Meet Miss Pearl Grey, an artist in the UK working in 3D!
"Hello! My name is Kellie, but you can call me Miss Pearl Grey, if you like."
How or why did you start working dimensionally?
I was always drawing and became very interested in making minatures as a child. My Grandfather built me a beautiful Doll's House that I was able to furnish with little objects I had made myself and people I crafted from pipe cleaners, cotton wool, tights and material. I eventually ran out of rooms for them all to live in, so it became more like a Hostel for tiny people!
I have a rather short attention span sometimes, so consequently I tend to ricochet back and forth between 2 and 3 dimensional illustrating when I temporarily tire of one or the other (it is usually on the break between each that my interest is reignited!).
What or who has influenced the way you work?
I am constantly in awe of the sheer talent out there! I have a wide range of inspirations which include (but are not limited to) Aardman, FaultyOptic, Red Nose Studio and Liz Lomax. I also consider myself very lucky to have a supportive cast of family and friends, who are invariably willing to endure my antisocial tendencies when working on new pieces.
Please describe your working process.
I always start with sketches. Each character is visualised on paper from a variety of angles in order to provide accurate viewpoints later on. Once I have started sculpting I find it very helpful to have my own drawings on the desk so that I can see exactly how much curve the chin needs, or where a particular wart should be. This said, however, my models are rarely the same as the initial sketch by the end!
I usually start with a wire or tin foil armature and build onto this with Super Sculpey. I fire the initial sculpt in the oven and then each subsequent layer is fixed with a very hot hairdryer (my models are usually small enough that this is sufficient). Occasionally I pad out some of the bulkier characters with upholstery wadding to save using so much Sculpey, these are just fixed with the hairdryer. I use children's plasticine modelling tools, scalpels and cocktail sticks to sculpt faces and details. Some of the features are just about being resourceful with materials. I am a bit of a hoarder so I tend to hang onto scraps of old material and things most people would throw away- I know they will come in handy sooner or later. I usually paint with acrylics but learned the hard way that you should always seal the paint with varnish (I use the Matte variety). Once the characters are ready I arrange the props and backgrounds accordingly and photograph, editing afterwards in Photoshop where necessary.
What do you the enjoy most / least about working dimensionally?
I would have to say that the most frustrating thing for me is overheating my models, burning them to a crisp when I wander off to make a cup of tea. When I overheat them they shatter a lot more easily and this can be very time consuming to fix! Materials can be very costly, too. But the overall satisfaction I get from seeing the final images and from other people's reactions makes it very rewarding. I am also a tremendous perfectionist, but I don't think that ever really leaves you.
Pearl Grey Illustration
All images and content © Miss Pearl Grey