Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Teddy the Tomato

I created this tomato ventriloquist figure for this year's East Nashville Tomato Art Fest. (if you're in Nashville and you haven't ever attended this festival, you should check it out because it's wonderful - Saturday, August 8. )

For lack of a better idea, he's currently called Teddy Tomato. Teddy is constructed mainly out of papier-mâché (CelluClay) but also ping pong balls and Popsicle sticks).

I even made his little tuxedo. (just inexpensive craft felt from Michael's.) Full disclosure: the papier-mâché technique I used was inspired by (but different from) Jimmy Eisenberg of Ventriloquist Sideshow. I shamelessly copied his standard jacket pattern. (just modified for my guy's weird proportions.) 

I began by loosely carving a styrofoam ball armature. (boy, that's messy.)

Then I made a (slightly) more detailed sculpt in plasticine clay over the armature.

CelluClay was applied over the clay in stages. (I had wanted to cast the clay sculpt in plaster and work from that casting, but time was too short to experiment--I have no idea how the CelluClay would work with a plaster mold.)

The dividers helped, but it was still a lot of work to remove the dried halves from the clay/styrofoam.
The hands and feet were made in pretty much the same way. Wherever possible, I would strengthen long, skinny protruding body parts by inserting wire or doweling.

Then it was a lot of carving and sanding.

I used ping pong balls for eyes. I've always wanted to do that. (Kermit the Frog is my hero.)

The body was built out of scraps from the shed. The arms and legs are chopsticks which are wired to the body frame so they move (but aren't flippy-floppy and dangle-y like soft puppet limbs usually are--I don't like that as much for some reason: I think maybe it's part of what makes puppets creepy to some people.)

I've heard some of the best professional vent figure builders say that it's better to create your character with some slight asymmetry (perfect = boring). I have asymmetry covered: things got a little wonky in there, but it all kind of works. (he IS a tomato, after all.) 

Friday, April 3, 2015

My pointallism (and I do have one)

This began as a phone doodle. As it usually happens, the call didn't last that long but I kept drawing anyway. It has turned out to be just a warm up for a more epic attempt. Stay tuned for more on that.

As I went along, I took some shots of the progress. It's kind of fun to look at how it developed, but it's also a little depressing to look back and see some points where, maybe, I should have left well enough alone.

I think this blog is going to become my website for a while. At times I've had a demo site to promote myself for side illustration and animation work (which I don't do so much of anymore). More recently I revamped it (tidied it up) in order to find a replacement for my day job, but now I don't really NEED a site, except as a place to display odds and ends. I hope you enjoy them.

Another interest of mine is playing the ukulele. Please check out my band, The Ukedelics. (Nashville's Largest Ukulele Band).