The Making of Tama Part 3 is finally here! Phew, this leg of the journey took a long, long time. I thought the painting part of this process would be a breeze and I would finish it all quickly but nope…this took the longest!
I should probably also update you on things I added between the end of Part 2 and now. After painting a couple of coats of Gesso and white paint on Tama, I realised that before I started painting with colour, I wanted to make a base and smooth down some kinks that were bothering me with the yukata. Great timing for this revelation, I know.
So I mixed up some Apoxie Sculpt and smoothed out the uneven yukata surface and made a base so that she was finally standing on her own. In a perfect world, I would have liked the sculpture to be free standing without a base or even be fixed onto a wooden base, but I hadn’t really planned that in advance, so a last minute flat blob of a base was just going to have to do.
Now that those little things had been dealt with, it was time to start blocking out some colours! The reason the painting process took so long for me was not because it physically took a long time to paint her (quite the contrary, in fact) but because I couldn’t flippin’ decide on what colour combinations to paint the sculpture (I can be very indecisive at times).
Usually I would already have my original concept drawings in colour so I’d know what colours to paint, but I didn’t this time; thinking I would just wing it when I got up to that point with the sculpture. But this, this was not winging it.
From the start, I’d imagined Tama to be a grey and white cat so I painted her those colours at first, only to discover that it didn’t really go with the colour I’d already decided on for the yukata. So I switched to black and white instead.
The next headache was the obi colour. I could not for the life of me decide on one colour. First I painted it light pink, then light yellow, bright orange, back to yellow, bright red for a while and then finally…watermelon pink.
Painting on the mini goldfish design of the yukata also took a while. Everything was so fiddly and to my annoyance, painting on the sculpture destroyed my fine brushes pretty quickly, so I had to get new ones.
I also couldn’t decide on the eye colour. They changed from dark blue, to light blue, to lighter blue and then finally, light grey.
Now that my sculpture was nearly finished, it was time to make the accessories with Super Sculpey. They were pretty fun to make, despite being Arrietty sized.
Another detail I’d envisioned making from the start were festival lanterns so I could hang them in the background for the final photos. I bought little wooden beads and metal hooks from the craft section at Müller and then mixed some Apoxie Sculpt to make little lantern bases and attach the hooks.
I then proceeded to paint them with Gesso and then finally the traditional Japanese festival colours of red and white.
You know, when I read back on my Making of Tama posts, it seems like I’m always surging forward with absolute clarity with what I’m doing but the truth is, this whole process was riddled with a lot of doubts.
Firstly, I wasn’t even sure if I would be any good at sculpting since I had never done it before. There were a lot of moments at the start when things went wrong and I wondered if I was just wasting my time and my money for buying all of these materials that I may not even use again.
There were a few disheartening moments when I was painting that I lost a bit of faith in my ability because I couldn’t get it to the level of perfection that I’d envisioned in my head.
And then I thought how these situations could be likened to life. Even when things are looking like absolute rubbish, you can make it better so long as you keep trying. If you just abandon it and give up at that moment when things look awful, you never really gave it a chance to be anything better.
So I’m glad that I kept battling through the rough patches with this sculpture. I’m glad that I didn’t give up on Tama and I didn’t lose faith in myself. Even though there are things that I still want to change and make better, I’m still proud that I made something – my Kimono Cat – right from scratch. Something that was just an image in my mind is now in a 3D state in the physical world. It’s like I’m a 3D printer ha-ha.
Art is creating something out of nothing.
So, did you like Part Three of the making of my first Kimono Cat?
Click on the button below to finally meet the finished Tama!