Sunday, January 25, 2009

LEGO Anakin Skywalker costume

I'm a big LEGO fan, so I thought it would be cool to make a LEGO costume for Halloween one year! Episode III had just come out so I did LEGO Anakin, using one of the mini-figures I got with a LEGO kit I had.

It took two years to finish the costume- I ran out of time the first year. I improved the design anyways and it really helped to construct it with more time. I could see, turn my head, walk, even run in the costume. Everybody was surprised when this giant LEGO man came walking out into the courtyard that day at the Halloween party at work!

I designed it so I could take it apart and transport it easy. The thing is made mainly of foam, fabric and foam-core board,... and alot of hot glue! The body is simply a sandwich-board design made of foamcore that hangs on my shoulders. The hands are gloves that have LEGO-hands glued onto them. The legs have a pair of sneakers mounted into them, so anybody can wear it. You just step into the shoes and off you go! (once you learn how to walk in it.)

The head is foam pieces stacked and glued together. I could see out of the mouth opening. When I started painting the hair, I realized that if I simply painted the face, the texture wouldn't be smooth enough to make it look like a giant toy, so I covered the face with fabric. It looked pretty good that way, nice and smooth!

The lightsaber is a blue FX saber from Master Replicas. To make it look more like a LEGO saber, I wrapped it in bubble-wrap which made it look thicker and still let the light shine through.

My buddy Tommy dressed up as the real Anakin! We had fun dueling it out at the party!

There were a bunch of cool costumes that year! It's always fun to see how creative everybody is! Again, I didn't win anything in the costume contest. The "judges", who they always pick from a department we've never even heard of, always seem to vote for their friends, who we also have never heard of! Maybe they thought I bought it. However,my fellow Simpsonite and friend Karen Carnegie won in one category that year. She dressed up as a birthday cake... table and all! Woo-hoo! Represent!

Here is the min-figure I used as a model for the costume. Like I said, I had to open his mouth so I could see out of it. The rest is pretty much the same as the figure.

LEGO Anakin now stands watch over my game room. I improved the look of the lightsaber with the help of my friend/Simpsonite Nancy Kruse. She wanted me to join her troupe she was heading up for the annual Doo-Daa parade here in L.A. that year. You couldn't see the saber glow in bright light, so Nancy suggested that I cover it with blue cello-wrap they use to package flowers with. It worked! It glowed blue in the sunshine and even bluer in the dark!

Since LEGO Ani doesn't move while he's on display in the game room, I made 2 fake arms using foam rollers and hung them with bungee cords so you can fight him. Anakin's good hand can be chopped off if you hit him the right way! I hollowed out one of the arms and stuffed a red sock inside after it was mounted to the hand. If you cut it off, you can simply "reload" it!

The horror!

The spider is not to scale!

"Don't make me destroy you!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The "Froggitt" sculpture came about through the formation of an after-work sculpture technique swap/class my friend Dusty Abel set up. Everyone interested just showed up in the Simpsons conference room after work on Wednesday nights for awhile and brought their own stuff and we all sculpted whatever we wanted. Some people brought in things they were already working on while others started projects right from the concept. It was fun sharing ideas and techniques and tips with other artists and finding out which tools they liked for working with what and stuff like that.

I wanted to do something that looked like you caught a funny moment of action or something, so I did this sketch of a frog catching a fly that I kind of liked and did that.

I first worked on the frog's body in class with everyone. For a while, you couldn't tell what it was! I had planned to really enlarge the feet, and because of their thinness, I was going to leave them off the body and mount them directly onto the base. The body would be glued on later.

The lily pad is just a sheet of plywood I cut and sanded into the right shape. To get the veins of the pad, I just carved into the wood using my Dremel tool.

I actually baked the tongue first. The tongue is a simple brass rod with sculpey baked around it. I wanted the tongue to be removable so I could put the whole sculpture in a smaller size box! It was pretty easy. The brass rod I chose was square in shape so it was easy to key into the sculpey of the frog's mouth before it was baked. The fly was glued onto the tongue with epoxy. The spit-splats are drops of dried epoxy as well as the water drops on the lily pad. Alas, the epoxy I used has aged and become a bit yellow.

I'm glad I did make the tongue easy to take off because I'm always fixin' the spit that I break off!

Froggit was a fun sculpture to put together. I had originally planned to put him up on Ebay to how much I could sell him for but my friends wouldn't let me! I'm glad I still have him.


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Vivian is a character designed by my good friend and fellow Simpson-ite Tim Bailey. I needed something different to sculpt... something that was a far cry from my own stuff. Tim always had drawings of his Ninja Cats up at work so I asked him if I could try to sculpt one and nail his design in 3D.

So Tim gave me two drawings of Vivian, the one at the top of the page and one little sketch of what she would look like in profile. That was about it for reference. I would ask Tim questions when I got hung up and he'd advise me about how her features should blend into her head shape and stuff like that. We adjusted her kicking pose to be more dynamic than in the sketch. That was fun- getting more energy into her pose! The first time I brought the proto-sculpt to work for Tim to see, I had the head interpreted wrong. It was a bit too wide and a little too big. I sleeked-out her face more and Tim liked it.

Vivian was really a blast for me because it was fun to try and dimensionalize someone else's 2D sketch! Tim had a much better idea of what these cats look like than I did. It was fun to see Tim's face when he saw his character sitting there in the little pyrex baking pan I cooked her in. (She was easy to move around and transport in that pan so I just left her in it.)

I found some construction pics I took when I was putting Vivian together. You can see her armature and what I call, the "doll" I made first. I started doing this armature doll technique with my mother's Ariel sculpture. It works really well. The doll acts like a rigid skeleton, making it easier to sculpt onto with the soft sculpey, plus it's easy to pose the character better than if it was just armature wire.

Doing this sculpture really made me want to see what else I could sculpt using another artist's distinctive style. It was fun taking a 2D sketch and figuring out how everything had to fit together to make that character work at every angle and still look like the artist's drawing!

I was really happy with how Vivian turned out. Tim really liked her as well. I will re-post Vivian when she is all painted up.