(No Tom Hanks and Tim Allen here. It's another Gibbs production, starring of course, Whitney Ward!
It all started with an estimate. "An estimate?" You may ask. Yes, the story definitely begins with an estimate.
A very talented toy designer Shawnee and I stumbled upon Downtown, took the time out of her busy schedule (which includes designing toys for Disney and Nickelodeon) to give little old us an estimate of the costs to make prototype dolls for Whitney and Uncle Q
. We were willing to part ways with about $250 per doll, but nothing could prepare us for the final estimated figure. Realizing we were in waaaaay over our heads and budget, we thanked the designer profusely for her time, but had to ultimately pass on the professional dolls.
Then I got an idea. Why not do it ourselves? How hard could toymaking really be?
Well. We shall soon find out.
I had some experience working with clay figures from my time as an educator teaching claymation at Zeum
in San Francisco. And a trip to my local art-store, The Blue Rooster
, opened my eyes further to the possibilities of where a clay mold could take us. After talking with one of the employees, I was empowered to start the process that would eventually end with a vinyl toy. But where to begin?
It took me weeks to even open the bag of products to get started (Post-production work in reality tv is very time consuming!) but a short work hiatus and a leisurely Saturday afternoon gave me the time I needed to do what I've needed to do for months now--PLAY! I took the clay out and was transported back to a time where art was not about expectations or being perfect, or self-conscious. I just started rolling clay! And all of a sudden remembered I needed to reference Whitney--it's been a long time since I just stared at her, lol. Taking a character from 2d to multidimensional was going to take a little thought.
For about an hour I watched my hands get muddy with color and the first step of my personal goal come to fruition--I could make Whitney in clay look like Whitney on paper! Of course I've always known it could happen, but sometimes it takes doing
to convince yourself that you were, in fact, right!
So despite some bumpiness, bulkiness, smudges, and a bad hair-day, I BEAMED with pride when I put the final touches on Whitney--her ponytail and glasses. Mission accomplished! And as uncomfortable as I thought I was with Shawnee snapping pictures (Boy, did I look a mess!), I was happy to have the process documented (Thanks, Nace!)
How cool the final result will turn out is questionable, and there's several molds to go between here and actually making a vinyl toy, but if the first step is any indication it's going to be a whole lot of fun!
Let The Journey Begin!