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June 2, 2021

Certainly Not The Last Last Ronin…

Today's been a bit of a whirlwind since my Last Ronin 2.0 figure started making the rounds on social media thanks to numerous posts by the legend himself, Kevin Eastman. Likes and follows, comments and questions (ironically, mostly about the Master Sword) were all flying in left and right. It was a bit overwhelming, but in the best possible way.

Today's been a bit of a whirlwind since my Last Ronin 2.0 figure started making the rounds on social media thanks to numerous posts by the legend himself, Kevin Eastman. Likes and follows, comments and questions (ironically, mostly about the Master Sword) were all flying in left and right. It was a bit overwhelming, but in the best possible way.

A little background on the figure and why it means so much to me: late last year I created a custom figure which mostly repurposed pieces from existing figures (with a bit of sculpting done here or there to get the look right). That figure sold out much faster than I had expected, but the problem became tracking down all of the figures and pieces I needed. It was a slow and ultimately cost-prohibitive process. I needed a cheaper and easier way to get all of the pieces together.

“So why not make them myself?”

Why not? Maybe because you don’t know how to do that???

First, I needed a new sculpt. I began working on creating and assembling a new model towards the end of February. By the beginning of March, I was ready to make molds of those new pieces.

All my principle molds were not quite epic failures, but failures nonetheless. I tried again. And again. Piles of silicone and rubber molds started to pile up (as well as the bills for materials). But by the middle of March, I had a fully assembled prototype figure. It was still pretty rough and wasn’t articulated properly, but it was a huge step forward in learning how to cast my own plastic pieces.

After much more trial and error, I began to work out the articulation problems and the kinks in my process. I bought a resin printer, returned a resin printer, bought another resin printer, then had to adapt to the learning curve associated with that process. By mid-April, I was churning out useable pieces for my new figure, as well as producing weaponry using the 3D printer that I couldn’t have done through casting.

During the first week of May, I had a new, more polished prototype with closer-to-full articulation. By the end of the month, I had not only assembled the first complete figure, but I had also sold it to an associate of Eastman. It was within his close circle, but it was still surprising to see the posts from Eastman himself earlier in the day.

I cannot begin to express (he says, many paragraphs later) how proud I am of this figure, as it is the first one I’ve ever created from scratch using everything I’ve learned over the past few months. And the fact that this is the figure that has entered into Kevin Eastman’s orbit is just unfathomably cool.

Just a quick shout-out to my friends and family who have all been very supportive despite perhaps being a bit concerned that a man in his 40s is spending a good deal of his free time in the garage “making ninja turtle toys.” The most thanks, however, are owed to my wife and daughter who suffer the most through my prolonged absences (although, maybe I’m giving myself too much credit there…).

It’s the first, but certainly not the last Last Ronin…

October 19, 2020

UPDATES: The Last Ronin

Thank you for your patience!

 

Remaining Tasks: Pack & prep for shipping.

2020-10-28: Paint touch-ups and resealing.

2020-10-27: Gauntlet sculpting, painting, and sealing.

2020-10-26: Stage 3 assembly of heads.

2020-10-25: Paint touch-ups to heads. Creation of custom-painted stands.

2020-10-24: Completion of weapons/accessories painting and sealing.

 

2020-10-23: Stage 2 assembly of arms, shells, and harnesses complete.

2020-10-18: Leg sculpts have been completed (articulation has not been impeded), painted, and sealed. Weapons and accessories painting/modification is in progress.

2020-10-15: Six shell sculpts have been painted and sealed.

2020-10-14: Started leg sculpts. Suits, jackets, and hoods are all painted and sealed.

2020-10-05: Shell sculpts are underway. Custom nunchuks are also in progress.

2020-10-03: Heads have been painted and sealed. Preliminary assembly begins. Painting on suits, jackets, and hoods begins.

2020-10-02: Appendages have now all been painted and sealed.

