Friday, October 21, 2011

Kraven the Hunter

The latest "in-between" project is the third in my Spider-Man Rogues quest... Kraven the Hunter.

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Like most folks out there that love Spider-Man, for me, Kraven became a very serious contender when he decided to engineer his last hunt. This character took a turn for the disturbed and decided to hunt Spider-Man down, bury him alive, assume his identity, do it better, blow his own brains out.

This story is still today one of my favorites and the character is easily one of the coolest Spidey villains there is/was.

So I knew that at some point I would be sculpting him. Turns out I am working on him for two different pieces so far. The version you see featured the most here belongs with Vulture and Rhino and is more of a pensive, proud, noble, yet dangerous iteration of the character.

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The other version shown is the smaller 1:5 scale Bat-shit CRAZY version of him directly from this story.

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I've never shown the full size WIP before... so you saw it here first kids... even if it is only a wax portrait with photoshopped hair.

So the big things that I want to accomplish with this head sculpt are

1) make it easily recognizable as Kraven
2) it is only a head sculpt, so I want a ton of character in there
3) tell a story
4) load it up with detail
5) compliment the Rhino and Vulture pieces

I plan on doing a ton of these when I am in-between other projects, or need a break here and there.

Kraven has seen a lot of changes compared to the others so far. I think the fact that I like the character so much has made it harder to decide what I want on certain things. At first I wanted the smile... the smile was all about madness. After I finished Vulture and Rhino, I knew I wanted to change directions...

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I'll hold off on the smile and give it to Electro. Even though he's crazy, Kraven needs to have contrast compared to other villains who are far more "loony tuners". I made his head point up in the air more as if to see he's better than the rest and gave him a head turn. This will enable me to position the eyes so that he is looking down his nose at you.

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Now that I finally have those things decided, I am not too far from finishing up. Hair and fur in wax is not a quick process and that seems to be taking the most time. Bald people simply require a lot less attention... no offense to the cue balls out there... Stay bald, stay beautiful.

I used the same process on this one as I have the others. I roughed the piece out in pink Super Sculpey first, baked it, and then made a pressure cast wax copy to tool and refine. I'm still scraping and refining... and scraping... and refining...

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My goal with these is the same as before... they are meant for art directors. Eventually their desks will be too full to forget who I am.


Next week... I'll put together something for those who are looking to get set up with wax for the first time...


Monday, October 10, 2011

The Re-Entry Entry

You know... I haven't blogged for a long time. I have wanted to, but a lot of things have prevented me from doing so. things like not having anything to show, not being allowed to show what I have, not having any rhyme or coherency to the thoughts I could talk about, a general feeling that no one is paying attention, etc. You name it, and these are the reasons I have been missing since March.

I'm here now though and I suddenly got an urge to ramble on and catch up. What has been going on since March when I last blogged?

I was on a pretty disastrous path for a while there last spring. I was backed up, not taking anything else on because of that back-up and trying desperately to get back to even. No professional pieces on the docket, burnt to a crisp, commissions up to my eyeballs, and a steady stream of bigger priorities was fast diminishing sculpting time. One word to describe this comes to mind as I type this...


I was moving, but who the hell knows what direction. My biggest fear is that this was permanent and that I couldn't get a grove back.

Well around May something shook loose thank God. I began to feel that familiar itch and motivation that I'd been bled dry of. It didn't come back in full force until very recently mind you, but it came back enough for me to realize that sh*t happens and that I needed to get over it.

The motivation and creativity will be always come back around. So I picked up the clay, wax, and other fun stuff and started to grind though it and commit to clearing my desk.

I think I have figured out the "secret" to staying motivated as a sculptor. FINISHING. Finishing pieces and the feeling of accomplishment that comes on the back end of that really gets you excited for what comes next. Like a tidal wave that builds on its way to shore, gaining momentum and mass, you build confidence and enthusiasm.

