Sunday, December 7, 2014

Teddy, Part 1: Concept and badge

I think most writers will admit that as much as they love the heroes, the villains grow to being their favorites. I'm not a psychologist, but I think it's because when your writing about abject evil - something so odious that your mind instinctively recoils from it - you begin to face the things that scare you. You recognize why it scared you in the first place. You feel empowered by that process, and they become less frightening. 

In the end, you begin to enjoy the villain, not so much because you relate to their actions, but because you remember the empowerment of facing the worst your own brain can dish out.

In that vein, Malifuax's first edition of Teddy is one of the more disturbing minis I've seen... and I loved it the first time I saw it.  Its everything I think about in a nightmare: some deep-seeded childhood memory of safety and comfort turned upside down into a twisted, unsettling threat.  A psychological weapon in that it frightens you even more than it could harm you. (And Teddy can bring the hurt.)

The other great aspect of Teddy is that front piece. It has some thing unique for a mini: a wide space for an artist to add their own originality. I wanted to add my own level of subversion to the figure: the Clean Plate Club.  It's strikes home for me in an unusual way.

There's a piece in Neil Gaiman's Mr. Punch that captures a childhood insecurity / fear of mine. When adults teased me as a kid, there's a part of my kid consciousness that was never really sure whether or not they were kidding. If a family member said, "I could just gobble you up!" there was a small part of me that always wondered if they were secretly plotting to throw me in the cooking pot. I think the Clean Plate Club talks to that fear quite well.

So to the painting: Light fur color seemed most appealing after reading Mako's article in Wyrd's Chronicles #14 about how many dark-furred Teddy's there are out there. There are quite a few amazing ones (my fave here). But I wanted to get the a little blood dripping down from the mouth, similar to this. Lighter fur will make red pop more.  Decided on a lighter brown and was stuck between FolkArt Honeycomb and Teddy Bear Tan. Picked TB Tan mostly due to its lighter shade, not the name.  Picked a rich blue as the cool part of the triad - Delta Ceramcoat Sky Blue.  The two looked nice together.

Originally I was going to re-enact the Zazzle pic by having a dark background with lighter lettering. So I started with the lettering, making sure I could get spacing and style right, using a light color on the letters (FolkArt Camel).
Problem is, I was so pleased with the lettering, I began doubting that filling in the white background with a darker Sky Blue color would be uneven.  My wife chimed in she liked it not filled in - almost like a Care Bear. Warped Care Bear has been done a lot, but I trust her judgment. 

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