Zoo Boise SPOOKTACULAR!

Well, I am finally finished with the pumpkin carving at Zoo Boise, and without further ado, here are some pictures of my pumpkin carvings from the event. I ended up with a grand total of 14 pumpkins (16 if you include the 2 additional pumpkins I used to make the peacock).

I tried to keep everything very kid-friendly since I knew there were going to be lots of kids at this event. So I decided to forgo the scary faces and replace them with very fun, or funny-looking, faces. As you can see, even the witch and Frankenstein even have some “cuteness” to them.

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Chillin N Grillin by Brandy Davis

One of my goals with this set-up was to get pumpkins interacting with various props, and to really give them their own unique personalities. Like the little guy above who insisted on getting one last BBQ in before winter comes.

Or like this guy below who really enjoys making (and eating) pastries on his spare time:

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I also wanted to add an element of humor to some of the set-ups. If you didn’t walk away from my display smiling, then I didn’t do my job. But having said that, I think I accomplished my goal. ;-)

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(The face of the “grumpy” pumpkin above was based off of one of Ray Villafane’s amazing pumpkins – I just added a slight twist on the idea by giving him a reason to be grumpy…”)

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IMG_1450(r)I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to work on some of these pieces. I REALLY would have loved to have refined and added tons of detail in this piece, but because I had so many other pumpkins to do, some quality had to be sacrificed for time. Having said that, they are still pretty cool to look at…..from a distance. ;-)

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This guy is just a little depressed that October is almost over, and winter is coming…..

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All-in-all this was a very successful event. I loved getting to hear the reactions of people behind me as they saw some of my pieces for the first time.

And some may think that after all of these pumpkins that I am done carving for the season…..well, they are wrong…There is still MORE to come, so look out!

Happy Halloween everyone!

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Still At It!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you!  I have just been insanely busy carving pumpkins! I had a huge pumpkin carving event and it’s just been tons of awesome pumpkin carving chaos! Yep, 7 pumpkins this past weekend, and another 7 this coming weekend. I will be posting TONS of pictures and some other goodies soon! So hang in there for just another couple of days – I promise it will be worth the wait! For now, here is a small teaser of what I have been up to:

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My first attempt at a “squishy face” pumpkin.

"Chillin' N' Grillin' 3D Pumpkin Carving by Brandy Davis

“Chillin’ N’ Grillin’ 3D Pumpkin Carving by Brandy Davis

 

Gettin' a little thirsty...... (3D Pumpkin Carving by Brandy Davis)

Just barely finished and gettin’ a little thirsty…… (3D Pumpkin Carving by Brandy Davis)

 

Happy Halloween!!!

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The Feather Artist ETSY Store is Back in Business!!! PLUS Get $5 Off Your First Purchase at My Shop!!

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For those of you who have been following me on a regular basis, you have probably noticed that my Etsy Shop has been closed for quite some time now. I have decided to re-open it with limited inventory, although I will be adding to it frequently in the coming weeks. For those that don’t know, Etsy is an online shop, similar to Ebay, but without the bidding. It allows artists and crafters (like me) to be able to have their own online store (for a very small fee) and sell their hand-made or vintage items. (All of mine are hand-made though).

Truth be told, I hate to see my babies go, but that’s the way life goes for an artist.

At this time I am not taking custom orders due to a crazy busy Fall pumpkin carving season season, but as soon as November hits, that may change – As always, feel free to send me an inquiry if you have any questions.

If you haven’t already seen my Etsy Shop, please feel free to check it out here and browse around. I have hand-painted feather earrings as well as my full, hand-painted Native American portraits on feathers.  I’m also coming out with a new product (Coming soon, November 2014!), so keep an eye out for that! And remember, Christmas is just around the corner…..  ;-)

As an added bonus, if you have never purchased from Etsy before, you can click here to score $5 off your first purchase on Etsy, including all items in my shop! 

Here are a few of the items I currently have listed in my Etsy Shop:

"Courage" hand-painted feather by Brandy Davis

“Courage” hand-painted feather by Brandy Davis

"Honor" hand-painted feather by Brandy Davis

“Honor” hand-painted feather by Brandy Davis

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Etsy

Thanks for checking it out!

(And stay tuned for some awesome pictures coming this weekend of my pumpkin carving gig at Zoo Boise! I have some awesome things planned! If I get some time, I’ll show you all some of the props I have been working on to create some cool pumpkin scenes!)

