The idea is to pack the mixed material very tightly around the areas to want to bind and lock together. I like to wet it a tiny bit with isopropyl alcohol. This thins it a little and lets you really mush it in there good. Let this harden completely and check that things are nice and secure. You'll be torqueing on this structure soon, so it should be solid.
Bit o'trivia: A number of props from the film A Nightmare before Xmas were sculpted and carved from propoxy. Very handy stuff.
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Smelly...you are a god amongst men...
you happened to scuplt one of my favorite creations of all time, and i mst say i appreciate you for that( Draco the Dragon)..
Thank you for the wealth of knowledge...
Sweet, dude, glad you liked the Draco. That was a great project. Too bad those kind of jobs don't come along more often. Hopefully I'll be doing a lot of 3d work for the Massive Black projects, maybe even stuff people can buy at the store. We'll see. Thanks!
Dude, to say i liked it is an understatment..i freakin adore Draco...when i saw your name and the process work you posted a while about Draco, i almost shat in my pants...i can honestly say Dragonheart is one of the movies that solidified my interest in fantasy (hell i even named a character in my comic after the beast)
I also told my father that i was in contact with the guy who did the sculpture, and he sends his thanks...
I'm glad you put up this tutorial, if there is a US Concept Art work shop, i hope you can bring these process shot andthe finished piece...i would definately dig seeing it in the flesh...
Smellybug, you sculptured Draco? :eek: OMG! One of my fav films and I sort of "know" one of the creators?! I am honored!
BTW - thanks a lot for the instructions, I always wondered how to fix the armatures!
I may be jumping the gun but ....is the support rod going to be eventually sawn off and left inside the sculpture or is it permanent?
Yo Skello: In this case, the support rod will probably be left in. It'll need a support anyway since it will be an airborne character. Plus, if I decide to mold it, that hole will make a good pour sprue. Another trick you can do is grease the support rod before applying the epoxy putty and unscrew it after you bake the sculpey. You then patch the hole and that's it. But this time around I think I'll just leave it in.
Brian and Jester: you guys are too kind. That was a long time ago, I'm glad somebody even remembers that movie. I do have to give a lot of credit to my boss Phil Tippett; it's not like I was working in a vacuum. He pushed me like never before to get that thing looking right. It was great, but it was hell too. A great learning experience.
Ok, so I have my armature ready to go. I've roughly posed it how I want it (don't be afraid to repose later if need be) and I've wrapped it in 1/16 guage alluminum wire. Why you ask? This is the secret for keeping the clay on the understructure. If I would not put the little wire on there, as I sculpted and manupulated the clay, it would work itself free and fall off the large smooth wires. The small wire gives the clay something to grab on to.
*NOTE: If this was an even larger figure, I would tightly pack alluminum foil in say the torso area to build up the bulk within a half inch or so of where I eventually want to be. Then I'd do the wrapping with the small wire. It's best to avoid baking very thick pieces of sculpey because it tends to crack. (For me, thick is over 3 inches or so.) But I think I'll be ok on this one. So no foil this time.
So I hope to start getting some clay on this thing this weekend. Now the real fun starts!
I should mention the reference I use and the inspirational things I come across from time to time. One book I'd recommend buying is "Modeling the Figure in Clay" by Bruno Luchesi. You can get it on amazon along with his other book "Modeling the head in clay" which is also great. Check out what that guy can do with water clay. I use the Figure book for anatomy ref all the time, even though it's only sculpted clay...great stuff.
Alright lets start the good part...sculpting!
First thing I want to do in this case is make a template to aid me in getting the ball rolling. I draw over the xerox and press down hard with pen, transferring the outline of the main bodymass to the cardboard. You can also spraymount the xerox to the cardboard or foamcore then cut it out. It's up to you.
Cut the shape out with an exacto knife...watch them fingers.
If you're not pasting down the original image and cutting it out, it's a good idea to mark major landmarks like the eye or the arms, ribs.. whatever you will be needing later.
Now as you can see, there's no question if you're getting it right. Start adding clay. Be sure to really work it into the wires in the beginning so that you have a solid base.
Be sure to really work it into the wires in the beginning so that you have a solid base.
The blocking stage.
The beginning stage is called the blocking stage. Just like blocking any performance, we are not concerned about the fine detail yet, we are just getting the basic dimemsions down. I normally start with the larger masses first. In this case the torso area. Everything hinges on getting this first part right, so I take my time and sorta creep up to the shape I think is correct, taking into account anatomy and the pose, always measuring with my calipers and comparing to the reference.
It helps to throw some temporary features on there to kinda help your eye "see" where you're going.
As you can see, the surface is a little different now. Sometimes all the little hunks of clay that I quicky lay down can look a little distracting. I want to be sure that I'm generally happy with the way the torso is looking, so I tool down the surface a little with some very crude and rough tools. I call this "equalizing the surface." I give it a quick once over in order improve the look of it a bit.
These are some tools I use very often, especially in these early stages. Notice that they all have grooves or cerations. The wooden one came that way. The one on the right is a rake tool I made from a small jewelers saw blade. The one on the left is store bought, I ground the notches in there with a dremel tool.
They all have a different effect. Generally I work from course to fine. Kinda makes sense, don't it? You just gotta experiment.
Starting the limbs
Lets start adding the limbs.
Again, my approach to something like this is to try to build it like a reverse dissection. The wire is the bone and the clay is built up like sinue and muscle. Even though this is a fictional character, I want it to feel real and absolutely possible. I find that when I add clay like I'm placing muscle and fat, trying to show where one muscle passes under another, or where a muscle and bone connect, the trick seems to have a positive effect. Even if it's not technically accurate, even if a lot of it will eventually be coverd with skin and texture, having that wierd surgical frame of mind pays off. Form and function is key. (And it's gotta look like the reference)
Once I've roughed one side I can move to the other. Use the calipers to keep opposing limbs and features relatively on track.
Think about how muscle mass and flesh change shape, shift and stretch and tighten as you lay down the clay. Surround yourself with reference that can help you. Keep good reference in view. It's a little embarrassing, but you sometimes have to go and buy a bodybuilder magazine to see extreme examples of muscles and bodies in different poses and conditions. Try books on dance or sports. There are a few decent artist reference books out there, but depending on your project, a good book on boxing might be the right choice. Regardless, having proper ref in front of you is incredibly necessary. ON this project, I use a combination of human and animal reference.
As for the pose here. I am torn between doing something very challenging and dynamic on the one hand, and on the other hand being very faithful to the original image. I'm mostly leaning towards the latter here. For what this will be used for, keeping descriptive, yet fun to look at is what I'm after.
Posts like this are the reason why I just love CA.
Thank you ever so much, you just gave the answers to a hundred questions I had on sculpting and I realize how much I did wrong or in a more complicated way than necessary.
I dont sculpt, and the last time I tried it was like 8 years ago. You make it seem so easy and fun. I'll have to try this someday soon.
There is nothing wrong with using a photo to help you see things.
No one complains about life drawing,
so take a photo.
its easy, and will improve your piece greatly."
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