Final Sculpture

Finally finished my sculpture course.  Quite happy with the finished piece too, especially considering it was done in about 7-8 hours.  Once we’d finished the sculpture we had to prepare it for firing which, crazily, involved cutting it in half and removing it from the armature then scooping out most of the clay from the interior.  This was so that it wasn’t too thick to be fired.  This seemed absolutely mad to me – it’s such a destructive way to work – you spend hours working on your piece getting it ‘perfect’, then you risk completely destroying it by chopping it up.

If the firing process can’t handle think layers or clay perhaps a you could sculpt it over a lump of wax or something that would melt as the clay was fired.  It seems mad to have to cut it in half.

Anyway, I decided not to get mine fired as I have no idea what I would’ve done with the finished piece, so I squished it and chucked it back in the bag of clay.

More pics available here!

Penultimate sculpture course!

DSC_0001 cropKinda between projects at the minute, which is a little odd for me as I’ve been busy for the last six months or so.  Don’t really know what to do with myself (fnarr).   I’m also nearing the end of my sculpture course – only one more week to go.  It’s kinda flown by (how did it get to march exactly?) but I’ve quite enjoyed it.

We’ve been working on our portraits again this week.  Mine’s coming along quite nicely.  As I mentioned previously I’ve steamed ahead with this as the sessions aren’t that long.  I’ve got the proportions as close as I can in the time given.  The tutor’s had us pay particular attention to measuring the model in order to get our sculpts as close as we can.

This is something abit new for me too – I’ve never sculpted from a life model.  Any sculpts I’ve done previously have either been done over a life cast (in which case the measurements are automatically there) or created from scratch in which case you’ve more leeway to make things up as you go.

DSC_0008DSC_0010Having someone to actually measure up is useful, but weirdly kinda counter intuitive in someways.  I’ve found myself sculpting something that looks right to the eye, but then having double checked my measurement found that the models head is in fact smaller than I thought.  Weird.

I’ve been working on the details this week – we only have an hour or so of next session to finish the piece – so I’ve been concentrating on the eyes and ears.  I’ve not tried sculpting likenesses much in the past, but when I have I’ve found that it only takes a very small angle or piece of clay here and there that really makes (or not) a sculpt look like the person in question.  In this case having got close to what you might consider a finished sculpture, I suddenly realised that the nose was pointing up slightly too much.  Whacking a few bits of clay on there to make the underside a little more of a right angle to the lip suddenly made the whole sculpture look alot more like the model.  It’s not an exact likeness by any means, but I’m certainly fairly happy that it has a passing resemblance at least….!

New Project

The course is finished after next weeks session which will really leave me with no projects on the horizon (a melting head I was going to do for a film promo fell through due to lack of cash), I do have an idea for the next one though which is going to be a werewolf transformation sequence.    I’m still running through in my head exactly how I’m going to do it.  I think it’s going to be a small video sequence abit like the oldroid video though likely a little shorter.  I’m probably going to make a couple of rubber puppets and I think it’s gonna involve another old dude for the simple reason that they’re more fun to sculpt!  You can get some great textures doing all the wrinkles.

I’m not sure it’s possible to do a completely original werewolf transformation – everything’s probably already been done by now,  I do have a few ideas to give it abit of a twist though……..I did a small experimental sculpt of  a deformed wolf head recently, it kinda looked abit like a manic cartoon fox though.  I really wanted an evil look to it.  I’ll stick a pic of it up later anyway.

Sculpture Course

DSC_0985We’ve been doing a portrait on my sculpture course for the last two weeks.  I’m quite enjoying this one – we’d previously been doing full body sculptures, portraits I find a little easier as there’s less to get wrong!

As each session is only 3 hours long I found myself running out of time on the previous sculpts (it usually takes me weeks to get things right) but I’ve sped ahead with this one and it’s come out quite well.  Not sure it looks exactly like the model, there’s a passing resemblance though I think (hope).

We’ve another week on this one so I should be able to get this more or less finished – the basic shape’s there so I can concentrate on details next week.

Sculpture, of course.

sculpture03We’ve started a new sculpt on the course this week, which I’m quite relieved about as I wasn’t really that happy with my previous one.  This time we have a lady model and I started this sculpt without worrying too much about measuring out proportions which is how I usually go about these things.  I just started sticking blobs of clay together and let things progress.  The tutor had us take the slightly unusual step this week of working on each others sculptures for a time.  I think the idea was to try and give us a different perspective on how other people view things.  I think everyone felt abit uneasy about interfering with someone elses work at first, but we eventually got used to it.  When I got back I found someone had actually added to the back of my sculpture which I’d been working on and started the arms which was nice!  I’m quite pleased with the way this one is going actually, so I’m looking forward to next week.