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SullenClothing.com – 25% Off Your ENTIRE purchase of Villafane Studios Pumpkin Carving Kits, Pumpkin Carving DVD’s, Vine Arms & Legs!!! (with Promo Code)

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(Photo courtesy of SullenClothing.com)

 

In the market for some awesome 3D pumpkin carving aids?  Right now through October 31st you can visit Sullen Clothing and score 25% off your ENTIRE purchase of Villafane Studios pumpkin carving kits, pumpkin carving DVD’s, vine arms and legs!

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(Photo courtesy of SullenClothing.com)

To score this deal, just go to SullenClothing.com and click on “SHOP” in the upper menu. Then click on the graphic featuring Villafane Studios Pumpkin Carving Accessories (Or click here to go straight to the items). Add any combination of the pumpkin carving tool kits, DVD’s, or vine arms and legs to your cart. Then enter in promo code: BRANDYSULLEN at checkout to receive 25% off your entire purchase of Villafane Studios accessories!  Sweet!

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(Photo courtesy of SullenClothing.com)

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(Photo courtesy of SullenClothing.com)

I personally own all of these products and I can vouch for their awesomeness! I especially love the DVD where Ray guides you step by step into making your own 3D pumpkin carving. I have to admit I have watched this a few times now, and I still learn something new each time I watch. He has carvings for various skill levels (all included in the DVD) and really takes the time to explain everything – it’s almost like having your own private art lesson for a couple of hours – WELL worth the money!

The tool kit includes absolutely everything you need to carve your very own 3D pumpkin in one package. And the vine arms and legs – I mean, c’mon! :

 How can you not absolutely love these?
Photo credit: Villafane Studios

I own two pairs each of the vine arms and legs and I fully intend on getting more this year. They are fully poseable and weather resistant. And as an added bonus, if you don’t even feel like carving your pumpkin this year, just stick these bad boys on there and BAM! – You’ll still have the coolest pumpkin on the block! :-)

Now that I have armed you with your pumpkin carving “arsenal,” go out and create some amazing pumpkins this year! And stay tuned to see what I create this week! You won’t want to miss it! Happy Carving everyone!

 

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How I Store My 3D Pumpkin Carving Tools

Hey everyone! I promised another post showing how I store all of my 3D pumpkin carving tools, so here it is!  For the longest long time I was just throwing my sculpting tools in a small, old beat-up cardboard box and storing it in a cabinet – yeah, not a great idea for multiple reasons. Even the first year I was “attempting” to sculpt pumpkins, I would still store them in a cardboard box labeled, “Brandy’s Sculpting Tools” with permanent marker. I could never find anything when I needed it, and needless to say, it was never smart of me to dig around in a box with all kinds of blunt, and sharp objects scattered around.

I’ve noticed though that the more serious I have become about my work, the more I feel the need to stay organized; And that is saying a lot since I have never been one to be very organized.  But things change (for the better). I have been using Sullen Art Collective Blaq Paq cases for 2 years now, and I really love them.  They are advertised as cases for tattoo artists and their tattoo accessories, but as you can see below, they are perfect for storing all of my carving tools. :-)

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Here are “a few” of my actual cases below:

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Tattoo travel?….Not anymore…… ;-)

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Each case retails for about 11.99 and comes either slotted or padded. Now the cases above are slotted, meaning they have fully customizable slots to fit whatever you need. If you’ll notice, in the lower left slot of each case is where I keep my extra slots in case I feel like changing anything up, which I do frequently. I also LOVE that they are SO easy to clean. I am always getting pumpkin bits all flung and mashed around in there, and it can easily be wiped down or even run under a faucet and set out to dry. I’ve even had dried pumpkin “goo” caked on after a few days, and the plastic this is made out of must be non-stick or something – because everything just wipes clean.

You are probably wondering why the backpack is in the picture with the cases. Well, Sullen’s Blaq Paq line also features a “Blaq Paq” that conveniently fits the Blaq Paq cases into zippered compartments for easy transport. I LOVE this! Everything stays put when you need it to.

Here is my actual Blaq Paq:

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Now these are a bit more pricey, but they are well worth it, especially if you have to transport your tools often. And not to mention, this backpack has so many compartments (including padded compartments) for storing things such as laptops,  business cards, tablets, phones, miscellaneous tools, and much more. I highly recommend these cases if you are looking for a place to store your sculpting tools. Whether you sculpt pumpkins, clay, wax, – whatever! – this is a great way to get more organized.

