Feeping Creatures: FAQ

This is where you can find out all the dirt on Feeping Creatures. These questions are the ones I do, in fact, get asked most often. If you've got a question you don't see answered here, drop me an email.

Q: So, what are Feeping Creatures, anyway?
A: The short answer: Feeping Creatures are creatures that look like they'd go "Feep!"

The longer and more accurate answer: "Feeping Creatures" is a design term, a spoonerism of "creeping features." What are creeping features? They are extraneous bells and whistles added to whatever it is you're designing that bog it down and make it into a sprawling, lumbering beast. For example, you know a creeping feature is coming when a software developer says, "This is a great spreadsheet program, but what it really needs is a clock function that changes color according to the phases of the moon!" Or when a client sends a request to the programmers that an animated paper clip needs to be added to a word processing program in order to tell users that they may, in fact, be writing a letter.

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Q: What can I do with the feeps?
A: Depends on the feep, of course. For your basic figurine feep, one option is to set it on your computer. If you're a software developer, you can look at the feep periodically to remind yourself to ask the hard-hitting question of whether or not this spreadsheet program really needs a color-changing moon-phases clock. If you're a software user, you can gaze upon the feep to calm your nerves after the paper clip interrupts you to inform you of the letterish nature of your document. Or you can just put the feep anywhere you think your environment could use a colorful little monster.

For the smaller art pieces, I recommend displaying them on your desk and telling people they're pictures of your children.

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Q: Do you make all this stuff yourself?
A: That I do. Every eyeball, every tail, every tentacle is crafted by my own two hands. I don't use moulds of any kind, so while I do return to certain designs, each individual feep is a unique creation, not exactly like any other. The dolls are sewn entirely by hand, the art is all drawn by me. I will, obviously, use manufactured parts in conjunction with some of the feeps: stuff like leather cord, keychain rings, and magnets (which are affixed to the feep using industrial-grade adhesive). The shadow boxes may contain commercially-produced dollhouse accessories or found objects.

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Q: What are the figurines made of?
A: The figurines are made of polymer clay (of which some brand names are Fimo and Sculpey). I used to use Sculpey III (their main commercial brand), but have found it to be too brittle for what I want to do and have switched to Premo, their higher-end, more durable polymer clay. Glow-in-the-dark feeps are a mixture of glow PVC/polymer clay and non-glow polymer clay. The FlexiFeeps are made with Sculpey Bake & Bend SuperFlex clay.

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Q: Are they fragile?
A: The earlier polymer clay and glow-in-the-dark figurines are relatively fragile (especially when they have pokey bits like tentacles or horns) and should be treated with the same care you'd show a ceramic figurine. The more recent feeps (starting about June of 2006) are made of a stronger polymer clay and are not especially fragile. I tend to drop them fairly frequently with no ill effects. However! They can still break, and it's still the case that delicate bits like tentacles or horns are the most susceptible. Small children are especially good at finding the weak spots and exploiting them, so bear that in mind if giving a feep to a kid. In general I've been trying to making all the figurines as compatible as possible with young children or adults who radiate entropy fields, but it's best to treat it gently if you're prone to breaking stuff.

Necklace and keychain feeps are made of either Premo or SuperFlex clay, so they should last awhile. Keychains in general, it should be noted, tend to fall apart over time; I've never had a manufactured keychain that hasn't given up the ghost after consistent use. If you want your keychain feep to last throughout the ages, only put infrequently-used keys on it. Magnet feeps are specifically designed to be sturdy, so be not afraid to affix things to your fridge with them.

The dolls and other art pieces should be treated strictly as decorations, not as toys.

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Q: Are the figurines painted?
A: Nope. I use pre-dyed clay, so all the colors come from the clay itself. Even the pupils of the eyes are made of tiny, tiny balls of clay.

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Q: Why are some of the feeps signed "Dylan" and others "NDR"?
A: As explained in my bio, for a long time I was signing my art using my nickname "Ender" (which was later shortened to "NDR"). I eventually came to the conclusion, though, that using a pen name mostly just winds up generating more work for me for no tangible return. As I am very lazy, this seems like a good enough reason to jettison the pen name and just go with my real name. So: all 2004 feep figurines and dolls are signed "NDR." Anything made after that is signed "Dylan." I still sign the artwork "Dylan NDR." Probably because "NDR" is shorter than "Edwards," and see above re: lazy.

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Q: Do you do commissions?
A: Yes, but first, read this here disclaimer: The feeps turn out best when I don't have a specific goal in mind, when I just let things wander until I suddenly have a monster in my hands. I'm happy to do requests for styles I already work with frequently, like cats or tentacle monsters, so if you see a feep you want but it's already been sold, feel free to contact me about making you a similar one. I'll also do general commissions for things like holiday gifts ("I need 10 dragons for my officemates for Christmas"), so definitely get in touch if you want to place an order like that.

As far as turnaround time goes, I usually require 3 or 4 weeks to get your feep done. Not because the individual feep necessarily takes that long, but because at any given time I have about 5 bajillion projects going on (many of which are time-sensitive), and your order goes into the queue. So be sure to factor that in when placing a request.

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Q: What's the best way to buy some feeps?
A: Check out the Feeps for Sale page to learn all about how to become a fabulous feep owner.

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Q: How big are the feeps, exactly?
A: It's not always clear from looking at a photo online how big something is, so here's a size comparison of several average-sized feeps next to a common household object:
cat and monsters
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Q: How do you keep the figurines from getting covered in fingerprints?
A: Ha ha. I don't. But a lot of people who have played a little with polymer clay ask me this, and here's the truth about it: if the clay is on the too-soft side you'll get fingerprints everywhere. If the clay is just right or a little hard, it just won't pick up prints as easily. There are ways to de-soften the clay, but it's not always practical to do that, so you can smoothe off the prints after you finish molding the piece but before you bake it. If you're working with a good-quality clay like Premo you can also file or sand the piece after firing (use jewelry files or high-grit sandpaper, 600 or higher).

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Q: My feep got damaged! Can it be fixed?
A: Despite my best efforts to make the feeps resilient, they still sometimes get broken. It could be a matter of a particular batch of clay being unusually brittle, or it could be due to an accident, or it could be the result of the force of nature known as Small Children. But yes, it turns out feeps can be fixed relatively easily. Super Glue works extremely well, and in some cases can have your feep looking like new, depending on the nature of the break. I would recommend Gel Super Glue so it doesn't drip everywhere (having a feep glued to your hand is less fun that you might think). Just be sure to put a really small drop on there so it doesn't squish out too much and leave an unsightly lump of glue. The regular, runny Super Glue sometimes oxidizes when it dries, turning an unsightly translucent white, so that's another reason to use the Gel kind.

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Q: What is the best way to take care of my feep shirt?
A: Whether you got a silkscreen shirt or a transfer shirt, the answer is the same: wash inside-out in cold water, and hang to dry. DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER. The heat from the dryer will cause the silkscreen ink or the transfer to crack over time. This is true of all your other silkscreen shirts as well: to keep them looking crisp for much longer, simply drip dry them instead of putting them in the dryer.

The transfer shirts are more susceptible to getting damaged by the dryer than the silkscreens are. If you accidentally do run a transfer shirt through the dryer (as I have), you can touch them up by taking the dry shirt, placing ironing paper over the design, and passing an iron set to cotton over the paper for a couple of seconds. Seriously, just two or three seconds is all you need.

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