It's done! Second coat of varnish applied. My Trojan Zebra took 35 days, and took (we estimate, including hours when I had some help) 300 hours. Huge thanks to Oxygen Freejumping for having the courage to sponsor my design; to the Marwell team for being so supportive and patient; to the brilliant Marlands security team for helping with access to the creative space; to the other artists that made it such a pleasurable experience, particularly Will Rosie (if you need to borrow it, he's got it) and Tory Allen for the many lifts (before she finished and cleared off); to the hundreds of members of the public that called in to find out more, share their experiences of the Go Rhinos! trail and their excitement for Zany Zebras; to the various people who have spared a few hours to help, including my family but in particular the fine brush control of Alice, plus Anne Chadwick, Ruth Leu and Emily Boyce-Pendleton; and finally a massive thank you to Josephine who I've barely seen but hasn't failed to support me all the way, and hold the fort with Ceratopia's clients when I was under the zebra.
The next step is the trail itself, starting in mid-July in Southampton. There'll be 47 life-sized zebras so it's going to be an enormous event. The plan is for me to create an activity sheet that will be downloadable from the Zany Zebras website so children (and adults) can go hunting around Trojan for specific characters and scenes. Then, in October, all the zebras will be auctioned for charity, so if you're after a humungous three-dimensional, zebra-shaped, cartoon-fest, then this is the zebra you're looking for!
Yesterday I had until 6pm to complete the inking, but with just 22 lions to go I ran out of time, so departed with it almost complete. That was rectified this morning with the final few inked, but now I had another problem. Although I'm using a permanent marker (actually, two boxes of markers) the varnish we all have to use contains anti-graffiti properties, and as some of my fellow artists have discovered that means a great smudgeroo as it streaks the pen's ink. I needed to seal the artwork first with some spray sealant, which was tricky, messy and extremely smelly. It went on well, so I bit the bullet and applied the varnish, terrified it was going to streak and run. By and large it went on like a dream, though, with a few very minor pulls of the ink in places, and just two more worrying ones which I hope to be able to touch up tomorrow before applying a second coat. So, all being well, I should finish tomorrow!
I've just spent seven hours inking this side of the zebra, and I confidently thought at the beginning that that would be enough, yet at 8pm I still had a few sections to do, a pile of discarded pens and a very sore finger where the pen rests against it. Despite all that, I'm dead chuffed with how it's coming together, but I guess I'll be back in for another session tomorrow...and Thursday...and possibly Friday...
And especially for Emily, here's what's going on directly beneath the Trojan Zebra's tail:
Today not only sees the official launch of Paultons Park's Lost Kingdom (go there, it's amazing) but it's also the release date of their brand new guidebook, designed by Ceratopia.
Paultons are brilliant at understanding their target audience, so rather than going for a dry guide full of text aimed at adults, they decided they wanted one aimed at children. I was given a loose outline of what they wanted to achieve per page, and left with a fantastic amount of creative freedom to deliver something fun and informative on every spread. Not only is it packed with games and activities, oodles of colour and plenty of colouring, but there are things to look out for as you move around the park and a chance to record your experiences of the rides as you go.
The guidebook is A4, and at 44 pages (plus a fold-out map) it was a great opportunity to showcase my cartooning, illustration and graphic design work. There's even a comic strip. So don't forget to pick up your copy when you go to check out the Lost Kingdom!
Just a brief visit today where I inked the tail and most of the mane. Lots of people came in to ask about the recovery of the stolen promotional zebra, Gilbert. I'm genuinely astounded at the amount of people that are looking forward to the trail.
Huzzah! The painting bit is done! Well, other than tiny bits I might spot as I go round inking, but certainly the vast bulk of it. Just lots of inking to do now, but hopefully that won't be too bad as all the fiddly areas have been done. Two other artists completed their Zany Zebras today, and at least one other will finish tomorrow, so may well be just me come Tuesday. Huge thanks to Ruth Leu who saved me hours today by block filling lots of blue. The bits that are left only I can do, so better crack on...
Getting there! The white spaces on the stripes are all that still needs painting, so fingers crossed that will be done today, but I'll still need to do the inking on a lot of lions after that. The end definitely is in sight. I also had two helpers yesterday (Hello, Mum and Ruth) and I could have had a third (hello, Glen) but it's not the easiest way to work with that many people and it's hard for them to follow my intent with some of the pencilled areas. That said, with their help we covered a lot of the blue blocking in, so I'm very grateful for the assistance. Going to leave shortly for a l-o-n-g Sunday...
As you can see from the background of the picture, the artists are slowly completing their zebras and their being packaged up for storage while the trail is planned. It was a busy day in the Marlands yesterday, with a handful of us still working, the Marwell team busily wrapping, a constant stream asking about whether the stolen Gilbert has been returned or not, and some schools dropping their smaller zebras off.
I managed to pencil out and paint the bulk of the lions on the final side, but there's still plenty to do today and tomorrow!
Huge thanks to Paddy who came in this evening and filled Trojan's ridged mane and tail. He did all the hard work and I chased around him with the vacuum cleaner, dustpan and brush, and broom. I've now got a much better surface to draw on, so the mane will look part of the design and not some weird out-of-place blob perched on top of the neck. Ta, Paddy!