February 15, 2016

The Creature

Back in 2008, I put up a short post about an Illustrator drawing I did of the Creature (from Samurai Jack, season 3, episode 33, a cartoon by Genndy Tartakovsky). With the recent news that the show is to return this year, I thought it might be fun to revisit this character. Also, if you have not watched this show, GET ON IT. It's seriously great and has some excellent stories. If you need further proof know that it is the only instance in which the font Papyrus does not drive me up a wall. Yeah.

The Creature, as it is called, is the most obvious of references in this episode to the works of Hayao Miyazaki, which is chock full of them. Itself being a parody of the noble Totoro, of which I have great fondness. The episode itself is sometimes called the Crystal of Cagliostro, a reference to the film, the Castle of Cagliostro, which was Miyazaki's feature length directorial debut film.

So, for this post, I decided to try to make a crochet plush of the Creature. The picture above is very similar to the scene where one of the characters meets Totoro in the forest for the first time. The creature does seem to get a bit smaller as the episode progresses.

First things first was to find all the colors I would need. A teal for the main body, a light teal for the belly, light blue for the belly details, darker blue for the arms and ears, yellow for eyes, dark pint for mouth, pink for tongue, white for teeth, a little green for his head leaf things, and black for embroidery. I decided to also pull a little light yellow to maybe make a pair of those butterflies that fly around his head.

Most colors I just had bits of on hand but I bought a new skein of With Love by Red Heart in Blue Hawaii (a teal color) for the body to make sure I had enough for all the parts. I also use Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Sky Blue (in the Nautical color series that was discontinued) for the lightest bits, and Red Heart Soft in Teal for the darkest bits.

For a simple looking creature, he actually had a lot of parts and I wanted to get some of the larger details right. I first set about making a body shape that I think felt right as I was making this up as I went along. Of course, once I had him mostly finished at the end of this process I realized I could have made his belly and lower body a bit larger. The face is made up of eight parts, which then get some embroidery to really pull it all together.

The ears were a bit of a challenge, since I wanted to keep the shape and colors correct. So they are made from two parts that snug together and then get sewn down. It was also important to me to get them to face the right way once sewn on.

The arms are a fairly simple shape and I kept the increases to the edges to give it a flatter shape in the upper arm. A few lines to get the fingers and they were complete.

I had originally thought to do the arms and legs from the same pattern but the arms are a solid color where as the legs have two colors. So these are made from two shapes that get sewn together and stuffed. I then added the foot pad and a little embroidery for the toes and toe pads.

I also went back and watched the episode to make sure he had a tail, which I remembered him having, but he does not in fact have. It is instead a light peach bare butt. This thing is pretty funny looking. So I made nice peach oval and sewed it in place.

As I started stuffing and sewing the pieces down he really started to come together. The little bits of embroidery really help and I'm so happy with how all the colors look together.

Finally I decided to make him the three head leaves and two flies, which are seen fluttering about his head. Since the leaves stand up on his head, I stiffened them with a mixture of water and glue.

While letting the leaves dry I was able to put all the rest of the parts on and get a good look at my Creature. He's really spot on I think, except being a bit short, but really cute.

With the leaves added, he is complete. I kept thinking about ordering another voice box for him, as he makes some truly great sounds in the episode, but for now I have other items to be moving on to.
Difficulty: Intermediate
Time to Complete: 35 hours
Finished Size: about 13" tall and 10" wide
As with Lion and Blathers, the Creature has a full pdf pattern and if you would like it feel free to email me a request.