Saturday, September 22, 2007


I received a couple of emails requesting more detail, and a closer peek at the tools that were being used in the demo.

The wire tools that are used to plane out the rough spots. And the cable rakes, small and large. I have made a few little custom wire rakes from guitar string.

The same techniques work on the small and large sculpts. This big guy I’m working on was for a Pizza Hut commercial a few years ago with Miss Piggy and a talking Mount Rushmore. I sculpted the Teddy Roosevelt head. Basically using the large cable rake and the same types of tools in a larger scale.

An other large-scale piece was the Borg outfits for the Star Trek Borg Invasion 4-D at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Same deal just bigger, lots of detail lots of precise smooth contours. A combo of big tools for the armor and little tools for the details. A combo of big tools for the armor and little tools for the details. Always take the time to experiment use the tools that feel most comfortable to you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


As the form is being built up and planned down. We always have to keep an eye on the shape and the size. After smoothing it with a flat stick, I’ll use the flat wire rake, then use one of my favorite homemade tools the cable rake. It’s basically a cable housing (Like a bicycle brake) looped into a brass tube.

This helps to bring down the shape in nice even strokes.

I’m lying the sculpt down on the art to check the over all shape. I’ll add a centerline to drawing and a line to indicate where the arms will live. Always keep an eye on the center line of your sculpt, the basic landmarks of where everything will go. I ultimately like my finished pieces to be a little hand made looking, with some looseness in the sculpt. But that can come later after a firm foundation of symmetry is set.

I detect a little wonkyness, it’s a little bigger on the right side. Focusing on the centerlines and making the 2 halves match can fix this. Next I'll even out the 2 sides and map out the other parts of the figure.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


The prototype is all taken apart, I think he is pretty much retired, but I will use it for reference.

In the same way you build a wooden model airplane by pinning the parts right onto the plans, I like to do the same with sculpting. I layout the template to make sure the things are the right shape. I measure the height of the core with calipers to make sure there’s at least an inch for adding clay. Now with the foil core in place I’ll start applying the clay. I like to microwave the block for about 2.5 minutes. This way there is liquefied clay in the center and very soft clay on the outside.

Dig into the middle and spread the first coat like peanut butter. Once the first even coat is applied. I’ll start a little smoothing to get it in shape, not too much we’re still in a very rough “Getting the basic size and shape “ part of the sculpt.

With the side view I’ll check the height, length, and width, adding rough lumps of clay as indicators. With all the indicators in place I’ll build up more bulk just using more rough lumps. This is called “roughing out the shape”

After adding lumps, the shape is basically there, give or take a few areas. Now I can do a little smoothing, mainly to find uneven areas, and start the refining of the form. Using my big flat stick, I’ll just start planning it down using the tip and the flat area of the tool. This is an area where most people need advice when they start sculpting, how to get the clay smooth. It’s done in steps. Vary the direction of your strokes, vertical, diagonal, horizontal etc.

Next we will get into blocking out where the parts will go.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I’ve broken down the views and enlarged the figure by 10%. These are the model sheets. I’ll build up the large body sculpt core with aluminum foil. I have added a few guide lines for height, center, and to make the body more evenly round.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


So I have found a bit of difficulty documenting, and posting the projects I’ve been sculpting. The one’s I’m working on now can’t be shown, and a couple of the past projects that I haven’t documented as well as I would like because I’m too busy sculpting them. The NJ Monkey King was the fist step by step that I started in earlier entries. I just didn’t have enough coverage of the process.

I’ve settled on the perfect project to document step by step. The Angry Clobber Monkey
Is going to be my first wide vinyl release. The prototype has been well documented.
Now I must do a re-sculpt. In vinyl production there is usually about 10% shrinkage from the master sculpt to finale toy. The size he is now is perfect, so I want the new master to be 10% larger along with smoothing out some of the lumpy bits. I’ll start by photographing the piece from all angles straight on, then cut out the views and enlarge the images by 10% in Photoshop. These will be the turnaround reference art. Also this new piece will be done in Chavant Clay.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Well summer was good but it’s time to get back to work. I’m working on a couple of my own toy projects and preparing for a couple of art shows. One will be the 07 installment of Vivisect Playset at Gallery 1988 in San Francisco. Also a solo show with another gallery, more details as it develops. Guillotine has a great photo section where they feature artists’ workspaces. It very cool, they have decided to include my studio space