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Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Practice Bakes Perfect! This time, we are reaching, once again, into our big bag of "cookie Kryptonite," and asking you to face your decorating demons. What fresh hell could I possibly have in store for you all this time, you may be wondering?! To which I respond . . . people, people! That's right, cookie peeps, I want you to cookie-fy a whole, human person, from head to toe.
Now, assuming I haven't scared you all off already, perhaps I can offer you a little extra enticement, in the way of some incredible prizes, which will be awarded to one lucky challenge entrant at random. The first is a set of five Yummi Yogi cookie cutters (retail value $40, plus free shipping worldwide), very generously donated by Yummi Yogi owner, Amy Dube. (Coincidentally, September is national yoga month.)
Our challenge winner will also receive a copy of Kristine Samuell's brand new book, A Year of Gingerbread Houses, generously donated by Kristine herself!
Fall is the perfect time to start planning your gingerbread constructions for the season, so if you can't wait until the end of the challenge to see if you win this fabulous prize, you can buy a copy of it for yourself, today, through Amazon. Take a look inside this beautiful book here.
So about that Kryptonite . . .
Let's face it, making cookies that resemble people is not easy. One must figure out the proper proportions for arms, legs, feet, hands, heads, and bodies. Then there is the face, which presents one proportional dilemma after another, such as: Where do I place the nose in relation to the eyes? How far apart should the eyes be? Where should I place the mouth and what shape should it be to convey the expression that I want my cookie person to have? If you are like me, you solve these dilemmas by avoiding making people cookies altogether. But that is a shame, because adding a person or character to a set of cookies can really kick it up a notch.
There are many different styles of people cookies - almost as many as there are people in the world. I think the best way to approach this challenge is to figure out which style of cookie-fied person suits your own artistic style best. So, let's take a look at some of the possibilities.
One of the most versatile styles for cookie-ing people is a more cartoonish one. For instance:
I hope the above examples give you an idea of the many different ways people can be cookie-fied. Piece of cake (or cookie), right? And yet, the prospect of making people still terrifies me, and I have tried to figure out why.
I (and I think I am not alone here) often think that only "real" artists can make people cookies, but that is not true. All of us can learn how to make some sort of person. There are lots of resources out there to get you started. Always a good place to start is the incomparable Sweet Sugarbelle. She has free tutorials on all sorts of people, from pilgrims, to football players, to cheerleaders, to ballerinas, and more. You can find them all here. If you want to try your hand at drawing your own characters, I can recommend a few different resources. I sometimes use a site called Drawing, which helps with all of the basics, like the correct facial or body proportions, and how to create different facial and body poses. Another source is the tutorials right here on Cookie Connection! Just last month on Cookie Connection, Dolce Sentire posted a tutorial about how to handpaint faces. I also highly recommend Mike's SemiSweet Designs blog. Last year, he did a very detailed post titled, "Drawing Your Own Characters for Cookies," which not only provides step-by-step instructions, but also lists a number of books and resources to help take your drawing skills to the next level. Finally, if you are weary of drawing your own characters, you can always purchase artwork from any number of sources. (Though ALWAYS remember to seek permission and give credit whenever using someone else's artwork.)
So now that we've seen what all kinds of people cookies look like, and where you can go to get all kinds of help with the process, let's talk about what I would like you to do for this challenge. Here are the rules. Please read and follow them CAREFULLY.
1. Create a "person" cookie. The cookie can be part of a set of cookies. Heck, you could go to town and create an entire family!
2. Your "person" must be a HUMAN person. For example, this means no mermaids, no satyrs, no personified animals, no Minions. Fairies are okay, as long as the only non-human thing about them is wings.
3. You may NOT make copyrighted or trademarked characters, such as Disney characters.
4. You may make your cookie from an original work of art by another artist IF you have obtained the appropriate written permission from that artist and/or purchased that artwork for your use, AND you credit AND link back to the original artist's work when posting your entry. For instance, the cookie below by Love Bug Cakes and Cookies, based on artwork purchased from and credited to Whimsie Doodles in the caption AND tags, would be okay, as long as you also provided a link to the original art in the first comment under the post.
5. Your person must have the following visible features: head, face (with eyes, nose, and mouth), body, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Legs obscured by skirts/dresses are okay. You may not use articles of clothing or accessories that intentionally obscure the face. For instance, while a very lovely set of cookies, this is NOT permitted:
6. Your person's face may be in profile, but must have distinguishable facial features. For instance, this fairy by El Atelier de la Reposteria is okay:
7. If you use a specific tutorial or other helpful resource in creating your person cookie, please let us know in the comments to your posted entry. We would love to know! Basically, share your newfound knowledge and discoveries with the rest of us!
8. IMPORTANT: Again, you MUST credit any sources of art used by mentioning the source in the caption AND tags, AND by linking back to the source art in the first comment under the photo. (Please do NOT upload someone else's original art to the site.) If the original art is yours, then you must state this in the caption or first comment. (If you sketched before you piped, then we'd also love to see your sketch uploaded in the first comment, though sharing it is optional.) Any entry that does not follow this rule will be disqualified.
9. As always, we ask that you make a brand-spankin' new cookie or set of cookies for this challenge.
10. Think outside the box, take some healthy risks, and HAVE SOME FUN.
Please post an image of your cookie set to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfectclip setno later than October 11, 2015 at 5 pm central.
Because these challenges will be ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #12" in your photo caption (subtitle field) AND in a tag, so that we can tell the challenges apart from month to month. Please use the main title field to uniquely name your cookies as you normally would.
Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your images, as you normally would. (Meaning don't just use the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and leave it at that, or your photos won't easily be found with keyword searches.)
You can enter more than once, but please post only one clip of each distinct entry/cookie set. Multiple clips of the same entry/cookie set are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.
After the challenge closes on October 11, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight the following weekend (October 17). The next challenge will be announced after this challenge is closed.
And one last thing . . . This is NOT meant to be a competition. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. Period. These challenges are intended to inspire the artist in you and push you to be the best cookie artist YOU can be at this snapshot in time. Remember, the whole point of this exercise is to get you OUT of your comfort zone - to "take healthy risks," as my wise-beyond-his-years son always reminds me. Plus, prizes are given entirely at random, so healthy risk-taking has its own rewards!
I would love to chat with you as you journey through this process, so if you have any questions about the challenge, are having trouble getting started, need help bringing an idea to life, or need technical advice (other than, "Does my fur baby count as a person for purposes of this challenge?" - and no, it does not), please leave a comment below.
Christine Donnelly began her professional baking career at 16, when she was hired on the spot at her local bakery to work the counter and decorate cakes. After detours to college and law school, she worked as a trial lawyer in Chicago for many years, ultimately leaving that career to become a stay-at-home mother to her two children. In her “retirement,” she continued to bake at home, at last finding her preferred artistic medium in decorated cookies. In February 2013, Bakerloo Station was born with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Christine makes cookies to balance her left brain, to inspire and share creative ideas, and to feed those needs that only art can satisfy.
Photo credit: Christine Donnelly
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bi-monthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Donnelly that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.