Recently, our Zuma Blitz team was contacted by a fan from Georgia. We will call her “CJ” (because that’s how she signed her email). CJ is an artist who, in her spare time, created a pretty spectacular Zuma frog.
Here it is again, a little closer.
Because we are process nerds, we contacted CJ to find out how she made it. This is that story:
“He is carved out of 1 lb EPS foam (that’s the white stuff made up of little beads.) I used a heated carving tool and a rasp. Once I got the shape right, I cut the accent markings from a very thin sheet of the same foam and hot glued them on. I sanded him down with 80 grit sand paper then brushed on a layer of thinned joint compound. When that dried, I sanded him again, this time with 220 grit sand paper. Then I repeated the joint compound and sanding step. Once he was smooth, Larry sprayed him with a two part epoxy hard coat. Finally I airbrushed him and applied a gloss top coat. The joint compound and hard coat are what make him look like he is made out of something other than Styrofoam. The airbrush paint I used had a pearlized finish – I don’t know if you could tell in the picture, but he looks like a glass Christmas ornament…. well a very large ornament! He was a lot of fun to make and brightens my day when I see him in the office.”
Seriously, though, that is a great piece of work and we are impressed by the level of skill and artistry required to create it. We are also crazy jealous that we don’t have one.
When she is not creating Zuma frogs for her own enjoyment, CJ runs (with the aforementioned Larry) a company called Pirate’s Palette. “We paint backdrops, build and restore furniture, make props and sets, and create styrofoam sculptures. We originally started doing this work for theatre, but have branched out into other areas – signs, architectural ornamentation, trade show pieces… the applications are really limited only by imagination. And when it comes to Styrofoam, we can make anything.”
CJ was also very forthcoming about the challenges of her work which I am sure are things that nobody at PopCap could possibly relate to in any way. “My work isn’t without its share of stress. Deadlines can be killer. People call up asking for items in an impossible time frame. And people call wanting things that I have no clue how to accomplish, but I am not smart enough to say ‘No, I can’t do that.’ I take the job and we stress until we figure out how to make it happen. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by brilliant, imaginative people.”