2020-09-29: Shell undercoats and accessory painting begins. Busy acquiring base figures still.

2020-09-25: Disassembly of turtle and Ronin figures commences. Painting of appendages begins.

 

 

 

June 2, 2018

Fathers and sons

Reflections on being a father, a son, and a brother. And some stuff about my favorite ninja turtles growing up.

Reflections on being a father, a son, and a brother. And some stuff about my favorite ninja turtles growing up.

Doing something a little different for Father’s Day this year (and yes, I know it’s super early). Maggie bought me an art supply kit last year and I’ve been dabbling in sketching, colored pencils, markers, and some painting. My favorite subjects of late? Ninja Turtles.

Yeah, I know.

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April 13, 2017

FanExpo Dallas 2017

I recently attended the FanExpo Dallas 2017 and had a blast just wandering around taking in all the sights and sounds (and buying stuff, of course!). I had the distinct pleasure of meeting legendary artist Drew Struzan on his first trip to a Texas convention. While that was definitely the highlight of my trip, there was a lot more adventure to be had!

I recently attended the FanExpo Dallas 2017 and had a blast just wandering around taking in all the sights and sounds (and buying stuff, of course!). I had the distinct pleasure of meeting legendary artist Drew Struzan on his first trip to a Texas convention. While that was definitely the highlight of my trip, there was a lot more adventure to be had!

I recently attended the FanExpo Dallas 2017 and had a blast just wandering around taking in all the sights and sounds (and buying stuff, of course!). I had the distinct pleasure of meeting legendary artist Drew Struzan on his first trip to a Texas convention. While that was definitely the highlight of my trip, there was a lot more adventure to be had!Read More

February 1, 2017

To my daughter on her third birthday

You are three years old today. (Congratulations, your parents managed to keep you alive for another year!) Hopefully the ride hasn't been too scary so far.

You are three years old today. (Congratulations, your parents managed to keep you alive for another year!) Hopefully the ride hasn't been too scary so far.

To my daughter,

You are three years old today. (Congratulations, your parents managed to keep you alive for another year!) Hopefully the ride hasn’t been too scary so far. Mommy can attest to the fact that I don’t handle change very well, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment for daddy. (I have the sprouts of gray to prove it.)

Lately though, I’ve become much more fixated on the influences of the outside world than on anything your mother or I am doing. Things are a little topsy turvy right now. Tensions are higher than usual around the world. Things might not be as bad as they seem (they rarely are), but it’s a scary time for a lot of people right now. Yet despite all of that, I’m reminded of some fundamental truths every time I look at you.Read More

March 20, 2016

Exhibit opening in Downtown Bryan

I am very excited to announce my exhibit, PLACES WE'VE BEEN, showing Friday, April 1st through Thursday, June 30th 2016 at BinarySpace in Downtown Bryan.

I am very excited to announce my exhibit, PLACES WE'VE BEEN, showing Friday, April 1st through Thursday, June 30th 2016 at BinarySpace in Downtown Bryan.

I am very excited to announce my exhibit, PLACES WE’VE BEEN, showing Friday, April 1st through Thursday, June 30th 2016 at BinarySpace in Downtown Bryan.

Come by to see a selection of landscapes and environmental photography on display, as well as a small collection of limited edition conceptual art prints.

Pieces will be available for purchase in a variety of sizes and formats, from framed prints and canvases, to limited edition metal and fine art prints.

This exhibit will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM and during First Fridays until 9:30PM.

For directions and more information on BinarySpace, please click here.

October 13, 2015

Double Creek Crossing Wedding – Ashley + Matt

The chairs are set, the candles arranged. The flowers have arrived, the decorations in order. Everything is in its place.

It’s time for a wedding.

Maggie and I had a blast shooting Ashley & Matt’s wedding out at Double Creek Crossing in Caldwell, TX. The weather was cool (for a September night in Texas, anyway), there was a total lunar eclipse happening later in the night (a rare super blood moon, to boot), and it was shaping up to be a spectacular evening.

