Monday, August 30, 2010

Appa Cake!

Alright, so this project actually happened back in July, but I have been a slacker and am just now posting it....sorry!!! As this blog is dedicated to my creative outlets, not everything you see will be done on paper. Some of you may remember my Han Solo Chocolates from February, which were a fun/nerdy undertaking, and the final outcome was delicious! So today I would like to share with you the cake that I made for my birthday! I have been watching Nickelodeon's Avatar the Last Airbender with Josh and completely Love (and want) Appa! For those of you not familiar with the show, Appa is this wonderfully adorable Sky Bison that can Fly!!!!!!! He's just adorably fluffy and large, so who wouldn't love to have one? Thus the reason I chose Appa as the theme of my birthday cake! Here's a picture of Appa (Copyright Nickelodeon) for your reference:



Now, the cake!

I started out by baking 2 13x9 chocolate cakes. While they cooled, I started working on the raspberry filling, I LOVE chocolate and raspberries. I followed a simple recipe, and used frozen instead of fresh because they were cheaper. It was delicious all the same though! Here's the raspberry filling on the stove. (Recipe Below)


Now that the cake was cool, it was time to let the filling chill and start cutting and shaping the cake. I used just under half of one cake to make the body, and stacked a second equally sized cut from the second cake on top. Next was cutting the shape for the head including the cheeks. Followed by a second piece for just the upper part of the head. Finally I would use the leftover cake to shape the legs and tail. Here's some of the cut up cake.


Once all the cake pieces were cut, I laid out the bottom layer of pieces first, then covered it with a thin layer of butter cream icing. Then I took my raspberry filling and spread it across the butter cream. Next I stuck the second layer of cake pieces on which ended up looking something like this.


Yes, I did add a very small third layer to add some height to Appa's back, depending on how this your cake rose, you may not need to do this yourself. Now that Appa was all put together, I covered him with with butter cream icing. This would help to serve as a glue for the fondant that I would be making next. As of this step though, he sorta looks like a fluffy marshmallow Appa!


You can totally buy pre-made fondant, however I could not find it at the store, so I just made my own following a recipe I found online using butter, marshmallows and powdered sugar. (Thank you Peggy Weaver for the Fondant Recipe!) It worked great, and was pretty easy to work with. I rolled it out and draped it over my butter cream covered cake. This was my first time working with any sort of fondant, but it was neat to see how flexible it was. I could easily wrap it around the cake, and tuck it into the crevasses between each of his legs. Then once it was all on, I just trimmed off the excess. I also twisted some of the extra fondant into his horns, and stuck them on with toothpick, to provide extra structure. To create the face, brown cheeks and arrow on his head and back, I mixed melted butter with cocoa powder and applied it with a paint brush. It was neat to be able to paint on a cake, as that'd not always very effective when using regular icing. What I did like about using the brush, was I was able to give him a little bit more of a fur look with all the brush strokes.

So finally, here is the finished product of the Appa Cake!

These first two were taken in the kitchen the night before, so they're a little blurry, but I like the above shot, plus it was a very rewarding moment when I finally stepped back and saw that he was finish!




Here are some photos from the lunch table. I took him into share with my boyfriend and friends at ILM. I think it went over well! ^_^








Not only did he look adorable (as Appa should) he was very delicious! It was a really great birthday!


Raspberry Filling


Ingredients:
* 1 pkg (16 ounces) frozen raspberries packed in sugar thawed
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 3 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Makes: Filling serves 2 cups.

Instructions:
-Drain raspberries, reserving liquid.
-Add enough water to liquid to equal 1 1/4 cups.
-In large saucepan, combine liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice; mix well.
-Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens.
-Cool completely.
-Stir thawed raspberries into cooled mixture.


Thank you for checking out my blog, and as always any questions, comments, thoughts, etc. are always welcome. Have a great day!

<3
Hannah

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Elementary My Dear Watson!

After seeing Guy Ritchie’s "Sherlock Holmes" movie last fall, my friends and I fell in love with the characters and the costumes. Being the creative nerds that we are, we set out with plans of constructing some of our favorite costumes from the film to wear at this Summer's Comic Con. We've still got a long way to go, but we're having a ton of fun in the process. I've been especially bit by the Sherlock Bug and have been doodling up quite a few sketches that I wanted to share. My friend Steph is making one of Irene Adler's traveling dresses, so I thought it would be fun to sketch up what I interpreted the dress to be from the DVD. This is what I came up with:



It was important, I felt, to do this in color so that the different layers could be better determined. I think that Steph will make a lovely Irene and I look forward to her final costume!

