My friend Ann at WonderStrange did a Living with Art for the Holidays contest last year, which involved altering or creating a holiday-themed item for the holidays.
I decided to alter a Nutcracker from the dollar bin at Target for this challenge. I think he actually cost $2.
The first step was deciding on a design. I took a photo and did a quick sketch over the top using DrawPad. Originally I wanted to do Groot with fireflies around him like a Madonna. Then I realized the drum would be perfect for a baby Groot plant and the front of his chest reminded me of a certain someone, so I changed the concept to Rocket Raccoon.
Next step was to take off all the miscellaneous parts, sand them down, and start modifying!
I used Apoxie Sculpt to make the face more Rocket-Like…
… AND to make the baby Groot! His base is one of the drum sticks drilled and glued into the top of the drum head 🙂
After everything was sculpted and sanded, I painted on a couple coats of Gesso before starting the paint job. I used random crappy acrylics from the craft store (like the Americana brand), as well as some other slightly nicer stuff in tubes (probably Liquitex basics).
Here he is almost finished. Excuse his protuberance.. he’s just happy to see you!
And the final look! Originally I was going to use the white hair that came on the Nutcracker, but then I remembered I had a scrap of fur laying around, so I used that instead. The styling is meant to mimic the sides of a raccoon face when it is fluffed just right.
Things I would change and design elements I considered but left out
Overall I am very happy with how this turned out. Originally I wanted to glue hair to the arms and legs, but it just wasn’t working. The paint job in general is lacking. The drum sticks out.. I wanted to keep the shape of the drum but didn’t want to paint it all white like the movie. I might sculpt a white pot eventually. Another idea that got left on the cutting room floor was to make his gun and glue it to the nutcracker flap. I just didn’t have time for this, plus it would interfere with the hair, which I think came out awesome. The other thing I wanted to do was paint the Guardians of the Galaxy symbol on the helmet. I ended up leaving this out because I didn’t think the logo was that recognizable. The hat could still use a little something. Just goes to show that when everything doesn’t work out the way you want it, you can still end up with something cool!