful. The faces, unlike regular Bratz, have nice expressions and are pretty. The bodies and faces all have different molds and there are a variety of heights and builds, which gets a huge applause from me. I am a bit shocked that the Switch-A-Witch dolls get this special treatment, but the main character or deluxe dolls do not. All the regular Bratzillaz have the exact same bodies and head molds. Why? Monster High wins again, although I wish Monster High had more variety on body sizes, however subtle for more characters not just tall, regular, and short. Also, the Bratzillaz have weird neck/head posts. The heads can only move side-to-side:
No stands = 😦 but the fact that they fit on Monster High stands = 🙂
The outfits were okay. The black/white one is nice, the pink/green one is nice except for the ridiculous huge puff sleeves. The yellow/white one’s outfit is nice, but I don’t love it for her.
The accessories: you get a lot of them, which is cool–earrings, bracelets, shoes, hats. But none of them are very…special. Monster High makes doll shoes that make you want to buy a $20 doll JUST FOR THE SHOES. Even the simplest ones are artistic and elegant. The Bratzillaz shoes, earrings, and hats are uninspired, unelegant, unimpressive, and plain. It’s like the same people who make the dollar store brand fashion dolls also designed the Bratzillaz accessories. As a designer myself, it really infuriates me to be so sloppy in this way. The designer motto is “Do it right the first time”. They have to pay the same amount for the manufacturing and materials, they may as well make something excellent looking instead of ho-hum. In this case, “good enough just isn’t”.
For $10 total though, I think the value was fantastic. I have since purchased Original Basic/Wave 1 Meygana Broomstix, Wave 1 Yasmina Clairvoya, Wave 1 Sashabella Paws, Magic Night Out Cloetta Spelletta, Jade J’adore, and Vampelina, and Magic Beach Fiana Fins. By the way, I LOVE Wave 1 Meygana’s unruly hair (the hair every other human on this planet HATES). It is unruly and a little coarse and beautiful. It holds it’s shape, it doesn’t need brushing. All the Bratzillaz I have bought so far I have been delighted with. They (especially the S-A-W ones) fit right in with the rest of the Monster High student population.
The budget Bratzillaz, which have typical Bratz painted-on eyes, are hideous. If MGA Entertainment had any sense at all, they would paint them to look just like the webisode cartoons, which are ultra-pretty. They pay the same either way, but one version would be infinitely more appealing than the other. DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.
Did anyone read all this blabber? Did anyone else have a change of heart about Bratzillaz? Just want to leave a comment? Please do!
When I was young and my mom and I would go visit my Grandma (who lives in a 1970’s time capsule awesome house), I would play in my mom’s old room and find treasures that she had when she was growing up. One of those treasures was a set of magazines called “The Wonderful World Of Disney”. If you have these you know how awesome these are. If you can find them somewhere, you should definitely buy them I think.
They are fantastic magazines that were sold at Gulf Oil gasoline stations for a lovely 25 cents. The artwork is fantastic and they are packed full of behind-the-scenes goodness at Disney, comics, interviews (including Michael Collins, the astronaut on the first lunar landing who didn’t walk on the Moon but kept the mother ship running), history (they even talk about the Chisholm Trail!), nature articles, comics, puzzles, factoids, sketches, promotions for live action Disney movies (most of which I have never heard of or seen, but they sound really interesting), fractured fairytales (really!), stories based on movies (including some original that would have made great T.V. episodes), and songs complete with music scores. Pretty fantastic, right? If you haven’t gotten to look through them, you don’t know the half of it! They’re terrific!
The reason this magazine series was so memorable to me was the part titled “Monster Of The Month”. I LOVED Monster Of The Month (Nothing’s changed, hee, hee! Still loving zany, colorful, stylish, fun monsters, collecting Monster High. My favorite was Maud the Mod Mermaid of course). I now treasure my mom’s copies, and I bought the ones she didn’t have on eBay to complete my collection. I got SO blessed and won a lot auction so that I only paid $1.60 apiece for them INCLUDING shipping.
So in keeping with Monster High-loving tradition, here are some fabulous Disney Monsters Of The Month!
I can only find 6 different issues of this magazine. If you know if there were any more, please let me know.
SO YOU KNOW:
Issues were released in this order:
Volume I, No. 1 Dragon Madame Mim
Volume I, No. 2 Scandinavian Troll
Volume I, No. 3 Abdul the Genie
Volume I, No. 4 The Electric Shamrocks Leprechaun Band
Volume II, No. 1 Christos the Centaur
Volume II, No. 2 Maud the Mod Mermaid
BONUS ROUND: More Disney Monster art:
This unspeakably awesome painting of the witch Aldetha Teach from the movie “Blackbeard’s Ghost” (go watch it if you haven’t seen it yet! In fact, go watch it if you HAVE seen it. It’s good).