Chapter 5. – Behind the Scenes

A few years back, my mother, Twila, came for a visit from Nebraska and helped me work on the first lot of clothing for A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters. We worked pretty extensively on the Automatons for the latest chapter which you can read here.


Costumes – The Automatons

In the story, the Automatons run an airship/floating hotel to take our monster hunters across Europe.

Automoton Sketch and the robot head in early stages of construction.
Automoton Sketch and the robot head in early stages of construction.

An early design choice that was made for the book was to dress our characters as impractically as possible, and so we wanted to dress our robots in furs. The automaton costumes include a First Mate, a Crew Member and a Stewardess.

Early costume progress for the automatons.
Early costume progress for the automatons.

The automatons have blank faces with only two circles for eyes. They have weird mechanics on their head which look like hair, and a dial on the back to adjust settings.

Automaton head under construction.
Automaton head under construction.

Alisa came up with the idea that the robots have flip masks that they hold up to show how they are feeling. She wanted them to be painted like the faces of Russian nesting dolls.

Flip mask design and real life work-in-progress.
Flip mask design and real life work-in-progress.

This Robot First Mate is dressed in a combination of both Alisa and my costumes. Alisa provided her beautiful steampunk Dr. Who coat, and I made some short pants and a bodice to match.

The automaton First Mate with costume by both Tyson and Alisa.
The automaton First Mate with costume by both Tyson and Alisa.

The local Antique Market dealer, Celeste, has graciously provided all sorts of furs for these robots as well! I made a silk Cravat and bought a thrift store blouse for the First Mate as well.

First Mate without her jacket and with.
First Mate without her jacket and with.

This costume uses an antique leather jacket, a newsboy cap that my mom made, and some antique goggles!

Automaton Crew Member.
Automaton Crew Member.

Every airship needs a crew to run the inner workings. These automatons keep the ship running so that you can relax and enjoy yourself… whether you want to or not.

Robot crew member with flip-mask.
Robot crew member with flip-mask.

The automaton stewardess wears a purple garment with fur trim which my mother and I made jointly.

Automaton Stewardess with robo-hair.
Automaton Stewardess with robo-hair.

It features a prominent clock brooch, for the guests who want to know the time. You will see her hair is made out of robot-y wires and things!

Robot Stewardess's clock brooch.
Robot Stewardess’s clock brooch.

Photographing the Automatons

For the image of the crew members at the helm, we created an airship set in a local shop called Blush (a businees run by my cousin Elizabeth, who was kind enough to let us shoot there while she attended a convention in New York.)

With the help of my family, we put together the robots and photographed them in front of a curved hard-wood wall. I purchased a ship’s wheel at the local antique market, like I do, and my step-father built a wooden stand so that you can actually steer the wheel! It’s delightful. I added some steampunk-y bits to the wheel base.

We prepare the Automaton at the wheel of the airship set.
We prepare the Automaton at the wheel of the airship set.

I used photoshop to put the sky in the windows, which we covered with white paper and shone light through.

But I also needed to prepare the outside of the airship! I came up with a design first.

A sketch of the airship I drew before building it.
A sketch of the airship I drew before building it.

After that I built a miniature of the ship. It is made out of various containers and ornaments which are refashioned and repainted.

The final image of the airship.
The final image of the airship.

Costumes – Percy Longville

Percy seems to gravitate towards really loud plaids.

This blue plaid outfit that I made with my mother actually has a directional plaid pattern that matches, continuing from the vest to the pants.

Percy's outfit.
Percy’s outfit.

One of my favorite purchases on Etsy has been these beautiful custom leather pockets by Chateau Nifty Pop. Chateau Nifty Pop’s custom leather works has many unique and fun items. These leather pockets were a staple for Percy’s costumes, and were worn numerous times during our shoot.

A Close up of the vest and pockets.
A Close up of the vest and pockets.

Photographing the Heroes

The photos of the heroes were taken on various occasions across our main shoot. Jeremy, who plays Percy, interacted the most with the robots.

Jeremy portrays Percy and poses with the robot.
Jeremy portrays Percy and poses with the robot.

These outtakes show that while the mannequin dressed as the robot wasn’t particularly lively, she still did her job admirably!

We review the image.
We review the image.

I wanted to capture a little bit of humor with these two.

The final image of Percy and the Automaton.
The final image of Percy and the Automaton.

The automatons also appear alongside other characters for scenes that haven’t quite shown up just yet.

Caenaan appears as Sir Hammerhorn with the automaton mate.
Caenaan appears as Sir Hammerhorn with the automaton mate.

Bowen also appears as Cyprien again in this chapter, now hired as a sailor for the airship.

Bowen poses as Cyprien, the thief turned Sailor.
Bowen poses as Cyprien, the thief turned Sailor.

Bowen was photographed in front of a greenscreen in order to photoshop a sky in later, as seen below.

Bowen as Cyprien.
Bowen as Cyprien.

Be sure to check out all the final images in this chapter!

That's not the way, Jeremy.
That’s not the way, Jeremy.

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