Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maquette Bust



I spent all day Saturday, Sunday, Monday (and an all-nighter Monday night) working to bring one of my characters to life in Sculpey clay. This is only my fifth maquette, so I'm still really experimenting with sculpting techniques and learning how to bake it properly. I started out with scale drawings of the character to get the right proportions and the general idea, but then I really let loose and explored the design in clay.

After I had the initial designs in pencil I asked myself, "who looks kind of like this?" Then I gathered a massive amount of reference of celebrities who have similar features. That's a version of Tom Cruise's nose for example. The hair style is something similar to Justin Long's, and his overall build is kind of like Jason Alexander's (George Castanza from Seinfeld). There's more, but you get the idea.

After 3 straight days designing, researching and sculpting I excitedly placed him in the oven to bake him for the time and temperature that the instructions suggest. I've never had a problem with that before, but sadly this sculpt was different. I built the internal framework differently which may have been part of the problem, but this sculpt is also just plain thicker than all the others I've done. He CRACKED! He's actually riddled with cracks. I did some research afterwards, and most of the pros are saying to bake it at a lower temperature for longer periods of time to achieve an even temperature shift. Live and learn.

So, I ended up spending an entire day fixing all the cracks in him. Luckily you can superglue the small cracks and epoxy or puddy the larger ones. This is supposed to keep the cracks from getting larger. The one on his neck (as you can see in the close up) was extra difficult to get to. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to sand that for the paint job.

Speaking of which, I'll be posting the painted version of this soon. Enjoy.







10 comments :

Allen Spetnagel said...

Looks great, Pat!!!

Niall O loughlin said...

Strong stuff man, very well sculpted!

Jason Seiler said...

Wow, this is cool!

patbollin said...

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate you stopping by.

Shawn Crystal said...

WOW!

draigstudio said...

Looks really nice. I should have told you I normally do a looooong bake for sculpey starting at 175 degrees and then slowly taking it up bit by bit.

Anyway. Way to go!

Nico Di Mattia said...

Great detail!! Really cool.

Edo said...

Looks Great!!!! Very cool!!

McTodd said...

That's cool, Pat!

I've been experimenting with Super Sculpey, and like you I sculpted a solid bust which then cracked to buggery in the oven.

Two ways to avoid it:

- Don't make it solid! Layer the clay over a ball of tinfoil on your armature.

- As you mentioned, bake at a lower temperature. I tried 90 celsius for around 50% longer than the recommended time, and then I turned off the oven and left the sculpture inside until the whole lot had cooled to room temperature (basically, overnight). Result: not one crack!

Pat Bollin said...

Thanks McTodd. There actually is a lot of tin foil inside him. But I cooked him too hot, and didn't let him sit till cool. Lesson Learned. Thanks for the feedback.