My boyfriend, Josh, and I are making Watson and Mary costumes. These next couple sketches were some I did of both or them, as well as a more detailed drawing of Mary's dress.





I'm sure there will be many more Sherlock Holmes inspired sketches to come. Hope that you enjoyed your visit. Please feel free to comment with any thoughts, critiques are suggestions. Have a lovely day!

<3
Hannah

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Revenge is a dish best served chilled!" Take 2

Remember awhile back, I posted a sketch I did of Kristin Chenoweth from Pushing Daisies? Well I finally picked up some colored pencils and gave it a go at bringing it to life with a little color. For anyone who has seen Pushing Daisies, you'll know it's a show that thrives on vibrant eye catching color! I wanted to try and achieve that richness in my drawing. Since I really like how the line art for this drawing turned out, I wanted to leave it in tact. So I pulled out my light box, that my friend Helen built, and the snazzy new Prisma Colored Pencils that my friend Jon gave me. I paper clipped my blank paper to the original drawing, and started working up a rough under painting. It was really fun to use the light box since it let me to reference my original sketch, while allowing me to build up the "lines" through contrast in both value and colors. It gave me a lot more freedom to build up the form without relying on the illustrative lines. This was my first time using this technique and I found it to be both fun and rewarding!



As you may have noticed, I have added a watermark to the image. This is because I recently had some of my art stolen and it was being printed and sold on t-shirts. So in an effort to protect my work, I am starting to watermark it. I am also preparing to start selling prints of my art very soon, and will be sure to keep you all posted. If anyone is interested in purchasing a print of my art, please let me know and I'll be happy to work that out with you. hklees@gmail.com.

As Always, thank you so much for stopping by. Feel free to comment with any questions, critique or feedback. Have a lovely day!

<3
Hannah

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Erin and Katon

It's been awhile since I posted, I recently moved and just got my scanner hooked up and working again, so get ready for a flood of sketches!

Since my last post, two of my dear friends, Erin and Katon, got engaged. They are so wonderful together and I'm incredibly happy for them. Katon is always taking stunning pictures of Erin, and when I saw a pic taken of the two of them right after getting engaged, I was inspired to sketch them. They just have such a joy around them, that I wanted to see if I could capture it on paper. It actually took a couple rough thumbnails to start to get the gesture and the mood right. I feel so very rusty when it comes to drawing in a semi photo realistic style. I intended to leave it somewhat rough though, allowing the lines to give it a little more life and character. Overall I'm happy with it, but it's not even close to capturing how wonderfully beautiful they are, and the connection they share.



I hope you enjoyed this post. More to come soon, and as always feel free to comment, critique and ask questions! Have a great day!

<3
Hannah

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Han Solo in Carbonite Chocolates!

Ok, so I'm going to take things down a slightly different creatively delicious path today. My friends and I threw a Star Wars party this past weekend just for the sake of throwing a fun and nerdy party. So to help set the mood we all brainstormed up fun Star Wars themed snacks we could make for the event. I thought Han Solo in Carbonite chocolate bars would be hilarious, and after doing a little research, realized they were totally possible! So Here's what I did to create these deliciously nerdy treats!

1. So I started out with some super sculpey, which can be purchased at almost any local craft store. I decided how big I wanted to make my chocolate bar and began sculpting. I made the rectangular base first, then added on clay that I then sculpted into his body, face, hands and legs. After a good 20-30 minutes in the oven, following the baking directions on the sculpey box, I had a solid little Han Solo to cast my chocolate mold from.



2. When I first thought of making the chocolate mold, my biggest concern was making it out of something that was safe for food. Steph and I stumbled upon this great site, MakeYourOwnMolds.com, that has all sorts of food grade mold making products. I chose to go with the Silicone Plastique® myself, since it seemed very user friendly, as well as having the option to only use what I needed, thus not wasting any of the product. So following the direction that came with the Silicone Plastique®, I covered my Sculpey Han Solo and allowed the Silicone Plastique® to set for over an hour. Once it had fully set I removed Sculpey Han and was excited to see a successful mold had been made! So I washed it and let it dry fully before moving on to the next step.


