Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jungle River Packet

Before explaining the pictures below, I want to remind everyone that I'll be at Dragon Con this weekend. I'll be in the comic section (not sure where that is yet, but I'm sure your program will tell you if you're going) doing sketches, commissions, and I'll have plenty of sketchbooks and Crogan Adventures to sell, so please come by! I'm also on a few panels. Here's the info: Friday, 11:30am: The New Age of Comic Strips Hanover Room F @ the Hyatt Friday, 1pm: Graphic Novels and Young Adults Room A707 @ the Marriot Sunday, 4pm: Brigands and Buccaneers: Myth and Reality of Pirates International Room (BC) @ the Westin The other day, my colleague Nolan Woodard had a baby (well, his wife did) and I subbed for his concept design class. They were finishing up maquettes, and I thought "hey, I've been wanting to make a paddle wheeler for some time now" and so I stopped at Hobby Lobby on the way and picked up a couple of pieces of balsa. During the class I built the deck, and that night built a boiler, engine, and paddle. I haven't taken a day off from doing comics in quite a while, so it was fun to do a hobby project.

I made the deck from three pieces of foamcore, topped by a thin-ish piece of balsa wood. I "drew" in the planking and wood grain with a bamboo skewer. The sides were done the same way.
I made the boiler itself out of one of those little wooden barrels. The rivets were added with puff-paint, the pressure gauge is the inside of a brad, the whistle a couple of pieces of plastic tubing, and the smokestack is a faber-castell PITT pen with the top cut off. The valves are the backs of sewing snaps. The engine is two more (though smaller) wooden barrels, some plastic piping, and more balsa. The paddle wheel was a round needlepoint pattern (two, actually), cut to look like the metal part, and balsa for the planks. If you look next to the boiler, I added firewood, some old coal leavings, and a stack of replacement boiler tubes.
Here's the thing with the cabins on it, and the upper deck. It's still not finished - I need to add the bridge (which I expect will take longer to build than I presently have time for, as I want it to be open-windowed with a visible interior) and the stairs to the upper deck, which I have but forgot to paint and put on. I'll do that later.
I wanted the boiler visible, but wanted the area to feel like it could be enclosed. Hence the hanging canvas, made from "green stuff," a type of sculptable epoxy.
The railing is just chicken wire, with dabbs of puff-paint put on the cut edges to keep it from being sharp (which, believe me, it IS when left uncovered). You can see where the stairs will go on the upper deck, in the middle and on the back, where the rails open up. There will be four staircases total.
The whole thing was painted black, and then I added colors in successive layers, drybrushing on really cheap acrylic with a bristle brush. Since this is supposed to be a jungle paddler, I decided to show algae growing on the paddle and around the bottom of the visible hull. I tried to let it show that it would've splashed up around the wheel and the back of the engine, too. These kind of boats are prettiest when they look their worst.
The whole thing measures in at about sixteen inches long. I don't have a story in mind for this one right now - it really was a hobby, something I could turn to finishing this afternoon when my back started to hurt from being stooped over the drawing desk all day - but I'll find one for it eventually. Since I've got it (mostly) done, it'd be a shame to not use it for reference. One more note about Dragon Con - I'll be bringing most of the drawings in the store section, so if you've had your eye on a piece and want to guarantee that you get it before somebody else does, I'd say get it now. Have a great weekend!


Dan said...

Chris, you astound me with your versatility. This is freakin amazing! Well done, sir!

A J said...

That really looks amazing! A true work of art, sir!

Pat Bollin said...

I am so blown away by this that I can hardly contain myself!!! WOW!

Pauline said...