The zodiac drop

This is the project that I was just giddy over getting. I'd been hoping for something fun, challenging, and good for the portfolio all year. This designer doesn't seem to let me down, at least not right now. (he designed these two rep shows, as well as the two operas I am currently working on)
Isn't that the coolest. So how to go about this lovely thing. I had settled on a pounce rather quickly. I had wanted to project onto the pounce paper, but not having a wall big enough squashed that idea. Besides I had a fair amount of time to kill before the next bit of stuff was ready and the drop hadn't arrived yet. So I drew it on gridded craft paper. (thank the gods for gridded paper)

full shot pounce

As you can see it takes up pretty much my whole paint deck. Here's a close up of my drawing of Capricorn (of which I am). You can see the grid lines on the paper. The red crosses are marking out every square foot since a horrible head cold plagued me at the time and I kept getting lost. I only drew the necessary details and not every little line. I also didn't bother with the numbers or lettering.

Capricorn closeup

When the drawing was complete I pounced away. I had a bit of carpet that I put under the paper and moved it around , rolling the paper up as I went. That was an uncomfortable day or two crawling around on the floor.


Then the drop came. I flipped the floor paper over so I would have a clean surface, and squared out a box. Next the drop is stapled down and starched. I have a secret love for newly starched drops. They are so clean and beautiful (if done right) and so Zen. They have the potential to be anything, but are still nothing. The scenic's version of the Uncarved Block.


Next was the base coat. It was sprayed and broomed on, then several more layers of spray, fading the edges darker.

Base blues

Then we roll out the pounce, being sure to line it up with the drop.

Pounce rolled out

Since I was pouncing over a dark color I used baby powder instead of powdered charcoal. I've had trouble with the white chalk for chalk lines in the past. And as our ATD pointed out, the shop even smelled like babies. To pounce I filled a cheese cloth bag with powder and attached it to a bamboo so I could do this process while standing. The less crawling the better. And yes, that's a guy's butt.

Pouncing the drop

Once all the lines are powdered, the pounce is carefully rolled up. This is not something to be done in haste as one can smudge the pounced drop or cause air to force more powder though, sometime creating a double image.

All Pounced

And here how it looks with the paper removed. Time to paint.

Pounce removed

Here's a close up of Sagittarius.

Sag pounced

This is my nifty little paint basket to carry my paint and water around without marring the drop.

basket of paint

My brush is held in a bamboo, (much like the pounce bag) to keep me on my feet while working. Bless the person who first though of this. You can see the progress from powder to paint in this picture, as well as the paint basket and the rendering I am working from.


Again another detail.

raven detail painted

This is what it looked like after a full day's painting. I kept moving around depending on what was wet and what I felt like dealing with that point in the day. Virgo was by far the biggest challenge.

zodiac in progress

And here it is. I did all the numbering and lettering free hand.

zodiac in shop 2

And there she baby. This drop is definitely a keeper.

zodiac complete

I should have show pictures in a week or two. I'll be out of town this next week and no computer access until I get back. Wait until you see the projects before me now.


Kim said...

what a great result; beautiful. thanks to Lisa for pointing me to your blog

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I'm so, so, so impressed with how this turned out!

robb said...


What a fantastic project and a clear, concise step-by-step for anyone who's never seen this process.

Congratulations, Paula!