I came up with a general idea for Jerzy relatively quickly. If you’re an Art & Story listener, this won’t be news to you but he has a particular passion for sound effects. Jerzy spends a good deal of time and thought into figuring out what kind of sound effects to use for his comics, how the sound would be spelled out, what kind of color it would be and whether there would be any other effect necessary (like gradients, waviness to the lines, if a certain part of the sound has more emphasis, etc.) He jokes that this makes him a nerd, and it does : ), but it also makes for a more interesting experience when you read his comics. (Below is the original Zorch!.)
Given this passion, I thought I would make a pillow-like plush with various sound effects from his graphic novel, The Front, sewn on top of it. I could use different colors and sizes, picking out ones that were specific to his characters so it could be a cacophony of sounds at a glance. I started making a list, but when I discussed it with Shawn he suggested I concentrate on Zorch! for his main character, Thirsty. This was a better idea because it was much more focused and possibly more personal. I thought I could do a lightning bolt of sorts on top of the pillow since Thirsty expends energy as his super power and then sew the letters on top of that. However, I wasn’t thinking visually enough because Shawn suggested I do the pillow in that type of shape to begin with. I loved this idea since it would be another facet to represent the sound effect, which I figured would appeal to Jerzy that much more. We ended up tweaking the idea a bit by changing the lightning bolt-type shape to something more symbolic of an energy burst. Now the question became…..what color(s)?
Shawn suggested green because he had heard Jerzy say that was his favorite color, but I told him that I was thinking more blue and white since that’s what he had done in his graphic novel. Shawn looked at me for a second and then pointed out that The Front was in black and white. I told him nuh-uh and immediately went to get our copy to show him. I opened it up to discover that he was indeed right! Where had I come up with blue and white then? It’s possible that I was influenced by the fact that the front and back cover of the graphic novel are in color, and it shows that Thirsty’s skin is light blue. However, I prefer to think that I was inspired by Jerzy’s sound effect and grafted my own idea onto his image of Thirsty’s power and the corresponding Zorch!. It would only serve to add another layer to his sound effect pillow. The final nuance to the whole project was drawing the letters as close as I could to how Jerzy had them in his comic.
Once I started working with the fabric, I cut out my letters first which went much quicker this time because I only needed one layer of fabric and I didn’t have to stuff them. I cut out the base of the pillow and then arranged the letters on top to see how it would basically look in the end. There seemed to be something missing, so I showed it to Shawn and asked if there needed to be another color between the letters and the base to give it depth. He agreed. I already had the lighter blue from Mark’s project, so I cut out a smaller version of the base and that made it pop more.
I’m not sure the shape really gives the impression of an energy wave. I actually think it looks like something else, but I won’t say what because then anyone that sees it will only be able to view it in those terms. I also think I should have stuffed it a little less than I did to make it squishier, but I was afraid if I didn’t then the whole shape and the letters wouldn’t stand out as much. Of course, it’s not meant to be a pillow but……dare I say it…..a piece of art *cringes with self-consciousness* so it probably worked out okay after all. Once again, when it comes right down to it, uniqueness goes a long way and it’s most likely the only plush sound effect out there!!