Gigglefish Project: Steam Punk :
Background: Research Steampunk.
Based around the world of steampunk which is influenced by the style of the 19th-century work of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Mary Shelley. Steampunk’s most recognisable features are the anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions that people in the 19th century might have envisioned. It is a style rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style.
At the start of the year I contacted a fiim studio that was embarking on a full length stop animation feature film based around this world of a steampunk mine. The company ‘Giggle fish’ are based in Lancing and were looking for any volunteers to help make models and props.
I initially approached them with a few examples of my illustrative work. Explaining that I have zero experience of model or prop making they were happy for any help they could get.
On my first day I was asked to come up with some concept drawings of the uniforms worn by the miners. The director explained that he wanted a series of Thunderbird type uniforms with a sash and tool belt. I drew the main character wearing various outfits. Remembering the leather outfits that motorcyclists wear I then drew the main character wearing a similar uniform.
I drew him initially in white, then with direction from the director re-drew him in black with pads. Black costumes are cheaper to produce white.
The drawings were then used as costume blueprints for all the main characters. Concept drawings main character costume development:
Machinery Concept Drawings and finalised props.
The work load has been intense. In addition to model making I was asked to draw more concept designs for machinery that were then created by myself under guidance of the props team.
Model Making Development:
Continuation: These models are part of a backdrop scene. The characters are based on preliminary sketches that then need to be shaped and moulded with clay silk. Then using scraps of cloth I then had to create clothing and working arms that can be animated.
Styrofoam moulding is an extremely difficult medium. Using silicone the mixture is created and then poured into the moulds. To get the consistency correct takes practice and the results need to be consistent. The heads, once hardened, are then shaped with sand paper and passed onto the puppet making team.
Sets: The story is set in a steam punk mine where the characters live and work.
Each set is intricate to make and the level of detail required is a time consuming process. Using PVA and DAS clay the styrofoam is gradually built up to create a cooper type effect that is finished with metallic paint.
Shaping and prop making The following are models of chimneys for the houses. They are shaped in styrofoam and then textured with clay before finally being painted.
Each week the sets are built up to include pathways made of cobbles. This process requires individual cobble stones being moulded out of DAS then stuck into a path that has been carved out of the styrofoam.