Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The making of The Wrecking Crew Part I: Piledriver and Dozer

Well I finally have some stuff I can show. My newest works have been sneaked from Bowen Designs and Randy was kind enough to let me post work in progress art for this 4 pack of busts. The minute I saw these busts painted I was extremely excited. I put my heart and soul into them during a time in my life that played out like the opening line from Tale of Two Cities – "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... ”

The best of times = Our first son was born and he was magnificent
The worst of times = A month after he was born he had to have stomach surgery to correct an overdeveloped Pylorus muscle that wasn't letting him digest any food.

Despite a little bit of turmoil, I never missed a beat nor my deadline and I completed 4 works that I am extremely proud of. The Wrecking Crew for Bowen Designs was a dream gig... No BS. We had actually talked about me working on them for him back in 2008 after I finished the Super Skrull, but he had contract renewal delays with Marvel and they were taken off the table as an option.

Cut to 1.5 years later and the opportunity came up to work with Randy again and of course I took it. It was just a bonus that he asked if I wanted to work on the Crew.

Hey Keith, would you like to sculpt 4 of the most expressive, massively muscled, coolest looking d*ckwads, to ever be Thor villains?


So I took the gig and I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time I was sculpting these guys.

I thought I would break this blog down in to 2 parts. The first being about my work on Piledriver and Bulldozer. For some reason most people who like the Wrecking Crew only care about the Wrecker. It was my intention going in that I would do my best to make the other guys in the group just as appealing visually as Wrecker. The best way to do that was to really have expressive faces and personality to each of the pieces.

Piledriver was my hillbilly redneck a$$hole that I knew had to have a grin on his face as if someone told him that he was allowed to break stuff. He loves to pound sh*t to dust... He doesn't care who gets caught in the crossfire and he does it with a smile.

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I surmised that because Piledriver had the least going on visually that he might be the hardest sculpt to get motivated on. My best solution for that foresight was to work on him first. I wanted to use some of that energy and excitement you get on any fresh assignment to propel me through what could have been considered the most visually boring character of the group. I was determined to not let that happen. Piledriver doesn't need weapons to be intimidating. He just wails away with his meat hooks and that is all he's ever needed. I don't think you need accessories to look cool either, as a sculptor it is your JOB to find a way for a character to look cool regardless.

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He ended up being a lot of fun to sculpt and I had a great time working on his anatomy. In fact his anatomy really set the tone for the others in the group. He was a bit more tapered in the waist, with massive shoulders, traps, and arms. These are his weapons, they should look the part.

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Dozer was and is still probably my favorite of the bunch. His mask hides his entire face except his mouth and throwing a snarled, curled lip was something that I thought would look really bad ass if I could pull it off. I almost abandoned that notion and went with more of a scowl, but when all four of these guys pretty much just scowl, there had to be something to set Dozer apart. Luckily I stayed true to the vision I wanted, gave the sneer one more try, and thereby achieved what I wanted and a look that Randy luckily really liked.

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Dozer was the character that I "kind of" roughed in after Piledriver. I say "kind of", because I really worked all four of these at the same time. This is a technique/method that I use all the time now. I find it really helps break through any stress and/or barriers that you sometimes hit with a sculpt. If you spend all of your time stressing about the deadline and why you can't seem to get something right, things will not go well. Better to set one aside and work on something else and usually the answers present themselves naturally while working on a different piece... enable your focus to step outside of itself and come back fresh, to see things clearer, if you will.

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Anyway... Dozer... Yeah, I knew he had to be quite a bit thicker than Piledriver body-wise. Bulldozer is the bruiser of the bruisers. You can't please everyone all the time, but I think people will be really happy with Dozer. He looks like he is about to plow through a bank vault wall or take a shot at Thor himself. On top of that he looks as if he could do it with ease and only mild annoyance at getting dirty.

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I also had a lot of fun with Dozer's costume. All of the studs are glass beads of various sizes and the ear pieces to his helmet are nothing more than chopped up thumb tack/push pins. Using found items to help a sculpt is far quicker, easier, and way more mechanical than my wax pen could do. :)

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The Crew are in the same scale as the Buzzsaw Gladiator bust that Randy put out, and they are about 7 1/4 inches tall. That's no slouch in the mini bust world.

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I gotta say... that working for and with Randy Bowen is top notch. I'm not sure how it works, but it's easy to get geeked and fired up working on a project for him. The guy seriously has seen it all when it comes to sculpting and it's almost as if you learn from him by just having your name attached to a Bowen project. I could not have had more fun working on a project than I did here... despite all of the stress and uncertainty of expecting a baby, trips to the ER, the doctor, sleepless nights etc... The Crew was just one of those things that was never a concern, and that makes for a successful endeavor... if it hurts... don't do it... and all that stuff:)

More to come (part 2 and the part that everyone WANTS to see... the Wrecker) and thanks for looking,