If you are in the market for something like this, check out SullenClothing.com and check out their Blaq Paq merchandise. There are different combos of cases and/or backpacks you can get, or you can purchase individually.  Check em’ out and let me know what you think!

How do you store your carving/sculpting tools? Let me know in the comment section below!

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A Sneak Peak Into My Pumpkin Carving Toolbox – PLUS! Stay Tuned Tomorrow for Some Exciting News!

I think the number one question I get when I do 3D Pumpkin Sculpting is, “What kinds of tools do you use?”  Before I get into this post, if you are new to my blog, check out my previous 3D pumpkin sculpting tool posts, here and here, where I recommend some great 3D pumpkin sculpting tools for all skill levels and where to get them.

Although I have made numerous tool recommendations and told you a few of the exact tools I have used, today I will be giving my readers a sneak peak into my actual toolbox so you can really get a sense of what I’m working with every time I sculpt a pumpkin.

I’d also like to take this time to offer up A “don’t-get-overwhelmed-or-discouraged-after-you-see-my-crap-load-of-tools” disclaimer. Ok, so, I have a LOT of tools…or rather a “collection,” if you will. When you first see them, you might be thinking, “There’s no way I can get all of that to carve a pumpkin.”  Well, great! Because truth be told, you don’t really need all of it. I’ve mentioned before that since I carve often, I need backups in case my tool breaks in the midst of carving (it happens), and then backups for the backups, and backups for backups for backups, and yeah, you get the the picture. Having said that, I only use maybe 10% of what you see here each time I carve.

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Well…..you asked!……..

Although there are a lot of tools there, I fully intend on adding more as time goes by. There’s everything in there from more expensive tools, all the way down to the plastic orange-handled $2 pumpkin carving kit – which work quite well for certain things. I have the conventional, all the way down to the unconventional carving tool, like the Ped Egg. I don’t discriminate when it comes to carving tools. If it works for you, then use it!

Some tools I’ve had for a few weeks (like the ones I mention in my latest pumpkin carving tool haul), and others I’ve had for over 10 years (like the wood file I took home from school for a high school sculpting homework assignment and forgot to bring back…..Sorry Mr. Herb….But rest assured that it is being put to good use!). Some I’ve had since I was a kid (like the orange-handled knives with the “safe” zig-zag blade. Ah! Nostalgia!), Some I bought from local arts and craft stores (like the paint brushes and a few small ribbon tools), and some from Amazon.com (Ped Egg, Kemper tools, knives, and peelers), and others I found while rummaging the kitchenware sections at thrift stores over the years. – Ain’t no shame in my game!  :-)   (I actually LOVE shopping at thrift stores – you never know what you’re going to find!)

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Like I said before though, don’t be overwhelmed by all of this. You can sculpt a whole pumpkin with just a few tools – and I mention some great ones for beginners in my 1st pumpkin carving tool post. Check it out if the pictures above are just making your head spin. ;-)

Anyhow, now that you’ve had a chance to see what my tool inventory looks like, stay tuned tomorrow to see how I store my tools and what I use to transport them.

And also, tomorrow I will have a very cool announcement that you won’t want to miss – and yes,  you’ll be able to take part in it too….if you’re feeling brave enough…! ;-)   Muah ha ha!

Until tomorrow!  ;-)

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My First Carving of 2014! PLUS A New Time Lapse Video!!!

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“Witch” 3D pumpkin Carving by Brandy Davis

Well, let’s just call this a “warm-up”…. ;-)    I wasn’t expecting to photograph this one, let alone film it for a time lapse video. Truth be told – prior to this it had been about a year since I carved my last pumpkin (thus the much needed warm-up.). But sometimes things just go your way and you wind up with a scary witch to put on your doorstep in September. :-)   (Sorry neighbors)

 

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Actually, about a quarter of the way through I was getting so frustrated with how it was going that I almost scrapped this pumpkin, as in almost threw it in the trash. But since I am not a quitter, I decided to keep on going, and I’m glad I did – I wound up with this lovely little piece. Whenever I am about to quit on an art piece, I have to constantly remind myself that all the imperfections that I see are not what everyone else sees.  Most of the time that works out for the best. Oh, and speaking of imperfections – if any of you are avid Photoshoppers out there – yes, that apple is Photoshopped to be red – I only had yellow apples laying around the kitchen and yellow just wasn’t the look I was going for.

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Having said that, for some reason I decided to film this (not knowing what the result would be), and now I have a time lapse video to show for it. So I hope you enjoy! And please feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel or blog so you don’t miss when I post new pumpkin carvings or other updates!

