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Gargoyles v2.0 were my second attempt at creating Gargoyles, this time my goal was to create a very structured approach that could be used to teach students attending my papier mache workshops.
The Gargoyles use a variety of recycled materials including newspaper, cardboard and plastic water bottles.
The construction was spread over four separate sessions each lasting three hours.
The basic concept involved creating each piece (body, wings, legs, claws) individually then assembling the completed pieces into the desired form or pose.
This tutorial follows the creation of three different pieces, two of which are “typical” gargoyles and a third which is more of a “reaper” or “angel of death” type of creation.
The techniques for this project are quite dependable although honestly the final texture and paint job on these props are not my best work.
The gargoyles are mounted on a base made from circles cut from corrugated cardboard, pizza boxes were used in this case. The bottom disc is larger than the top resulting in a beveled looking base. One inch strips of cardboard were used as a spacer between the top and bottom pieces of cardboard.
The main body is formed from empty recycled water bottles. Four water bottles form the abdominal area with a fifth water bottle hot glued to the top creating the neck. The fifth bottle is angled as shown in the photographs. Hot glue and masking tape are used to keep the bottles in the desired position.
The starting point for the head and face was an inflated balloon coated with papier mache strips. The head was hot glued to the end of the fifth water bottle although in hindsight it would have been easier to create the gargoyle head separately then attach it to the neck along with the wings, legs and arms.
The base or bottom of the body was reshaped by gluing strips of cardboard (i.e. cereal boxes) to the pedestal and attaching to the body creating a somewhat “potbellied” effect.
Two tubes created from rolled up newspaper were inserted and glued into the back two water bottles that formed the body. These tubes will become the supports for the wings which will be created separately. A tail was also attached to the rear of the body, the tail was simply a shape cut from corrugated cardboard.
The face of each gargoyle was made with pieces of recycled cardboard. The method is similar to the way I created my “Dungeon Rats”, “Demon Reapers” and “Sentinels.” The creation of the face is a matter of trial and error, playing around with ways to make the cardboard work to get your desired shape. Visualize your end result and cut and form the cardboard to meet your expectations.
I don’t mean to skimp or trivialize this part of the instructions but you must trust your creative instincts to make this work. Referencing photographs or a three dimensional model help will help tremendously.
Once the base, body and facial armature were complete the entire form was coated with several layers of strip mache and allowed to dry. This will now act as a solid form allowing you to add the wings, arms, legs and claws.
Next the wings were made by cutting a desired shape (again, your own creative magic) from poster board or corrugated cardboard. Note that another tube of rolled newspaper is attached to the base of the wings, this tube of newspaper is designed to slide over the newspaper tube “posts” built into the gargoyle body. The wings were covered with several layers of strip mache and allowed to dry.
A neat trick for the wings is to lay them flat and place objects (recycled aluminum cans) under various parts of the wing to give them some three dimensional interest. Once dry the wings will retain the shape. Let gravity work for you.
Note: The wing patterns or templates are originally made from newspaper then filed away and saved for future use.
The legs, arms and claws (hands/feet) were each created separately. The arms were made from rolled tubes of newspaper, the legs from shapes cut from corrugated cardboard and “bulked up” by wrapping in sheets of newspaper. The claws were simply pieces of cardboard that was folded into a three dimensional shape.
Examine the photos to see exactly what I’m talking about. Each piece was individually covered with strips of mache and allowed to dry.
Once all the separate elements have dried the gargoyle is assembled into the final pose. Hot glue was used to keep the pieces in place then homemade papier mache clay was used to fill in the gaps, essentially acting as a cement to keep everything secure and in place. The clay was also used to add texture and detail the gargoyle, blending all the individual elements into one uniform prop.
After the gargoyle was completely dry it was painted with black exterior latex paint and dry brushed with gray latex to highlight the texture.
Additional notes. The small teeth added to the gargoyles were sunflower seeds hot glued to the cardboard facial armature then covered with paper clay. The eyeballs were simply small balls of homemade papier mache clay. The shroud used on the “reaper” statue was paper towel soaked in paste, draped over the sculpture and allowed to dry.