Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bringing out the best in your character

When you first start your concept or sketch just have fun, enjoy sculpting and don't over think things. Try to just relax and let your subconscious take over, doing this may release some ideas you didn't even know you had. Good and bad ideas are good to come out, the good ones can turn into masterpieces and once the bad ideas are out you wont have them holding your imagination back. Once you come up with a piece that you are happy with and enjoyed creating it is now your job to really bring it to life. The best design out there is still plain and boring without emotion, a great expression and sense of character can bring interest to a plain design so when you combine your cool new idea with a sense of character that can connect with the viewer it will take it over the top. Try to move your character around, feel what he feels, and think how he thinks to truly understand his being. Now you will have the best chance at bringing the inner sense out and connecting on a deeper level with you and everyone who views the piece.

Here is a new piece i am working on. 

First up is my concept, i did a warm-up sketch starting from nothing and not knowing what i was going to do

Then i liked the concept so i continued to work on him and his body language. This character is suppose to be the first invader or visitor, i wanted him to be a larger creature looking down with a stronger menacing look. Then for the base i continued with this idea and created a stony style base with ancient writings, all of them made up but with reference and similarities to Chinese, cuneiform, symbols and even an are with crop circle geometric symbols.

Make sure your character makes sense and gives you a certain feeling when you look at them. If you don't get excited and anxious then something is wrong. Figure out what it is and fix it, or let it die and start fresh.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Who ever said water clay wasn't re-usable?

Who ever said you couldn't re-use water clay! It just depends on if you have the understanding and know how to work with it.

One of the biggest things i remember when i started out and was learning about different clay's for making masks i remember everywhere telling me that water clay was a one time use and the plus with oil based clay's was that they could be used over and over again. Well i started out with what i could afford and fell in love with water clay and how i can work with it. Oil based clay's do have their place, but my own personal preference is water clay.

When working with water clay

  • make sure to keep your clay covered when your not working on it
  • try to get all the air out when covering it with a bag, if you do a light mist on the sculpture before you cover it the plastic bag will cling to the sculpt and keep the air out
  • If you work on it for over the course of a few months make sure to uncover it and spray it a few times to keep it soft
  • If your piece does start to dry out put a wet towel over it and cover with the bag, leaving it to sit over night or a couple nights will make soft again. 
I have a video here on you tube with some more tips.

Now for recycling used water clay. They do have machines and equipment that can help and are suppose to do it for you, but this is my trick. It takes a little bit of time but i am able to get the consistency that i like.

 Start with a gallon sized Zip Loc bag and some water at the bottom

Next i tear the clay into smaller pieces to fill up the bag.

After the bag is full seal the top getting out most of the air and let the water soak in. Flip the bag a couple times

After the clay softens up you can smash the clay together and have a fresh bag of clay

I put 3-4 bags together to create a block, depending on how much water you add you may have to let it sit out for a little while to dry out a little. 

There you have it, I have used the same clay for at least a couple years. I have bought a new box for when i have a larger project or i let a piece dry out to save, but the same clay has done well for me. 

Hope this helps, feel free to comment if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Making personal challenges

Personal challenges are fun and can help a great deal in your progress as an artist if you decide to let it. I have done a few in the past and as long as you look at it as an exercise and you keep your purpose in mind you can achieve new goals and have a stronger skill set for your next piece. Think about issues you are having or something new you would like to try and set aside some time to accomplish the task. Are you having an issue with expressions or a certain facial feature? Take some time to master this issue and take control of your final piece.

Here are a few of the pieces i did over the years and my main goal or purpose.

These first two i did a basic character and messed with different expressions and what it was that made a certain expression show through.

This is one to learn more about the transformation from man into wolf

The following are 3 hr sketches. With forcing myself to work on a piece for 3 hrs i had to come up with an interesting design. Sometimes when i first create a piece and after 1 hr i might not like the idea, but with 2 hrs left for the project i was forced to see why i didn't like the piece and fix it.

Finally here is a 5 hr challenge i did to try to complete a full head sculpt. I looked at the challenge to see what i could create, not rush to get it finished in 5 hrs. Here is the start and every hour.

Here is the final piece approx. 6.5-7 hrs.

Make some time for your own challenges. Make them fun, interesting, challenging, and successful. Make some strong goals and tackle them with pride.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The importance of an honest critique

One very important task that is constant during the sculpture process is critiquing your work. Be honest with yourself from early on in the process and dont be afraid to change things up or start over from scratch. If the piece you currently have in front of you doesn't have the correct structure or form it wont matter how long you take on the details and features, the piece wont be as strong. I have had a couple pieces that in the past i created life size busts but after 1-2 hrs in the shapes didn't seem right. It was easier for me to pull the clay and restart rather than try to figure out and fix the problem areas, and the pieces turned out better when i had a fresh new piece in front of me.

The picture above is some of my mini-busts i have set aside that i like. In this case i do studies everyday to get warmed up and work on my techniques in this smaller scale. The ones i like i will work on further, but with me doing new pieces every week i have to judge each piece to make sure it makes the cut and is strong enough for me to spend my time and money on to complete the sculpt and make the mold.

