Monday, December 28, 2009

Magenta (head part 1)

Undoubtedly, the most challenging part of this project is sculpting the head. The figure was designed to have the head come as a separate piece, to aid in sculpting as well as casting.
I started off with a blob of duro epoxy putty wrapped around a piece of wire and with 2 beads representing the eyes stuck to it. This was then roughly covered with sculpey to get a sense of the head's overall size and proportion.This revealed one glaring problem which was that the eyes (beads) were too far apart. I felt it was best to start over again. The result can be seen on the right side of the image above. Satisfied with the position of the eyes, I went ahead and refined the overall shape of the head using a subtractive technic with the box cutter / razor saw blade technic.
Here's a comparison of the head with a 1/20th Ma. K. plastic figure. Once I was satisfied with the overall shape and size, I begain adding and refining the head until I reached the stage in the image below. The head was then baked in a toaster oven. A huge crack developed in the head after baking. I didn't anticipate this happening considering how small the head is. The number one cause of sculpey cracking during baking is the uneven rate of cooling, and I suspect that the epoxy or the beads underneath was the main culprit. Not to worry as this can be easily patched up with more epoxy putty, but of course a second baking is now out of the question. In this final image, I've patched up the cracks and built up the eyeballs with magic sculp 2 part epoxy putty. I stepped back and assessed the result and my conclusions were:
1. Although the head was adequately feminine looking, it did not achieve the look I wanted. I wasnt all that happy with the shape of the eyes and the cheeks or the forehead for that matter.
2. There were some rough spots on the cheeks and neck.
At this point, it's taken me a couple of days sculpting. However I decided to press on, knowing my subsequent attempts can only get better. I also wanted to try a different approach to sculpting the head. So this head was put on hold for now, you will see the result of the 3rd attempt soon!

Tools for sculpting

Let's take a bit of a break from sculpting and look at the tools. I'm currently exploring the use of razor saws to shape the sculpey. My usual technic is a press and roll with the back of a paintbrush, but the problem with this technic is that it sometimes pulls the sculpey off the wire armature. With the razor saws, I use a subtractive method by slicing big chunks off with a box cutter, then scraping with the razor saw to further shape it. Also the marks left by the saw helps you read what's going on with the topology.
When I'm happy with the overall surface shape, I will then smooth it out using a paintbrush loaded with sculpey diluent. Folds in clothing and other smaller details are sculpted using clayshapers or needle points. More on this in a future post.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Magenta (first bake)

It's been a while since the last post. Merry Christmas to one and all, and with the season comes my traditional sculpting surge. The picture shows the state of the figure sculpt at first bake. I've roughed in the basic mass of the fig with sculpey firm. The parallel scratch marks serves 2 purpose, 1 to shape the clay without pushing it away from the armature. 2 to provide a surface that subsequent sculpey can adhere to easily. These marks were done with a small razor saw and mimics an ancient sculptors technique.I'm constantly checking the sculpt agains the drawings and also against a commercial 1/20 scale fig. In this I'm using the Ma. K. krote mechanic from the old nitto kit. Based on my calculations, the figure is a little bit big for the scale. Magenta is a small sized girl, but the size discrepancy with the mechanic didn't feel right. I've decide to fix this later by adding the a bit of height under the feet.