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Topic: Tartan Gator Surprise for my Sister (pic heavy)  (Read 4249 times)
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« on: April 06, 2013 12:55:47 PM »

Let me start by saying that in no way is this an advertising post, if the Mods disagree, please let me know and I'll fix what you want

So, my big Sister started writing children's stories after giving up work 3 years ago due to health reasons. Fast forward to last year and one of her first stories is picked up by a publishing house! Her book officially launched for sale (US and Canada mainly)  2 days ago and she is off for her book launch & signing events next week to New Orleans, where the story is set.

It is also her birthday while she is away so I decided that I had to make her something extra special this year....so I have made a clay sculpture of the main character in the book  Grin Meet Tartan Gator:

I have been lucky enough to have seen many of the stages in the development of the finished book, which included getting sneak previews of the illustrations and even helping out with a few visuals for the illustrator to work with.

Early on she had a finished image for what Gator might look like made into a business card so I used that as my reference when modeling him. I used simple air dry clay and managed to model him 1st time.  Cheesy

After I gave him a week to fully dry, I did an undercoat of white acrylic - I had already done a test sample of the paints, colours and varnishes on a spare piece of clay to be sure it would turn out exactly how I wanted.

Next came the first coat of colour on his tummy

Then I started on the Tartan. Each colour had to have at least two coats - first green, then purple, then yellow.

Once he was all painted I varnished him all over except his tummy which I would have to glue to the stand.

Just a little excerpt from the book

And speaking of the stand - I couldn't find anything that was exactly what I wanted so my incredibly talented father and mother made me one using a beech log from their log pile! Dad split, cut, sanded and smoothed the wood, Mum filled all the tiny holes from the branch knots and the Dad varnished it with 2 coats of lovely rich varnish. I then glued purple felt to the bottom and the Gator to the top.

The last thing was an engraved plaque with the title and her name (I had this professionally engraved)

We gave it to my sister today as an early present and she totally loved him (hope she doesn't mind the pic!)

And here is a shot of the inside for the book with him for comparison

So what do you think?  Wink


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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2013 01:20:46 PM »

I think he is adorable and so is your entire family!! Whoo-hoo!

Seriously, this is such a great and personal gift idea. A three dimensional portrait of your sister's imagination.  Smiley

« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013 02:47:41 PM »

It looks AWESOME!  He looks so cute, what a great smile. 

I love that your parents helped in making it too.  The attention to detail is great, and I love the plaque!


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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2013 02:51:52 PM »

Your sister may be a talented author, but you obviously have quite a lot of talent yourself. Lovely job! (Although it does seem odd to refer to an alligator as lovely! Grin) Can't wait to get my hands on the book.

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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013 12:42:21 AM »

Incredible! x

« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2013 01:38:34 AM »

Good work, and congratulations to your sister, too.

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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2013 02:09:57 AM »

The creature is exactly like his portrait. I'm also impressed by your patience in painting all those fiddly little tartan squares.  I would have gotten impatient and botched it by trying to hurry. Lovely alligator.
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2013 06:38:53 AM »

This is so awesome! I've never painted a plaid pattern on anything because it seems so difficult to have come out nicely, but yours is gorgeous!

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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2013 10:44:10 AM »

I think it is wonderful that your family contributed to this project!  Your gator turned out to be so colorful and full of personality!  I definitely think you nailed it!

I, too, am interested in the book for the wee ones in our family---sounds like fun for all!

Congrats to you, your sister, and your proud parents!  Such talent in the family!

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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2013 01:33:02 PM »

Thank you everyone for such kind comments  Grin Im just so happy he makes you all smile as much as he make me.

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