Saturday, September 23, 2006

Children's Books Display - Part 8

This monkey was not part of the original concept, but the two alcoves also had beams that ran front to back, as well as the ones making up the left to right archways. I decided to make a couple additional characters to fill up this short space. I also new that I wanted to do a window display to bring attention to the installation once it was up, and that characters similar to those in the actual installation should be part of it. I didn't want to make a bunch of additional characters that wouldn't be used afterwards if I could help it, so I tried to think of some that could do double duty, first appearing in the window display and then later being moved onto the permanent installation. They also had to be characters whose initial absence in the store installation wouldn't be apparent.

The monkey seemed like a good character type who could perform this double duty. Whimsical, and very kid-friendly, I thought he'd be a draw to get kids to want to come into the store. I designed him with the double duty in mind, giving him a hooked prehensile tail that he could hang upside down from a vine from in the window, and then later be seated on a log in the permanent installation, where he'll also be given a paper hat.

Again, photographic documentation of his construction has been lost. This was actually one of the easiest characters to put together. His limbs and tail were made from a discarded garden hose, which was inserted through a breadloaf-like shape made of newspapers for his body (which also has a wooden block inside so that the tree trunk can be screwed to him later). His feet are two wads of newspaper, his hands stiff, heavy gauge florist's wire. His head was paper mached separately, and consisted of balled up newspaper and ears cut from a cereal box. Once the paper mache was dry, the head was attached to the body.

After this he was primed and painted. As I said in an earlier post, the priming tends to show all of the mistakes. This makes any characters that are painted white, less forgiving than darker, or patterned colors. A lot of smoothing out had to be done again and again to the areas that would be left painted white. The monkey's nose was made from paper pulp, just like the bear's, and his eyes are plastic animal eyes. I ended up sticking with black beady eyes for almost all of the characters as it made the characters seem friendlier.

The copy of "Caps For Sale" that the monkey is reading was made in the same manner as "Blueberries for Sal" for the bear.

The tree stump is a cheap plastic flower pot that annuals come in at any store, covered with paper mache and painted. Wooden blocks are screwed to the interior near the base, so that it can later be mounted to the installation.

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