3. Now that I had a mold, it was time to start making the chocolates! I picked up some of the Wilton Candy Melts® in Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Since I only had one mold, I tried to be careful to not melt more chocolates then I needed, following the instructions on the bag. Once it was all melted, I gently spooned the chocolate into the mold, being careful to make sure it filled in all the crevasses, like the fingers, face and toes. Once the whole mold was filled I popped it into the freezer for a good 15-20 minutes. When the chocolate had fully solidified I gently removed it from the mild to reveal a successful Han Solo Chocolate bar!


4. For fun I also made a garnish of white chocolate stars using the Wilton Stars Candy Mold. I placed them along the bottom of the plate for the Han Solo Chocolates to sit on, thus creating an out of this world edible display.

Thank you Katon for the awesome Photograph of the Chocolates!

All in all I felt it was a huge success, and am excited to attempt more candy art in the future. Hopefully you enjoy this slightly delicious departure from my 2d art. Have a great day everyone!



If you're interested in making these yourself, here's a list of all the things you'll need:

* super sculpey
* Silicone Plastique®
* Wilton Candy Melts®
* A Stove or Microwave
* A Fridge/Freezer.
* A Baking sheet for baking the Sculpey
* Whatever tools you feel you'll need to sculpt with, sometimes a pencil and a toothpick will work fine!

If you are making multiple chocolates, be sure to keep them in the fridge until you're ready to serve them, that way you don't run the risk of them melting before anyone can enjoy their beauty! Good luck with your molds, I'd love to see how your projects turn out if you try this too!


Have a great day everyone!

<3
Hannah

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yamaha Baby!

For those of you who don't know, I love motorcycles. I've dreamed of riding since I was a kid, and in the Spring of 2009, I took the plunge. I took the MSF Rider's Course, Got my M1 on my Drivers License and purchased an adorable little Kawasaki Ninja 250. It's a great bike, and certainly the best choice for a new rider like myself, I'm especially fond of the light weight and short body! So this all sounds great, except that I really really really want to own a Yamaha Motorcycle. In my yes they're the best and I was so bummed that they didn't have a decent small bike that I could get as a starter bike. I just have to work my way up. One day, when I'm ready to handle an R6, I'll be at the Yamaha store faster then you can say "Holla!"

So what does this have to do with my art blog? Not much, other then the inspiration behind my next drawing. I attended a Motorcycle Show and was very excited to sit on a couple Yamaha Models. My boyfriend snapped a fun pic of me geeking out about the FZ6R I was able to lift up and I couldn't resist doodling it.



It's more of a quick little sketch then a full on drawing. I just had fun getting the gesture down and the excitement I felt while sitting on that bike. I still need to work on my rendering of motorcycles, but I'll get there. It's a fun exercise at least. Hope ya'll like it! Oh, and here's the picture, just for reference.



Thank you for taking a peak, feel free to leave any comments, thoughts or critique! Have a great day!

<3
Hannah

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Shiney!

This is a sketch I've been meaning to scan for awhile and finally remembered to do it! I absolutely love the Firefly series, even though it was far too short lived. This is a sketch of my favorite mechanic, Kaylee. I did this without any reference, so it's more of a character illustration then an exact representation of Jewel Staite. I hope you like it, I had fun with it.



I think it would be really run to try doing some inks or water colors over this. I've not done a whole lot of that sort of thing, but it's always fun to try. Hope you enjoyed my post! Comments, thoughts, feedback/critique are always welcome. Thanks for stopping by!

<3
Hannah

Friday, January 8, 2010

Being Goofy!

Sometimes it's fun to just sketch something silly! Josh and I are often very goofy when we're around each other, so I thought it would be fun to do a sketch that captured that. I'm not 100% sure I'm happy with it, but I had fun playing with this style. It's a little more exaggerated then I usually do, so it was a bit uncomfortable. I like pushing myself outside my comfort zone, it helps me to grow as an artist. So without further ado, here is a sketch of Josh and I making goofy faces as I go to kiss him.



All comments are welcome, as well as criticism. As I mentioned, I was trying to work outside my comfort zone, and would love to know how successful you thought I was or was not.

Thank you for stopping by!

<3
Hannah