During this year’s TwitchCon, Twitch patron saint Bob Ross was watching over everyone, literally, in the form of a towering bead painting that took 24 people six months to assemble.
That colossal Bob Ross is made of Perler Beads, which people assemble into images and then melt together with an iron. If all goes according to plan, it’ll soon hold the record for largest Perler Bead sprite in the world with over 450,000 beads, which were purchased by Bob Ross Inc. The project is the brainchild of Edward Flabberjackson of Poke Your Eyes Out Games. In an interview at TwitchCon, he described it as “both the best and worst project I’ve ever done in my life.” Creating it was, to put it lightly, An Ordeal.
“I made a Photoshop image, and then I took the image and had Photoshop spit the image back out with Perler Bead colors, of which there are only 44,” Flabberjackson said. “Bob Ross uses eight [when he paints], but when he mixes them together, he gets thousands of colors. This is just 44 colors, and there’s no mixing.”
“Photoshop doesn’t know what looks good, so I reworked the entire piece pixel-by-pixel until it looked good,” he continued. “I spent four hours on his brush alone.”
That was the easy part. Next came the mind-numbing process of physically arraying all the beads into a picture-perfect recreation of the man voted “most likely to just be god in disguise” in high school, which Flabberjackson and co chronicled on their Twitch channel. It was perhaps not the most viewer-friendly thing they could’ve done, but they did it, damn it.
“I’m partnered on Twitch,” said Flabberjackson, beaming, even as his voice cracked with fatigue. “It’s how I make a living. Problem is, nobody really wanted to watch me put down these beads all the time. It hurt my business for a while to do this, but I was determined to get it done.”
The act of assembling a monolithic tribute to Bob Ross’ beaming visage might not have always been pleasant, but Flabberjackson thinks it was absolutely worth it.
“It’s great because this is ireffutable, undeniable proof that no matter what obstacle may lay in front of you—no matter how large, small, lumpy, spiky, bloody, stressful, the fear of loss, whatever it is—bead-by-bead, step-by-step, you can get it done. I feel like this could be an inspiration, just like Bob Ross was,” he said.
“Plus,” he added, “I feel like a goddamn celebrity here.”