ramping up here!

– ok, 2 posts in, urm, several months may not really rank as ramping up – but i’m working at it!!

have been really immersed in creating what i hope will be a helpful guide to making your own BJD – but from Meg and my own slightly twisted point of view… Truly love the beautiful resin factory BJDs — but what we both love sculpting is quirky OOAK premier ones… so that is what we focused on trying to explain.

right now i’m deep in trying to describe how to sculpt bjd hands – words are not my native tongue. just saying. but its forcing me to think carefully about how i build the armatures, and why – and as a result i feel much more confident in the process i use. So i’m working on hands for the Angel and will post new pics soon.

Jordu Schell class at Anatomytools

I got to take Jordu Schell’s creature sculpting class thru Anatomytools in Alameda in early October. A wonderful class – the sculpts around the room were incredible. And Jordu is fascinating to watch work. He is such a master of what he knows and what he does, he can create perfect forms with what seems like a single stroke. And he showed us how he paints his chavant maquettes to present as concept art – absolutely incredible.

We were asked to bring sketches of an original concept if possible – I’ve been wanting to try some different versions of the preying mantis lady i sculpted back when the world was young, so I started trying to do some sketches.

awhile back, when i was whining about not being good, and being blocked and not being about to come up with ideas – folks suggested some books to read. I got “The Artist’s Way” ebook and started to work thru it. i’m glad i got the ebook – because the first 5 or 6 times i started it i just couldn’t relate to it at all. But since i had it on my phone, whenever i was stuck waiting somewhere, i started opening it and just reading a page or two. and eventually what the author, Julia Cameron, was saying started to sink in, and i can see that it has really helped.

She asks you to turn around the way you are thinking – and i realized she was right – I didn’t want to draw because I was judging my baby sketches against fine artists’ final output and i was too prideful to do something that folk could see i wasn’t great at. Add in, in a couple of workshops I’ve had with him, Andrew Cawrse has told me repeatedly, drawing is a tool for me to get the information i need for a sculpt. not to worry about making a beautiful drawing, just capture what i need to sculpt from.

Ms. Cameron also tells you to relax and let creation flow thru you – she seems to be a deeply spiritual/religious woman – and I found this hard to identify with. But she was right. If i didn’t tense up and overthink things, instead just remove judgement and let idea suggest idea and follow willingly without judging, i started to get closer to the images in my head.

Jordu said something interesting. (actually he said LOTS of things that were interesting) — he said at one moment, when he was starting out, he saw a sculpt and something in his mind said – this is truth. And that is what he aims for now. He feels he only achieves truth part of the time in his sculpts, but when he does it just feels right.

so i’ve started sketching some now – and am finding it really helpful to order thoughts and explore possibilities. still too newbie at it to feel anything but hesitant, but i think i may grow to love it.

so anyway – here is a progression of the concept sketches I worked on for the sculpt :

1. this was the first sketch. pretty conservative, but a start.

first mantislady sketch

2. then started thinking and playing with the body shape

mantislady ortho

3. tried a quick sketch of a possible face – showed it to Andrew and he suggested thinking about the way that insect mandibles work.

mantislady face

4. then followed ideas a little to a slightly more interesting place

mantislady sketch

mantislady sketch

5. and here is the sculpt – I saw her as surreal, smallish, – Jordu wanted her to be earthshakenly large and able to walk – he pointed out that she needed more mass at her abdomen to balance the head, and suggested a large spider like abdomen. I played for awhile and decided i like a carapace, cracked open, with 2 wings extending – and kept the original abdomen with spinneret at the end that shows (faintly) thru the opening

mantislady sculpt

mantislady sculpt

progress on the grunge/graphics style head…

built a quick estimate of the torso – struggling with the arm abit – in person it measures appropriately, but foreshortening in the photo makes me uncertain. kept trying to push the pose further, but used too heavy of aluminum wire for the armature — will just have to keep trying!

and the face maybe should have been screaming. i need to try to sculpt a scream…..

what do you think?
graphics style sculpt

graphics style sculpt

graphics style sculpt

worth developing?

have had a few weeks of family emergencies – so feel a little disconnected from everything. have had lots of time inside my head while sitting in hospital waiting rooms (my father-in-law is doing much better now) and got to thinking about how to recreate in clay some of the sketchier ideas that i see in my mind’s eye. started a quick beginning of one idea – and was wondering about continuing. this might be better done in a really hard clay, because the effect needs really precise lines I think. also having problems seeing. hate when that happens, end up taking my glasses off and peering blindly at the piece from an inch or two out. then i lose sight of the overall piece. so i hate the mouth, the eyes are too close together and the ears are dumbo like. but its just a rough draft/proof of concept thing so, get over it Pat!

