Paper Face Friday : Grim Fandango – Manny Calavera

Greetings one and all! Welcome to what I hope to be a semi-regular thing here on the Monster and Monster blog…PAPER FACE FRIDAY!

Manny Tending Bar

Manny Tending Bar

It’s not unknown that I like dressing up. No, not in ‘that’ kinda way (well maybe a little) but themed parties, festivals, pub crawls and other occasions often call for a bit of creative ingenuity and over the years I’ve found myself sinking more and more time and effort into creating costumes, props and accessories.

So where to start? Well, seeming as the awesome Double Fine managed to raise enough capital from their fans the world over to make a new oldskool point and click adventure, it seems only apt to revisit a costume created for a VideoGame Pubcrawl from a few years back based on one of their legendary characters – Manuel Calavera!

I’m still not sure on how to best approach these blog posts so this format might evolve over the coming weeks / months but for those of you not interested in my ramblings and just want the sugar-coated greatness (i.e. some of the files that might help you make your own Manny Calavera) then grab the .ZIP file from the link below. The rest of you continue reading for some extra notes, pointers and whatnot!

Grab the files here :

Unwrapping Manny Calavera's Head

Unwrapping Manny Calavera's Head

Firstly, it’s worth noting that I do this for fun. Although I love detail and creating things as similar to the source material as possible I don’t have unlimited funds, time or money so a lot of my costumes involve plenty of shortcuts and simplifications. I’m not trying to create the perfect cosplay costume or anything like that, I just enjoy the challenge of making stuff with limited resources!

So… Manny Calavera. All I knew was I had seen some cosplay on the interwebs and a lot of people were simply rolling a bit of cardboard into a tube with Manny’s face painted on. Nothing wrong with this and I love the simplicity but I wanted to take it a step further…

So where did I start? By spending an hour or two recreating Manny’s head in 3D! Kinda overkill but at the time I was new to papercraft and it seemed logical as I could make sure it looked right and then use UVW Unwrap to create the correct unfolded template!

Manny Before Assembly

Manny Before Assembly

Next up I took this template and shoved it into Flash (I hadn’t gotten my head around Illustrator at this point in my life and Flash was all I knew with regards to vectors!). My reason for this was so that I could create Manny’s face (and trace the template lines) in vector format allowing me to print at any scale I wished.

This all took some tweaking but I eventually got something I liked and looking as similar to the actual Manny texture as possible. So I printed out a tester and create an A4 prototype. Which is always a good idea as you often notice things you can tweak and change to help make the final build even better.

Manny Heads

Like father like son

Once happy with this I spent a bunch of time printing out A4 sheets trying to work out the best scale for the full sized head. As this is a kinda old project the files supplied in the ZIP might not be setup for a 1:1 print so apologies but you might have to do a bit of this yourself too! Now if you have access to a printer bigger than A4…USE IT! I miss having a large printer, made this kinda stuff so much easier. As I didn’t my next step was to print out all the relevant sections on A4 then stick them together with sticky tape. This in turn was stuck to a massive A1 sheet of thick white mounting card with the aim to use the paper printout as a template to cut / mark out the shape and design.

The problem with this approach is I then had to draw out the design with black permanent marker by hand. Not ideal but it worked out ok. Lastly I scored the edges I needed to bend and used permanent adhesive to stick the whole thing together…. I then duck-taped the hell out of the insides to make sure it was solid, as thick mounting card does NOT like being bent… Therefore it needed more than just a bit of glue to keep it in place!

Then I realised I hadn’t created any eye holes. Doh! Which was probably a good thing as with a bit of messing about and wearing the thing I managed to somehow mark out exactly where my eye were inside (I really am not sure how I managed this…more luck than judgement I guess!?) I created small holes which were just big enough to see out of and another hole in the mouth so that I could drink through a straw… Classy.

Manny Hand

Manny hand fail

That was it with the Manny mask. I wont waffle on for too much longer but other things that helped round-off the outfit included buying a cheap second hand white tuxedo from eBay. I already had a dress shirt and bowtie (as you do) so this combined with the tux worked a treat. What else…oh yeah, some white magicians gloves which I then used marker pen on to create Manny’s boney fingers (Note: This was not the best idea as I got black ink everywhere on the day as it rubbed off easily!). I also purchased an oversized fake cigarette from the local fancy dress shop as real cigarettes and a cardboard head would have resulted in a trip to ER and some rather confused doctors.

Manny And Duke

Manny And Duke

Oh and of course no travel agent to the dead should ever be without his promotional brochures! I admit I struggled with this a little bit and I was running out of time but after grabbing the best screenshot I could (I even tried exploring the source files for the texture!?!) I resorted to using some Photoshop trickery to straighten things out a bit and printed each pamphlet out onto shiny paper, which in turn was stuck onto card. Not brilliant but good enough! If anyone has any better versions of these please let me know using the contact email at the bottom of this page!

So there you have it. A ton of fun was had and there were a lot of amazing costumes on the pub crawl. Check out more of the photos here:

Manny Calalvera / VideoGame Pub Crawl  Flickr Set

Lastly if you have any suggestions or contributions feel free to send them my way via the contact link in the footer and I’ll see what I can do!