Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Pumpkin Virtuoso

I made this little guy for my friend's birthday that was a couple weeks ago (so, yeah, if you were wondering why I was not posting, this is what I was working on). He uses this picture A LOT as his avatar:

so I thought I'd go about recreating it in reality. (I'm sorry that I have no credit for this icon, if you've made it or know who has, please let me know!) The first thing I got excited about knitting the little scarf (which is ironic because it ended up being the thing I hated making the most), and I contemplated various ways of making the body and violin. I was all prepared to make it all out of clay, but then it hit me. Paper mache!

I shaped the body and head out of newspaper and painter's tape. I used thick string for the 'veins' on the pumpkin, and pipe cleaners for the fingers. I basically folded two pieces of pipe cleaner in half, and inserted the folded part in a tube of newspaper for arms. (Apologies for the messy desk, but paper mache is a really messy craft :P)

The violin is two pieces of violin-shaped cardboard filled with newspaper and bound with painter's tape, and the bow is just another pipe cleaner. This entire process took about three hours while I was rewatching Sound of Music with a friend.

I used PVA glue mixed with water and paper towels, here is the first layer applied. I think I did... four layers? Though the base, for example, only has two layers of glue and paper towels, and the pumpkin head has a couple more. With the breaks needed for the glue to dry, this process took around three days.

I first painted the whole thing with light grey acrylic paint. Then I switched to gouache (mostly because I had way more colors and wouldn't need to do as much mixing, but I ended up really thankful I did because I would be way less comfortable shading with acrylics). I've never really shaded a 3D object before, but I am quite pleased with the results, especially on the pumpkin. Finally, I glazed the whole thing.

Sewing the tiny coat was another challenge, because sleeves confuse the hell out of me. It worked out alright after a lot of trial and error. I used felt and handsaw it.

I used fishing line for the strings, and cut little notches into the base of the violin so I could thread the line through the loop at the neck of the violin and tuck it into the notches so it was nice and secure.

Then I knitted a tiny scarf, and that was basically it. Except not, because aaaaaaaah, I hate tiny scarves. Hate hate hate. It was so tedious, and I ended up being frustrated and having loose ends poking all over the place because there were so many of them and I just had no patience. So the scarf is a little bit crap, but shhh, don't look too closely at it.

I think my favourite part might be the hands, oddly. I just used some really, really watered down gouache a shade darker than the base color I used, and it settled into the grooves and made this quite awesome shading.

From the side and the back.

Overall, I think this entire thing took about... thirty hours of work, maybe, not counting waiting time. But it was worth it, and it was one of the most fun projects I've worked on in a while!