I don’t sleep much. It’s kind of exciting because there are all sorts of amazing things you can get up to when you’re not asleep and everyone else is. Like these babies right here:
Check it out, that is a pair of freaking TARDIS shoes. A pair of hand painted TARDIS shoes that I made myself. Six hours per foot, probably the most productive twelve hours of my entire life. What did you do while I was sleeping? I’m pretty proud of these shoes because when I wear them to conventions with my electric blue jeans and my police box T-shirt people get down on the floor just to take pictures of them. And then it looks like I have minions bowing before me in the middle of the dealer’s room and that’s just totally cool no matter what fandom you’re in.
I know what you’re thinking; Nienna how do I get myself a pair of genuine French Impressionist imitation TARDIS sneakers? Well you’ve got two choices, my friend. You can negotiate with me to make you a pair (and depending on how good the hotel bar is, I’ll tell you anything between three and five hundred dollars. Or you can ask really nicely and I’ll show you.
One pair of plain white canvas sneakers
Color coordinated laces
One soft lead drawing pencil
One Size 10/0 round artist brush
One Size 2 blender artist brush
One Size 6 flat artist brush
Four to five tubes of acrylic canvas paint in varying colors
A paint palet, paper plate or piece of sturdy cardboard for mixing.
Computer printouts of the paintings you want on your shoes
You can also spring for a can of acrylic canvas sealant but if you buy the good acrylic paint I find that the paint lasts longer than the clothing in question. Before you get started, lets be clear; nothing will protect your shoes from the elements, so much like Gremlins, don’t get them wet and don’t feed them after midnight. Seriously though, treat them like very expensive suede leather, pamper them, baby them. Do not wash them. Nothing lasts forever but lets make it last as long as possible, shall we? I don’t even wear mine outdoors because I don’t want them dirty. You can clean them with a damp cloth but for all that’s holy don’t get them muddy because their life will be over.
I bought a pair of $6 generic sneakers at Walmart. Classic Converse one stars in white are also a great choice but they’re not $6. Don’t be tempted to recycle old shoes, even the slightest amount of dirt will affect the paint. Start with brand new un worn, un washed shoes. Always invest in good supplies. You don’t need to buy the most expensive but don’t buy the cheapest brand on the shelf.
This same technique will work for just about any fandom. So if Doctor Who isn’t your thing you might want to think about cubist Avengers or soft geometry Harry Potter. The overall technique is the same. If you’re not confident with the painting style do a test run on some scrap canvas until you’re comfortable with your brush work.
Lets get started: This will be the hardest part so if you can get past this, the rest will be totally ok. You’ll need to sit down with your shoe, your pencil and your printout, and draw. Directly on the shoe. If you just don’t draw that’s not a problem. You can use tracing paper. Take the central point of the art printout and copy it onto the center front of the the shoe, you’ll need to move the printout as you work your way around the shoe because shoes do not line up with square art. Take your time and make sure you’re happy with the drawing. It doesn’t have to be perfectly neat, you’ll be painting over it so don’t stress about stray pencil lines. Tracing paper smudges will be covered up too.
Once you have your pencil lines good, it’s time to get started painting. Clear your work area and put down several layers of paper or cardboard. I favor cardboard because you can use the surface to mix paints if you need to. Take your base paint colors and start filling in sections of your shoe with solid color using mostly the largest of the three brushes. There’s no need to mix paint at this stage, we just want to cover all the white. If your shoes are trimmed out in cotton the way mine are, you’ll want to water down the paint a little and dye the trim. Not too much water though, you just want it easy to work into the fabric.
At this point your shoes look a little sloppy. That’s totally ok. Because I was doing impressionism I had a lot of variation in my base colors, but depending on what you do, you may only use a couple of colors to fill in your background. Once everything is filled in, let it dry thoroughly. I normally give it at least 18 hours.
Now comes the tedious part. Take your second largest brush and go around each shoe, filling in the space with small short strokes. Do one color at a time. I started with blue and mixed five or so different shades. Impressionism requires a lot of color variation so I wiped my brush on a dry cloth and changed shades frequently. just keep adding layers of strokes until the color blocks are filled in. Let the whole thing dry between colors, good definition in acrylic depends on not letting the colors run together. Once everything is dry, come in with the smallest brush and add your details, you’ll want windows and doors on the TARDIS, the stars and moon will need accents and outlines, as will the explosion points. It’s also a good brush for getting in tight corners or for covering spaces you might have missed. This is also when you’ll want to fix anything that doesn’t look quite right. Impressionism is very forgiving in that it doesn’t need to be perfect in dimension. The brush work itself needs to be completely even however, and needs to flow in the same direction. Pay close attention to your printout for guidance.
Are we good? Excellent. Let it dry twenty four hours. This is the spot where I point out that this same technique will work on just about any canvas type fabric, so you can make your own book bag or paint your back pack or even a white denim jacket. (that’s an idea, actually.)
Once everything has dried thuroughly you can either use a sealer or you can do what I did and hit the whole thing with a hair dryer to cure the paint. If you use a sealer, give it a good two or three days to set up. Sealer can make the shoes extremely stiff so you might want to test it on something else before committing. If you do use sealer, be sure to tape off everything that isn’t canvas. Lace those babies up with your color coordinated laces and take them out to be loved and admired by Doctor Who fans everywhere.
Khaotic Kon turned out super in more ways than one. We kicked off the weekend early at the Iron Man 3 premiere Thursday night and the highlight (Apart from Pepper Pots kicking a little arse) was probably the moms pointing out our Tony Stark to their mesmerized little rug rats. I think one kid stopped breathing he was so excited.
See this amazing cosplayed over here, this dude is freaking 14 years old and he mopped the floor with all of us in the cosplay contest. He made the entire costume himself and the attention to detail was phenomenal, (the sewing was pretty outrageously perfect too). I’d like to say that my River Song wasn’t jealous but we all know River and that’d be a lie. Still, if you’re going to have a Best in Show this is pretty much what it ought to look like. Look at that, just look. The guy is carrying a twenty pound backpack made out of barrels and bottles! That, my friends is dedication, and I learned this week that I don’t have it and my shoulder blades, at least, don’t want it.
The great folks at Khaotic Kon put on a spectacular weekend for us. The shows, especially the Combat Musical were phenomenal. Check out the Gallery if you don’t believe me and maybe think about joining us next year. As always, drop a comment if you spot yourself.
I made an amv for my friend Nicari. If you’re a full metal panic fan, I think you’ll like it.