Friday, December 21, 2012


A little sneak peek of my custom Fonzo at My Plastic Heart The title: "I'm Not Broken, I Just Need To Be Fixed." Watch parts, skull sculpted from Magic Sculpt, with a Rust finish. I have been into the tiny watch parts lately they corrode in such colorful ways.
I won't be there in person, but I'm looking forward to seeing the pics.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Now that the basic structure had been blocked out it was time to get into the sculpting. There were many parts to make and fit as well as getting the steel plate look going. My goal was to make the steel plating look dynamic, with various levels, rivets and other parts to play off the final texture. Sometimes when you're sculpting a character, think of how it will look in a flat gray color.
Would the shadows cast off of the levels and layers ad dimension and support the overall look and feel of the piece? Starting the sculpting with that in mind was the task. Also I had a width limitation. Since it had to fit through the front door of the gallery it could be no more than 30inches wide. This would work from a design standpoint but making sure that the plates hatches and other things didn't stick out too far.
I Had to put the body on a rolling dolly, as well as keep bolt holes so the legs could be secured. The foam circles were going to be the ports for attaching the front hatch, arms and neck. Setting up the sculpture every day was a chore. Wheeling it out, setting up the barrels, having some help to lift it up, then at the end of the day breaking all down again. The foam dust is a fine powder with a static charge that draws it to you. It sticks on everything, really an outdoor activity.
Once the body was in shape it was time to get into the claws, elbows, the soft looking rubber flexible joints at the ankles shoulders and neck. The sculpting of these was much the same techniques I would do with clay. Get it roughed out with bigger tools, carving knife, metal scraper. Then start to refine the shape, I found drywall sand paper worked well. The claws were going to be removable. Erik had welded brackets on the end of the claw that I would cut to size with an angle grinder then sandwich between the upper and lower half of the claw. The angle grinder is a great tool and it makes lots of sparks.
Next up finishing, priming and painting.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Dave Pressler Drawing 100 Robots from Dave Pressler on Vimeo.

I made a little time-laps video when I was drawing some of the robots. All of the art is up at the Gallery 1988 website The music is by Michael Nyman.


Drawing with the sharpie was the best way to get the position of the plates rivets and other important landmarks of the figure onto the foam.
At this point I was using dowel rods to check the angles of the arms, legs, etc. Since I am used to working on the fly when I make smaller sculpts, basically tweaking various parts as I assemble to see the position and proportion.
I worked with welder Erik James who is a fantastic welder with an artists eye in the same way. As I would shape the dowel rod with pieces of flexible armature wire at the joints. Erik would take the shapes as they were and cut the metal and weld on the spot.
We put the whole body up on buckets to raise it to the approximate level of it's finished height. This also included getting the neck and head position correct. Mocking things up is the best way for me to see it. My plans were close but you never know until you get a good look. This was mocked up to the plan but in reality much too long so it was shortened by a neck link.
Also the claw had to be the right length. I was using PVC pipes over the metal stock then the flanged parts were cut from tiki torch ends. Eventually all the legs were set.
Now the feet had to be placed. They each had a flat metal plate that would finish off the foot and bear the load. I had sculpted each foot the week before and cut out plywood rectangles to fit on the bottom.
The tricky part was placing the foam foot holding it high enough so Erik could weld the plate then affix the plate to the wood with epoxy. This photo shows a bit of the plates sticking out below the raised up feet. A strong foundation was the key to holding this whole thing up. Plus the fact more weight was going to be added on.
Now came the time to fill in all the gaps with the Windlock Foam. Even with the metal plates secured with epoxy to the foot bottoms there was still empty space inside the foot that needed to be filled just for a more sound structure. Next stop, more sculpting.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Thanks to all who attended the opening of "!00 Robots" at Gallery 1988 last night. Nice to see so many friends and meet so many new friends. The openings are always a pleasure after so much solitary time involved in creating the art.
This show feels like a reaction to spending the last 3 years working so intensively in the digital art world. Working on Robot and Monster was mostly designing in Photoshop with a Cintique. In the world of TV animation there are no more animation cells, background paintings and so on. Working with pencil and ink, sculpting with large tools and sculpting foam, creating a poster that was created by hand with wooden block printing was very gratifyingly tactile.
Although there was a use of technology as an additional tool. The print plates were made by Etchpop Labs you can send them your art they will laser cut a wood block. This is really cool and their work is amazing if you have not tried it yet. I created a two color show poster. I would run the BG color plate first let them dry then roll out the black ink. My favorite part was each poster was absolutely unique like a snowflake. Even more so then digital prints it's more of a hands on medium. Sometimes even a finger print or two. The evidence of human error will always be more attractive to me as an artist. There is a signed numbered run of 35 show posters. soon I will be releasing some one off color variants, keep checking in for the release.
Very crafty!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I enlisted the help of Gerald Donofrio who is an amazing foam sculptor. We started by going to Foam Sales in Burbank to pick up a bunch of 2 pound density sculpting foam. The consistency of this foam is like a cross between floral foam and balsa wood. We used hand saws, wires, even a horse brush to work the foam into the rough shapes. Cutting the blocks and lining up the inner frame takes quite a bit of measuring and gouging in controlled spaces. Also making sure the metal frame with the holes for the arms and legs plug into lined up with the model. Once the blocks were cut and channeled it was time to glue them together. The best thing to do this job is Windlock Foam 2 Foam adhesivethis stuff works great dries quickly and you are still able to sculpt it.
Gerry was triumphantly standing on the blocks after we glued them. The Foam 2 Foam has minimal expansion but you still have to put some weight on to big pieces like that.
After some more measuring, cutting gluing we had our basic blocked out shape to start. You might notice all those little sticks, they are bamboo skewers told the pieces together. Great little tools a bag of 100 is about a dollar. We were going to project an image of my sketch onto the piece but I felt confident I could just eye-ball it. The one thing I wanted to capture with this big piece was the presents of the human hand. In all of my sculpts I like the touch of imperfection, for me if the sculpt gets too refined it looses some of that energy of the original concept or sketch.
Gerry had to move on to another sculpting gig. He imparted much of his skills with me, and roughed out the basic body dome shape for me. With that in place it was time to start sketching in where all of the plates, and appendages were going to live. Time to grab a sharpie and start drawing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


