Saturday, December 31, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 4

"Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus..." This is my final post for 2011! Hard to believe the year will be over in a few hours. Glad I was able to finish this phase of the sculpt just in the "St. Nick" of time! (I know...I'm groaning too.)

Let's walk ya through the process...I'm sure it's starting to get a bit repetitious. As before, I made a wire armature to get the size and pose where I wanted it. I made Santa a bit larger in scale than the original rough-in.

I made the hammer out of a nail, and plumbers epoxy. Then I covered them with the sculpy, and baked it.

I was trying something new this time around. Many sculptors that I follow online use a heat gun for "locking in" certain areas of a sculpt, while keeping other areas soft, to continue sculpting. I have much to learn about you will see, I scorched a lot of the rest of the sculpture. I just didn't want to wait on using my little toaster, as the heat gun is a faster way to bake stuff. I used plumbers epoxy to connect the hammer to the arm...then just started building up details.

Santa's face was a little tricky, since the size of it was so small. I'm not super patient with the tiny details, so it isn't as refined as I'd like. After I had baked the face, I added some beard bits on top. It's all shiny, because I glazed it with solvent, to blend the surface some.

Once I attached the head, I just kept going with more detailing. As I've said before, I was going for a "barbarian" style Santa. After the final baking, the features were so scorched by the heat gun, that I couldn't see much of what I'd sculpted! So...I painted on a quick coat of acrylic, and it's good to go. (I will not be baking it any more, so the next stage for this guy will be the final paint job.) I'm currently re-reading "The Hobbit", so it may be why Santa looks a bit like a battling DWARF!

I'm on the home stretch now. Next will be addition of Yeti Fur, and an ice-covered base. After that...the final painted piece!
"See ya NEXT YEAR!" Happy 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 3

Now that Christmas is behind us, I'm picking up some momentum on sculpting the YETI. The image above is still pretty rough, but it's getting there bit by bit. Let's look at the development of some of those "bits".

Usually, after I rough in a general layout of a piece, I start taking it apart and refining specific elements. I cut off the hand, and made a new armature of wire. After adding a bit of Sculpy for the fingers, I made some claws separately and baked them by themselves. I then added the claws back into the softer clay. You'll notice the gray color of the's a mixture of "super" sculpy and "super...firm" (which is gray). I didn't like the crumbly texture of the firm, so blending the two gives it enough firmness for detailing. (Thanks, Jake A., for that tip!)

Before I baked the hand, I glazed it with some oder-less solvent (like you use with oil paints). This softens some of the details a bit. After baking, I used super sculpy to add some fur texture...then baked it again.

I attached the wire "stem" from the armature of the hand back onto the forearm of the Yeti. I used wire to wrap the stem around the arm's inner foil/wire, then used Plumbers Epoxy to make a good solid joint at the wrist. I added the sculpy back on top and it's ready for more detailing later. let's switch over the YETI's HEAD! This is one of the most important parts, and was fun to see where I'd end up. I was strongly influenced by Silverback Gorillas, but tried to keep some human-like expressions, too. I used the rough sculpt to give me some size relationships, but the face got a bit larger...which was fine with me. I began with a nice set of "choppers"...fangs made separately and baked, then blended in to the jaws.

Once the teeth were baked, I just started adding bits of clay to create the head. I didn't linger on the fur details, as I would be adding that later. The eyeballs are copper colored "BB's".

You've heard of "defacing art"? Sorry if this looks a bit gruesome...he felt no pain.

Here's the new face, with a little bit of quick texture to give me an idea of how it will look, once I start refining the rest of his fur.

You'll notice that Santa is not on his back...think I'll work on him next. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 2

Let's get this Yeti started! I finally got all my Christmas shopping and wrapping done, so I was able to sculpt some this afternoon. This version is, as usual, my rough block-in. I will cut things apart and start refining specific areas...i.e. the Yeti's face, hand, Santa, etc. Then I can work all the fur after I reassemble the parts. Now that I look at the proportions, I will probably make Santa a bit larger.

Here is the basic armature that I started with...and a bit of foil wrapped with wire to "bulk" out the torso (so I don't have to use so much Sculpy). I forgot to take photos of the in-between stages of putting on the clay...but figured you'd get the idea. Remember, you can click on the images to see larger versions.
More to come in the days ahead!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

RUBY last gig

Last Friday night, I had a blast playing with the band at our drummer's "farewell to my house party". Rick and his wife are downsizing, and we "rocked the neighborhood" one last time. Well...for was, indeed, the "last time". The guys (and gal) in the band have been very gracious and understanding about my situation, and I really appreciate their friendship. I posted this on the RUBY SHOES BAND facebook page a few minutes ago:

Not sure who all will read this, but I wanted to explain why you probably won't be seeing my face in future photos of "Ruby Shoes". Sadly, I've had to "retire" from playing percussion with the band. It was a really tough decision, but the right one. I have a congenital heart condition that runs in my family, as well as a bad lower back.
The HUGE FUN of playing with these great musicians over the last year distracted me from listening to what my body has been communicating. This "band life" is just too physically challenging for my heart. I appreciate all the support folks have given me while I was having the time of my life jammin' with my friends.

Please continue to come to the gigs when Ruby Shoes is out there... guarantee you'll have to "keep on dancin' !!!"

Thanks, was a great ride!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 1

It's been WAY too long since I've done a sculpture project. I'm taking some time off during the holidays, and really wanted to have something fun to work on while at home. An epiphany hit me one morning, and it seemed perfect for the season. I may not be able to finish it before Christmas is over, but I'll get a good start on it.

I was thinking about all the animated classics on TV this time of year...especially "Rudolph", with Yukon Cornelius fighting the Abominable Snowman. It occurred to me that since Santa lives in the North Pole, it's possible he comes from good Norsemen stock. I figured that, before he could set up the ol' toyshop, he had to make it safe for Mrs. Claus and his tiny little elves. Thus, the battles ensued to clear the land of voracious Yeti...a much larger and more vicious version than the modern day shy creatures of lore. Maybe Santa is the reason they hide!

I started with a very rough sketch, just to capture the idea. Then I saw my ugly mug in the mirror and a camera on the dresser...voila...yeti poses to work from.

I gathered images off the internet to inspire me. (Hope these folks don't mind my posting this stuff!) I plan to build on the "viking / barbarian" theme for Santa's look.

Tonight I decided to work up a tighter color sketch shown above, just to help refine the concept a bit. I will probably change some things along the way. I don't want to be limited to the sketch...the YETI must reveal himself in the clay! Stay tuned!