 

Thanks for viewing, and feel free to share the heck out of the video! :-) Stay tuned for more!

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It’s That Time Again! My 2014 3D Pumpkin Carving Tools Haul!

Yes, oh YES! It’s that time of year again!  Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!!!

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For October alone I have over 30 pumpkins that are booked for carving!….and that is without me even advertising my services locally yet, which I still intend to do. So needless to say, it is going to be an incredibly busy season for me. I am totally excited and getting everything ready that I can. For those of you who are also pumpkin-carving enthusiasts, you are probably doing the same. And for those of you who are new to the world of 3D pumpkin carving, this would be a great time to start purchasing tools if you haven’t done so already.

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Even though I have a decent-sized pumpkin carving tool inventory, I definitely want to make sure I have back-ups. You never know when tools are going to finally give out and break….and with 30+ pumpkins in the line-up, I can’t afford to to loose an important carving tool in the middle of the process. Heck, even when I’ve only carved 3-5 pumpkins for the season I’ve had tools randomly break or come apart. So it is always a good idea to have back-ups.

And not only that, but there are some new, and very beneficial tools that I am adding to my inventory.

Now, if you are just a 3D pumpkin carving beginner, click here to see a basic list of my recommended 3D pumpkin carving tools. Some of the tools on this list are a repeat of my last list, but a lot of the tools are new items I have added to my tool box this year to make carving go even  more smoothly, and to make displays even more fun!

So without further ado, here is my 2014 3D pumpkin carving tool haul! (I would like to add that I personally order about 95% of my tools from Amazon.com. I find they have the best selection, and the prices are generally a lot cheaper than in store. And if you have Amazon Prime, you can get free 2-day shipping!

(If you don’t have Amazon Prime, they offer a free 30-day trial. Here’s a quick link in case you want to sign up for Amazon Prime’s Free Trial: Join Amazon Prime – Watch Over 40,000 Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now )

 

The tools and props below are the EXACT ones that I ordered. I have provided pictures and links to each item.)

 

1. Kemper Mini-Ribbon Tool Set

These are the tools I use for sculpting very fine details in each pumpkin. They are Kemper brand, and they are about 5 inches long and are excellent tools that will last a very long time if you treat them well. A MUST have if you will be doing fine detail work.

 

2. Kemper Pottery Tool Set

Although you will not use everything in this kit, you do end up using a majority of it. And this is a GREAT kit for all skill levels. The large loop tool is used for scraping off outer pumpkin skin as well as blocking in large shapes. The double-ended ribbon tool is used for a majority of the sculpting. The needle tool is used for scraping out fine detail. The wooden modeling tool is used for smoothing out lines and fine detail. And the yellow sponge allows  you to take a bit of water and wipe off stray “pumpkin bits” off the pumpkin’s shell and off of the carved area after you’re all done.

Please note that there is a cheaper version of this clay-sculpting kit (NOT Kemper brand, I believe it is Stalwart brand) that I mention in my previous 3D pumpkin carving tool post, but again, I cannot attest to the quality, however it contains all of the same items and did get good reviews. Click here to check it out.

 

3. Stainless Steel Julienne Peeler

I have mentioned before that a traditional vegetable peeler just doesn’t cut it for me (no pun intended) when it comes to peeling the rind off of a pumpkin, especially a tough rind. This, however, seems to get the job done. Usually 3D pumpkin carvers will take a large pottery/sculpting loop tool and scrape off the outer pumpkin rind before they start to carve. However, I personally don’t like the stress it puts on the loop tool – if you’ve ever done this, then you know how tough pumpkin skin can be! I’ve broken a few loop tools because of it. This heavy-duty julienne peeler really helps ease the process and seems to be the only other thing I have found (besides a Ped Egg) that will peel through tough pumpkin skin.

 

4. Birds Beak Paring Knife

There are some things I can’t live without when it comes to 3D pumpkin sculpting, and THIS is one of them. If you have any desire whatsoever to create clean, detailed cuts, lines, and the like, then you NEED a birds beak paring knife. I don’t even care if you get this one, just, PLEASE , for the love of carving, get yourself a birds beak knife! I didn’t use this knife for the first 2 years I did 3D pumpkin sculpting, and quite frankly, I’m sad I didn’t use this sooner. It does take some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll never look back – It will totally refine your work. I don’t really NEED 2 of them…but I have 2 of them…. ;-)

 

5. Super Glue!! 

I just found out last year that Super Glue is the only glue that will bond wet pumpkin flesh to wet pumpkin flesh. You never know when an accidental slip of a carving tool will happen and end up chopping off the tip of the nose of your sculpture (Been there, done that!). This is a MUST have for any tool kit of a 3D pumpkin carver!