I just finished another piece yesterday. Something completely outside of the norm for me. This piece doesn't have overly jacked up muscles and snarling douche baggery as its selling point. It's a pissed off DC Comics character in the form of a "RAGE KITTY"

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Now all of the sudden with this piece being finished I am pumped about working on the next piece that needs to be finished. I feel like I just paid off my student loans or something here...

So I'm going to do better... at least for now... in updating this blog. Some stuff is clearing up, I don't feel like I suck right now, I have some stuff I can show, and most importantly I feel like I have some things to say again.

So I owe a lot to "RAGE KITTY" right now... Thank you, you 3 inch long, tiny ass, head the size of my thumb nail, brittle little f*%$ing cat...

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spidey Rogues

I've been a busy boy. I am currently working on no less than 6 pieces.

90% of that work is being spent on my various Green Lantern characters
4% of that work is going toward my Thor piece and
1% of that work can be traced back to a little project with big intentions

That little "project that could" is the topic of today's rant.

Every now and then you get rocked by an idea as a sculptor. You may have dozen's of ideas rolling around in that massively random artist brain at any given time. Usually your clients projects and a sense of responsibility to them, help quiet the noise and help you stay focused on the task at hand. Sometimes though, however hard you try, there is an idea that dwarf's all focus, responsibility, and any willpower your right-brain has a hope of imposing on you. These are the ideas and projects that further you as an artist and take you to a different level, wherever you stand in your career.

Back around the holidays, I was burnt out. I was coming off a straight year of deadline work. It was all fantastic stuff to be working on, and I am more than thankful for every minute, it's just a long time to go not having fed my own creative itch. Every now and then, I like to tell myself I am a creative guy.

Not only was I experiencing a little burn out, I also started to doubt myself as to why more deadline stuff wasn't on the tail end of the projects I had now finished up. I started to think that maybe I wasn't good enough, or maybe nobody even knew who the hell Keith Kopinski was. After a verbal lashing like none other I have received, Tony Cipriano had convinced me that maybe it was option 2 and not option 1.

So if people don't know who I am as an artist, how do I change that? I have sent pictures with varying levels of responses to art directors. They are some of the busiest folk on the planet, and receive 200 emails every day with hopefuls wanting to join their dwindling roster of freelance talent. There has to be a different way than that to increase the odds of getting those busy "decision guys" to raise their eyebrows at my stuff. I decided that first and foremost, it had to be the work. I have to keep improving every day and make the work something that is undeniable. This is the only aspect that I am in control of. Beyond that, there's nothing I can do to manipulate how busy they are, timing, how many emails that are in their inboxes.

So the match was lit, I was rocked by an idea of which I will not completely share here and in turn give you faster guys some water to dilute the gin with:)

But I will talk about the work.

Spiderman has some of the most visually fantastic looking villains in comic book form. They are all so expressive and different that if done right, could really turn a few heads.

So I started roughing in a set of three 1/4 heads. These three characters are very far apart in their appearance and that is something that I wanted very much.

Rhino = Big Bruiser, thug, lots of texture

Vulture = Old, wrinkly, huge nose, grump-ass

Kraven the Hunter = Hansome, hairy, lions mane, evil and happy about it.

The pics here are all quite rough still, but I love the in-progress stuff. I have been trying some new techniques for me with these. I am roughing everything in with clay first. For those who know me, it's not my norm. I usually just pour myself a "blank" and then do it all in wax. If I were doing that now, these would never get done because there's not much time. Clay is fast and while harder to get a feel for since I haven't sculpted a face with clay since 2004, it opened my eyes enough to question my previous method. Wax is bad-ass when it comes to finishing, but clay is liberating and you can get way more out of it in terms of having stuff look more organic.

These will not be the last pieces I do in this series. They will come in waves. I am on a mission and all I can tell you is to stay tuned and I hope you like where it goes. For now enjoy the progress shots.

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