Monday, February 9, 2009

Smilin' Jack Pt. 1

Hello all! Jayson here. I'm going to talk about our 10'ft tall Monster Mud / Paper Mache creature named Smilin' Jack.

Rotten Gourd

Jack was heavily influenced by Pumpkinrot, Stolloween, and Ghostess Deanna.

He was the result of a happy accident while I was making a paper mache pumpkin. I originally wanted a pumpkin with a thin, wide, and evil grin like the ones done by Pumpkinrot and Ghostess Deanna. I was following Stolloween's technique to build the pumpkin out of layers of paper mache, which is later followed by building up the details with paper mache clay. Well, I got a little impatient and started applying the clay before I had enough layers of paper to support the clay. The clay soaked through the paper and completely crushed the lower jaw of the pumpkin. I was very upset at the time, as this was my second failed attempt at working with paper mache. If it wasn't for my loving wife giving me encouragement, I would have scrapped the whole thing and gone back to just building fence panels and other less "artistic" endeavours.

I decided to rip the bottom jaw off of the pumpking and try something new.

Halloween2 012 I started by building a frame out of coat hangers to create a new jaw. The frame was basically a tripod that was hot glued to the inside of the pumpkin. I then took cardboard from a 12-pack of Pepsi and used it to form a skin around the frame.

Halloween2 013 Halloween2 015 Halloween2 020 Halloween2 021

Yes, that's Duct Tape. Greatest invention ever made!

Once I had the basic shape I was looking for, I started adding several layers of paper mache paper. No rush job this time. I applied about 5 layers and let them dry overnight. (Lots of shop and box fans help) Once the layers were dry, I started adding the paper mache clay. Once this dried, the pumpkin was very strong and no longer needed the wire frame. I cut the center wire and pulled this piece out, but left the two side pieces since they were now encased in clay. I then applied more clay to the inside to make it look like one continuous piece.

Once everything was dry, I painted the entire pumpkin solid black. I then went back and drybrushed with white paint. No pictures for this part, but it looks just like Penelope. Now, you grab your favorite shade of "pumpkin" paint,(We mixed a little orange, yellow, red, and brown to get the shade we wanted) and start dry brushing the pumpkin again with this new color. You end up with a very nice textured paint job at the end. Practice makes perfect on this part, but it's really not that hard to get the hang of.


Ok, now I have a pumpkin, but what do I do with it? It is shaped wrong to sit up on it's own like the other pumpkins. It can only lay on it's side like a lazy good for nothing as seen in one of the pictures above. (The other pumpkin up there is Clarence by the way. You might see him pop up in a few places here and there. He's the dimwitted brother of Jack that was my very first attempt at building a pumpkin)

What to do with the pumpkin? How about build a body for him and allow him to stand guard over the rest of the haunt? I'll show how I did that on my next post.


Ghoulie Girls said...

Don't you just love "happy accidents"! The prop looks fantastic!

Diane said...

he's creepy cool! when it comes to art, there are no accidents!

suzanne said...

Great story! I love it when a negative suddenly becomes a positive :)

Smilin' Jack looks fabulous!


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