A Toast to Steven Universe

The following two things are true.

  1. I paint pottery at Color Me Mine.
  2. I really love Steven Universe.

If you don’t know what Steven Universe is, it’s this great cartoon show. It’s entertaining for kids, but also exists on a level for adults in which it is more sophisticated and intelligent than almost anything else on TV. If queer anthropomorphic alien superhero gems appeal to you, watch it. What else can I say?

Clearly, I need lots of Steven Universe pottery, mostly various kinds of cups. Clearly. Here are my designs.

Pottery contains spoilers. Do not peruse if you haven’t seen to the end of season 2, and want to do so unspoiled.

A Steven Mug with Feet

Steven Universe mug my ipadSteven Universe mug MH's ipad

I think this was Mike’s idea to start with. I painted a mug in this shape last year for my father, using the Hawaiian shirts he wears as inspiration. All of a sudden, Mike, in the car driving to or from Los Angelos, exclaimed, “You should do a Steven mug with Feet!”

It’s pretty simple to paint. A Steven-flesh color on the stomach and feet, with red for the shirt and sandals. A star marked out on the chest in yellow. A pink gem on the belly–I can either paint one to be shiny or use a gem, but that will affect whether it’s dishwasher safe.

I put in two pictures just to show the difference between the way I was using the drawing program without the stylus (left) and what becomes more possible with a fancy one on the new ipad (right). (I borrowed the latter, alas.)

NOM NOM Amethyst Mug

Amethyst mug

There’s an excellent mug at Color Me Mine that has a big slot in it where you can store a cookie. The paintings I’ve seen other people on it are really cute–monsters, muppets, zombies. I’ve always wanted to make one, but never had quite the right match.

Now? Amethyst. Definitely.

Pearl Wine Glass

Pearl WineWine pearl squiggle smile

Mike picked this one out, too — I kept trying to look for things that were simply tall and narrow, while Mike figured out that Pearl would look adorable as a big funnel-shaped head.

Plan to just paint it white. I’ll likely do the gem with paint, not with a 3D gem — that works better with something like Steven’s quartz than it would with a pearl. (And I’ll probably paint Steven’s too, really.)

I’m not sure whether to use the curve smile, or the wicked wrinkly smile. I *could* do one face on each side, but I think that would be creepy. Mike is a wholehearted fan of the wrinkly smile. I like it, too, although I also like the idea of having a wine glass that just shows Pearl being Pearl.

Garnet Margarita

Something else Mike picked out. I love using the shape of the pottery to influence the designs, and he’s really good at spotting those shapes. Should be pretty easy to do with masking to keep the lines crisp, except for the glasses, which I hope I can make look as shiny and cool as they should.

She Is Made of Love

Sapphire plus Ruby mug

Color Me Mine ALSO has a pair of mugs that fit together like the divided pieces of one of those heart lockets that features in a hundred farces. One side: Ruby and Sapphire. The other: Garnet.

I made this before I was using a stylus or the zoom function on my ipad, so doing a rough line sketch was all I felt able to attempt. I’ll do the cartoons in the colors from the show, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the background yet.


lion mugI’m not sure I’ll make this because I’m not sure I want to have two NOM NOM mugs in the set, but so far this is the best idea I’ve had for Lion.

She Is REALLY Made of Love

Garnet heart plate

While I’m including ones I’m not sure I’ll do, there’s this heart plate.

I’ll post updates when I have some painted!

Alice’s Tea Party, pottery project in progress

When I was a kid, I took art lessons for a number of years in the garage of the professional artist who just happened to be living in our neighborhood. I’m not great at drawing, but I enjoy working with my hands immensely, and I’m usually happier if I’ve got a regular hobby going that involves making or drawing art.

For a while, that was jewelry-making, and I may post some of my jewelry and sketches online at some point. I got overexcited about making necklaces symbolizing fairy tales and myths which was neat, but expensive, and took a lot of creative energy. At the moment, I’m mostly doing art and comics on my iPad with my fancy new stylus.

I’m also painting pottery. Not making pottery. Painting it. You know, like at the pottery painting places. I go to the Color Me Mine near where Mike works. You buy pieces of unfired pottery and then paint them using on-site supplies.

My current project is a three-part teapot:

three part teapot

The top part is a lid. The middle part is a kettle, and the bottom part is a cup.

I decided to do it up with scenes from the original illustrations of Alice in Wonderland. (Alice was on my mind because of my recently published story about the hatter and hare having a love affair.) On the lid, I’m doing Alice being assailed by cards:

alice cards

And on the middle, I’m doing the tea party.

alice tea party

On the bottom, I’m doing the Cheshire cat, but he’s not so much Tenniel’s as a blend of different interpretations of the Cheshire cat, painted purple. I don’t have any photographs of that part of the kettle yet anyway, so moving on.

I’ve finished the lid and had it fired. The firing process is interesting because of the way that it erases a lot of the shading, while at the same time making things look polished and vibrant. I often like the look of the unfired pottery better than the look of the fired pottery, but that might be because you can make the unfired version look however you want; the firing will still be a surprise. (A relatively predictable one, yes, but it makes some changes.)

The lid, unfired:

Alice lid spinning unfired

The lid, fired:

Alice lid spinning

I did a sketch of the tea party, but I’m still coloring it in. (You can see where I am marking off and painting a yellow tablecloth.) For some reason, the gif we tried to take didn’t work. It left out some angles which makes it kind of trippy. I added in a couple stills:

Alice pot spinning Alice pot showing Alice Alice pot showing hare and alice

I’ll post updates as the work continues. Alas, I am slow and perfectionistic about this, as I am about everything else. 😉