So always remember to critique your own work with an open and honest mind. If the piece your working on doesn't give you a chill of excitement down your spine then somethings wrong. 
Figure out what it is and fix it or start fresh.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Juggling Projects

How many different projects should one handle or juggle at any given time frame? The answer - there is no right answer, only the right answer for you.

For me i really enjoy doing sketches and concepts. Doing these helps me learn new techniques and it helps to get me warmed up and the creative juices flowing. The pieces i hold onto and like i will try to finish, but i try to focus on only 2-3 pieces at one time. Doing it this way helps to step away from a project when i get stuck or don't know the exact direction i'm going. This process also gives me time to step away to get a fresh eye. Working on a single project sometimes you don't step back and take different views of the piece as a whole, which can reveal certain problem areas.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Warm-ups 5/24

Here are the warm-ups and concepts i created this past week, all were approx. 1 hr concepts.

First up from last Friday 5/17 is an evil pumpkin concept.

Monday 5/20 started working out a concept for Trixie Treats. I started getting the basic structure down, but didn't nail it. Although it didn't turn out i learned more about her forms to apply to the next one.

Following are two Vampire concept characters i created based off my friends Ally and Brian. 

This sculpt from yesterday is a likeness study from Kristen Bell, also a base for my new Harley Quinn Piece.

A wolf piece i also started yesterday to try to visualize the kind of wolf i would like to go with my Red piece. 

These are my pieces from the week, Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Purpose of a maquette

Why would you sculpt a maquette. For us sculptors a maquette or clay sketch is a 3 dimensional representation to guide us when we work on our full size piece. Working solely from a drawing can produce some issues during the progress of the piece. Some 2D artwork doesn't transfer as easily to 3 dimensions so this is where a maquette comes in handy to save time making a smaller piece.

Maquettes also have many of uses and are only limited to your imagination. They can help with concepts, character  expression, pose, structure, etc.

When i worked on my Monster Squad Gillman piece i created a maquette for all of those reasons listed above. I made a 1:3 sculpture to show fans what i was planning on creating. I also used it learn how i would build up the creature, the structure of the character, the expression i was going to use (i tried out a couple emotions), the pose, and how he would look in 3 dimensions making sure he was interesting from all angles.

Here is the clay sketch i did for the Gillman. I tilted the head and shoulders to produce 2 looks.

Here is the final piece.

Thanks for reading and i hope this helps fellow artists out there. Please feel free to comment below or contact me with questions or future topic requests.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Keeping a notepad ready

A small but important tip for today is something small, but will have a huge impact for everyone out there. Artists of all trades and mediums should be doing this one.

Keep a notepad or paper handy. Ideas come to us artists at all hours of the day and usually not at a time when we are ready for them. Think about when you have the best ideas, they come when your working, or driving, or in the shower, most likely when you are not ready for them. Most of these ideas will come in a split second and then disappear like the wind blowing past. If you are not ready to grab it as it comes you could lose it forever. What works for me is to keep a notepad and pen on me at all times when i'm out and i keep one within reach when i'm working. In the middle of sculpting or painting a piece is when my mind sparks out most of my ideas so i always have something within reach.

Digital media works as well such as a app on your tablet or phone, but i feel writing it down is so much faster and easier to deal with. Also helps when my hands are covered with clay so i don't get my phone dirty.

Here is a quick pic to share of the notes i had from last week during one of my warm-ups. A mix of ideas, things i had to get done as well as items i had to get. All this from 1 hr of warming up.

Hope this helps and inspires you to capture your ideas before they fly away.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sketching in clay is a new blog i have created to express the importance of doing studies for sculpting. This blog will showcase ideas and thoughts about sculpting as well as demos on the entire process and tips along the way.

When a new sculpture is started most artists will sketch it out on paper and then jump into the finished piece. While this is a great method, i believe for me that having a 3D maquette has more benefits. A maquette is also a great tool for learning different techniques. Instead of starting a sculpture and thinking that you have to bring it to a final piece try focusing on certain aspects like structure or ears  or expression. I think doing quick studies like these will help you learn faster and you will gain a better understanding of anatomy and character.

I try to do 1 hr warm-ups every day, sometimes focusing on certain characteristics or likeness or just trying to think outside the box and seeing what happens. When you stop thinking about what you want to make and you just let your subconscious spill out what it wants to you can have some amazing creations. The best part is your spending 1 hr (or 10-30 min whatever you can fit in) to work on something you feel you need improvement or want to explore and you will come up with 1 of 2 things. Either a piece you like and you can spend more time finishing later, or a piece you don't like and now you have 1 less bad idea in your head and you learned something valuable while making it.

Here are a few sculpts i have done in the past.

This a maquette i did for my Monster Squad Gillman piece. I did this not only to work out the expression and gesture, but it also helped me with the block in. After doing this i had a better understanding of the character in 3 dimensions.

 Here is a sketch i did of Frankie Von doll for my monster dolls bust. I did this as a sketch that later turned into the final piece.

 Above is a random concept i created

 This is a likeness study i did of Charlene Choi.

This last one is a quick expression study, working out the subtle differences in moods.

Thank you for reading, please feel free to leave comments and ask questions.

Brian D