Thursday, July 21, 2011

Discworld Was Divine

My Son Shawn and I took a week and went to Madison, WI for the North American Discworld Convention, stopping by my sisters near Chicago to brake up the nine hour drive to and from NADWCON. Miles and miles of windmiles are pretty but one's butt gets sore and eyes get really tired after so many hours, you know? I had created Errol, my Swamp Dragon as a prop for my costume and learned we had to do a mini skit for the masquerade. You can see Shawn's fabulous work below, his leather legionaires skirt, leather vest, leather pouch and leather wossname for his sword to slide into. Yes, it's a real sword, he collects them. He's also a leather smith and made his whole costume. But since his character, Sam Vimes, the Captain of the City Watch wears a steal breast plate he had a friend teach him how to make that out of real steel as well. He detests fake costumes. Shawn helped me char up my apron for Lady Sybil Vimes, who is an Aristocrat but thinks that's hogwash and would rather raise swamp dragons, which she does and lets the estate get over grown. My hair is a mess, I have charcoal rubbed all over my clothes and face and the apron is burned and torn. There is actual blood splattered on the apron from where I had cut myself in the hotel room so I flicked blood all over it when the bleeding wouldn't stop. This added not only color but nice character since swamp dragons are notorious for periodically blowing themselves up when they hiccup and such. We won an award for workmanship, and were quite thrilled since it was our first con!
Discworld is a book series created by Sir Terry Pratchett and quite a funny SciFi/ Fantasy realm where just about anything can happen and does. He offen takes a commonly know story like Shakespear's Macbeth, and tweaks the snot out of it and twists it all around so you don't know which end is up and you laugh so hard it really doesn't matter. I took a group of dolls to NADWCON made by different artists from members of DOLL STREET representing characters from any of the 40 books in the series and 1,000 attendees voted for peoples choice. There were some fabulous representations there. I felt quite honored when my Errol got the most votes. Needless to say getting that and the masquerade award helped me to enjoy NADWCON even more, but it was awesome all by itself. I suggest that you check out the books if you like humor and don't mind a parallel universe that may include wizards, witches, trolls, werewolves, vampires, and other human variations. It's a great way to talk about things such as racism when the group for dwarves is called the "league for equal heights." No one is offended and yet the point gets across to all the readers clearly. See what a mean?

I suggest you might begin with, "Guards Guards" as a first book. You don't really have to read them in order, but it's a great place to start. And Errol is in it so he thinks so too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ta Da!

Presenting Errol! Finished in plenty of time to get a full nights sleep before packing and driving to WI and the Discworld Conference. He's currently hanging upside down to let his eye brows stiffen upright. He's on the back porch airing out from the spray sealer. Errol has three different leathers, a variety of paints and his browns are made of Tibetan Lamb stiffened with Spiking Glue my son left when he moved out. His brows really are almost as big as his wings! This has been a blast to construct but my next dragon will be much smaller.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Original Errol

This rendition of Errol was drawn by Paul Kidby, official artist of the Discworld books. I used his illustration for reference when creating my leather Errol for the Discworld convention.

Errol Continues...

Errol is getting his skin. I bought a supple, thin lime green leather at Tandy for his belly and underlayers and his face. I am totally in love with his face! Because of all the nooks and crannies I had to apply the leather in sections so he appears to have jowls and smile wrinkles around his eyes and other litte serendipitous surprises I didn't plan for. The process has been like riding a bike - though I've not created in a long time it's all coming back naturally flowing out of me. I'm so excited about the process and the upcoming convention where I can share him with others who will recognize him.

Unfortunately dragons can be harsh beasts and I shan't make one this size again. The armature wire was painful to bend for my arthritic hands and still his hind legs are not as strong as I'd like them to be. So he won't be begging at someone's lap as much as I hoped. C'est la vie. I used Apoxie Sculpt over armature wire for the claws and either it was old or my hands are (or both) because it was also a challenge to work with and I alwasy thought it to be easy in the past. Stretching and pulling the leather into a snug position takes more effort than I planned as well.

But maybe this is like child birth. You forget the pain when you finally hold your precious baby in your arms. With a face like this one that's a good posibility... as long as I won't need my thumbs. LOL!