TIM Defender of the Earth
TIM Defender of the Earth - By Sam Enthoven.

Being a Giant Monster in the Comfort of Your Own Home,
or The Making of Tim, Defender of the Earth, the Website.

by The Websphinx

The websites for Sam's books are never visually literal - you're never going to see artists' impressions of the characters or creatures beyond those you see on the cover. The pictures you see in your head when you're reading the book are the definitive ones - for you.

And that's just how it should be.

Instead I work on giving you a flavour of what the book is about.

I'm lucky - I get to read the books really early on, and then spend a lot of time thinking about them. I also get to chat to Sam about all things that have influenced his ideas, which is a great excuse to have a nosy around interesting buildings and locations, watch great films, hunt out amazing images. And being a big geek, I get to throw my own suggestions into the pot, and go off on weird tangents.

So for Tim - along with Japanese Giant Monster movies, I got to go back and watch lots of homemade versions - all cardboard boxes and people dressed up.

Want a good example?

How about Intergalactic by The Beastie Boys?

This research left me with one huge standout question:

Do you want to be giant? Do you want to stomp around a city and cause mayhem?

Yeah, me too.

And here was the perfect excuse!

How to be a Giant Monster for a Day:

1. Pick a city.
2. Make a skyline of said city out of the things you have around you.
3. CRUUUUSSSSSHH the puny skyline with your powerful monster feet.

It really is that easy.

How to Make a City.

Firstly and most importantly: Start collecting packaging. Gather together lots of small cardboard boxes, and tubs. Raid your recycling bin, and be on the look out for interesting shapes. It doesn't take long to get a good collection going. Add to it glue, and scissors, and paint, and sticky tape, and pens and rulers and anything else that looks interesting.

Secondly, pick your city.

Since Tim is set in London, I picked key London buildings for my skyline. And having lived in London, I got to go see them and take photos. However there are also - obviously - tons of images of famous buildings from all over the world, easily available on the internet.

So when I needed more references of Tower Bridge, for example, they were easy to find.

I made a list of building I wanted to build, and - using the photos and images as reference - got to work building my own cardboard version.

Here are two of the original models for the Tim site:

Tower Bridge...

St Pauls

...the Houses of Parliament...

Houses of Parliament

...and St Paul's.

St Paul's

Here you can really go to town. I wanted an almost-silhouette of the skyline, so I kept the detail of the buildings quite limited, and painted them the same flat colour throughout. Plus I knew they would only taking up a relatively small space on the screen, so alot of fine detail would be lost.

St Paul's, half made.

But you could add as much detail, and as many colours as you like.

Remember that it's totally in keeping with Giant Monster Movies for the city to still look a bit like cardboard boxes, so things don't have to look 'perfect-perfect'. And you can bulk out a skyline with plain boxes as nondescript office buildings and shops.

Once your buildings are dry, you have a ton of cool things you could do.

- You could take a series of photos of them, from fully functional, to totally destroyed... like I did for this site.

Tower Bridge, crushed and more crushed

(To do this, I stomped on different parts of the models, and then took a photo of that stomped-on version, slowly but surely marmalizing them. Very satisfying!)



St Pauls smushed

Ooops. I think I broke it.

- You could add plastic dinosaurs to your photos, and re-enact a monster battle, as a comic strip or stop motion animation.

- You could dress up as a giant monster (or maybe just dress up your feet as monster feet?) and make a short film clip showing off your building crushing powers.

Inspired? Give it a go!

And if you do, make sure to let us know! Sam and I would love to see what you come up with, and we'd love to share them with everyone on the Reader Art page.