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stuffed stuff: Making of Raz from Psychonauts

September 7, 2012

in stuffed stuff

Because of the large amount of the photos I took while I was making this, I’m splitting the post into two parts!

This is the making of Raz doll, if you’d like to see the finished Raz doll, check out the stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts post!

Every PAX I make something to give away to my favorite people & game developers. I had some projects I was planning to do and I had already bought all the fabric I needed. But due to some unexpected inconveniences, I couldn’t start working on anything until less than one week before PAX. I only had time for one project, so I picked Raz from Psychonauts, probably the most complicated project of all. It was nothing like anything I’ve ever made before.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

stuffed stuff: Making of Raz from Psychonauts
created and stuffed: August 2012

I actually always wanted to make Raz but I’ve been putting it off because of his complexity and various accessories he has. This PAX Prime would be the first time Double Fine (the studio that made Psychonauts) was going to have a booth and Tim Schafer would be doing a couple of panels. I thought there wouldn’t be any better chance to give Raz to them.

I sat down and did some pencil sketches first. I print out images I find on the internet as reference too but I get a better sense of how the body is made & the size of each part by drawing the character.

stuffed stuff: Making of Raz from Psychonauts

The proportions (head : body : leg ratio) ended up different than this, but it really helps to draw what you're making on paper.

I thought about simplifying it, but I’m so bad at it. So I asked Derek to draw Raz. Because he’s awesome at simplifying it.

stuffed stuff: Making of Raz from Psychonauts

Raz drawn by Derek: D'awwww! This Raz was cute too, but I decided to go with the original plan.

I was going to make a regular doll, but for some reason I like changing my plans when I’m on a super tight schedule. It must be some kind of disorder. I was looking at screenshots and the concept art by Scott Campbell, I thought… “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could pose him? OF COURSE IT WOULD!”

In art college I had made sculptures with wire armatures before, but I never made a plush doll with wire in it. There’s a first time for everything, right? And this time was that time! I went to an art supply store and got some armature wire and made the basic body structure. (which looked a lot like the thing from The Enigma of Amigara Fault) Then using the wire body as a reference, I made the head with canvas. It took two tries but it wasn’t too hard. The body also took two tries.

I used canvas because I could stuff it and have a solid base structure for the body. Raz has very skinny arms and legs, which made it a huge pain trying to squeeze the wire through the arms and legs because canvas doesn’t stretch easily. I even used a pair of pliers to pull the fabric over the wire. Next time I’m definitely going to use a stretchier material than canvas.

I took a lot of photos while making this, so you can see how I made mistakes fixed & tweaked them!

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

After a lot of pulling and tugging, I finally put the wire structure inside the body.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Sewed pants on and working on the hand

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Fingers! (Yes, I gave him four fingers.)

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Fingers/hands wire structure

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

I wrapped the wire with heavy-duty masking tape.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

I made a cover for the hand with canvas, covered the arm with the final fabric and sewed it.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Fingers seemed to be a bit too long...

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

"AAAAAHHHHHH!" just kidding, he didn't scream.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Hand with shorter fingers, much better.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Canvas ended up being too stiff  & bulky to work with on the small hands, so instead I used the final fabric to cover the hands. (He would be wearing gloves anyway.)

After the hands were made, I used the head as a reference to make patterns for the hat. The hat has stripes and piping along each seam Yes, PIPING. I never made or used piping before. But I had already-made piping with white fabric. (Sometimes I’m glad that I’m a scrap hoarder. I don’t even know why I had the piping to begin with!) So I wrapped the piping with the fabric I was using for the hat and made custom piping.

I was worried about the hat the most. Not only did it have the piping but it’s not easy to make patterns for something that’s round, so I was relieved once the hat was done. I put temporary eyes on the face to know how to trim the front of the hat.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

I didn't go with this eye shape though. (The hat is inside out here.)

After the hat, I made the suit, sweater and gloves. Oh did you know that he has a backpack? Not just a backpack, it’s got stripes and buckles. Fancy, right? Which means more work for me. The buckles were tiny and they didn’t have to be functional so I just cut felt to make the buckles. But I did put snaps on the shoulder strap and the opening of the bag, so you can take the backback off, and open and close the bag.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

The strap is about 1/4 inch wide.

After I stuck the head on the body, I put a string around the head to make a dent across the face and covered it with the final fabric.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

I should've used a thinner and stronger thread... but it turned out okay.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Just put the fabric over the face and stretch!

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

I like this "stretching fabric over and sew" method. Because there is NO NEED FOR PATTERNS!

At this point, I realized that he’s wearing something like an open face mask underneath the hat, so I quickly made it and tucked it under the hat. Then I put the hat over the head and sewed it on.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Still so far from done, but I was getting super excited looking at this!

Then I realized something very crucial. His arms were a bit longer than I originally planned, and now the legs were too short! If his arms are bent you really can’t tell, but it looks weird if you straighten his arms down. I already had a crazy deadline, and I couldn’t waste my time thinking about whether I should do it or not… So I just did.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

I just lengthened the legs.

Then I made shoes and hems for the pants, and sewed them on. The longer legs definitely looked better so I was happy that I went with it.

To finish off the hat, I made the ear covers and put a trim all around the edges of the hat. I didn’t forget to put the hair sticking out from the top side of the hat either!

For his signature goggles, I was going to use the bottom of plastic SOLO cups. They actually looked cool…

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Stuff I didn't end up using: I happened to have this hideous red fabric and they were perfect for the lenses on his goggles.

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

Stuff I didn't end up using: The back of the goggles

BUT because it was empty inside, it was a bit flimsy and I didn’t want to weigh it down by putting stuff inside. So I had to ditch the idea, and made a pair of goggles with fabric only.

Everything was pretty much done except the face. I always wait to put the face on a doll until the very last minute but that’s just because I’m SUPER indecisive. I packed my sewing kit and left for PAX Prime.

To be continued instuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

A sneak preview for those who can’t wait…

stuffed stuff: Raz from Psychonauts

For more pictures of this plush, visit the stuffed stuff: Making of Raz from Psychonauts set!

You can also check out more stuffed stuff on my flickr.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

ShayNo Gravatar September 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

That’s crazy, and I love it. Always so impressed at your plushy creativity, but this one just tops them all.

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Katie BNo Gravatar September 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Watching the process is amazing. My sewing is limited to buttons and Scout patches and I don’t do a great job with the latter so to watch someone with such talent and creativity with a needle and thread is awe inspiring. Thanks for inspiring my awe.

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Megga-MiisterNo Gravatar September 8, 2012 at 12:08 am

This is the craziest plush I’ve ever seen made. Anna I think you have seriously become the Queen of the Plushes.

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gabbeNo Gravatar September 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

how incredible and insanely cool! love it! can’t wait to see more!

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judith chenNo Gravatar February 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

wow, this is the first time I saw someone who use “trick” methods like me, instead of creating a complicated pattern and testing dummies. Great job though, very detailed. It encouraged me to do better work (because normally I’m too impatient) :D

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