Monday morning the day after we came back from PAX East, I was checking out the Penny Arcade book signing tour schedule, and realized that they were coming to New York City on Tuesday, which was the very next day. A thought “Maybe I can make something to give to them…” crossed my mind.
The Penny Arcade robot (whose name I won’t spell out here to keep this blog family-friendly), would’ve been so easy to make, but he’s been around for a while, and there must have been tons people who made a plush of him. So I wanted to make something new and different. Then I realized that I had been looking at the perfect subject for a plush project all weekend long. It was on the cover of PAX East booklet.
Stuffed stuff: Lion head goldfish monster from Penny Arcade’s original series, Lookouts
Created and stuffed: March 2010
When I went to the ‘Penny Arcade make-a-strip live!’ panel at PAX East, Mike explained that he got an idea for a monster from a lion head goldfish. He also showed us the owl/elk monster he had designed. The owl/elk was beautiful, but it looked like it needed some real planning, so I decided to make the lion head goldfish monster first.
My office is conveniently located in the middle of the fashion district in NYC, surrounded by many great fabric stores. During my lunch break on Tuesday, I ran to a fabric store where I found fleece with the right color for his face, and legs. For the bumpy part on his head I got red textured brocade. I thought of using red fleece for his head as well, but the bumpy part was supposed to be the main feature of this monster, so I picked the brocade to differentiate it from the other parts of his body.
As soon as I got home from work, I started sketching patterns. I usually sit around, doodle sketches, stare at it and think. But I didn’t really have the time to do any of that. After I drew how big the body was going to be, I cut it out of paper and cut fabric for the body. The body was kind of like the Golden Whale I made for the Behemoth before. Two pieces on the side, and one long piece in the middle. I made the body, stuffed it and tucked in some extra fabric in and adjusted it.
I moved onto the wrinkly part on the face. I doubled the widths of the middle part and bunched up the fabric on the both ends so that it’d be the same width as the middle piece. And I sewed both ends on where the mouth would be. Then I made his mouth with black and white felt. Then I cut a slit on the wrinkly piece where the mouth should be, and sewed the mouth onto the back of the wrinkly piece. After I attached the mouth onto the wrinkly piece, I sewed it onto the body.
I used slightly darker fleece for his legs and used dark brown felt with a cut out piece of poster board for the bottom to stabilize it. His legs are also wrinkly like his face, so I made the legs a lot longer than the actual legs. After I stuffed the legs with stuffing, I sewed the top of the legs to the body, then I tucked out the top of the leg to make the skin wrinkly.
For the bumpy head part, I cut a big circle of red brocade fabric, and loosely sewed around the edge, and tightened it to make a shower cap-like form.
Then the scales… So many scales. I started cutting out the scales around 7:00 AM on Wednesday, the day of the book signing. I didn’t sleep at all, not even a nap, but strangely I wasn’t tired at all. I must’ve cut more than 50 pieces of light brown pieces, and more than 50 pieces of dark brown pieces at lightning speed. After I finish cutting them, I glued the dark brown piece onto the light brown piece. Then, I glued each scale onto the body. Yes, I glued! I HATE using glue on plush. Glue takes too long to dry, and is very unreliable. But I really had to leave for work and hadn’t figured out how to effectively sew scales onto the body.
I grabbed my sewing kit and stuffing, my boyfriend grabbed the lighting kit and his camera and left for work, allowing the glue to dry on the way to work.
During my lunch break, I sewed the red head piece onto the head and loosely stuffed it. I tried to make “toes” by stitching, but the thread was too thin, and not very visible like I wanted. I sewed his eyes and my tag, and it was done! O_O
My boyfriend had to take pictures at work, so the lighting wasn’t ideal, but we figured it’s better than nothing.
We left the work early, and headed to Kinokuniya which was only several blocks away.
When we got there, there were so many people already lined up. They had a brief Q & A session and started signing books.
When it was our turn, I showed them my Noby Noby Boy scarf I won from the contest Penny Arcade had, and thanked them for the prize. They were both surprised and said “You’re one of the winners!” And while Mike was signing the book, I gave Jerry the monster. He grabbed the head and lifted up the monster from the bag. As soon as he saw the scales, he quickly turned to Mike. And Mike saw it, and let out “Whaaat the ffffffff!” Their reaction made my sleepless night all worth it.
Making a plush from patterns to the finish in one night is a new record for me, and this project was so much fun.
I still have extra fabric, so I’m making a couple more as I refine the patterns since I made this one. They are 77% of the size of the first one. They’re like baby monsters. Do monsters have babies? I’m pretty sure they do. I’ll post some pictures when I’m done.
For more pictures of this plush, visit stuffed stuff: Monster from Lookouts set!
You can also check out more stuffed stuff on my flickr.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the very important thing!!!
“Penny Arcade guys”, Jerry (Tycho) and Mike (Gabe), are on the list of The 2010 TIME 100 Poll.
It is to decide who are the most influential people of the year.
Jerry and Mike have organized a charity called Child’s Play, where they raise donations, and give toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America and the world. They have raised $1,780,870.40. in 2009!