While grappling with having to choose a “Spirit Animal” to design and construct for the purpose of this project, I decided to create a monster instead. This monster (and its counterparts) have been a part of my work for the past year or two, and has consequently taken on parts of my personality. As such, I decided to fully inject my essence into this creature- a despairing, sleep deprived, perpetually screaming spirit who is never without their backpack. There are elements of who I am throughout the piece, both in the layered tunnel inside the creature’s mouth, and the exterior shell itself.
As I had done layered paper projects in the past, I wanted to push myself to create a free-standing object from paper. After my initial sketches of the monster itself, I decided that the design was quite bare, and settled on creating a tunnel effect with layered paper for the interior of the mouth.
I struggled significantly with creating a pattern for a curved shape in terms of the monster’s body. I referenced Zim&Zou’s work for inspiration for how curved objects can be simulated with geometric shapes and structures. Their work can be found here: https://zimandzou.fr/edible-monsters
Eventually, I decided that the initial sketches of my monster best fit the structure of an octagonal prism. At this stage, I also came up with a few color schemes for the final piece.
From there, I created the illustration for the interior of the mouth digitally for reference. I created the actual layers with cut paper, tracing paper, and foamcore for dimension. The finished design was contained in a shadowbox to hold it in place within the monster.
In terms of the actual monster, each element (the trunk of the body, the arms, legs) was created with two rounds of mockups, the first to get a general idea of whether the shapes I had in mind were feasible at all, and the second round to tweak measurements and proportions respective to the final piece.
As I wanted the final product to be interactive, I created a few interchangeable “Hello I Am” tags that would clip on to the monster with velcro as well as fit in its backpack. The short phrases written on the tags are words I personally identify with, and according to my brother, describes my mood permanently.