Saturday, September 14, 2013

What time is it Mr Wolf?

When I discovered Templar Publishing’s fundraiser for Breast Cancer Care I had an overwhelming urge to contribute. Maybe it was because, after I lost Dad to prostate cancer several years ago, I knew from experience the importance of support organisations like these provided? Maybe I just wanted to rise to a creative challenge for a good cause? An artistically designed paper watch auctioned for charity? For whatever reason, to jump in and give it my all just seemed right.

From the start I thought of added value to increase desirability. This idea led to how I could display the paper watch. Considering Templar Publishing is well known for books with high production standards, I thought it quirky to actually make my own. By using the old playground game of What time is it Mr Wolf? as a concept, I was able to tie together themes of children’s activities, time, books, illustration and creativity.

The first task was a foundation illustration. My emaciated Mr Wolf started out in a notebook just before bedtime. Ideas come fast and at such inappropriate times it’s best to scribble them down before they disappear. Sketches are exactly that. Sometimes even I can’t tell what’s going on.

Building stuff from scratch has always been something I've enjoyed. As a breather from inking the illustration, work began on the papier-mâché book. Glue and gunk formed a heavy texture applied to its casing and reinforced the book’s hinge. A felt lined interior was fixed into place. The whole thing was painted with durable satin paint. Meticulous dry brushing gave an aged leather effect. A coat of satin varnish added protection. As a finishing touch, a ribbon book mark was secured and cut to shape.

As the book hardened off, thoughts turned to the watch.

It was always going to incorporate elements of the main illustration that featured on the ‘endpapers’ of the book. I also wanted to focus on an actual timepiece and so decided Mr Wolf should have his own grandfather clock. The watch strap was perfect for the cabinet that housed the pendulum and weights.

By sketching out a few ideas again, I settled on something along the lines of what you see here. I later decided to have Mr Wolf wrap around the clock waving his knife in anticipation of his dinner.

Sometime later I had completed all the hand inking of the main illustration, book and watch. Everything had been scanned, tinkered with digitally and turned into a print ready pdf.

I wanted the best finish possible for all my artwork and that meant matt laminated prints at a professional printer. The process of lamination, a film applied to the printed surface, takes a bit longer but the result is an extremely smooth touch. Having everything printed in such a way also made sure the project had a certain amount of durability.

Once back from the printers I cut out and assembled the watch and book. The book parts were straight forward. The watch was a bit trickier as I was going to veneer the matt laminated printed artwork to the flimsy original strap. In doing so I had to re-cut all the holes! Slowly bending the reinforced strap back and forth meant I could break down the stiffness of the card to create suppleness and wear. To add to the distressed look, I cut notches, painted and varnished it the same way as the book.

Finally, the watch was mounted inside the completed gift box, the original illustration mounted on card and the package positioned in a variety of alluring poses!

From start to finish the whole project was an enjoyable experience. Thanks to Emma O’Donovan and Templar Publishing for allowing me to take part. A heap of talent contributed outstanding pieces of collectable art. With a little luck, my Mr Wolf donation will also help raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

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