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Old 11-01-2013, 05:29 PM   #1
EPang
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EPang WIP Process

So I had some extra boxes of super sculpy sitting around collecting dust on my work space so i thought – Now would be a good time to really try and document my own sculpting process from start to finish. There used to be so many helpful threads i had bookmarked for my own reference, but sadly they've been archived. i thought i'd try to bring back some of the info with a WIP thread of my own using some of the tips and techniques i learned from them. So here goes nothing....

When I first started this was the ultimate resource for me:
http://www.statueforum.com/showthread.php?t=25103

So this Work-in-progress "WIP" thread shows pretty much how I create all my sculptures (Using Super Sculpy). I'm sure there are better and more efficient ways of going about creating a sculpture, but this is what works for me.

THE SUBJECT MATTER
I'm going to skip this because most of you already know what you want to sculpt from the get go. My only suggestions to those of you completely brand new to the hobby is to:
• start out simple. Choose a character that is basically a "Nude" figure, i.e. Green lantern, superman, batman, etc. When creating a figure female/male ANATOMY is key.
• After you get the anatomy down then practice sculpting clothing, belts, accessories, whatever on top of the piece.
• Museum poses are best for beginners IMO. Once you get the anatomy of a static pose down, then move on to more advanced poses.
• Use a reference sketch (360 turnarounds if you can get them are the best) and reference photos, the internet is full of them.

For this sculpture I got my inspiration after Captain America:TFA. I decided to create my take on Canada’s supersoldier “Wolverine” that would exist in the same universe.

THE ARMATURE
I’ve been making my armatures the same way now for the last few years. Making the armature varies from person to person, but here is my process.


• Epoxy Putty
• Armature Wire
• Thin Wire
• Pliers
• Foil


I first cut the wire to scale ( I use the reference art provided in the sculptors pitstop section). I then apply the 2-part epoxy putty to the areas that I want to stay rigid leaving the joints still very posable. My next step is to lightly bulk up the armature with Aluminum Foil. After the foil is applied I then lash everything together with a thin wire.

APPLYING THE CLAY


• Super Sculpy (Pink)
• Super Sculpy Firm (Grey)
• Vaseline


I start by applying the Super Sculpy to the armature. At this point im just trying to get the whole thing covered. After everything has a solid coating, i then loosely begin blocking out the general anatomy. I'm not really looking into creating any kind of pose right away, just trying to make sure everything is in proportion with each other.

See post #16 for info on Support Tree for Armature
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:30 PM   #2
EPang
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THE POSE


After I get the body blocked out i then begin adjusting the pose of the statue. Changing the pose should be easy since the sculpture bends only at the joints. I knew that i wanted this to be pretty simple in gesture, so i chose a slight contrapposto with the standard (single foot step). I then fix any of the anatomy (still loosely blocked in) to fit the new pose. I used several reference photos in this stage.


INITIAL BAKE

I like to bake my sculptures at a sightly lower temperature (215 deg F) than what is recommended for about 1hr and a half longer than what i need. I then turn my oven down to it's lowest setting (175 deg F) for 1hr and then completely turn off the oven and let it cool overnight. I dont open the oven door until the next day to check on the sculpture. I've had great success at minimal to no cracks from this process.


After i take the sculpture out of the oven i then use a black sharpie to draw any preliminary costume designs
on the body. This helps me get a sense of where things should be before i start sculpting, i.e. fabric folds, pockets, belts, etc.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:30 PM   #3
EPang
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APPLYING SUPER SCULPY FIRM

At this stage i first apply a very thin layer of vaseline to the prebaked statue in the area i'll be applying the ssfirm. Doing this will help the sculpy firm bond to the prebaked clay when heated. I decided to start with blocking in the pants. I wasnt sure how loose i wanted them to be so i started out pretty snug. I quickly blocked in fabric folds and pockets knowing that things may need to change once i get further along. From there i started blocking in the boots and leggings.



KEYING IN PARTS
This particular stage varies for me from sculpture to sculpture. I usually tend to wait until everything is sculpted and baked before i start cutting anything apart, but because i wanted to track my progress i thought it would be best to go ahead and key in the arms and head. I may still key in the left leg after everything is baked to show that process.
This next step might be confusing because i didnt take any photos of the actual keying process. I didn't think to do so until after i got the arms keyed in, Sorry. I'm going to try and describe the process as best i can, but if you have any questions i'll try and answer them.

So what i did at this stage was first cut off both arms with a small hand scroll saw. I knew i wanted my Wolverine sculpture to be wearing a leather vest with his arms exposed so i decided it would be easier to sculpt the arm musculature if they could detach from the body. I then used a dremmel tool to carve out the insides of the body portion. I then coated that side with a thin layer of vaseline. I then used the dremmel tool to slightly carve out the inside of his shoulder. Afterwards i mixed a small amount of epoxy putty and sandwiched it inbetween the new cavity created between the arm and body. I used a rubber band to hold the severed arm and body in place. After 30 mins, i removed the rubber band and gently pulled the arm away from the body. The epoxy should have stuck to the arm and slid away from the body (because of the vaseline). Repeat with other arm.


