Sculpting A Bio...decided To Give It A Try: Update 7/20/13


I finally got up the ambition and materials to try my hand at sculpting.  Having never sculpted before, I was a little intimidated (not to mention apprehensive) to show anything here, as there are so many great and talented members here.  With a little help (Thanks Tom  (y) ) I constructed an armature, and ordered 10 lbs of Monster Clay.  Now, like I mentioned, with the exception of my dread beads, I've never touched clay before, so there was a bit of a learning curve involved here.  Again, with the help of one of the Lairs most talented sculptors (thanks Lee  (y) ) I was able to figure it out, and discovered how much I enjoy working with clay.  For those thinking about giving it a try, I strongly urge you to give the Monster Clay a go.  I truly believe that's what has given me the results I have at this point.  My main motivation here is my love for painting bios, without the deep pockets that would allow me to buy from other members.  I wanted to do a "generic" P1(ish) style, with the intention of doing all sorts of crazy paint up's (I have some good ones in mind).  This is by no means meant to be accurate, and as you can tell from the pics, it isn't, but I am very pleased with the progress at this point.  I am very open to tips/suggestions/critiques, and would like some feedback from those with more experience than me.  If all goes well, I'll have it molded by the end of the month, then the fun can begin!


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Well it's about time buddy... :p  Looking really good here. You are helping me to look more at my own need to learn to sculpt with clay. Foam works for some things but clay works better for others...oh, I can't believe I just said that! :D You are definitely off to a good start here and I am looking forward to following this. Now that you got your suit finished you need something more to do...

Thanks guys, i do appreciate it.  Steve, you're right, I do/did need something else to do  :D (like I don't have enough going on right now lol).  Like I said, I really think it's the clay.  For me to put clay on an armature and make it look like something is still a concept I can't grasp.  On the other hand, putting clay on an armature and carving or removing it to look like something is something I'm comfortable with.  The armature has made a huge difference, not only with the basic shape, but also in lessening the amount of clay needed.  Maybe that's the way it's supposed to work, but I always had the idea that you added clay and manipulated it into shape.  I've also discovered that having the right tools is a big part of it for me.  The ones I use the most (and happen to be my favorites) are the ones I made myself.  It's cool to be able to go to the shop and fabricate exactly the tool I need for a specific task.  The progress so far is probably 20-25 hours worth of work (found something to do on the many nights I can't sleep), which is probably allot of time for what I have completed, but I'm taking it slow and re-doing things here and there as I go.  Here's another pic of where I'm at as of this morning.  Again, thank you all, you have all been a big inspiration and helped me believe that I could really do this.  Stay tuned! 

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eaglewood said:
WOW-- I never cease to be amazed by the talent here
Thank you Clay, but there are many more talented (yourself included) people here than me.  I have to say, becoming a member here has almost "made" me try things I never would have thought I could do, so I owe allot to the members here.  I never would have attempted sculpting (or even knew I had the 'ability') if I didn't love painting bios so much.

It looks wonderful Brian  :) like I said before, you could have fooled me, never would have thought you never used clay before!
Keep up the great work!
sulaco1967 said:
Wow Brian looks fantastic so far..can't wait to try this down the line..well done Sir..

Thanks Sean.  When you do, I highly recommend Monster clay if you can get it.

Usurper said:
Fantastic start, love seeing more P1 bios, the simple originals are always the best. :)  

Monsterclay rocks huh.
Much appreciated Lee and yeah, Monster clay makes it soooooo much easier.

oxtheii said:
It looks wonderful Brian  :) like I said before, you could have fooled me, never would have thought you never used clay before!
Keep up the great work!
Believe me Kendra, I'm as shocked as you are.  Thanks!

This is great as its your first time bri very nice clean sculpting going on here will look forward to seeing more sculpts off you 
in the future.
Thank's Gareth.  I plan on doing some more stuff after this is done, but haven't really decided what.  I would like to make my own skins at some point, and may even attempt a head.  I'm also seriously thinking about doing some armor and maybe a backpack.  My plan for right now is to keep it a simple as possible and continue to learn.  I hope to have an update soon, but have been a little busy with real world stuff.

Small update, but I wanted some opinions at this point.  I reworked the dome and fins, and did some work on the cheek/jaw area.  From some angles the dome looks to big, or stands too high on top.  My problem is, the clay on the dome is as thin as it can get before hitting the plaster armature.  I'm not hating it, but wanted some opinions from others.  Thing is, in order to change it now I would need to pretty much start over, and honestly I'm not down with that.  I also started working on the other (tri hose) side, and am discovering how much I HATE symmetry!  Any tips ot tricks from the pros here that would make life easier, or do I just keep working it a little at a time until it looks right?  I'm also wondering what the best way to remove tool marks from Monster clay.  I've tried 99% isopropyl alcohol with no results.  I've also tried denatured alcohol, and again, nothing.  I did a little experimenting and discovered that the denatured alcohol, when lit on fire   does an okay job, but don't really want to burn the thing up.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


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You could raise the pitch of the fins and that might reduce the look of the dome.  Symmetry is a bitch for just about everybody I think.  It's a matter of continuing to work the clay until it feels right, at least for me.  I'm still working out the perfect way to smooth everything.
I agree with Tom. If you can't go any lower on the dome you gotta' raise the area around it. Increasing the pitch on the fins may work. Symmetry is tough and our eyes see it differently and even in different light. Callipers or a ruler can help with things like comparing the size of the eyes but I have to work off of a center line as much as possible. I like how Lee does sculpts in that he marks areas that need something done with different color pieces of post-it markers or I have seen others take pictures and then "red-line" the picture with vertical or horrizontal lines to help identify areas for improvement. I struggled with symmetry on mine and I was able to roll it all around and look at it from angles that I never could of had I started with clay and it is still not as symmetrical as I would have liked it to turn out. Do your is looking really good. As for smoothing it...I am in the dark on that one. I saw somewhere that Steve Wang said what some poeple will do is get the shape right, make the mold and cast from it, then finish the cast to get it really smooth and make another mold of it but that is a lot of extra work in my book. I am sure I will have to tackle this problem myself one day as well as I can't make everything out of foam.

I took the advice so far and have added to/re-shaped the fins.  I am much happier with it now, and will try and snap a few pics and post em up a little later on.  Thanks Tom and Steve.  As far as casting an imperfect copy, smoothing, and casting it a second time... yeah, I'm gonna have to say no-can-do on that one lol.  If I had the materials they have in the industry then maybe, but I can't see myself wasting all that silicone.  It's a good idea, but not within my budget at this time.  Thanks anyway Steve!

Yeah, it wasn't in mine either! Ha! Maybe if my mold starts to deteriorate to the point I need to make a new one I will do a second generation version but that will be a long time from now. I am anxious to see what you have done to modify your sculpt. Looking good!

So, due to some 'technical difficulties' with the armature, I'm back to square one.  Hope to get it blocked back out in the next day or so, then back on it.  I'm a little frustrated to say the least, but determined to have a completed sculpt...someday.

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