One more week to go and a few more robots to ink. Before embarking on this project I hadn't picked up a pen and ink set since the declaration of independence. So much art is done digitally it nice to be very tactile with pencil pen and ink. Also the occasional unwanted drop of in on the paper that I can't "apple Z". Also after some trial and error I found graphite and pencils to achieve another level of subtle shading. Finding the right size pen nibs was also another hurtle. Eventually I settled on a Speedball 104 super fine, and a Hunt 102 a bit less fine. Line weight variance seems to be the best technique for a more dynamic drawing, always an experiment to get each drawing to look the way I was thinking it should.
This one is titled: "In space you can hear the door slam shut" Stupid robots!

Monday, November 26, 2012


There are still some finishing touches to the piece. More on the process now that I'm back from the holidays.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Eventually at some point in my life I wanted to make some really big sculptures. When I worked in special effects there was nothing quite like being part of a team realizing a giant character sculpt, Mount Rushmore replica, and so on. I had been planning the 100 Robots Show at Gallery 1988 and thought it might be the perfect show for a really big sculpt.
The Revenge-Bot started as a sketch. The idea being that the creator built a giant dangerous metal monster to exact revenge on those who have wronged him. None of them probably deserved it. But it's the manifestation of an emotion, that is evil in a stupid kind of way. Taking the drawing and turning them into plans was the first step, just to visualize in my own mind how I was going to execute this piece and what materials to use. The way I had worked in the past is to build a strong armature sculpt it up in clay, them make a fiberglass mold for the casting, put the pieces together. This process is huge, one can easily go through 500 LBS of clay for something like this. My friend Julie B of Pretty In Plastic Studios was a huge help. She suggested doing the piece in sculpting foam with a resin coat. I have limited experience sculpting foam, and I knew that such a large piece is going to require a welded metal frame something I have no experience with. Julie put me in touch with Master Foam Sculptor (my title for him) Gerald Donofrio and Welder extraordinaire Erik James. Working with this guys and their ability to go with the project and improvise on the fly made the project much smoother.
Not coming form a drafting background most of the time when I sculpt I have a rough sketch and the rest is in my head. Erik and I talked about the project and I came up with an idea for the inner frame. The sculpture had to be able to come apart so designing the frame with sockets for the arms, legs and neck had to be figures out.
Also the 6 legs had different positions for a more dynamic pose with a slight lean to the body. I made a small sculpted mock up with wire legs to help figure out how to draw the right pose. Took a pic then sketched over. In the end it was just going to be better to come up with a way to make it work on the large scale where I could actually see the positions of each leg and foot.
The first step was the body. Erik did a fantastic job interpreting my really rough sketches and making the structure work. It seemed small but, not for long. Next stop the foam.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Here's the show postcard invite. Pass it around!


The rust paint job has begun on the Revenge-Bot. Just a couple of teaser shots. More to come.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Julie B took a couple of great pics today. I was at the shop Pretty In Plastic shooting the last coats of primer on the Revenge-Bot, hence the mask goggles and what not. It's been a long arduous process that said I'm happy with the results. With the opening fast approaching there's still much to do, 100 Robots takes some time.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Coming soon "100 Robots" at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles Dec 8th. I will have 100 original 8X10 pen and ink robot character drawings, as well as the largest Robot sculpture I have ever done. The above is a hand pressed wood block poster that I am making for the show. It will be a limited run, unknown right now. I will keep making them until the ink block wears out. The ink block was made by Etch Pop the poster will be available at the show.


Hell Lotus is the first Singaporean designed and produced original vinyl art toy. I was invited to customize one for the release exhibit in Singapore. The title: "Nothing Is Permanent" The rust finish is one of my new favorites, the lights in the eyes suggest even in the end there is a little life spark inside. It also just looks cool! Check out the Mighty Jaxx site.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Today there will be a new Robot and Monster episode in the Halloween theme. The Dark Night and Bacon Tree are the two R&M episodes that would qualify for a creepy theme. 2:30 on the west coast today. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


In progress, I am blocking out the head and claws. The sculpting challenge has been sculpting with foam. I have had limited experience using foam. So I learned a new bag of tricks to execute this monster. More to come...

Monday, October 22, 2012


Getting ready for the 100 ROBOTS show. The 100 pen and ink drawings are coming along. For the past few months my self and some other very talented folks have been creating the biggest robot character sculpture I have ever done. It will be the centerpiece of the show. If this one works out maybe will be more in the future. In the next few weeks I will keep leaking pics of the progress as we get closer to the final unveiling Dec 8th. In addition there will be a hand pressed limited edition show poster. I had some printing blocks made the the good folks at Etcpop they will take your art and and laser engrave a real wood block printing plate. As I get further I'll have some processes pics.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Here they are; 8 4X4" canvases each with it's own monster. They will be available at the Van Eaton as part of the Mad Monster Party Tribute show. The titles are starting from the top left: #1 First To Arrive. #2 Can We Go Now. #3 Just One More. #4 New Years Eve Again? #5 The King Of Beers. #6 That's Not Cranberry! #7 This Was Supposed To Be A "Don't Tell Vomiting Skeleton" Party. #8 Oops, Nobody Told Me It Was A DTVS Party.
I'll be there at the opening.