Monday, December 7, 2009

It's quiet around here isn't it?

It's been a good 3 months since I've last posted anything here at the Dawg Pound. It seems every time someone promises to "post more often" something happens to squish that small glimmer of light shining through a pin hole at the end of the tunnel. I can honestly say however that in this case there are a couple of rather stellar reasons for the lack of new posts.

1. My wife and I had our first baby October 9th. We went on an absolute Hell ride to get him here too. I think he's my finest WIP yet . Born at 10lbs 3oz and 22 inches long, he's taken a good many hours worth of work in the past couple months, but I hope to have him completed by the time SDCC 2010 rolls around.

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2. Right around the time I last posted on this blog, I started to have dialogue with a fella by the name of Randy Bowen. I'm sure that you might have heard of him if you enjoy super hero collectibles. I enjoy the hell out of working with Randy Bowen. The guy is just as much of a fan of this stuff as we are and it's easy to lose something like that, when you think about the fact that his company has been doing this longer than anyone else. He asked me if I wanted to sculpt a 4-pack, more specifically the Wrecking Crew. Let me think about that for a second... 4 giant muscle head, thuggish, Thor villains.... yeah okay, I'm in.

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So the thing about #2 above is, when you are are working on a piece or pieces for a pro company, you can't really blog about them, or show progress photos to the masses... unless you never wanna work in this town again. I can say that the project is drawing to a close and there will be a time soon enough that Randy shows the pieces and I can post pics in a future blog.

What I've decided I can blog about and not give anything away is a little thought process as well as reference material as it relates to that thought process.

As I mentioned above, The Wrecking Crew are about as thuggish as a set of Marvel villains could be. All villains and heroes have physiques that make the rest of us feel pretty pathetic while sculpting them, so the anatomy of these pieces is a given... Huge muscles.

Where there is a chance however to shine on the Wrecking Crew, is their individual personalities. Half the fun is finding and translating their personas into a single moment in time captured with an expression or mood. There is no better way to do this than pick a person out there in the real world that comes close enough to base their look on. I had a lot of fun to say the least and I'll go one by one and what I was thinking here now.

He's the red neck, hillbilly, flat top, smug bastard of the group. Not a lot of depth or complexity to his character. He loves to break stuff with his hands. He's got one of those faces where you know that he's really enjoying the fact, he's about to pummel something.

To me, when I think of Piledriver's portrait, I see the body builder Jay Cutler. I'm not saying that Jay Cutler is a redneck hillbilly, I'm just saying that there is something in his look that feels like Piledriver to me. Massive guy, blond hair, blue eyes, a smile like he knows he's better, etc. I went with it and tried to capture a little bit of that expression and I feel it worked pretty well.

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Dozer is the brute of the brutes. He's the big guy of the group. Most of his face is covered and so to me, the best way to get across his attitude was by using a great expression with his mouth to tell the story. I knew all along that I wanted to have Dozer with one side of his lip curled up into a snarl. Let's face it the guy uses his head as a weapon and a nice sneer before a headbutt seems perfect to me.

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Thunderball is pretty ruthless. He's turned on his own pals to get ahead and he's actually a genius, who hides behind a large wrecking ball. I pretty early on decided that I wanted to at least base his "look" on body builder Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie has that intense look like he could crush you if you got in his way, and that is what I wanted for Thunderball. The face was tweaked a bit to not be such a harsh look, but overall the intention is still there.

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The Wrecker is the most different in the group. He's not really the ripped up, super massive steroid looking villain. While still quite thick and brutish, he's more like the big burly bouncers and bruisers of early cinema. After quite a bit of research and thought, I settled on using Lenny Mclean as inspiration for the Wreckers portrait. That tough old boxer with gnarled appearance captured the spirit of what the Wrecker should look like 100%. The original head I sculpted, while decent, to me just didn't represent the most important aspects of the Wrecker's character... he's the dirtiest, toughest, meaniest SOB in the group.

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So there it is... maybe this doesn't make the most sense now, not being able to see the end result of these random thoughts. But this is how I do things. I have to almost get to know the character, before I can deliver a sculpt of them. I have to get inside and see what ticks as a fan before I can create... otherwise it's just sculpting something without anything special to it.... a blank soulless piece. The minute I start sculpting like that, is the best time to say goodbye to sculpting altogether.

More to come and thanks for looking,