Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A feather in the cap.

So here we are again. I've been away longer than I care to be. Being able to sculpt only part-time is both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because I can walk away and clear my head sometimes with a motorcycle cruise or a round of golf.

A curse because when I am out riding on that motorcycle, or playing golf... well, I'm not sculpting.

I figured today's blog has to be a little bit about what has been consuming all my time lately when it comes to sculpting... FEATHERS!

I FINALLY am feeling like my Hawkman sculpt is reaching a point, where I can share a bit of my process on the most dreaded part of the sculpt... the wings.

When I first started to sculpt the wings I was adamant about using clay to sculpt them. Quickly I changed my tune as nothing seemed to be working for me with the clay. If I had a feather I liked, I would look as I was on to the next one and the first had been ruined by a hand, a errant tool mark etc.

I had to rethink and go to a place I did not want to go... WAX. I thought to myself, I have just added double the amount of time that this was going to take. Luckily, I was wrong and I hit a grove. They have been tedious to work on, but it has gone much better than I had thought.

So the plan was in place. I printed off some reference of wings in a folded position to a size I liked. I cut out this shape in wire mesh.

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After that I proceeded to lay down a thin layer of Aves Apoxie Sculpt to both lock the mesh in place as well as give the wax something to bite on when dipped into the crock pot.

After the apoxie had set up, I had a sufficient armature for the wing. A nice rigid structure underneath to both help me keep the shape of the wing, but to now also help the wax from breaking every 5 seconds due to being brittle.

People Have asked me, how I am sculpting these feathers and I simple say "One at a time" (no sarcasm intended)

You can see from this pic below, the first layer of wax adhering to the armature and the first of the many feather to come.

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Right around the second row of feathers, I knew that this was going to work out pretty well and I hit my aforementioned stride. Lots of fine lines carved in to look like the little hairs that make up the feathers sometimes nice and uneven to prevent the wing from looking too symmetrical and static. If you do this enough times what eventually happens, is that it actually starts to pass for a wing and not just an ugly apoxie coated mesh.

click here to enlarge image

click here to enlarge image

This sculpt in particular would either be made or broken by the wings. I am so glad I was able to learn on the fly and figure out a great way to sculpt these wings. I was more than a little bit petrified that I would have this sculpture with excellent details all the way down to facial stubble, but then have two lumps of poop where the wings should be. So far, I think I have managed to get over that fear by just diving in and doing it. Sitting there and overanalyzing has never been my style anyway...

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Until next time... thanks for stopping by.