See post #47 for additional information about my keying process.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
EPang
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After keying the arms i decided to accentuate his arms by making them slightly over exaggerated.


After that i finished blocking in the rest of the outfit. Everything is still very rough at this point. I haven't started focusing in on cleaning up any details yet. I just want to check and make sure everything still looks in proportion. I noticed that after i bulked up his arms, the legs looked really thin so i went back and added more mass to them. After checking and double checking measurements, I placed the figure infront of a mirror to triple check that nothing was glaringly out of whack. I personally find that when ive been looking at a sculpt for too long it becomes difficult to notice any inconsistancies. Looking at your work in a mirror is a good way for those troublesome issues to point themselves out to you. It is at this point Im pretty happy with the general direction of the outfit, pose, and proportions.

My next WIP updates will show the basic process of refining shapes and cleaning up portions.

Thanks for looking.

E
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:30 PM   #5
EPang
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TOOLS



Everyone has their own methods as well as tools they use when sculpting. Above are my "go to" utensils (which can be found at a hobby/craft store) when i sculpt with Super Sculpy/Firm:
Hand made loop tool
Exacto Knife
Two different Dental tools
Super Glue
Soft and stiff bristle brushes
Turpenoid

I used to have a whole tool box full of different knives, picks, rubber tips, metal tips, but i found that these few tools are all i need to get the job done.


REFINING

At this stage of the sculpture I use a ton of reference photos of part I am sculpting. I decided to start with the arms of the sculpture, so I referenced a few anatomy books as well as bodybuilding magazines such as "Flex" and "Muscle magazine". It was easy for me to work on the arms separately because I already cut and keyed them into the main body. For this I used my Dental and loop tools to add and subtract the clay. To make sure that both arms are roughly the same size I check my measurements between the two arms with my calipers.



Once I got the muscle groups to my liking, I used my soft brush dipped in turpenoid to smooth out and blend the shapes together. I place the arms back on the body to make sure everything still looks good.




Before I begin refining the body I take photos of the roughed in outfit (seen in post #4) so I can get a good idea of the path im going to take. After i take the pics i remove some of the roughed in costume accessories and focus on one section at a time. I started refining the pants and boots first, just cleaning up the drapery folds and boot details. I use a ton of reference pictures of different boots and pants to make sure the designs are consistent with the era as well as making sure the folds/creases seem natural. I approach the vest the same way i did with the pants. I start with a good base layer of clay where i want the vest to be. My next step is to add little clay "snakes" in the shape of how i want the fabric drapery to look. I then use the dental/loop tools to blend the snake bits into the base layer of clay and smooth everything out with the soft brush and turpenoid. I referenced several different leather coats for the look.




Once i get the fabric folds and movement to my liking, i'll do a secondary bake in the oven. The picture below shows the body and arms after secondary bake.


I like to sculpt in layers, so having the pants and vest baked at this point is ideal for me. I use a pencil to draw in further details.


To add in the pockets and details i drew, i apply a thin layer of vaseline and then add the clay. I use the exacto knife to get the cleanest lines that i can and I run a quick brush and turpenoid over the newly added details to help blend the two layers. At this stage I no longer bake the clay in the oven, instead i use my cheap heat gun i bought from a hobby store.


Some tips when using a heat gun:
Using a heat gun is a quick method to bake small thin layers of clay without heating the entire piece (the downside of this is that there is a higher chance of cracks forming if the area cools down to fast)
I WOULD NOT recommend heating a large thick area with a heat gun because it is difficult to get a consistent temperature for the clay to "cure" or harden properly without it cracking or being crumbly if broken
Always keep the heat gun moving (if you stay in one spot for too long it will burn your clay and cause bubbles to form on the surface)
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
EPang
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The refining process for me basically just repeats the steps described above. I draw in my next accessory (belt and pouches), add vaseline, clay, and then shape with my tools. I use my calipers to make sure everything is the same size, then brush with turpenoid and heat with a heat gun.


More details added by repeating the previous steps.


After viewing the above photo, i decided to change the positioning of the right arm to add some balance (left leg is bent so I want to change the right arm to bend at the elbow). I try not to get tied down to a particular pose as I'm sculpting. If i think that changing an arm or leg would make the piece better, i have no issues with cutting it apart and starting over. To adjust the right arm i drew a line with pencil where i want to cut and remove the baked clay. I then use my exacto knife to carve away the material. Since i didnt reinforce the elbow with epoxy putty in the armature stage, it is very easy to reposition the arm.


In order to flex the arm more, i'll need to cut away more of the bicep area. Once i get the new arm posed to my liking, i'll just repair with a little bit of vaseline and SSFirm.

My next update will be focused on the head and hands. Thanks for looking.
E
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:59 PM   #7
afreeman
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Please hurry, must see more!!
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:31 PM   #8
Darth Kinetic
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nice! So their is hope to seperate and key my Juggy's arms
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:43 PM   #9
rgm501
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Cool process and cool sculpt, interesting to see how others work.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:53 AM   #10
growler321
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excellent wip just what i have been looking for cant wait to see more
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