Well, it only took me four months (when it comes to producing artwork, I'm awfully lazy these days), but I finally got ambitious enough to make a new figurine!
Below is a screenshot, from said movie, of Alice being startled by the bizarre insect/horse hybrid:
And this is the original black and white illustration (by John Tenniel) of the Rocking-Horse-Fly from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. I find it interesting that the artist chose to incorporate dice shapes, and their pip marks, into the horse's body. I believe real horses can be spotted, but, otherwise, I'm not sure what the connection could be between dice, horses, and flies. Gambling maybe?
The initial ink sketches/measurements I drew up prior to beginning work on my figure:
I started off by fabricating the runners, which consist of 4-ply cardboard, from a box of cereal (Peanut Butter Cinnamon Toast Crunch--yum!) and newsprint glued together into 3-Dimensional sandwiches. Next, I began work on the horse's body and head/neck (which looked an awful lot like a seahorse to me at this point). I cut the equine shape out of cardboard and then roughed out the anatomy by applying several pieces of my "Kleenex Putty" (white glue mixed with tissue paper) to both sides of that flat form.
Next, I wrapped the body in strips of newsprint and further developed the head (adding ears, nostrils, cheeks, a mouth, and eyes). With that part of the anatomy pretty well done for the moment, I turned my attention to the limbs. All four legs started out as hollow, 2.5 cm long, newsprint tubes (formed around the shaft of a fine sewing needle) which I then modified with the addition of more paper (both newsprint and tissue) to create the hooves and bone/muscle structure. The limbs also have bendable wire running through their entire lengths, both for internal structural support (long, narrow shapes like those tend to break if you so much as look at them funny) and to allow me to later tweak their positioning after they had been joined to the body (which was important when it came to mounting the hooves on the runners).
Here's what the horse and runners looked like fully assembled and after being smoothed/hardened with my woodburner (the darker brown areas are scorch marks). Ignoring the hooves, the animal kind of looks more like a classical depiction of an Egyptian jackal to me at this stage of the process (Anubis, and the other gods and goddesses, had to get around on rocking chair skis, what with Egypt being buried under several feet of snow year round and all). This was also the cutoff point where I stopped working on the model for several days (remember: lazy).
When I finally got back to this project, six days later, I fabricated the saddle, tail, and wings, and began the final painting and assembly process. I sketched out the wing shape and veins on a sheet of lined paper (pictured below) and then laid a piece of transparent plastic (from a toy package) over that and traced/embossed the lines onto the plastic with a pen and then cut them out.
Unfortunately, the runners snapped off of the hooves while I was painting the horse, which, while slightly annoying, did make things easier, as I didn't have to worry about accidentally getting the yellow paint onto the red, or vice versa, and the runners were easy enough to glue back onto the hooves afterwards, so, no harm no foul.
The mane is embroidery floss that I carefully glued into place, in small bunches, one at a time. I contemplated doing the tail the same way, but I reasoned that it would probably be difficult to get the floss strands to lay together in the shape that I wanted without also applying some kind of adhesive or styling product to them, so, I went with a solid sculpt instead. The thread is a lot brighter red than the paint is, but I can live with the difference, and brushing her soft locks with my fingertip is very relaxing, so, it was totally worth it.
I was sorely tempted to leave the big, wild hair in its original state, instead of trimming it down, because I liked the way that looked, but I ultimately went for accuracy. Her mane also reminds me of Uncanny X-men Storm's 1980s mohawk, which is my favorite look for that particular comic book character.
Here's a photo collage of the finished product. I don't own an actual Alice doll, so I made do with my MGA BFC Ink Nicolette instead.
By Lewis Carroll (a.k.a., Charles Lutwidge Dodgson).
First printed in 1871, but I used the digital public domain file found at the Gutenberg Project.
« Return to my Miscellaneous Artwork Gallery Index Page