Upcycle Inspiration: Kirby Sculpture

My upcycling project thankfully came pretty naturally to me. I’ve always had an affinity for Japanese culture/aesthetics, so coming up with a way to materialize the “Kawaii” aesthetic was an endeavor I’ve already been working on. I recently picked up the hobby of drawing digitally after being laid off from my previous engineering job, to help fill the time I found myself with. Here is a picture of Kirby I drew yawning, with an alternative color scheme that is very recognizable if you’ve played any of the Smash title Nintendo games:

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I really like this aesthetic and style of drawing that is abundant throughout most all works of manga and anime, and I particularly enjoy watching people’s emotional reaction to pieces. It’s usually pretty hard to not say “aww” when you look at art like this:

View post on imgur.com

*Taken from artist “Zack” on Amino https://aminoapps.com/c/pokemon/page/blog/pick-a-cute-pokemon/aeh0_unQbKD2z7gQ6KMz2oMpga3Xxx

Is there really anyone who wouldn’t say he’s adorable?! That visceral, instant connection with cute things is something I think everyone can appreciate, even if it’s not something you directly resonate with, i.e. you don’t have to be a Pokémon fan to think Pikachu is super cute. I have a deep appreciation for art like this, as I grew up playing Pokémon like at least a few of you did too.

I think it’s very interesting to consider this aesthetic from a technical standpoint – many pieces that match the “Kawaii” aesthetic are actually very simple. There are few lines and relatively simple shading present. Someone like Van Gogh can exercise his skill acquired over a lifetime on “The Starry Night,” and yet there are those who would give a greater emotional reaction to the former! So my ideal is to capitalize on this sort of “cheap” appeal from cute things, to generate something that’ll garner a technically disproportionate amount of praise.

Since this is my first semester here at Boulder, after taking a tour of the ITLL, I was super excited to get use out of the laser cutters here. It enables an overlap of my hobby, aesthetic, and engineering, so it is the perfect answer. I’ll be creating a 3D cardboard sculpture of Kirby, by generating a CAD file that can then be used to generate cross-sectional profiles to cut and stack to recreate him. That’s a mouthful, so here’s a visual representation of the idea:

View post on imgur.com

*Taken from Epiloglaser: https://www.epiloglaser.com/resources/sample-club/trex-head-3d-model.htm

With the help of CAD and the laser cutter, I’ll be able to upcycle cardboard into something “Kawaii,” while also brushing up my SolidWorks skills, and picking up how to use the laser cutter proficiently along the way. I also get to implement some artistic flair by choosing what pose Kirby will be striking, and it’ll be easy to work on given my pre-existing interest in this realm. I am very excited to start actualizing this project, and look forward to any comments sharing alternative ideas or critiques!

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Upcycle Inspiration: Kirby Sculpture […]

  • Abdulrahman Nashawi
    February 2, 2020 3:23 pm

    Hello Thomas! I think you have an unfamiliar idea that I am really looking forward to see the final piece you make. I think it is really cool to laser cut 2D layers of cardboard and stack them to be 3D. One concern I have is I see you have posted images that are drawings (2D), so how are you planning to make various layers from these drawings? In addition, from reading your post, you repeatedly mentioned how nice and cute these characters are. Are you thinking about coloring the cardboard or drawing on it to give it some of that effect or you’re thinking about having the cardboard in its original color?

    • Thomas Buckholtz
      February 4, 2020 12:11 pm

      Hey Abdul,
      I plan to make a 3D rendering of Kirby within Solidworks, then slice the model to create the 2D cross sections to pass to the laser cutter. For coloring, I do plan on leaving the cardboard its original color, and adding some engraved features to the cardboard instead. Ideally, I’ll be able to cross section Kirby so his eyes are on the same plane, then maybe even find some scrap acrylic to give it more depth and a sort of sparkle effect. Thanks for the response.


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