We’ve also been asked to give a short talk about two artists as a kind of small research project I guess.  I volunteered to kick things off and I think I’m going to talk about Stan Winston and H.R. Geiger.  Both are obviously abitpredator‘filmy’ as you may expect and perhaps not the ‘traditional’ artist that the tutor may have been envisaging, however I think they have  something over more ‘traditional’ art and artists.  While your ‘average’ sculptor make create his piece perhaps in clay, then fire it, at that point he’s pretty much done.  Your FX artist will sculpt it in clay, but then cast it up in rubber, paint it, add articulation to it and turn it into a living breathing character (more or less).   Then it gets lit and filmed, and perhaps augmented by a dude with a computer (or these created entirely on computer, but that’s another story ;0).

There seems so much more to it in the film world, or is it just me?


In other news I’ve ordered 5.5 L of TinSil Gel silicon rubber and 2L of PlatSil Gel plus some pigments.  This may not seem particularly exciting, but believe me this is abit like christmas.

The  reason for this rubbery splurge is that the place I get my usual silicon has stopped selling it as the manufacturers gone bust so I’ve been forced to go elsewhere.  This is kinda good as TinSil and PlatSil are the more ‘pro’ types of silicon so I’ve bought these partly to finish off a previous project, but also to have abit of a practice with them.  I may start this werewolf idea I’ve had knocking about in my head as well.

Should probably finish off the Oldroid one first……

Sculpture Course

sculpturecourseI’ve been carrying on with my sculpture course.  We’ve been doing a full body sculpture with a live model over the last two weeks.  Bearing in mind that each session is about 3 hours long, that means we’ve only had about 6 hours (probably less when you count in time spent clearing up) to actually do the sculpture.  This is phenomenally quick, at least judged against my usual rate of working – I usually spend ages working on sculptures.

I’m not too happy with what I’ve come up with really, not least because it’s so rushed.  Also, the pieces we’ve created are going to be fired which means you need to prepare it for firing.  This involves scooping out the larger sections of the sculpture form underneath to make sure none of the surfaces are too thick.  You also need to prick the underside with a nail in order to release any trapped air, lest the sculpture explode in the kiln from the air expanding when heated (this I would’ve liked to see!).

Doing this basically involved turning the sculpture over in your hand and scooping out the clay on the underside.  Not only did this deform the sculpture – it’s made of wet clay with no internal armature to hold it in place – it also weakened it so when I put it back down, part of the underside collapsed inwards slightly.  It all made me think that firing sculptures was a slightly outmoded way of preserving the piece.  Maybe it works better for larger sculptures, but if I really wanted to keep my sculpture (which I didn’t really) I would’ve much preferred to make a mold which would’ve given a much better representation of the piece without the need to damage it.

Sculpture Course

Quite a few things starting or coming to fruition at the mo, first off I’ve started an evening class on sculpting the human form in clay.  While I have done this sort of thing before, most of my stuff tends to be monsters and aliens, or a sculpture that’s going to be molded in rubber,  so I seldom just do pure sculpture.

Consequently doing the human form is one of those things that I consider myself to be weakest at.  It’s actually very difficult to get it looking right.  While I understand the proportionality (generally males are 8 ‘head heights’ – their total height is 8 x the height of their head – females are more often 7 head heights for example) putting it into practice is another matter.

Most of the figures I’ve sculpted have had some form of proportionality problem and I’ve never actually had any real formal tuition in it.  We did life drawing at university which is very similar to the class I’m doing now, but it was purely drawing, no sculpture.

So anyway I spent three hours on mondy evening sculpting a naked geezer along with 15 other people!  Here’s a pic.  This  is actually the second sculpture we did in the evening and took about an hour and half.  This is pretty quick  – I usually spend weeks on sculptures!  I think they’re just trying to get us to observe the form of the model at first rather than getting into the nitty gritty of sculpture.  Apparently we’ll be doing a life sized head and a figure sculpture over the next ten weeks.


We used a slightly different method which I wasn’t used to – sculpting the figure down from a block of clay.  I usually build a metal armature and slowly build up the figure, I guess there wasn’t time to do that in the class though.