Sweden is one of the countries where the final installment of The Hobbit opens on December 10th. That’s tomorrow! The first screening is actually tonight at midnight and I’m going. I went to London last week and I came a few days ago with the idea to make something special for the big night at the local movie theater. My sister is the boss and I used to work there so I have connections. I wanted to make something cool for their doors so I made four of the characters on two sheets of paper. I had very little time. The one with Legolas and Thorin was made in a day and I hate the fact that it shows. I wish that big bird could come to life and just take a huge dump on Legolas’ head. With the help of my mother and a lot of tape I managed to get them up and it turned out way better than I expected! So happy about that!
I’ve posted these pictures earlier but it never occurred to me to tell you how I did it. Silly me! When I built Olaf I wanted to see if I could build it with stuff I hade laying around the house so maybe you’ll find my choice of material a bit odd.
1. I started with the head since it’s easier to add to the body than to the face which often is very detailed. First I built the face in a type of clay that doesn’t dry and is reusable. This was the most time consuming part. When I was happy with how it looked I covered it in petroleum gel so the papier-mâché wouldn’t stick. I always use wall paper glue (if that’s what it’s called) because I think it’s easier to work with. I mix that with water, about 50/50. I used copying paper because it’s white and it dries faster than newspaper. I added somewhere between 5-10 layers. Better too many than too few. When it was dry I took a artists spatula and pried it off as carefully as possible. It will rip in the edges but that’s nothing to worry about. You can fix that later.
2. So now you have a face. Next step is the rest of the head, but first you need something to hold all the parts together. I used a paper tube and that worked out great. I took a balloon and I blew it up to about the size of an orange. Make sure that it’s the right size. If it’s too big it won’t fit inside the snowmans head, and if it’s too small the paper tube won’t fit. I covered almost all of it in papier-mâché. I left as much so the paper tube would fit. This part goes on the inside and it keeps the head from wobbling so it doesn’t matter if you use newspaper or copying paper. When it’s dry you glue it to the back of the snowmans chin, but first make sure that the head lines up with the paper tube the way you want it. You can see half of it in this picture. This is after I sawed the snowman in half.
3. Back of the head. For this I used a balloon and covered half of it in papier-mâché. To get the exact shape of Olaf’s head I used regular newspaper which I folded and masking tape. When I was happy with the shape I covered it all in papier-mâché and this time I used copying paper. The thing you have to be super careful with while making the back of the head it’s that it fits the face. When the back of the head is dry it’s time to put the whole head together and this is when you fix the rips from when you removed the face from the clay. To make it easier you can first use white masking tape so that the two parts stick together while it dries. Don’t forget the hole for the paper tube under the chin. Add some papier-mâché to make the edges smooth but make sure that the tube will still fit.
4. Olaf’s hair. You can use pretty much anything. I used pipe cleaners (again not sure about the name) so that I would be able to bend them to shape I wanted. I covered them in masking tape and papier-mâché and then I made three holes on the top of the head to fasten them in.
5. The upper body. This is a bit tricky because of the arms. For the arms I used a plastic pipe that I had lying around. I sawed it in half and bent the pieces so that they looked like a J. Like I did with the pipe cleaners I covered the plastic pipes in masking tape and papier-mâché. I covered the smaller piece after the bend the pipe with duct tape. For the upper body itself I made a doughnut. I started from the inside where I took a piece of an old film banner. It’s some kind of thick paper that almost feels like plastic. Not sure what it’s called. I cut it and taped it to almost look like a sleeve for a paper cup. Make it a little bit bigger than the paper tube so that it easily slide off. With the “sleeve” still on the paper tube I took masking tape and taped newspaper around it until I had a paper doughnut that looked proportioned to the head. Then I covered it in papier-mâché. Copying paper is used here. Make sure that the “sleeve” is inside the doughnut. Make two holes for the arms. Insert the part covered in duct tape into the holes. The duct tape works as a kind of lock. I made the hands last so I could see that they would look good compared to the rest of the body. I made the fingers the same way I made the hair and then I just fastened them to the pipe. I cut off a piece of the pipe to make it look more like a hand. It’s hard to explain but you can say that one side of the pipe almost looked like the mouthpiece of a recorder.
6. The lower body. I made the lower part of the body the same way as the upper part except I made it a little bit bigger and the hole didn’t go all the way through. I also made the bottom a bit rounded. It’s very important to remember to constantly make sure that the body is aligned with the paper tube. Don’t add papier-mâché while the pieces are on the tube if you want to be able to separate the parts as they do in the movie. Make all the pieces separately and don’t put them together until your 100% sure that it’s dry.
7. The feet. For the feet I used two styrofoam balls on which I sawed off a piece so they wouldn’t roll around. I covered the balls in papier-mâché to match the rest of the snowman.
8. The buttons. I made the buttons out of sculpey.
When all is dry comes the fun part. Painting! I painted the whole snowman white to make it more even in color.
That’s how I built a snowman. I hope I explained it so it was easy enough to understand. Please let me now if something isn’t clear. Now my snowman is a mural. I just sawed it in half and glued it to a wall.
I spent this summer traveling alone across the United States for three months. It was an amazing experience. I saw the Fourth of July fireworks over the Manhattan skyline, fell in love with the beauty of Chicago, stumbled onto a filmset in New Orleans, got ripped off in Las Vegas, witnessed an amazing sunrise over the Grand Canyon, climbed the hills of San Francisco, drove south on the amazingly beautiful Pacific Coast Highway and partied with Hollywood actors in Los Angeles. It’s been a summer I’ll remember forever.
If you’re anything like me you know that some days everything feels impossible and it can be hard to see the silver lining. That’s why I made this little cartoon figure of one of my favorite people of all time with one of my favorite quotes from her. She was not just a pretty face, but unfortunately that seems to have been forgotten.
Like most of the earths population right now I just love Sam Smith, and especially his song Stay with me. I found this really nice picture of him in profile that made me want to draw his portrait. So I did. The lens flare was just something I wanted to try. I think it’s such a cool effect in pictures and on film so I thought why not in a drawing, but I didn’t want it all across the paper so I used my artistic freedom on that one. The old fashioned microphone is also a thing I added on. I just can’t stop myself from adding things. I like to tell a story with my drawings. Even if you’ve never heard of Sam Smith you should be able to tell what he does for a living just by looking at the drawing.
It’s been awhile since I did an oil painting. I don’t think I’ve actually ever finished one. It takes so long for the paint to dry, but now I thought I’d give it a go. I’m going to paint a pink flower and with a bit of luck it will turn out really nice so that I can donate it to a charity for breast cancer. There are so many great causes out there that I would like to contribute to so I’ve decided to try to do something for a different cause every month. Starting with October and breast cancer of course. In December Malala gets her well deserved Nobel Peace Prize so that month goes to her fund. I just have to figure out what to do. But first up October and November.