My friend Peter Slight made these Gingerbread Zombies after he saw the characters developing in the sketchbooks for my forthcoming Hansel & Gretel picture book. (Random Spectacular, November 2016)
Since Peter brought them here in a carrier-bag, they’ve been hanging out in the upstairs sitting-room where I suspect they watch the ‘Horror Channel’ when my back is turned. They’ve been almost impossible to live with since I told them they’ll be going to London for the book launch, and now they are way too excited!!!
Peter Slight is making a three dimensional ‘Killer Gingerbread Zombie’ to help in the promotion of my Hansel & Gretel from Random Spectacular when the time comes. I love Peter’s delightful figures, hand-carved in mixed-medium, though with all the gleaming perfection of plastic toys. He made a wonderful blue Krampus for me (illustrated below) after seeing a collage I’d produced of the demon that comes at Christmas to spirit away naughty children.
Here is our conversation about living dead gingerbread.
- Peter S: I’ve attached my favoured sketch of the zombie gingerbread man. It’s pretty close to my original sketch of him, but incorporates the tump and stray Allsorts, which I think do make for a stronger design. I tried out some more ‘dynamic’ poses but they all looked like he was diving to save a football! My models usually take on a life of their own and tend to evolve as I’m making them, so it may not end up looking exactly like the sketch, and is therefore more of a guide than a rigid template. What do you think??
- Clive H-J: Those eyes might be smaller and set higher in the brow, to give a more sinister expression. And he’ll need a texture to suggest gingerbread, or he could look like an evil jellybaby! But I think it’s all looking most promising. I do like the Allsorts, which somehow contextualise everything better.
- Peter S: Yes, I see what you mean I will change the eyes and send you a revised sketch. Do you imagine them as concave, inset dots or as small convex ‘mounds’?
- Clive H-J: In my drawings I’d imagined them as holes, so that when standing against the light the zombie’s eyes would evilly glitter. Could that work? If not, then tiny currants probably, pressed in like you sometimes get on gingerbread.
- Peter S: He does look a bit like a jelly baby in my picture, ha ha!
- Clive H-J: Nothing wrong with Zombie Jellybabies!
- Peter S: The shading lines make him look more rounded and ‘doughy’ than he will be, and give no impression of his actual depth. (I’m intending to make him quite flat with rounded off edges like a regular non-meat eating gingerbread man) I didn’t put any texture in the sketch because i didn’t think I could show it accurately or without it looking visually confusing. The texture will be created using the rough scouring side of a sponge impressed into the clay whilst still wet. I’ve tried it before and it gives a very good biscuity effect, which can be lessened or added too depending on the number of ‘dabs’ applied with the sponge.
Here’s the delightful Krampus demon Peter made for me last year. It stands 13 cm high.