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Artist Christopher Sickels’ Fantastic, Miniature World

The Reader's Digest contributor produces wholly original work, combining painting, photography, set-building, and sculpture on a "clumsy dwarfish Barbie doll scale."

“Sometimes it seems like you spend more time on the drawing than the building, even with the labor-intensive stuff.”

“Something like this generally takes two to three days to build, then probably another half-day to shoot it. Sketches can take a day, or two or three.”

“Sitting in one spot is boring.”

“I get to integrate sculpture and painting and photography and lighting and set-building and depth and textures. It gives me more challenges than just sitting at an easel and painting for 10 hours.”

“If the sketch really works, you have to trust it.”

“With a deadline, you’ll solve it one way or another.”

“I work at a kind of clumsy dwarfish Barbie doll scale.”

“I’ve seen some people work with things that fit on an X-ACTO knife blade or your fingernail. I haven’t worked that small before!”

“I had a passionate art teacher.”

“With the small farming background I had, people didn’t really go to art school after high school—I don’t think we ever had anyone from my high school go to an art school—but she really showed me that I could do it.”

“I had a confused encouragement from most of my family.”

“They didn’t quite know exactly what I was trying to do, and I didn’t know either. So, they were encouraging, even though for so many years it seemed it was going to go nowhere.”

“The fact that I didn’t know very much was probably a good thing.”

“If I’d known more, I’d probably have gotten a ‘real job’ at some point, or gone into real estate. If you’re dumb enough or naive enough to think you can actually make it, that’s a big part of it. No matter how much you’re rejected or turned away, keep going at it.”

Up next?

Pick up The Beginner’s Guide to Running Away From Home from Random House Children’s Books, written by Jennifer LaRue Huget with art by Christopher Sickel’s Red Nose Studio. Its expected release date is June 28, 2013.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest