Mary Poppins Set

The Mary Poppins set – early, blank photos of it.


For a couple of weeks, my class and I worked on drawing and painting the set of ENSS’s biannual play. This year’s play – Mary Poppins – takes place largely in a town, so most of the things we painted were buildings.

We started out with simply a blank background with crude pencil sketches. I personally helped with these original pencil sketches. Here is a picture of me drawing the rough sketches for the buildings in the middle of the set:

Me sketching out buildings.

My classmate Jay and I worked on  three of the buildings on the left side of the set. The picture to the left is a photo is of when only the sketches were in place:

Seeing as how many different people were working on the set, you can really see the difference on how each of the buildings were designed. The buildings Jay and I worked on were much bigger, and, by the end, completely devoid of any painter’s tape.

Originally I was going for precision, and really straight lines. Not sure if it was just laziness, but, by the end, window frames, and chimneys, etc. were all done freehand. And I think they look much better for it!

Soon enough we had started on painting them. We started with the roofs, deciding on rustic shades of brown. Really rough at this point, but there are little strokes of texture on the dark brown roof. That small, awkward little window was really annoying, and we ended up removing it in the end. Painter’s tape and T-square’s were used to make sure we got a perfectly straight roof line.

As soon as we finished the first layer of beige, we began  putting lazy strokes of dark brown on the beige roof. Looks like thatch. The thatch had an effect on the rest of the house too. When I put the window frames on, they were rough and wooden.

The wooden frames were made by just slapping browns and whites onto the border of a window


Here’s a picture of the set when it was around a third of the way done:



The way the buildings were designed, the reference photos… all of this reminded me of one of my favourite movies: Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd. Both Sweeney Todd and Mary Poppins are musicals, but their tones are completely different. Sweeney is extremely dark, and sombre, while Poppins is much more colourful.

This made me think what would the character of Mary Poppins look like in a darker tone? Black and white, unhappy. An alternative, sub-cultured character. I love character design, so I decided to draw something like that. Here’s my drawing:

An unhappy sort of look, thick makeup, piercings, a contact lens in one eye, hair flicked up, and alternate decorations on her hat. She is almost unrecognizable from the original character. Too perfect, like a doll, without a wrinkle. Almost cartoonish.

I decided to go a little bit farther and show some of her other iconic items with a different style.

Here are drawings of her umbrella and upper collar. The umbrella handle has been changed into a bird skull instead of the original’s more cartoony one. There weren’t to many changes on the collar, besides the sharped, more frilly bowtie. However the style (which was, oddly enough, done by dipping shish kebab sticks in ink) really helps in portraying a darker, more abstract tone.