Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 336

In my Etsy shop, there is an option to request a custom order. I've had a handful of requests, though few have actually gone through. My first two were Doctor Who related. One guy wanted a Tardis and a girl wanted a Tadis and a Dalek. The guy was in Australia and I guess the shipping cost was too much for him so he never replied back. And I guess the cost for two crayons was too much for the girl. Next I spent awhile messaging a girl in Singapore. She wanted to buy Princess Bubblegum as a gift. Side note: I've noticed that quite of few of my orders are gifts for other people. My crayons aren't exactly cheap so I think it's too much for most people. However if it's a gift, then the price isn't too bad. People would rather splurge on others than themselves. Anyway, Singapore girl needed the crayon in a week for a birthday and I couldn't guarantee that it would arrive in time so that order fell through.

Someone asked for a French bulldog. I wanted to do this but the guy never responded either. What I like about these requests is that they ask for things I would never think of which is fun. One guy asked for an Elvira carving which got me excited because it would be a challenge. That would require applying white wax (for skin) onto a black crayon (for hair and her dress). I would have done it from the chest up so I could carve some nice cleavage. I was really curious if I could carve a pretty face. But the guy never replied. I hadn't even quoted him a price yet so I don't know why he didn't.

My latest request was for a Loki carving. This I also want to do and believe can turn out pretty cool. The lady agreed to the price so I'm just waiting for her to pay for it. Hopefully she does that soon. It's for decorating her two year old son's room who is named Loki.

So a fair amount of requests that haven't worked out. Well below is one that did work out and I think it's awesome.

It's Frank the Rabbit from the movie Donnie Darko. I like the film. I liked the idea. I was happy to do this. I even applied extra color free of charge. The base crayon is black and I applied grey for the eyes and teeth. I originally wanted the base crayon to be grey since I thought black would be too dark but he wanted black. The grey is already fairly dark so there isn't too much contrast with the black. Besides the fact that the ears should be more spread apart (which I couldn't do), I think it's a good likeness. What was nice was that I didn't have to be really precise about everything. For most carvings, I pore over reference images trying to get every detail right. But Frank's mask has an irregular shape and surface so I didn't need to worry about precision. Pretty much all my previous crayons have a smooth surface. Even my fox, which should be furry, was smooth. Here though I added in some texture. The head has a fur-like texture. For the mask, I ended up drawing countless overlapping fine lines. It gave the mask an almost metallic look because you can see tiny spots of shininess in the light. It's a little hard to see that in this picture though.

So I sent the crayon off feeling pretty good about myself. Then a few days later, I got a message from the guy saying the ears broke off during shipment. I was surprised by that. I ship the crayons in the test tubes I showed awhile back. The tubes are long and the crayon can slide up and down so I put in a ball of tissue paper first so the carved end of the crayon doesn't bang into the plastic. The crayon can also move side to side a bit. However the distance it can move laterally is less than a millimeter so I didn't think it could build up enough momentum in that distance to create enough force to break the crayon. I guess the package was rattling like crazy for the ears to break. So I ended up carving a new Frank the same day and sent it off the next day. The guy got it a few days later and was happy. On the bright side, I asked him to mail the broken one back to me so once I fix it, I can keep it for myself.

Pro-tip: I print my USPS shipping labels through Etsy's site but there wasn't an option to print a second label to the same person. So I went to the USPS website to print a label but found out they don't allow printing of First Class mail which is the cheapest option and the one I use. Luckily, I found out that Paypal let's you print First Class postage (probably because there are a lot of Ebay sellers using Paypal). So keep that in mind if you ever need to do that.

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