With only a few months to practice, Paul Mahoney has not only achieved Legendary Doodler status, but also taken home the 2015 3Doodler Mixed Media Award. His winning entry, a brilliant model ship, wowed judges and community alike! Beyond that, Paul envisions a whole new art-form developing around the 3Doodler, which he is keen on calling Plastigraphy. Do you think you have what it takes to be the next great Plastigrapher?

3Doodler: What was this first thing you ever Doodled?

Paul Mahoney: First I made a puddle of a puppy, some scraggly characters that wouldn't stand up, and of course an Eiffel Tower (doesn't everybody?). Every creation is harder to make than the last since I keep discovering ways to work with the pen that I have to figure out. Lots of those "hmmm, how did that happen / can I do that again...?" moments (plus a box full of "doh!" moments too).

I find maintaining a desired shape (i.e. straight and square) to be the most challenging aspect of any project. The hot plastic is alive; it wants to warp and twist, and shrink. I used a couple of tiles warmed on the stovetop as a press to help correct unanticipated skew. But ovens or hot air treatments can only be used on single plane pieces; multiple dimensions are harder to modify after the fact. I try to make that a virtue and just work it in. For example, the ship kept changing shape and size until I had enough plastic laminated on to resist further change. I didn't even know if it would have 1, 2, or 3 masts until the hull was stabilized. And rigging was heavily influenced by learning to stay away from melting the other lines.

Paul Mahoney 3Doodler Cycloptopus Paul Mahoney 3Doodler Red Bird
Paul Mahoney 3Doodler Awards Pirate Ship Mixed Media Winner
3D: How long did the Pirate Ship take you? Would you consider it your most involved project?

PM: It was a big project to dive right into. It took a few weeks off and on. Mostly because I had no plans and was making it up as I went along. There were techniques I had to figure out before I could tackle some details. I like consulting pictures for reference and perspective, but just as guidelines for something like this. I make no claim to technical accuracy.

The most challenging project I have done is probably the globe. I downloaded a template for a paper model globe to build first, and to use as a plug. That didn't make a terribly solid base. Trying not to crush the paper sphere while trying to keep straight meridians, curvy shores and a round world was... interesting.

3D: Are the mandalas done freehand?

PM: Yes and no. I need basic designs as templates, and then I customize. After the initial layer shifts and shrinks, geometrics and spirals can go off in any direction. Then I add extra layers onto the design.
"Sacred geometry" is not something I invented, I just work with it. It's well suited to 3Doodler activity. I'd love to have a big enough set of spirograph gears though.

Paul Mahoney 3Doodler Manadala
Paul Mahoney 3Doodled Wireframe Jungle Cat
3D: What was the process like for making the jungle cat wireframe?

PM: Easy really, because that one's a cheat (I feel mildly guilty not going totally freeform). Actually the pen will make little circles all on its own, but only counterclockwise and down... I have multiple inches of chains made utilizing that tendency.

Trying to keep little circles flush while following a curvy surface is a bit tricky... I had all the mould lines I needed. Some assembly was required as I had to make it in sections (try and find the seams!). Skeletor's BattleCat stood in as the form for that one.

So now I find I'm looking at everything in the house as a potential modelling surface. Lightbulbs, toys, etc. are all fair game.

3D: You mentioned calligraphy, do you have experience with it at all?

PM: Not as such. I wanted to differentiate between what we are doing with the 3Doodler and traditional 3D printing. We don't print; we write and draw in plastic. In a sense, we are creating the illuminated manuscripts of a new era. There's certainly more to it than just painting in plastic. Once upon a time, calligraphy raised the printed symbol to a previously unknown level of artistry. That is what is happening today, done in plastic. I'm calling it Plastigraphy (like making a plastic 3d photograph). The play of line and shadows growing into previously unknown depths.

(3D printers work in slices of X + Y, layer by layer. And a 3Doodler pen is truly a 4D device: X, Y, and Z, and T = time.)

Paul Mahoney 3Doodler Hanging Tree
Paul Mahoney Articulated Joint Maquette
3D: Now that you've received your year of plastic, any epic Doodles in mind?

PM: Yes, an epic year deserves epic plastigraphy, so I'll get right on it! The ideas I have now will be totally different by the time they cool from the pen, so we'll all just have to wait and see!

Can't get enough of this top notch Plastigraphy? Not to worry, Paul's Instagram channel @aplastigrapher will keep you enraptured.