Creating my Creature Part 3: In the Flesh

Inevitable rambling section:

The third entry to the Creature Creation will work as an official entry point to the process of creating the actual look(-s) after all the preparations and other previous developments. This stage I feel was the one I both anticipated and dreaded most, mainly because it meant that I would now have to once again dive head-first into a routine that had grown to become so familiar to me. I’ve been able to develop a better understanding of my relationship with this routine – turns out, it’s quite the toxic relationship that we’re in. At first I saw it as a positive symbiotic relationship, where both parties gain something out of the co-existence – i.e. me getting the work done and my work routine evolving further in a way that would allow me to handle the workload better next time and create pieces that I would feel more satisfied with than previously. However, that was not the case, so I found. It just seemed like regardless of how many times I would subject myself to said routine, I would end up feeling siphoned creatively, mentally, physically and so on while also not feeling fully satisfied with the end result, toppled with the fact that my work routine would not change or evolve in between my creative ventures, so I was really just stuck in an endless cycle of overworking myself and feeling disappointed in myself and my abilities. However, that was first year, this is now. Over the summer, I’ve allowed myself to take some time off to reflect on how I worked as a creative. I feel as though I was able to make quite a bit of progress with it too, to a point, even, where I don’t have to wait until I am done with the module to be able to reflect on what I could have done better, it all just sort of comes along with the process of creating, I am more aware of what’s happening as well being more way of the power of control that I possess in the present. Some might say that I have simply unlocked the ability to think cognitively a decade too late, but I find the idea of refering to it as “creative and mental growth” much more appealing. Obviously, there is so much more to learn in terms of developing my ability to coexist with my work routine, however, I do think that I’m on the right track with it all and this project, the way it’s unfolding makes it quite evident.

It’s been about a week since my last tutorial and at that point, all that I had was a picture of me in my silly little “undergarment”.. I am pleased to say, however, that I have been able to progress quite a bit past that point throughout the last couple of days, as well as being able to apply a new kind of thinking to the process of creating my final piece that I for some reason truly struggled to apply last year – it being “it might not be perfect, but that is ok, it’s literally my first time giving this medium a shot”.

Having created the first layer of the costume (it being the undergarment), the next logical step was to create the bases of the costume itself. This costume in particular – the Hatchling – I chose to use foam to construct. I had never given foam a try before and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. My only experience with foam had been creating the hip pads which were used for the undergarment, the process of that was quite straight-forward, so I figured it shouldn’t be all that challenging to use the material to create something more ambitious. Boy, was I wrong.. Before I get onto the images, please keep in mind that I had no access to mannequins or dummies that I could have constructed the costume on..

Progress of December 4th:

I started with the main feature of the costume – the overly exagerated shoulder/chest piece. I started by cutting out 2 big flaps that I later glued down to a shirt I felt comfortable sacrificing for this project. Having placed them down, I felt as though they were a) not nearly as thick enough b) not stable enough c) not close enough to my vision, therefore, I decided to try gluing a small wall of foam around the edges of the big flaps and then closing them off with smaller flaps, as seen in image 2. The 3rd image features the rough of what would soon become the chest base.

After clipping the rough edges, I gave the shoulder pads a test run. (In the sense of putting them on my acquired morphsuit) In this stage, I was really satisfied with how dynamic, animated and dramatic I had been able to make them, however, the work was far from being done.

The day had been coming to an end and I had ran out of brain power, so instead of forcing the development of a part of the costume which I considered to be the most important one, I tried giving another part a go. This bit of the costume is just as important, however, I think at that point in the night, it was a lot less complex to carry out, hence why I actually went for it. The part of the costume that I am referring to is the head.

I started out by hot gluing several circular foam cutouts, after they had dried, I trimmed the rough edges to give them a more tubular shape and cut out a section at the bottom which would later be used for attaching the “antler” to the mask itself, however, that was a task for the day that followed.

Progress of December 5th:

Unlike the previous day, I was able to bolt out of bed earlier and had started working on the costume before the clock could strike 12 o’clock. (Not really relevant to the development, just celebrating a teeny accomplishment) No plan had been set the night before, so I spent the first 10 minutes deciding on what to work on first and decided to proceed with the making of the mask as I really had everything I needed. (most of it was not documented with photos due to how fast it took to make it, and, because of how much of the time I had been rendered “blind”)

  • I started by wrapping some cling film onto my head to protect my hair from any possible damage.
  • I cut out 3 identical bits of fabric and using some masking tape and the hands of my friends, stuck them onto my head wrapping most of it in it, only leaving a small opening in the back to have an exit point.
  • I took the masking tape and proceeded to tighten the fabric around my face, in the process, moulding the shape of the mask.
  • After I felt like it was enough, I asked one of my friends to cut me out of the mask so that I could work on it externally.
  • Working on it externally included hot gluing bits and pieces together, cutting off excess, adding layers of fabric onto it to make it stiffer/more durable.
  • Once I felt confident with the mask that I had put together, I placed it on my face one more and asked a friend to draw a circle on the front of it, which, I later cut out to create the porthole for where the “eyeball” would go.
  • Having cut out the circle helped tremendously with properly placing down the antlers and then attaching them to the mask too.

Having done the mask, it was surely looking like it’s all slowly coming together. Truly, the only things left to do for this costume to meet its completion is figuring out the hips, conjoining the shoulders and turning it into a singular plate, cosmetic editing and the application of fabric across the entire costume. Considering I was able to complete almost 2/3 of the costume’s base in such a short time, I will place my bets on the possibility that I will reach the completion of this costume soon enough!

Before night time came, I was able to partially conjoin the 2 shoulders. I decided to conjoin them in the front and cut out the back of the shirt for easier access and exit as up until this point, I would have to carefully put the undershirt on and position the shoulders in whichever fashion I wanted to. Was quite the faff having to deal with that all the time.

Progress of December 6th:

Today was not all that progressive, but I was able to develop the chest/shoulder piece a bit further from the stage that it was at last night. I covered the piece in paper and glue to stiffen and sturdy it up. It still needs some patching up and a couple more layers, but this is the most I could do today, and that is alright. At the beginning I tried gluing fabric directly onto the foam but after a couple of hours of struggle I realized that it was simply not going to work. Instead, I tried adding a thick layer of glue on the foam and then started adding bits of paper tissue on it, much like we would do in art class back in school. I applied the same treatment to the mask, making it much more durable.

The chest piece is easy to put on and has retained its mobility when worn – that was a big concern when I first started making the base of the costume. The head needs some work but surely I can figure out a way to make it easy to wear without much struggle. All that remains to be constructed is the lower part of the torso/hips and legs/feet.

Final edit – January 10th:

For the hips, I made a quick pattern using some scrap fabric I picked up from the scrap store, hot glued it onto some thermo trousers and then hand-stitched it together for extra security. I then stuffed it with some stuffing that I had laying around since the Artist Book module from last year. However, it was only enough to fill in one hip. For the longest time, I had to delay making the other one as I just could not find any stuffing that I could afford. That is, until, the brilliant idea of mauling one of my duvets dawned upon me. And thus, the second hip was finally create, after almost a month of struggling to find a solution.

Some extra changes and additions:

Eventually finished the base coat of the shoulder piece.

The shoulder piece’s center bit was very straight and flat, therefore I had to make an incision, bend it downwards, stuff the gap with some foam and patch it up. Curving the bit made it feel more natural and look much better than it did before.

Most bases were complete around the 27th of December.

The last thing to finish off the “flesh” bit was making the mask more sturdy and functional. With it, the base of the outfit was complete!

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