Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A stuffed goblin and an Arthur Rackham influence

 Awhile back I posted about my foray into 3-d cloth versions of my drawings.  Finally finished one!  These are the initial sketches. The finished goblin is a bit of a blend of the two.

 Had the idea that I should paint the fellows first and then stuff 'em (wrong!) but a great soft sculpture artist, Joyce Stahl, led me through the process. She was incredibly helpful, patient, and kind. (Thank you, Joyce.) Check out her work and blog at
You will be amazed at the artistry and images.

 After stuffing it, the goblin was gessoed and sanded with fine grit sandpaper.  I applied the initial drawing with black acrylic paint (watered down a bit) and a fine tip brush.

 Oh yeah, I popped a grommet into his head for ease of hanging.

 This is the finished fellow.  He's muslin, has plastic pellets in his legs and feet for weight, and the rest of him is crammed with polyester fill.  The color is all acrylic paint, some applied thick, some mixed with matte medium, and some thinned with water only.  

At the end of the process, the whole goblin got sanded, and now he feels leathery-soft. Had many problems to solve, and cussed copiously throughout the process, but actually, I had a lot of fun with this one. So where'd he come from?

 When I was young, I was much taken with an old book of illustrations by Arthur Rackham that I found in the library.  His works remain a huge inspiration for me.  While pondering from where my stuffed goblin came, I remembered this illustration by Rackham.

This is a detail of the above illustration--the little guys again--this time they are "threadballs"! They have stuck in my subconscious for certain, and I love them.


  1. This is spectacular! I've never thought about painting and making my own puppet. I bet baby Fox would love one. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. You are welcome. It is a good time! When my kids were small I made them some. Then, after watching them chew away on 'em, I had to take them away and make new ones using non-toxic paint. But I'm sure you've already thought of that. Just a heads up in case :)

  3. He is fantastic! I have several books of Rackham's work and I can definately see the influence (although I wouldn't have thought of it had you not pointed it out).

    I sometimes sculpt the weird little people from my paintings as well. Here's a link to one, although I am still painting her so not finished yet!

    Also, I LOVE Joyce's work!

  4. Thanks Sunny! I will check out your link, too. And Joyce--and her work--incomparable!

  5. Whaaaaa! This critter is SO great. All the elbow grease you put into bringing your drawing to life really paid off. It looks flawless.

  6. Thank you Ruca--glad you like the critter. I appreciate that, and thanks for following my blog, too :)


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