Flat Percy

Well the news keeps getting more bleak since the inauguration, huh? Keep resisting; if you feel overwhelmed by all the shit swirling, try focusing on one issue that’s particuarly important to you and seeing how you can help that cause. Also, don’t be afraid to disengage whenever you need to. I find that sculpting dogs in sweatshirts is nice!

I started the week the way I ended the last one: adding some scale and a little depth to the scenes. I decided to go with scene 4 because it was the most complicated one. You already know all this.

While I was drawing and cutting out all nine characters in that scene, I was thinking about how I would turn those flat things into three-dimensional things. As I finished the last one, I realized I had to start over! Here’s the new technique, explained as best I can in words, which will not be great:

Front and side projects of Percy, lying on the floor

I started by drawing Percy as he appears in the bakery, head-on and from the side, to scale. I transferred those drawings to posterboard, full size; the front perspective I drew directly, but I drew a line down the center of the side view and then drew each half separately and mirrored. I cut everything out, folded the mirrored pieces in half, and glued the seam of each one to the center line of the front-facing piece, so I ended up with six Percy-shaped slices emanating from a vertical line of symmetry. Does that make sense!?

After gluing some 60° wedges into the corners of the form and adding some strips of corrugated cardboard to the arms and legs, I wrapped long, skinny strips of thing cardboard in spirals around the whole thing to give some support for an eventual skin. It looked like this at the end of the day:

An assembled armature of the Percy sculpture

(Those lengths of cardboard are made from strips of cereal and pasta boxes, hot-glued end to end.) The next step, I think, is to hot-glue some thick paper over the spiral structure, then coat that in papier-mâchè paste (using Jonni’s recipe). When the whole thing is solid, I’ll cut it at the joints, pose it, and add hinges where necessary for animation.

I’m really excited about this technique. I think it’s the most repeatable system I’ve stumbled on yet, by far, and almost all of the steps can also be easily delegated to others, which is really important if I ever want to scale this schedule up. I’ve already started thinking about how to build skeletons like this. I think they’ll look spooktacular.

Speaking of schedules, I also put together a detailed task list as a set of calendar events, covering everything the show needs and leading all the way up to the close and load out of Bobby’s Birthday. This week we’re still firmly in cardboard prototypes; next week, we sculpt and buy supplies. In fact, I got a jump on the supplies by order 100 sheets of posterboard and six pounds of hot-melt glue yesterday. We now have lots of glue.