Saturday, 13 July 2013

Magic of Myths: Byron the Plush Bear - pt 2

Morning all!
Yesterday you all saw Byron's progress from concept sketches, to mis-shapen blue jellybean to an almost complete plush!
Today I shall take you through the final stages of making Byron!

Okay so here is how we left him. (If you missed pt1, click here!)

The next stage was to armour him!
Before I cut up any material I referred to the initial drawn template and cut out and pinned on paper mock ups. These I could then use as patterns for the armour.

Once happy with size, shape and positions of the paper mock ups I could begin sewing!
I chose a shiny navy blue PVC fabric to make his armour as I felt that would create a nice contrast against his soft felted body. However I didn't anticipate the trouble such a fabric would cause! I attempted using a sewing machine at the beginning, however I found that the fabric just simply wouldn't machine smoothly and I had to abandon that idea to hand sewing the armour instead. Making the armour was definitely the most challenging part of this process!

I experimented with several methods in constructing the armour, I aimed to create raised ridges on some pieces and quilted panels on others. I eventually cracked the method for creating these effects, and I'll show you how using Byron's back plate as an example.

I started off with a paper shape cut out of regular printer paper and glued on rolls of kitchen roll to create the raised ridge, very Art Attack!

Then I placed a small amount of the same polyester fibre I used for Byron's core in the centre of the raised ridge. This was then sandwiched between two layers of the PVC fabric with glue sealing the outer edges and the underside, but NOT in the centre where the fibre is.

Next I sewed around the outside of the armour shape, and then sewed on the inside edge of the raised ridge made with the kitchen roll. Then I sewed four lines along the width of the space inside the raised ridge, where the polyester fibre was placed. This created the desired quilted effect I wanted to distinguish separate plates.

Lastly the shape was cut out and highlights and details were painted on using silver acrylic! I also used a dark marker pen around the cut edges as they showed the white of the fabric's underside.

And there you have it! A complete set of armour for Byron the Bear!

Attaching the armour onto Byron was quite a brutal process, I secured the pieces it to his body with pins and in some places a dab of glue. Then I began the difficult process of sewing through 4 layers of fabric and paper, through his felted body deep enough to secure it in place then back out 4 layers of fabric and paper! Byron started to exact his revenge to this sergery by the end, breaking one very thick needle and making my fingers very very sore!

Very nearly there now, the only things remaining were to make his claws and red tattoo on his shoulder. these I did last as I thought them potentially too fragile to survive while sewing on his armour. 

The tattoo shape was done in a similar way to Totoro's belly markings, using very slender strands of red wool and carefully felting them onto his shoulder to the right shape. And the claws were all made separately out of small equal sized balls of white wool and then felted onto his paws one by one, adding any extra bits of blue wool to neaten up the joins. 

And there he is; armoured, clawed and ready for battle!

Byron the Bear will be making his debut alongside Magic of Myths: season 2 at San Diego Comic-Con this month!!

If 'ol Byron here has perked your interest in Magic of Myths you can find out more about the comic, the creators and events on the website:
The first book is available to buy on that same website, along with pre-order for season 2! Go check it out!!

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