Custom-painted vinyl art toys & other playful objects
other subcategories:

Dunny Azulejo Acrylic on vinyl toy, ~3" tall


It has been quite a while since I painted a custom toy! Here is my latest, Azulejo. His patterns are based on Portuguese tiles, & he holds a miniature “tile” made of painted wood. I’m embarking on another Dunny now– if you’d like to see progress shots, I’ll be posting some on Instagram at 

Dunny Inky Custom Dunny: Acrylic, text collage & found objects on vinyl toy

custom dunny, hand-painted vinyl toy, featuring an ink bottle and dip pen nibs

I’m no journalist, but I am an ink-stained wretch! I love to write & draw with dip pens, especially my beloved flexible crow-quill, Hunt 108. It gives a lovely responsive line with hairline thins & gorgeous juicy thicks, but it does have a ferocious tendency to spatter. My fingers, my desk, & pretty much everything around me tend to be bespeckled most of the time, much like this fellow. ;-)

This custom Dunny was a commission, but the client allowed me free rein with concepts. (A wonderful treat, I must say!) I set to sketching & as usual the act of drawing brought forth a flurry of ideas. In this case the shape of the torso reminded me of old-school ink bottles, which made me think of calligraphic flourishes & spatters. The client chose the sketch (along with the one for Ultramarine) & thus Inky was born!

I had to do the flourishes with acrylic & fine brushes, though, because the pen didn’t play well with vinyl. It was quite a challenge getting into the tight corners!

It’s hard to tell from this dark scan, but Inky holds a dip pen made of a poppy stalk handle topped with a fallen-soldier 108. (They do tend to wear down quickly, so I go through them by the dozen.) His ears/horns are cut-down nibs as well, I forget which sort as I found them in a box of rejected nibs. (Yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder… but see, I needed them!)

The GIF below shows Inky in process. The text is printed out on archival tissue, which conforms better to the Dunny’s contours than regular paper. It’s devilishly fragile, though!

Dunny Dance Custom Dunny: Acrylic, text collage & found objects on vinyl toy

While waiting for paint to dry on the Dunny I’m currently working on, I thought it would be fun to combine the progress shots for Dunny Ultramarine into a little gif. (Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, it is now possible to dance with one’s own backside.) ;-)

For a closer look at the finished Dunny, along with some info about the process, please see my previous post.

Dunny Ultramarine Acrylic, collage, polymer clay & found objects on vinyl toy (front & back)

DunnyUltramarine-LeahPalmerPreissThis little guy is a commissioned 3-inch Dunny (actually more like 2.75 inches in real measurement). I was lucky enough to have a free brief, so I made several different sketches & the client chose this concept. The text on his back is from an old dictionary, & includes the chemical formula for synthetic ultramarine. The little trident is made of polymer clay and a “stick” jewelry finding I picked up at the flea market. I rolled gold leaf onto the green polymer clay before cutting the fork, & painted the back of the brass handle with diluted green paint so that the metal resisted it a bit. I thought it was quite interesting how similar the two textures turned out in the end. That’s why I love Nature’s chaos!

The Girl with the Oddment Tattoo Acrylic on found doll, ~3.5" tall

The Girl with the Oddment Tattoo

Tattoos make everyone look more powerful, don’t you think?

This isn’t a new piece, but as I hadn’t posted it on this site, I thought I’d remedy that. If you’re a fan of Noah Scalin’s Skull-A-Day (& you should be!) you might have seen it there a while back too.

p.s. Gearing up for some new toys coming soon! :-)