 

6. A Brow Brush……..wait, what?…..

Yes, you heard correctly – A brow brush. As in, a brush for your eyebrows. However, that’s not what this little guy is used for when it comes to pumpkin carving. This is an amazing tool to keep for detailed clean-up in harder to reach areas, such as deep folds and wrinkles or between strands of carved hair (and yes, I’m still talking about pumpkins, not people. ;-) )  You’ll find that when carving, a lot of little stray pumpkin bits get lodged in weird, hard to reach areas on the pumpkin, and this little brush is soft enough to wipe out unwanted pumpkin spatter without damaging your work. (P.S. I suppose you could use a pipe-cleaner for this same purpose, but I like the fact it’s durable and that I can just wash this out and reuse it.

 

7. Pumpkin Appendages  (let me explain….)

You know, there’s something about giving a pumpkin arms and legs that really just make it come to life! I already own a set of these pumpkin vine arms and legs (made by Villafane Studios), but they worked so amazingly last year that I decided I just HAD to have another pair this year! Ohhh, the endless possibilities!!! I would like to add that you can also get the pumpkin vine arms, legs, and stem off of Villafane Studios website.  Either way, supplies are limited, so order soon if you to make sure you get a set. You will DEFINITELY have the coolest pumpkin on the block!

My latest pumpkin for Villafane Studios - "The Pumpkin Artist"  3D pumpkin by Brandy Davis

“The Pumpkin Artist” 3D pumpkin by Brandy Davis

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“Mike Wazowski” 3D pumpkin carving by Brandy Davis. Yeah! The kids got a kick out of that one last year! :-)

 

 

So as of now, that is my list. And I stress the, “as of now” part….I’m sure I’ll think of more tools to order in the coming days! And when I do, I’ll be sure to let you all know!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below! I’ll be happy to answer anything I can. :-)

Stay tuned for more recommendations as well as my exciting new pumpkin carving ventures this fall!!!

Happy Carving! :-)

 

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Freehand Sketch, Eye Study

Even when I am not creating art, it is ALWAYS in the back of my mind. If I’m not creating something, I’m always secretly desiring it or dreaming up my next big art piece. In an ideal world, I would just sit down and paint/sculpt all day while listening to some of my favorite bands play over the radio. (Come to think of it, that was my life before I had kids.) But, lets be honest – life happens. For a lot of us, dinner must be made, kids must be taken care of, the 9-5 job must be completed, health must be tended to, things must be cleaned, errands must be run, and a multitude of seemingly never ending tasks must be done before we can ever get a rare minute to sit down for that blissful (and sometimes blissfully-frustrating) moment of getting lost in creating a piece of artwork.

Having said that, I have since then taken the bull by the horns and started creating time for my artwork. (Artists aren’t only limited to creating artwork, ya know! ;-) ) I am slowly becoming this oddly scheduled and organized person that I’ve always needed to be. There is this great quote by Benjamin Disraeli that goes, “He who gains time, gains everything.” Interestingly put Benji…..interestingly put…..but I getcha….

In the mean time, I like to make sure my art skills don’t get rusty, so I like to do some sketches every now and again. Here is a quick eye-study I did a few months ago. It was all sketched free-hand with (black and white) charcoal and graphite pencil. It took me about 45 minutes or so. And sorry about the poor lighting and quality – the pic was taken with my phone.

Freehand Eye Study by Brandy Davis. Graphite and black/white charcoal.

Freehand Eye Study by Brandy Davis. Graphite and black/white charcoal.

The contrasting light and dark areas are key here, which is why I used both back and white charcoal. Remember, to make things “POP” you have to use the darkest darks, and the lightest lights!  Having said that, this was sketched all in good fun.

It’s funny, if I haven’t done any artwork for a while I get a little scared that I maybe “forgot” how to draw or paint. But come to find, artwork is a lot like riding a bike – even if you haven’t done it in a while, it’ll all come back to you when you’re ready for it.  Proof that art is just waiting to flood out of you – you just have to let it.

Anyhow, expect some cool stuff to come. (I recently set up my art station, and I am ready to bring some amazing ideas to life – so stay tuned!)  In the meantime, Happy sketching! ;-)

 

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