Thursday, December 13, 2007


Well, he's finally done. I'm going to do one more smoothing pass before I mold it.
For all of you that are interested in the molding/casting process I will be covering that in great detail also. That may have to start after the holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The Angry Clobber Monkey is almost done! Now I’m on to the final details.
The feet are roughed out now, after a little more smoothing and contouring it’s time for the tiny detail

This where the freeze spray comes in handy. Use some freeze spray to firm up the clay. The small edges can become very sharp with use of tiny tools on frozen clay. I find all sorts of little tools to make impressions. The little ankle bolts were done with a tube and hex-key wrench. Carefully smooth out the edges with alcohol.

The screws on his body are done with a tiny pencil lead and an eyeglass screwdriver.

The rings around his wrists were easier to make with rubber O-rings from the plumbing department from the hardware store. Add-ons can be time savers!

Monday, December 10, 2007


I found this ad in a Medical Journal "What's New" The Christmas edition 1952. Old magazines are cool, tons of great illustrations that you just don't see anymore.
This ad is for a new diet drug - Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. I'm sure a little Meth will liven up any holiday party. Besides this gem, there's a 4 page holiday song spread lavishly illustrated by Jim Flora this pic is a pretty high-rez jpg you can grab it and use it on your holiday party invites!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Had a great time at the Vivisect Playset show @ Gallery 1988 SF.
An amazing collection of artists were showing. Also got to hang out with good folks at Strangeco toys at their secret HQ.

Peter Gronquist Me and Mars – 1 a.k.a Mario Martinez at the Strangeco

DP & The always bubbly Zury of Munky King

Also hung out with my good friend and genius assemblage artist Jack Howe. If you’re not familiar with his work here’s your chance:
Hopefully I’ll get to invade the bay area more often!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I do get many e-mails about the tools I use. Even though I'm a big believer in experimentation, and discovering what tools fit best for your personal work style. You can't beat a great professional art supply store! I love Carter Sexton, I've been getting my supplies and tools there for 12 years. They have in my opinion one of the best selections of sculpting tools, and clay. They carry the handmade Valdez Tools that I use all the time. Also a full service airbrush dept.
The staff is knowledgeable and professional. If you're here in the LA area they are on Laurel Canyon just 2 blocks north of Magnolia. In the SF valley.


The toy will have a semi-round rotating base that the legs will be mounted into.
This will give him more poseability (Making up words) sculpting this piece will be challenging, it needs to be symmetric with an even arch. I will use the usual methods of raking, and torching for smoothness.

I’ve run into a bit of a problem. I need to actually balance the figure on the base, this will determine the best position for the legs. If the sculpt can’t balance then the toy will follow with the same problem. Right now the weight of the sculpt is breaking the clay base, the legs are shifting and it’s a mess.
I have to make the base in resin. A quickie mold is in order.

Using foamcore the base is glued down. then I cut walls and hot glue a little box around the piece.

Pull the legs out leaving the sockets, then I cut walls of foamcore and hot glue a little box around the piece.

. No real need to de-gas the silicone, on a piece like this the air bubbles will float to the top. Besides I only need one piece. For casting the base I’ll use my favorite Sillcast 2 casting resin. I pigment the resin grey so it’s easier to see. I’m backing the base with a piece of 1/8” styrene plastic so the leg pegs don’t pop through.

Now I have a solid base to balance the figure, and move forward with the rest of the sculpt. Sometimes it’s necessary to cast some “Load bearing” pieces of the sculpt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Here's a sneak peek of one of the three pieces I have in VPSIV.
This one is titled "Yum #1" 12"x12" Acrylic on wood. Look forward to seeing everyone there!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Hope everybody had a good TG. This weekend I’ll be up in San Francisco for the “Vivisect Playset IV” I have 3 new painted pieces for the show. I’ll give a little sneak peek on the blog in the next couple days. If you’ll be in the area love to meet you at Gallery 1988!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I had to step away from the sculpting for a bit. Currently I making three paintings for the Vivisect Playset IV Gallery 1988 San Francisco. I will be up there for the opening on Dec 1st. Luke Chueh has included me in this show since the very beginning, I look forward to it every year. I’ll post some sneak peaks of the work here on my blog the week before the show.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


As always I start by shaping the wire to the sculpting art. Wrap it with thread and cyno’ glue (discussed in greater detail the last step) Then apply the hot clay to get the base started.

