Monday, December 13, 2010

Rage of the Red Armature

The other day I was looking down at my hands and more specifically my fingers. I made the realization in my brain that my hands felt pretty good, and that it had been awhile since I have nicked, sliced open, or scraped any skin off my digits. Everything is nice and healed... must be time to tie a new armature and cut the sh*t out of my fingers and hands all over again.

... and here we are today.

I am getting ready to begin building up a new piece for a most excellent friend of mine. The piece I will be working on is a character from the Green Lantern comic book series and more specifically, a character from the red part of the emotional spectrum. Red in this version of the visual spectrum signifies the emotion of rage...

It's time to test the limits on how angry I can make clay look and I am excited beyond belief. This is one of those pieces that I can cut loose on. There are no rules to a character that is this pissed off, except that he has to look like he is pissed off.

I think I can handle that.

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I thought it might be fun to blog about the process here a little bit.

Before the clay, before the wax, before anything else, you have to have an armature. I thought it might be fun to blog periodically on this piece as it progresses from bent 10 gauge galvanized wire, with smaller floral wire wrapped around it, into something that resembles a pissed off Red Lantern.

This character is a pretty big fella, but not the biggest fella there is. He's somewhere between the monstrous Arkillo sculpt I did and the more "average" human sized Kyle Rayner piece I also sculpted.With that said, I know that the piece will be around 6.25 inches tall from waist to cranium, and so my first step is to bend some wire to those specs.

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After I have bent the wire into shape, I mark certain points on the wire that can later serve as landmarks to make sure that certain body parts are equal length on both sides. You don't want 1 forearm to be half an inch longer than the other right? These "tick" marks I leave are only the beginning, but for a good portion of the build up, they keep me in check until the time comes to use calipers instead.

After I have bent the heavy wire into the desired "M" shape, I then use smaller, finer, easier to bend wire to wrap the thicker wire with. I try to spiral down the wire and when I have hit certain "tick" marks like the waist or the wrist, I wrap it a couple times and spiral back up whence I came. This creates nice and tight little "x's" to which the clay will stick to the armature as it gets lumped on. I always leave myself room (extra wire) at the spine, and the hands. It's very easy to go in after you have your figure built up and clip the wire shorter. The alternative is having something too short and needing to start over 20 hours in.

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The next step in the process will be to put some apoxie putty around certain parts of the wires to kind of bulk up and at the same time strengthen and solidify the armature. Using apoxie this way creates the ribcage area as well as locks in the additional wire I tie in for the neck to a point where the armature is bulletproof. Another thing I always make sure to do with a bigger piece like this is, when I build my apoxie rib cage, is to shove a piece of square brass tubing in the back. When the apoxie cures, you now have a means of further anchoring the piece and having it be stable while you sculpt. More on that bit with the next round of work in progress shots which I will post soon.

For now however, I have a little mini update on the 1/5 Thor piece I am working on. I have been spending a little bit of time progressing this piece after it has been sitting on the shelf since July. I have been working on his legs this week and have affectionately dubbed it, the "quad of thunder" sculpt.

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More to come, and as always, thanks for lookin',


1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say that your sculpting work is incredibly inspiring and these little insights into your workflow are really helpful for us newbs.

    Look forward to seeing updates of any kind on any project ;)