Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Doctor Who~Ville

It is that time of year again. I may be a smidge of a Grinch. I do not easily get into the holiday spirit. One of the few traditions I have is making a gingerbread project for The Festival of Trees. Last year's project was fairly epic. I love coming up with ideas for this project. Every year I help raise money for the University Hospital, while I learn about my craft, and challenge myself. 

I decided to continue with my nerdy theme. Shocking, right? Well the way i figure it, if I am going to work on something for a month, not making any money, I may as well do something I like. I try to create something I think is fun, that I want in my portfolio. As soon as the words "Dr. Who-ville" popped into my head, I knew i had to make it happen. Who knows, maybe David Tennant will see my homage, lol! Maybe next year I will make a chocolate  Nathan Fillion, gotta support local.... sort of.... HA!

First things first, I spent months planning in my head. All the things I wanted to do. I always do this, and I always get carried away. I planned out a gingerbread TARDIS, surrounded by all of the Doctor's incarnations. I was going to make all of his companions, Rose, Amy, Rory,  Daleks, weeping angels, the Grinch, roast beast, curving stairways, moving parts... oh yes, I had it all planned. November came, and as usual I had nothing started. So I juggled my part- time serving job, and my freelance baking orders, and a minimal social life with building the pieces of my masterpiece! Not surprisingly reality, interfered with all my grandiose plans. STUPID REALITY!
Humble beginnings.... the board always seems smaller when I start actually working on it.
Gingerbread seemed a logical starting place.

 The TARDIS and the tops of the Who houses are gingerbread. Piece the cookies together and glue with icing.

I planned and measured the TARDIS carefully, and hazardously built the Who houses. Part baker, part Architect.

 the bottom of the funky shaped Who houses I made out of Rice Krispie treats molded in all sorts of kitchen containers. the houses stacked on top of each other, and I covered them in royal icing and fondant. And just because I love my power tools, I used my dremel (it's sort of a power tool!) to make windows. 
I was hoping to make the TARDIS be sharp and angular, more realistic, in a chocolate sort of way. But I walso wanted the Dr.Seuss feel of the village to come through. The way his books are illustrated, full of imagination and whimsy. 
The Tardis got a layer of blue modelling chocolate. I was pondering how I wanted the Who parts of the board, and the Doctor parts to look slightly different. Which is why I decided to use modelling chocolate on the Doctors and such, and mostly fondant on the Who areas for a more cartoony feel.  
Another difference was the windows. For the TARDIS, I played with gelatin windows. I  made a large sheet of gelatin and allowed it to dry out, then used t as windows in the TARDIS. I layered the box with more chocolate, and tried my best to make it a likeness of the iconic  ship. If only I could make it bigger on the inside!

Wanting a change of pace, I decided to do some sculpting of characters. I made armature out of floral wire. I can admit that I need more practice at that. I made funny-shaped bodies, tall with big booty and bellies, like how I picture the Whos. I  took alot of inspiration from photos of all the 11 incarnations of the doctor. Each body was a different size, and shape, and each head had a unique look as well.

Often when I am attempting something new (which seems to be almost every project ) I need to take a trial run.

My first try at the doctors, just didn't seem quite right.  so I tried again, with better results.
the first, first Doctor on the left was too humanized. I wanted them to look like Doctor Who... Whos. lol The second attempt on the first doctor went much better. Each fella had a unique personality. I spent a lot of time getting their customized costumes as accurate as possible. Even more time figuring out how to "style" their hair!

 Number 10 is my favourite doctor, but not on this project. I found when I finished sculpting him, he didn't have the same quirky charm that David Tenant brings to the character. I spent alot of time researching (aka watching TV) the different doctors. I love the Internet, and the vast array of fan art, and archived photos of the doctors for me to draw inspiration from. When the basic body shapes were set up, I dressed each on in one of the doctors familiar outfits, complete with scarves, ties, and celery. and the plain heads each received close attention to hairstyles, trying to blend the iconic looks of the 11 different actors, with the fun of whoville. Hats and hair transformed them and I attached them to the corresponding bodies. 

Back to work on the houses. i wanted them to be surreal and cartoony. I airbrushed them with fun colors, and a bit of shimmer. Then I made Suess-y roofs out of rice crispie treats and fondant. 

There was a final once-over of the TARDIS. Details added, a liberal spray with food grade varnish, like the kind they use on apples, to make it shiny. Same with the Doctors, and then it was time to attach to the board. This is when I usually get extra nervous. Once you "glue" something to the board, it is pretty much non-negotiable. Once the icing dries, that is where it stays. My indecisive nature doesn't like that idea.

   Thr TARDIS and the doctors are the first pieces to be glued on. I had to be able to attach their hands and finish making adjustments. I made mittens for each doctor and placed them around the ship, mimicking the scene from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, where the Whos are standing around the tree singing. I also sprayed the Doctors with the shiny... in hindsight, maybe ait too much shiny. Lesson learned.

As all the icing dried and set the characters in place, I came back to the houses. I planned to practice some sugar work for the windows. I wasn't paying proper attention, and my first batch of sugar crystallized.. I was going to start over, but as I was playing with it, I decided I liked the effect it created. Sometimes mistakes make great results. So I carefully pulled and shaped windows, LOTS of windows for my Who houses. The sugar crystals made them look frosty, which helped with my idea of  keeping the aesthetic different.

Once the windows and frames were in place, i painted the roofs, and added a layer of fondant snow to them.

The houses needed some decoration to make it look more like a Seussian village. different candies each stuck on individually created a festive look.

Everything was starting to come together, and as usual I was running out of time. After the houses were attached, and all the batteries and wiring in place, it was time to move on to the details. I added a few more characters such as...
Young Amy Pond

While we are talking about the characters, here are some gratuitous pics of the Doctor Whos...

All that was left was to add trees and final touches... I may have run out of time on this...I usually do.
I hope I made something that makes the fans happy. I combined two of my favourites, Dr. Seuss and Dr. Who. Here are many more photos, 'cause when your medium is fleeting, you learn to take many.

A quick note about proportion. Getting realistic proportion is one of the most dificult things I am trying to learn. I am lucky because often I am working in a fantasy world from inside my head, and I can manipulate it  to meet my own needs. With this project, I wnated to make the doctors large enought to add sufficient detail and make them  each recognizable. I also wanted the TARDIS to be a main focal point. I like how it turned out. Gingerbread should be fun, and busy with lots going on. So even though the proportions seem out of whack, it worked out nicely. I am already thinking about next year...


No comments:

Post a Comment