Sunday, February 28, 2010

SKETCHBOOK - "Back to the Museum"

Took a day off from work on Friday, and spent part of the afternoon back at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Here are a couple of sketches of some things that caught my eye.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

SKETCHBOOK - "Time for some Odd Bots"

Quite frankly, I have no idea why I drew these walkin' fish-bots. But explaining what goes on in my skull is for professionals to figure not try it at home.

I think this little "chopper bot" reminded me of my childhood. My brother and I, and some buddies tried welding on extentions to the front fork of our bikes. They looked cool...except for the time when one of us popped a wheelie, and the front wheel came off. No...I take that back...the crash actually looked pretty cool, too.

Big Shoe Bot is just mindin' his own business.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Well, there's not much left to say about this project...except that it's DONE! Apologies if I went into too much detail along the way. Next time, I'll try to be less specific. Big thanks to my daughter Jenni (again) for letting me use some glacier photos from her trip to New Zealand. Enjoy lookin' at this brute...he was fun to make!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SCULPTURE - "Boarbarian" pt.5

Here's the finished Boarbarian, ready to be painted this weekend. (Hope he was worth the wait, Christopher!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

SCULPTURE - "Boarbarian" pt.4

We're on the home stretch's how I made the HEAD of the Boarbarian.
The first thing I decided to work on were the teeth/tusks. It was important to bake them before I set them into the jaw line, since they would get mangled while sculpting the rest of the head. I also tried a new clay: gray-colored "Super Sculpy FIRM". It didn't work well for the teeth, but I made the helmet out of it. Not really happy with the way it feels, but I'll try using it again some other time.

Below left, you can see the near-finished head. I added some "jaw-beard ponytails", and thought I was done. However, I had a bit of a problem with the next step. When I used paint-thinner to soften the details, I loaded the glazing brush with way too much. It melted most of the fur texture, so I had to go back and rework the whole thing. Caution when using that stuff...a little bit is all you need!

Here's the final version of the Boar's head. I've used copper colored "BB's" for the eyes. I like how they look as is, so I'm not going to be painting them.

As with the head, I had used too much thinner on the whole body. So, I had to rework everything with more fur texture. Loading the brush with just a little thinner worked fine when glazing the second time softened the surface just enough.

The last little bit is the attachment of the battle hammer. I drilled a couple of small holes into the handle. Then I wrapped thin wire onto the heavy gauge wire armature that was left at the end of the wrists. Originally I was going to sculpt each of the "hoof hands" completely out of epoxy putty. But once I had formed the core out of putty, it was good and solid. I wasn't sure if it would bake well, with the outside made from Sculpy, but I decided to risk it. It baked just fine. Finally, I added a bit more strapping to the wrist guard on the left arm (with the chain links).
I debated whether to show the "big reveal" now, or later. Looks like "later" won...sorry folks. Next post...the final pre-painted sculpture!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

SCULPTURE - "Boarbarian" pt.3

Here are some of the transitions the Boarbarian has been going through. I loosely wired on the hammer temporarily...that will be the last thing added, after the rest of the sculpting is done. I'll be creating "hoof-hands" made from epoxy, because I don't think that Sculpy can handle the torque-tension of the hammer. The image on the right shows that the detailing has begun.

Once the final pose was decided upon in the block-in phase, I had too much clay in the belly area. So I cut it away, and back-filled with foil. Then I started on the belt design...I'm sticking with the Celtic elements.

Here are some images of the wrist guards. I purposely went with an asymetrical approach.

After this stage, I will move on to the head sculpt. But that's for next time!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SCULPTURE - "Boarbarian" pt.2

Before I began to focus on the Boarbarian figure, I needed to design one important object...the Battle Hammer. This helped me figure out the proportions of the rest of the sculpture.

I started with a scrap paint brush handle, sanded off the paint, then drilled a hole in it for a support wire. Next I wrapped it with foil, so it wouldn't be too heavy.

After defining the shape, I added some battle scars to the details. Below is the finished weapon.
Now on to the main event...who's gonna hold that hammer?!! First I start with the armature of wire, then add foil.

Next comes the base layer of Sculpy, which I baked to have a solid core to build upon. The head "sketch" is very loose, and is only for deciding on the pose I like best. And, yes, Mr. Boar is on the skinny side...this is still just the armature stage.
Okay...that's it for this time, the pork starts beefin' up! (I was bad, but I couldn't stop myself.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

SCULPTURE - "Boarbarian" pt.1

Time for a new sculpture! Once again, I'll be showing this in process. I'm creating a "bust" piece, instead of a full figure. I don't have any sketches to work from, so I'll be figuring it out as I go. I've gathered a lot of great research, though, so I won't be flyin' blind. I'm not going to reveal the main character just yet, so you'll have to stay tuned. But you can tell from the title where I'm heading.

Let's begin with the base. I cut a square from a 2"x4", cut off the corners, then belt-sanded it into a circle. I put the nuts and bolt in the middle to add some weight.

I've got a fondness for Celtic Knot designs, so I decided to incorporate a basic Celtic pattern around the base. (Must be from the Scots-Irish heritage in the family tree.) This part was very matter how I measured, and redrew the knots multiple times, it never quite matched up. I was able to rework the final design to hide it pretty well. I traced a short segment of the knots, cut it out of Sculpy, then placed that segment on the wood base. I cleaned up the pattern, and baked it.

I used epoxy putty to create a "mother mold" that would become the inverted shapes of the knots. I carefully cleaned out the baked Sculpy, and now had a "stamp" of the pattern. I probably should have used a "plasticine" type clay, that would stay firm, but pliable. It would've been easier to clean out of the mold than the baked Sculpy. Live and learn. When I did a test run of stamping the pattern around the base, it didn't match up. So I cut out a shorter segment from the stamp and added a wooden handle, which seemed to work.

I drilled some holes to help the Sculpy stay on better. I pressed the stamp around the base, and after a little cleanup, had a nice Celtic knot pattern.

Here's the final base, with a few more details added. I had an unexpected problem, however, with the wood expanding and contracting. It made a couple of bad cracks in the pattern.

So I had a decision to make...try to repair the cracks, or work with them. I decided that the theme of this piece lent itself to a "battle damaged" look. So I purposely "distressed" the whole base with more cracks and scrapes. I plan on painting it to look like stone, so it will feel like it's really old and weathered. I actually like it better than the cleaner look.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

SKETCHBOOK: "Guardian Lion"

Here's a little sketch I did back during the holidays in December '09. My wife and I finally got around to visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to see the new addition of the Bloch Building. In 2007, Time Magazine ranked the museum's new gallery space # 1 on the "10 Best (New and Upcoming) Architectural Marvels" list. It was gorgeously designed and we really enjoyed the open spaces.

The piece I'm sketching, however, was in the older, original museum. I especially love the extensive collection of Asian Art. This little guardian lion from China caught my eye and I had to draw it. I need to visit again soon!