Top hat with goggles, take one.
When I sent in my application for the OtherWhere Spring Steam Faire, I started looking at my selections of Steampunk themed items, and noticed a giant hole — I had no Steampunk Geek Merit Badge! I immediately started thinking about what image to use for such a patch, and quickly settled on the idea of a top hat with goggles. I sat down and drew out my idea, and when I was happy with it I brought it out to show to Mike. I thought my design was darn cutes, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
Top hat with “goggles” to use as a model.
Mike looked at the drawing, and heard me make my pitch for a steampunk geek merit badge along these lines. He said, “I think this is a really good idea, and a really good concept. But what if you try drawing the hat so it’s not straight on? I think another angle might give it more depth and visual interest.”
Now, I’ve improved quite a lot as an artist in the last couple of months, but I still wasn’t up to visualizing what he’s suggested and putting it down on paper. I did have a vintage top hat in the closet, though, so I grabbed that to use as a model. The tricky bit was goggles — I don’t own a single pair! So instead, I took the lids off of two spice bottles, and tied them to the front of my hat with a piece of heavy thread.
Steampunk top hat, final artwork.
And then I started drawing. Having an actual hat in front of me was amazingly valuable – it let me see the shape of the brim, where it touched the table and where it lifted up, and the shape of the crown. It let me see the angle of the “goggles” and how, in three dimensions, they would stand out from the hat itself. And from there, extrapolating the goggle details such as the strapping and the cups at the sides of them became much easier. You can still see, in this artwork, the ghost of the clock hands that I decided to eliminate from this version – with so much other detail, they became unnecessary, and even cluttered the image.
Once that was done, it was a matter of scanning the image to my computer, and re-working the design in my embroidery software, using this drawing as my guide. We showed you the final patch last week, but here it is again, the final step in this artwork evolution – our Steampunk Geek Merit Badge!
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