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I have just finished studying Entertainment Design Crafts at Cleveland College of Art and Design where I specialised in the design and creation of props and set for film, TV and theatre.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Getting Ready For The Degree Show...

So, I had two weeks to finish creating my Monster, write Frankenstein's Journal, paint the background of my set, create a floor, purchase a bookshelf and stain it to match in with my colour scheme, smash a mirror to look as though my Monster had punched it as well as filling the shelves with any props I could get my hands on that fit my designs.

To start, I set up my boards that were to act as the wall and the floor and got to work. To start, I painted the back wall to look like stone bricks (I originally wanted to use polystyrene to act as stone bricks which would have looked more realistic but this was quicker to do in the time I had left. It also meant that the focus would stay on my Monster):

Now I had painted the background, I had to do the floor. In my design, the floor was wooden floorboards and it was very important to me that the floor looked like wooden floorboards. So, I went and bought vinyl floorboards (they had a shine on them but it wasn't too noticeable and I quite liked the effect) which I stained a Rustic Oak colour using a thin paintbrush to add more wood grain in it. this meant, I could just peel the back off, stick them down and cut off the excess. At the same time, I also bought a bookshelf which I stained the same colour so that the colour scheme would stay the same (but slightly different in shades otherwise it would look silly all the same colour!) I used filler to fill in the gaps the screws made to try and hide them:

Now I had a place for him to stand so that I could finish his feet, I could finish the rest of him - this was mainly just his legs, feet, adding the extra muscles and adding stitches.
To start, I worked on his legs and arm, adding the extra muscles and re-dressing his bandages:

I felt I could now move him upstairs to his set so that I could create his feet and add any blood that was needed and finish adding the stitching (and the blood dots on either side of the stitches):

I loosely bandaged his feet so that I could easily remove him after the degree show and create his feet again if I needed to). I finished stitching the 'skin' together and added blood dots either side of each stitch. Later, I would add dirty down spray to the bandages to make them look more worn and a small amount of fake blood.

Now, I turned my attention to the set. First, I decided to do the mirror...
The mirror was a little more tricky that I originally thought. Unfortunately, it was a last minute decision. My initial designs were showing the Monster looking at his reflection in a medical tool that I would design and create. However, I soon realised that his hands were covering a lot of his face as it was (to try and make people look closer at him) but by adding a tool in his hand, it would completely cover his face. So, instead, I changed the story to having him caught sight of his reflection in a mirror, punched it in anger and confusion, turned around in the shock of what he had just seen. In the end, I ended up using two mirrors and three frames.
For my first attempt, I stained the wooden frame (it was just a cheap mirror) I taped four small hammers together to act as a fist, covered the mirror in a thin plastic sheet, swung the hammers off it and it looked great! But... the frame broke due to the impact of the hammers on the mirror separating the mirror shards and pushing the frame slightly. Well, of course, the more I tried to fix it the more it went wrong. When the shards of mirror fell out, the white plastic backing of the mirror was revealed and this just looked completely wrong.

For my second attempt, I bought another mirror and stained the frame again. However, I wasn't pleased with the frame and decided to create a more authentic looking one from scrap wood which I could then stain. The mirror was also glued to another sheet of wood so that, if any shards were to fall out, there would be a wooden backing and it would look more authentic. It was also to try and stop the mirror moving too much when I hit it.
This time, it worked brilliantly and I was able to hang it up no problem:

                                               Much better! Here, I have added fake blood.

I wrote the journal (using a dip pen and ink) from Frankenstein's point of view (from notes I made from my journey of creating him) well as a load of medical anatomy drawings (also drawn in dip pen and ink, found from Gray's Anatomy and Google Images. NOTE: These are not my images, I do not own them or claim them to be my own. They were used for the sake of this project and this project alone). The journal I picked was A2. I tea stained all the pages and ripped all the edges to make it look a little more interesting. I also took the spiral out the middle and covered the front and back in fake brown leather and bound the whole book together with brown sting. I also used gold transfer letters to write 'Victor Frankenstein' on the front of the journal:

Next, I filled the shelves with props I felt would work best in this setting including letters (which were addressed to two of the main characters a few were addressed to Mary Shelley. I also made wax seal stamps for each of these characters which I pressed in to sealing wax to seal the letters - I like attention to detail!) Frankenstein's own wax seal stamp (handmade), sealing wax, candles, a magnifying glass, bottles, ink wells, quills, wooden boxes, medical tools, spare bandages, 'nerves' suspended in fluid in a bell jar, two hands (silicone casts of my own!) in bell jars etc.:

That was my props and set sorted, now I just needed to make last minute adjustments to my Monster and he was ready for the end of year Degree show...

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