Monday, September 04, 2006

Ah, But How?

I'm not finished for the day yet but I thought I better catch you up on the fun over here. Yesterday, I went out to get some pink or blue Polystyrene™ insulation foam to carve the cottage walls, woo hoo. But the two places I went didn't carry any. (wtf?) But as it turns out, that was perfect because what I did buy will end up being a faster method. I plan to still track some of the elusive crunchy stuff later to shape flats of it into the surrounding cottage landscape, a better idea after all.

What I did pick up was a sheet of 1/8" acrylic Plexiglass™ and a fresh plastic cutter to start sampling up various mediums and clear paints to see which photographs most like early poured glass for the cottage's Tudor-style leaded windows. More on that during the week.

I also bought my first miter box as I intend to cut the cottage beams at nice angles to meet at the top of the skylight, etc. More on that during the week too.

Other bits and hardware bobs, oh, and big ol' sack o'plaster later, I'm supplied to rock.

Last night I started in on the Tarn main character sculpt. (If you ever want to catch up you can always type "Tarn" in the Blogger "search this site" field at the top and it'll pull all previous references to her character here.) And here's something I would like to say right up front, one of the benefits of not wanting Halfland to be a commercial success thus freeing myself to not try to impress people "in the field" is that I can do things here fast, sloppy, ugly, corner-cutting, and wrongly in order to serve my larger purpose of making the film for myself. Documenting progress here isn't about doing things correctly or particularly well, just doing them. When Halfland gets done it won't be each detail done to perfection as that would take about 75 years. So, it's my best expression where it counts when all the components come together in editing, etc. Thanks for listening.

Right, so, Those that have seen the Tarn reference images probably saw that I have had a vivid idea of this character for many years. I'd bought life-size crow Halloween decoration years ago with a half-assed idea to use it as a reference. But letting my hands work without my mind knowing what to do, I plucked the dear of her hand-glued (by Chinese slaves) feathers down the hollow rubber. I shoved her onto a base, extended her bird leg on her right and added a wire human arm and leg armature on her left. Now here's where it got hard and then fun. I'm looking at this bird and thinking about it being half woman vertically and I realize that I have not a clue how to blend those two ideas together in reality. Not a clue. It's a clear idea, half crow/half woman, but how would one actually do that when they have to actually make it in 3D? Ah, but how would you?

I was at a loss but kept working at it, carving into the rubber and stitching it like a soft sculpture, adding foam and tape to attempt to create a female form that seemed in some way like it were a functional creation. I cheated by extending the bird leg to help blend the two and was helped by the fact that this character is wounded on her human leg and therefore has it kept bent and hobbled.

Tomorrow I can add rolled layers Plastalina on top and sculpt her furthermore. Fantastic day today.


  1. Every post excites me more, you've got a lot on your plate! This is going to be great :D

    I completely understand your Tarn struggle, I hit a wall on Jenny 2 in a similar half mostly lady-like, bottom half fish-like (scaly taily) but where the two halves meet at the middle, I have no idea...nothing I try strikes me...but someting will come to me...

  2. Damn straight, Skippy! I'm learning this week that letting our hands work while our mind takes a ciggy break is the way.

    I'm so glad you're watching me, Jeffery. And I love watching you work.


  3. Anonymous12:13 AM

    Fantastic, Shel. I am kvelling here. I can barely believe my eyes. Tarn taking form after 13 years in your mind. Wow! PK

  4. Anonymous8:30 AM

    Yes, I think she's marvelous too! What an inspired idea to use the plucked crow as a base...!

  5. Thank you, Ulla. This process is amazing. One of the most key things I've gotten so far is to make my own rules. It's most creatively satisfying for me that way.

  6. Thanks PK! Isn't my making progress so much better than the burden of knowing I've got these things to do, for so long?! What a relief!! Thank you for all the great support!!

  7. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Go Shells!

  8. Isn't it funny how any item that hangs around an animator's home long enough eventually takes on a life of its own? I love the pics of the Tarn puppet, and I think the way you create is much more organic than if you tried to identify and avoid "mistakes" in advance. As for working fast and sloppy...what other way IS there? ;)

  9. Thanks, Svenee!

    Totally Michael, That's so true. Keep everything, it always gets used. Normally, years later in surprising ways, right? I've got things so old on this project it's redonkulous. It's like I've been carrying an art supply store (all departments), hardware store, model shop, costume shop, moving it all every where I go for a decade and a half. Whew!

    Your comment about my just diving in and building makes me more confident. Thanks.


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