Friday, August 5, 2016

What the hell is it? Part:1

I've been getting the question, "How did you do that?" from people lately which is odd since I'm usually fumbling my way through a sculpt and am looking to other more professional artist for tips. I feel like I'm not the best source to ask for information about this but since you did...

 what I get asked for the most is progress and step-by-step pictures of what I'm working on so people can see a figure from the ground-up. I don't have much of those kinds of pictures in my library so I thought instead I would start a new figure and document the progress in hopes that it answers some questions.

The "What the Hell is It?" Project...

So here it is, right at the beginning. Just a wire armature and not even complete yet. What will it be? I'm not entirely sure. I got ideas but I'm just going to free form this guy and see what happens.

I know it will be human shaped... Sorta. The long length of wire at the top will be the head but since I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet it has no shape. The shoulders are a piece of hollow aluminum tube with wire wrapped around it. I did this because I don't want the arms to get in the way while I'm sculpting the body so this way I can plug some wire into the tube when I'm ready to get to that part.

For this step I cut lengths of aluminum wire and bent them into shape and once I had a figure I was happy with I drilled a couple of holes into my plinth and attached the armature.

The Tools...

Here's a shot of the core materials I use to work with; 1/16" gauge aluminum wire for the armature, pliers with a snip for shaping the wire, Fimo to sculpt with, greenstuff to get the Fimo to stick to the armature, hobby knife with #11 blades, a soft, small brush, a 0 size color shaper with taper tip and wire eye on the end, my sculpting tool and sculpting plinth.

Here is a small jar of Terpenoid, some hand sanitizer, liquid Sculpey, a millimeter ruler, an old brush and pin vice. I'll do my best to explain why I use these tools and what for as I get there.

The two things that are not outright store bought are the sculpting tool and plinth, I made those for myself out of necessity. I used to use a "Wax #5" dental tool for sculpting but it was too big for my taste so I followed (loosely) the directions from Ringert's blog on how to make your own...

The sculpting tool I made is about 1/2 the size of the original Wax #5 which means I can do finer detail with it. I've gotten a few comments about the insane size of the plinths I use to attach my armatures to but it's kind of necessary for me sine I'm always doing huge monsters. My fingers would cramp up trying to support the weight of all that Fimo for hours on end if it was any smaller. It's a 6" length of thick dowel I got from an art store with a 75mm pre-cut disc at the bottom and a 50mm pre-cut disc at the top. The discs were part of a pack of various sized hobby wood shapes I got from the craft store as well.

Now that you have a general idea of what I use to sculpt with and you have seen the armature I'll add some Fimo to it and see where it goes. I'll be doing this on my free time so the updates will be sporadic but if you check back in we'll see what happens with it. If you have any questions let me know.


  1. Great stuff - Looking forward to seeing how you put your wonderful skills into practice :)

    1. Wow! Since this mini isn't attached to anything specific I wasn't expecting a response so quickly. Hopefully this will entertain.

  2. Oh, I was kind of surprised, that you only add the arms later. i know some sculptors do so, but mostly I hear that you should concentrate on the overall shape and balance, which is hard to get right, if not all the limbs are there. Still it obviously seems to work for you, so I guess that is that.
    I am very excited about this post, can't wait to see more. Thank you.

    1. Luckily practically everything I do is some kind of exaggerated version of the human form so getting anatomy "right" is not as high a priority. If I were sculpting something that was human or in a smaller scale I would probably focus on getting the entirety of the form correct before moving onto the details.

      Another thing is since I'm not sure what the arms are going to be doing yet I didn't want to sculpt the arms then have them get in the way of any detail I would try to add on places like the chest or stomach. Having to maneuver the sculpting tool around still wet details while not messing it up is a bit difficult.

      Glad people are interested in this stuff, thanks for the post!