While Fatbird the Penguin is not new, he is one of my favorite characters I have made. I designed him in the spring of last year before I started my blog, and I have regretted not getting to write about him. When I got a custom order for two penguins after the New Year, I decided to take that opportunity to document the process of making him.
Fatbird the Penguin gets very grumpy when he is cold, so he has socks and a hood to keep him warm. (Photo is of the original Fatbird I made last year.)
This is the first penguin I made in spring of 2015, but it isn’t technically the first prototype. In the midst of making a bunch of really bad Grump Nugget prototypes, one of them ended up looking more like a penguin than a cat. At that point I decided to take a break from working on Grump Nugget and make a penguin instead. This first penguin came out looking more like a fat angry chick than a penguin.
I was able to get Fatbird looking like a penguin on this second prototype. (Photos also from last spring). It was a hard decision for me to get rid of the pockets because I love them so much, but the hooded scarf just didn’t look right with them.
Fatbird is one of the more time-intensive characters I make. Each Fatbird has over thirty pieces and 5 different colors. I make white by bleaching the fabric naturally in the sun, and the other colors I hand dye with low environmental impact dyes. (I’m going to include photos of the dyeing process at some point. It’s just been too cold to dye outdoors.
Angry little birds awaiting their socks.
Penguin socks! The customer requested avocado green and Carolina blue for the penguins’ clothes.
It always amazes me how much of a difference glass eyes can make. I prefer embroidered eyes on a few of my characters, but the penguin’s face really comes to life with big shiny eyes.
These custom penguins have gone to their new home, but you can find Fatbird in my Etsy Shop or contact me for a custom order!