The same way I get all of the parts started rough the clay on, measuring with calipers to get the basic landmarks of the piece.

Roughing out the thickness and roundness, then raking the clay into a rough smooth shape.

Using a circle guide to make the “Clobbering Ball” a nice evenly round shape. The arms of the figure are a little tricky and will take some figuring out. They have to rotate, and possibly have some pivot to the movement so they can go over the head.

Also now that the arm is in place on the figure, it appears to be a bit too long.

Best way to fix it, cut a chunk out of the arm and shove the 2 parts together.
I’m never too precious with the sculpt, bash it, cut it, rip parts off and start over if that’s what needs to be done. When I was just starting out years ago I sometimes had trouble tearing something down if it wasn’t working. Ultimately it will make more work if you just keep trying to work around it.


Monday, October 29, 2007


This can be a pain in the ass! And take some of the fun out of character sculpting. The best solution that I have I’ll illustrate here.

I've sculpted the head details, spotted in the ears and marked the eyes with two small beads. Now he needs a neck. On the final toy the neck will be flexible.

Using thread and Cyanoacrylate glue (Crazy Glue) wrap the wire with a nicely spaced coil of thread, secured with glue. Use some brand of "Insta-set" or "Zip Kicker" to instantly dry the glue.

Microwave the clay so it’s hot and liquefied in the center, spread the liquefied clay on the threaded wire. Once it cools a bit there’s a solid base to sculpt up. With Super Sculpey it’s a similar technique, except I smear the clay into the wire to get that sticky base.


In the same way the shirt wrinkles were built up and smoothed down. I will construct the head. Using the Turn-around sheet I’ll measure the height and width of the circle for the head.

Lump up some warm soft clay in about the same shape, and as before start smoothing it down, broader strokes at fist, finer finishing strokes to smooth it.

Looking at the original character and making relative measurements form the control art I will etch out the main landmarks of the face.

I want to fix some of the wonky elements of the original sculpt, but not too much. The character’s personality lives in some of his crude lines and a-symmetries.


Now the body is in good shape. The shirt has been etched out, now I’m going to start laying out the wrinkles of the shirt. Using the sculpt of the original character for reference. Cloth wrinkles can be tricky, but finding reference for good bends, folds and sags in cloth are easy to find.

I’ll start laying out rolled up clay snakes and push them onto the form. A little bit of additive sculpting. Making them bigger then sculpting them down to size. Creating the shirt will be a combination of carving out depressions, and joining and smoothing the outstanding ridges.

The thing I hear people wanting to learn about the most is “How to get the sculpt smooth” I’ll keep covering that technique as it comes along during the project. So let’s smooth out the shirt! It’s just a matter of taking the clay and gradually pushing it down, joining it to the surface with the tool that works best for you.

Start with larger more blunt strokes, then with a medium rake take it to the next level.

Lastly using the finest guitar string rakes. The final finish is done wiping down with a natural sponge and 91% Alcohol.

Study the details of your work under a harsh light, the shadows will reveal many things. Look for any shapes that don’t look quite right, maybe something needs more smoothing, building up or sculpting down.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Now that the body is roughed out, I have to make sure it’s that right shape. Yes it’s a gumdrop but the slope and angles have to be right. The height, width and length are all there so now we can measure the thicknesses as the shape descends.

First I’ll find some solid landmarks. Where the neck starts is a god one. The calipers can mark off the right height, then a horizontal line across. We measure these two points to find if the width is correct.

Adding and subtracting clay to get it right. Since the finished result will be like beat-up copper it doesn’t need to be smooth like glass. Using the big cable rake I’ll bring it more into “smooth” shape. I never go all in one direction, a weird pattern will start to develop. The video clip shows the random pattern.

Another way to get a shape just right would be to spray mount the sculpt art to cardboard or foam-core. Cut out the picture and use it as a template.

I measure the points where the t-shirt lives on the figure, and etch it in. A little more light raking, then I smooth it out with a smooth wire tool.

I scratch in some of the lines of the metal plates. Then smooth it with 91% Isopropyl
Alcohol on a sponge. I’ll get more detail in later and make the plates un-even with depth and texture, rivets and what-not.