if i continue with him, he would probably have just a portion of his torso, with one arm perhaps reaching towards the viewer…. wonder if it could be done in the Premier paperclay….but in my mind’s eye its dark. huh! maybe this could be the grey firm supersculpy……

rough sculpt of textured head

rough sculpt of textured head

rough sculpt of textured head

project something – somewhere around day 14

seemed to have stalled out on this guy – so trying to shame myself into getting back to work on him – pics in the round always show so much to work on. his back is very rough, and the curve of his spine, and the curve of the latissimus dorsi doesn’t work – also his torso is too thick , not enough compression at the side where he is bent towards his left leg. fought with his neck for a long time – it was horribly thick, its a bit better now, but the trapezius isn’t right. —- a lot of the curves that should be echoing/reinforcing the flow of the piece just aren’t.

ok. i see a lot to do.
blind swordfighter day 14ish

blind swordfighter day 14ish

blind swordfighter day 14ish

blind swordfighter day 14ish

blind swordfighter day 14ish

blind swordfighter day 14ish

looking for an ADD sculptors group — Project Something, day2

or should it be ADHD? my family is dyslexic. And half of it is obsessive/compulsive. which is what i need some of but didn’t get any….. i can’t seem to stay focused on a sculpt for long enough!!

I think that maybe i just need to give myself a week between projects to just play around and do quick sculpts and then decide which one i want to develop. except i’ve spent so much on clay the last few months, and each of these use up so much. i’ll have to get better at just tearing things apart and reusing the clay.

So this particular sculpt seems to have captured my fickle interest, and i’ll try to stick with it and give it a month. (I hope)

working from a picture of a Chinese sword fighter – he looks rather insectoid to me. we’ll see what happens. needs his proportions worked on most definitely.

sword fighter

sword fighter

sword fighter

sword fighter

project 3 – day 2 – maybe?

I carefully set up a nice classical male stance armature, and started laying on clay. had all kinds of fits with the armature – I desperately need more practice and knowledge there…. just couldn’t get enthused with the piece at all. Have been really down for a number of weeks – did a terrible job at a workshop, and missed a chance to connect with someone i really respect – came away knowing i really showed my dork side. I wish i was all cool and darkly strange – but i’m really truly am just a dork. found myself setting up another armature and laying in clay for this little baby – she makes me smile. i don’t know if its possible to make her be anything but dorky too, but maybe thats what i need right now – a little honesty in sculpting?

chavant 2face baby

chavant 2face baby

chavant 2face baby

chavant 2face baby

chavant 2face baby

chavant 2face baby

month end for project 2

interesting process. I ended up liking the sculpt quite a bit (and hating it quite a bit too). every time i took photos i would find so many more things that needed to be worked on. but its the end of 1 month – so i need to mostly set her aside and start working seriously on the next project.

biggest things i learned –
1. i like having lines of flow – watching the way limbs lead to the body and such…
2. i am really bad at armatures.
3. still don’t know how to finish off the sculpt – how to make the surface look finished, and the way i want it. don’t want it to be perfectly smooth – but not sure how to give textures that look intentional in all areas.
4. anatomy is fun – but easy to mess up. muscles on her arms for example – still not right. but better
5. need to learn how to make tiny bits (like fingers) stronger – tired of knocking her fingers and toes off all the time.

here is a sort of 360 of her, sure shows up a lot that needs to be done.

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 month end photo

project 2 day 11, project 4 day 1

ok back on project 2 a little – definitely helped to step away for a few days – but time is passing so quickly. Rebuilt her face – not so lopsided. this next week i have to work on her back and hands. build up her arms a bit more too.

started thinking about a raised dragon tattoo on her back…. not sure i can work that small/finely. but maybe if i work on cleaning up her back while i think about it, at least i’ll get her back done!

a little clean up on the reclining lady
a little clean up on the reclining lady
a little clean up on the reclining lady
a little clean up on the reclining lady

worked on the armature for the other sculpt – that was a disaster! i need to learn to make sturdy, non wiggly armatures. trying to use the nsp medium clay, and after working with the nsp hard it seems terribly soft.

was thinking about falling – got to imagining a 2nd figure below her, its curves echoing hers – not sure if it is human or not yet…

falling lady

falling lady

falling lady

Project 2 Day 6

got to work on an attitude adjustment! between work being difficult, and needing to do house and yard work, i’m in a foul mood lately. I have a slight (ahem) problem with getting rid of stuff. and right now we are going thru all the rooms in the house and the garage, and the attic, and discarding stuff so i huff around the house being surly. add on that we are going to be plastering 2 rooms so everything in those rooms that can’t be stashed in closets is being moved to the room i’m using as a workroom, and boy am i grouchy.

oh well.

got a few hours to work on this piece. meant to start another armature and didn’t get to it – maybe tonight. really need to work on this one’s face – she is starting to look disturbingly Nefertiti-ish. Forest Rogers sent me a link to a magazine with these incredible lace ruffs – so got to wondering how this one would look with one on. The thing is, with it on, i get this disturbing feeling i’ve seen an image somewhere, some time, sort of like this. The perpetual problem of sculpting – trying to be certain that i don’t inadvertently use other people’s ideas…

oh well – got to think about it. would want the lace to be very delicate and lace like, and how in the world would you cast something like that?

reclining lady with partial neck ruff

reclining lady with partial neck ruff

reclining lady with partial neck ruff

reclining lady with partial neck ruff