Wednesday, May 21, 2014


A colleague of Debbie's has a child's birthday party coming up, and wanted something special for the decorations. So for the past couple of days I've been working on this:

You'd be surprised how much patience it takes to paint a picture of Thomas the Tank Engine on 30" x 40" foam core using tempera! I was given this for a model:

We decided to dispense with the 3D head, but apart from that, I think it's pretty comparable. Here it is in the very early going:

And a bit later, at the start of the painting stage:

There were two main problems. First, I foolishly chose to rough out the design on the board itself, rather than drawing it on paper first and scaling up. That meant I was doing all the measurements on the fly, on a surface that doesn't erase well at all. I ended up goofing up one dimension and fudging a couple of others. Never assume something's going to be simple just because it looks simple.

Second, the first paint I tried didn't stick properly, but just sort of slopped around, staining here and there. Ugh. Fortunately, the competitor's brand worked.

I also made things hard for myself by being too tentative about the edges, leading to a lot of extra touching up toward the end. But all in all I think it worked out alright.

I'm especially pleased with myself for including Thomas' headlamp, down there on the left side of his chassis. (From Thomas' POV, his right side.) It's a prominent fixture on the real Thomas, but it's always omitted when he's stylized. Not this time!

It's certainly not Art with a capital A, but it was more fun than I expected.

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