Thanks guys for letting us shoot your wedding day! Here are a few sneak peeks at what’s to come…Read More

May 28, 2015

The end of a West Texas era

Lubbock was always meant to be temporary, a stop in the road on the way to the rest of our lives. A means to an eventual end. We never really intended it to be a place that we’d grow attached to (though much more for the friends we’ve made here than anything inherently “Lubbockian”).

Alas, here I find myself a few scant days away from leaving with a heavy heart and a lengthy bucket list. But I’m not writing about what I haven’t done yet, but rather looking back on what I have done.

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March 5, 2015

Behind the Scenes – The Ice Queen

It’s been pretty cold up here for the past few weeks. Like really, really cold. Finally all the ice seems to be melting (only to snow all over again).

So what’s up with all this late winter??? Oh well, not going to complain too much because it’s given me a chance to do a winter-themed composite piece using a lot of the icy remnants. So here’s a little behind the scenes look at my recent composite work, aptly titled The Ice Queen.Read More

January 2, 2015

#tb2014

Yes, I’m coining my own hashtag just for this post. #tb2014 (but yeah, a quick search shows that many, many others are already using this tag, so whatever). So much has happened over the last year that summing it all up in a single post would be nearly impossible (for the average reader to trudge through), and yet here we are. I’ll keep it short, though.

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November 20, 2014

Saying “I love you”

Our first dance was set to “The Violet Hour” by Sea Wolf (if you haven’t heard it, why the hell not???). We spent weeks beforehand meticulously learning our dance moves, and when the day finally arrived I was just happy not to have tripped her in front of everyone. Clearly, this is what love is.Read More

November 12, 2014

Men of houses

Man of the House. The Great Provider. When I hold my daughter and look into her eyes, I feel about 85% confident that I am sufficiently fulfilling both of these roles.

Totally asleep, she just grinned at me. Cutest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen, if I say so myself.

She’s teething pretty hardcore right now and keeping us on our toes all through the night, so naturally the other 15% of me says, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”Read More

May 27, 2014

I am a Crated artist

Recently, I discovered a new website called Crated.com that was looking for talent in their initial start-up phase. I figured, why not, and submitted my portfolio for review.

Surprisingly, they sent me a response within a few days offering me the chance to showcase my art on their site. Basically, it works like a full-service print shop from order to delivery. How is this different from my current Smugmug account, you may ask? Well, aside from cosmetic differences (Smugmug wins this one easily with the ability to skin your gallery any way you want using custom CSS), the main difference is price. Whereas Smugmug just upped the prices for their Pro accounts to a whopping $300, Crated has no yearly membership fee.Read More

February 26, 2014

Just plain ethereal

This is what happens when I start working on something before I have a clear idea in my head (which I generally don’t like doing). I’ve never been one to “freestyle,” so to speak. Sure, it’s liberating to grab a piece of marble and just start hacking away at it (this metaphor is not meant to belittle the work of master or even amateur sculptors so much as to convey my absolute lack of knowledge related to the craft), but it’s a practice I’ve never felt completely comfortable with.

This one started off as a simple levitation experiment before taking a rather oddly spiritual turn.

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February 10, 2014

Hands full

It feels like I’ve been going nonstop over the last week with the newest addition to the family. Being our first, she’s been a lot to get used to. Constant diaper changes and severe sleep deprivation (only exacerbated by my own nightly restlessness) have taken their toll, but at last we’ve started to find our groove. A pattern has been established, a routine in the works. Sleep, I look forward to seeing you again.Read More

February 6, 2014

Creation in its purest form

Five days into fatherhood and I’m in a different world. So much is the same, though everything has changed.

A million thoughts are running through my head at this point, making it nearly impossible to write anything. Who are you? Who am I? Who will you be? Will I be enough for you? Where did you get those beautiful eyes? How can someone so small create so much poop?Read More