Thursday, May 17, 2007


I can’t show the mystery sculpt yet! So I will just get into the making of it and we will eventually reveal along the way. The figure is the Monkey King, designed by Nathan Jurevicius. I was excited to be involved on a project like this one. The first step was to get a model sheet of the character. The model sheet usually has scale drawings of the character from the front. Sides, and 3/4. Nathan is a busy dude and I had a DVD of his Monkey King animation for MTV. I watched the video several times to pick what I thought would be the most dynamic angle for the character. The animation has great action, the Monkey King does a lot of emoting, and transformation into other creatures. Eventually I narrowed down my choices to a pose that I thought showed off the character, and captured his personality, also I thought the pose would make a cool figure! Next I captured the frame, printed it out and made a rough sketch that was going to be the size of the finished figure. When planning a vinyl figure there’s always going to be about 10% shrinkage from the
sculpt to the final toy.

Now with the basic drawing complete it’s time to lay out the armature. I use armature wire of different gauges, and I shape the armature right off of the model sheet, I feel that keeps the under structure very true to the art and it helps later when you are measuring and figuring out the proportions.

Zap-A-Gap Cyanoacrylate glue (Basically Fancy Krazy Glue) and sewing thread. This how I get the first layer of clay stuck to the armature. Glue a little start point, then wrap it around wire then coat it with more glue, hit it with Zip Kicker an instant curing agent for “Cyano Glue”. The first step of getting the clay on the armature can be maddening! Pressing cold clay onto the wire will only end in tears. My best friend is the microwave oven, and recycled rice bowls from Trader Joe’s! Plop the block of clay into bowl, and nuke it for about 3 minutes. You want liquid clay, spread it onto the wire, this will create a solid foundation to start your sculpt. The microwave does not work well with clay that has sulphur in it! The sulphur tends to clump up when it is heat and will make annoying little rocks in your sculpt that will drive you insane as you are working. Sulphur free NSP Hard Chavant clay is what I use. Also some people (including myself) can have an allergic reaction to other sculpting clays that contain sulphur.

After the first coat of clay has cooled a bit, but is still warm the build up can be started. With the soft clay just start adding chunks and build up the limbs torso etc to the basic thickness of the art. This is the rough phase of the sculpt, just roughing things out, or “Blocking Out” to get the basic figure going. With bigger parts, like the head I will start it in aluminum foil, its cheap (Yeah for the ¢99 store!) and pliable.

Also I want the form to have the basic weight of the vinyl figure. When I’m sculpting a figure balance is crucial from the start. How is the finale figure going to stand up if the original sculpt has no balance? If I sculpted the head out of solid clay It would throw everything off as far as mimicking the final product. I got a little ahead on the body before I took this shot. Next we’ll get into building up the figure.


angelchan said...

love the step by step you're posting ^^ can't wait to see more of this little guy~

Dave Pressler said...

Glad you like it, keep tuning in.
I want to make sure the segments track together let me know if something doesn't make sense or if it seems I skipped ahead too far.