Wednesday, April 29, 2009

SCULPTURE - "Flying Monkey Squadron" pt.6

On to the sculpture of the Gorilla. Below is the "core" of the piece...a wooden block with a hole drilled in it to connect it to the support rod. I made a sketch that was approximately the same size as the finished jet-pack and the base, so I could get the proportions right. I then wire-wrapped aluminum foil on to add bulk, and reduce the amount of sculpey clay I would use.

Since I had some leftover "regular" sculpey, I added enough to cover the aluminum foil. I then used "super" sculpey to add the details, building layer on layer, and baking each stage before adding more.

Below are the finished hands and face of the gorilla. I added the leather headgear after baking the details of the face.

It became obvious that my proportions were off for the length of the overhead arm. I added a good bit more clay and modified the pose. I then sculpted the final details of the jacket and added the jet-pack straps.

The image below shows how I designed the jet-pack to hide where the metal support rod goes into the gorilla's back.

When all the gorilla bits were complete, I gave the whole sculpture a coating of brown acrylic.

Next time...the final paint job and a look at the finished "Silverback with a Jet-pack".

Saturday, April 25, 2009

SCULPTURE - "Flying Monkey Squadron" pt.5

Okay, time to move on to the next character in my series..."Silverback with a Jet-Pack". Here are some sketches I kicked around, just to get poses figured out.

Once I had the basic idea down, I began with the mechanical bits first...made from assorted found objects...plastic pens, parts from an old computer, nails for rivets, clasps from a clothes hanger. After I pieced together the jet-pack, I gave the whole thing a coating of Elmer's glue to unify the surface, fill in gaps, and give it all a bit of texture so it looked aged. Then I painted on a base coat of brown acrylic.

Below are a few views of the finished paint job.

After the Jet-Pack was done, I focused on the base. I did work on the Gorilla sculpture some while developing the base sculpt, but will wait til next time to show that part. My intention was to make the base look like a blast of smoke, just after the Gorilla takes off. I used "original" white Sculpey on the base, because it was softer, and I could blend the shapes a bit easier. I then painted a coat of "turpenoid" to "melt" the Sculpey and get a smoother blend on the surface. You want to make sure to let the turpenoid set up for a day before you bake it...don't want a house fire!

My first idea was to have a single column of smoke coming from the jet-pack. But it soon became necessary to make a "tripod" of smoke to support the heavy weight of the Gorilla. I added a bit more to the base with "Super Sculpey" to give strength farther up the main support wire. I used Plumber's Epoxy Putty to fill out the smaller support wires. You have to work fast with the epoxy, as it sets up in about 3 minutes.

I coated the finished sculpt with Elmer's glue, then painted all of the base with gray acrylic.

I began to build up layers of dry-brushed lighter grays and white...then glazed the smoke with a thin wash of brown to warm up the cool grays. Below is the finished jet-pack!

Next time...making the "Silverback".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bucket Drums!

The other day, I ran across this photo while looking through some old files. Gave me a chuckle, so I thought I'd throw it on the blog (I spruced up the pic with a new background...60's style).

One of my "fun activities" is playing percussion (congas, bongos, djembe's ,etc.). Some time back, the church worship band I played in needed another drummer. I was encouraged to give it a try. Rather than waste a bunch of time and money buying a "real" drum kit, I decided to see if I could build my own to practice at home with.

I put this "bucket drum kit" together after a trip to the local hardware store. (Okay, I bought the hi-hat and kickdrum pedal, but I got 'em real cheap.) I found out really quickly that I wasn't coordinated enough to make my feet cooperate! Eventually, I disassembled my "PVC Special"...except for the snare never know when you might need a plastic bucket snare drum.

Til next time...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

SKETCHBOOK - "More Dozers"

Okay, here's the closest to driving one of these bad boys that I've been able to manage so far. This was taken the day after the demolition of a friend's store that was unfortunately gutted by a fire. Truth is, I probably wasn't supposed to be on the thing...but, hey, it was rented by someone I know.

Here are a few of my sketches of some loaders, dozers, diggers, etc. The one below, I drew yesterday while waiting for my wife who was taking a metal-smithing class. It's the front view of a fork lift that has an extending arm to put things a couple of stories up in the air.

This next one sparked a fun conversation with one of the rig operators on the worksite...he told me all about what kind of specific dozer it was (which I have since forgotten), and encouraged me to keep my nice job out of the weather.

This next one was taking a nap during a lunch break.

The rest of these sketches were done in various locations. The "contour line" drawings are always a fun approach for me. I don't erase and correct as I go...I just start drawing with a finepoint pen...I like the looser quality in the linework.

That does it for today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

PAINTINGS - "Dozers and Dirt Movers"

For a long time, I've had a love of construction equipment...bulldozers being my favorite. Anytime I see a bunch of guys driving the big rigs, I say to myself, "What a great job that would be!" A few years back, I started painting these machines. Some day, I'm gonna find a way to drive one myself! And by posting these, I'm reminding myself that it's been too long since I got out there and painted some dozers.

Later, I'll include some sketches of these machines.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SCULPTURE - "Flying Monkey Squadron" pt.4

Here's the final sculpture all painted and assembled. And, yes, I may have overdone it with the number of photos. One little detail that I'm happy about...the propeller turns nicely, when you give it a spin.

I'll be posting the next character in the series soon ("Gorilla with a Jet-Pack").
Until then (as the photo above shows)...The End!

Monday, April 13, 2009

SCULPTURE - "Flying Monkey Squadron" pt.3

Now that the "aero-pack" was done, I needed to decide on the scale of the pilot. I did a very rough sculpt, to work out the basic pose.

I decided to work on the final sculpture in stages. Below is the head of the monkey baking away in a small toaster oven. After that piece had cooled down, I added the goggles and made the hands. I decided to sculpt the hands as separate pieces from the arms, so I could assemble the figure later, and glue the parts together like a model kit. This approach also keeps me from accidently messing up details in the sculpt as I add to the full figure, while the clay is soft and "uncooked".

After I had completed the face, I decided to modify the eye shape, and make them a bit wider.

Below is the nearly completed figure (minus the scarf). Before I glued everything to the aero-pack, I wanted to make sure all the bits fit together nicely.

You'll notice that some of the sculpture is black...that's from getting it too close to the heating elements in the toaster. (While it looks painful, the monkey felt nothing!)

Here are all of the pieces ready for the final painting stages.

First, I paint a base-coat of brown. Then I build up layers of tans, browns, black, with some accents of metallic bronze. After all of the colors are applied, I painted thin washes of brown and black to give an antique look.

Here is the finished paint job. I coated the eyes with some high gloss varnish, for added shine. The odd little "v" shapes are the shoulder straps and belt. The little "m" with wings logo is the "buckle".

That's it for post, I'll show you some images of the final sculpture.