JibJab Masks

We moved into a new office in January and as such, I wanted to make two enormous sculptures of the logo to fill the space when you walk in the doors. I worked on these off and on in my spare time for about 3 months and for the past 2 months they have sat in my garage painted and waiting for me to build the bodies. Given the limited amount of time I have to do ‘fun stuff’ these days I figured I would post them now and EVENTUALLY I will get to finishing them off. Here’s the blow by blow on how I went about it…

Step one was literally making two giant balls of wire. I usually use buckets as the base to build on top of so the mask can be wearable if you want to.

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Once the general size and shape of the head is in place I wrap the whole thing in chicken wire which makes it a bit stronger and easier to attach new elements. After that I just start hacking away at features. I like to tape on temporary eyes, nose, ears, etc. to get a better sense for how it ‘feels’ but I always know I will strip these things off as I go.  Next, I twist up little bits of wire and duct tape them altogether as I begin to find the forms.

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Once I feel good about the general shapes and features then comes the paper-mache. Given the size of these two heads this was a seriously time consuming and MESSY process. Lots of glue and cut up newspaper. And once I completely covered both heads it was abundantly clear that they would need a second coat.

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After the heads were completely covered with two coats of newspaper and glue, the next step was to paint them pure white. This was immensely gratifying because for the first time they look like SOLID shapes.

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Once the heads were pretty much complete came the fun job of adding the details like eyes, eyebrows and texture to the mustaches. For this I used some boxed paper-mache from the store where you add water to powder to create a clay-like material. Up until this point I still hadn’t decided on how I wanted to handle the eyes…

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And next comes the color! I knew I wanted them to relate to the pink in the JibJab logo but they also had to be vibrant and circus-like. Plus, after initially paining all the hair dark brown it was way too drab so I wound up mixing up a deep purple and repainting both heads.

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And finally, once the colors were all in place I decided a flat paint job to match the logo was too boring. These are big dimensional characters so I went back in and rosey-ed up the checks, noses and ears so the heads are still cartoonyish but hopefully somewhat livelier.

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The last piece of this puzzle will be the bodies. My original plan was to buy mannequin bodies and just plop these on top of them but I’m afraid the hyper-real bodies won’t cut it. I’ve decided to build my own bodies and to aim for a cigar store Indian vibe.  Over the past two weekends I have hacked together these stands (which currently make them look like 2 giant Pez dispensers) but there will be more to come!

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Another Mask

I absolutely had to make something tonight. I didn’t know what it would be but it felt like I haven’t actually done anything creative in FOREVER so I told myself I would go back to the studio and I set a goal of just completing *something* before the night was through.

I had this paperbag mask that I started a while ago and never did anything with so I laid a toilet paper roll on for the nose and that was the start…

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First I thought he’d be a caveman so I painted him all fleshy color…

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Then I cut out a silly beard, sewed up some lips and laid it out. My goal was to go for ‘confusion’…

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As I played with different arrangements of eyebrows, ears, etc. he morphed from a caveman to a homeless person to a pirate and back to a hippy. In all the variations I also saw glimpses of myself in 40 years which was also mildly concerning…

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And here’s the final product all hot-glued and wearable. Good times!

 

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My Buddy Parry

I started whittling this block of wood a few weeks ago and my kids said, “That looks like Parry”. I thought they were totally right and since his wife had a birthday coming up I decided to turn it into a full-on portrait and make it a Birthday present. I love making these silly little things.

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Wiener Dog!

I made this in 2 days over my kid’s Spring Break. I have been listening to Parry Gripp’s Mega Dance Party CD non-stop since Christmas and have REALLY been wanting to animate a few of the tracks from the album. I showed it to Parry to get his blessing and he was even kind enough to send me some “YEAHS!” to cut in at the end over the credits. Thank you Parry for making such addictive music!

Andrew Jackson Complete

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So I actually finished this guy about 2 weeks ago but just realized I never posted it.  It only took another hour or two in the studio.  I pulled out the pins from his jacket and added some trim that I bought at Joanne’s Fabric.  His neckerchief is just some cut and folded paper towel and the sword is some carved and spray painted bulsa wood.  I had to bust out the electric sander to file down his hand so that I could glue the sword on at the right angle but even that moved quick.  The last touch was attaching the epaulettes which was also some trim that I picked up at Joanne’s and then… President Jackson was DONE.

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