Lately I've been itching to change up some of my critter bead designs. I don't mean the gradual changes that naturally take place over time - those just sort of happen as I get more experienced. What I wanted to do was to take critter beads I already make and try making them in a new way - sort of a critter makeover.
I started with an elephant. The blue one above is how I've been making them for the past year or longer. He's tall and almost slender (for an elephant), and his feet are close together near the bottom bead hole. This style also allows me to give the elephants tasty treats (like grapefruit slices of murrini).
I think this style is very wearable because of its shape and the fact that it's flat on the backside. But I still wanted to change things up.
Here is my new elephant design. His face and ears are similar to the ones I usually make, but his body is more elephant-like. The challenge for me was to have enough room for a decent trunk (no stubby elephant trunks!) because his face is much closer to his feet. This fella's trunk would drag on the ground if he didn't hold it up and to the side.
This is the side view - a much fuller elephant body. I know, most makeovers involve unveiling a thinner look, but this is an elephant for pete's sake.
I'd been wanting to update my turtle beads for a looooong time. I've made them basically the same way since I started making turtles. They are very basic - a round bead (decorated with spots, frit, murrini, encased in clear or abstract designs) to which I add a face, feet and tail. I've always put my turtle face - whether it is transparent like the one above or opaque - coming right out of the top of shell. I knew that wasn't exactly how turtles actually look, but it was easy and still looked like a turtle. But I've always wanted to take the extra time to make a more realistic-looking shell (as realistic as my beads get, that is), and I finally did recently.
I think what was holding me back was that a) I wasn't sure I could do it, and b) I didn't know if I could still have fun decorating a new kind of shell. So above is my new turtle shell debut. It took a lot longer to make than my usual turtles, but it was worth it. It was fun to try something new. I think I'll keep making them this way, but I'll still make my other version, too.
So what do you think? Should I stick with my tried-and-true critters or keep exploring new versions of them? Any other critters need a makeover?