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  Paper planes and spaceshipsMar 29, 2012 6:24 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Have you ever wondered how well a 45'-long paper airplane would fly? Well recently one made of "falcon board" ("described as a type of corrugated cardboard, similar to a pizza box") was towed up to about 2700 feet over Arizona by helicopter (wind conditions prevented them from taking it to the intended release height, which was nearly double that):
 
video on Youtube
 
And yeah it kind of bit it. The producers, I guess from Arizona's Pima Air and Space Museum, are trying to make it look like an epic journey, but the thing went into something close to a nose dive after about ten seconds, when "stress on the tail caused it to hurdle to the ground."
 
Oh well. It was part of a campaign to get kids interested in aviation and engineering, so who knows, maybe that part worked!
 
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As it happens, I constructed a paper spaceship to make today's A* page! Yep, see as I mentioned last week I wanted to try out the "credit card spatter method" demonstrated by Batman inker Jonathan Glapion in this video for doing stars, but when you're doing ink spatter and don't want it going all over parts of the image it shouldn't be in, you have to block them off somehow.
 
I had been inking in a spaceship and planet; the PITT "big brush" marker I've been using for about a week and a half now is finally getting a little fuzzy, but that was actually just about perfect for getting a sort of brushy metal look--although I think generally I'll have to replace my markers about every week or so (I've got 20 of each of the two types I'm using on their way in the mail :D); the older ones can still be used for effects, or for covering over white ink, which tends to clog up marker tips:
 
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I thickened up the marker lines a bit since I didn't want to have to worry about going over any lines when I would fill in the big space/planet bits with a brush:
 
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So anyway once space was filled in, I wanted to spatter some stars in with the nifty method from that video--but I couldn't have them getting on the black parts of the ship or planet. Which meant I'd have to make masks to protect them from the spatter. So I took a piece of the lighter (70 lb) paper I had left over from when I tried it out for A* (it was used in the taxi scene at the end of episode 13), put it over the ship, and made a rough trace of the ship's outline:
 
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Then I cut along the trace lines and voila, a paper rocket ship!
 
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I taped it over the marker version of the ship with masking tape (half fearing this would end up pulling off some ink, but it didn't really), fastened a similar mask over the planet, broke out a new jar of white ink (the one I've been using still has a bit left in the bottom, but it's thickened up and probably wouldn't spatter well), found one of the larger, stiffer dip pen nibs I experimented with a month ago (a Hunt/Speedball #22B, although (Flash or something warning) in their catalogue (go to page 55) you can clearly see that they only have "22" engraved on them, and there's no other 22 of any kind, so I dunno why they bother with the "B" part when they talk about it), and dug up a $5 Starbucks gift card someone gave me in 2003. Thanks, whoever that was!
 
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This card is actually quite handy--aside from the ability to go get coffee with it if I get tired mid-spatter, I suppose--because one end is transparent, giving a clear view of where the spatters are going. So I gleefully flicked the dip pen nib down across the edge of the card, spattering away with white ink, making stars, and it actually worked great! Up until I got a little too gleeful and broke the nib, at least:
 
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The tine tinged off and flew about five feet away. :o I guess I'll have to wear safety goggles the next time I do this! I tested out a #56 nib, which is even bigger and stiffer than the 22, but it kind of just vaporized the ink, and blew a fine mist of it back on my hand and shirt--fortunately I wear a particular shirt for ink work for just such occurrences. :) So I guess the 22 was actually pretty much the perfect nib to use for the kind of spatter I wanted to make stars--the one I broke was the only one I had, so I've ordered a few dozen more, which should last me for a while (I hope :o). I also broke a dinner plate today, hum.
 
Anyhoo fortunately I'd already got just about enough stars; and I'd used my finger to sort of blend/haze them along the edge of the starry cloud in the lower right corner:
 
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Although that didn't really do what I had been going for. But I'd placed my trusty sea sponge on stand-by for just such an occassion, and with that was able to make a nice fuzzy transition border on the cloud, with my crusty old ink:
 
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And that was about it! Masks off, few small touch-ups with marker and brush here and there, and voila, page done:
 
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I think the spatter stars worked out pretty darn well! Definitely the best stars I've managed so far, yay. :)
 
 
 
 
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