Thursday, November 11, 2010


I'm currently setting up the photo shoot for the pirate box for my website and I thought I'd show you how I'm going to light this.

I like to keep lighting simple. I'm using my brightest light overhead and I've got a less powerful light on the left side to fill in any shadows. As you can see, I've rigged up some ghetto soft boxes for both lights.

A soft box softens the light making the shadows softer and much less ugly. Though you can buy them for hundreds of dollars a piece, you can also make them for free using a plastic bag, tape, and some cardboard to keep them away from the bulbs (you don't want to start fires).

This black board will be held up by my lovely assistant to darken the background and provide more depth to the photos. You're pretty much trying to do two things in a photo: provide adequate light and not flatten out the piece with that light. There are a thousand million rules beyond that, but that is what the real objectives are.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

That worked well!

Here's the top relief sculpt all done! I've given it a copper patinia. Now I just need to put a frame around it to clean up the edges. It's 3/8th inch thick at it's thickest point (the coins). I've also finally purchased a handle that will be given the same patina and attached today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sculpt tight sketch

Here's the tight sketch for the relief sculpt that will adorn the top of my Pirates Box. The actual sculpt for this is finished, but I'll post those pictures another day. There will be negative space cut out for the lettering on the flag that will, of course, say "Pirates" in the Windlass font.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

containers and such.

So I've got a lot of stuff here for my box. First of all, I'm working out the new instruments players will use to measure distances for their fleets. As you can see from the first image, it's just in it's template stage. In the second image you can see I've completed the treasure chest for coins, the terrain box for all islands and terrain, and the dice rolling box to help roll little and normal size dice (without it rolling off the table, or knocking over ships and things). I've also purchased a glass bottle for the dozens of little dice I have. I have to confess the treasure chest was purchased. I DID sand, stain and shellack the chest. I've also lined the bottom with felt. But, yeah, I didn't build it. The dice box and terrain box are completely made from scratch. The latch and hinges are lifted from cheap boxes from Micheals.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stained, clothed, divided!

I've stained my box with a Mahogany Red and then shellaced with an amber tinted shellac. This worked extremely well and produced the results I wanted! I then lined the inside with red felt and created dividers for my cards. These too were stained and shellaced.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pirates box update: sanded

Sanding is completely done! It took so much longer than I thought it would! I guess 74 hour work weeks don't help.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quick drawing for my nephew

A quick drawing for my three year old nephew who loves all these things. ... don't we all though...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pirates Box

As a new side project, I'm going to turn this ugly art paints box into a storage box for my pirates cards (a game my friends and I play from time to time). I've already taken out the inner wooden dividers. The next step is to sand all surfaces down to the wood.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A New Clay!

At the Senic Shop, I've finally gotten a chance to use "Plastilina" clay. It's an oil-based clay. The cool thing, and this is why I'm posting about it, is that it's the professional standard of clay. It's a formula that has remained the same for over 100 years! I like expanding my repertoire of different sculpting medium I've used. Each one makes me feel a little less like a college student who got lucky.
So now I've used polymer based clays such as "Sculpey" (my favorite), oil-based clays like, "Roma Plastilina" and "Chavant" clay, and awesome two part apoxie clays like "Magic Sculpt" and "Apoxie Sculpt", both very good clays.
It's also nice having the experience of learning about different interior forms to sculpt off of. I started out in college (and still do at home) using aluminum foil, a nice space filler, and it has no problem being in the oven. And the Scenic Shop has taught me about alternatives like carving urethane foam blocks (very dangerous, use a dust mask and tyvek suit!), using Hilti spray foam, and even using the expanding insulation foam stuff you can buy at Home Depot and Lowes!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scenic Shop memories: Part 1

Almost two years ago I walked into the Hollywood studios Scenic Shop and did work on their Fairies meet and greet. The very first thing I sculpted were the two smaller mushrooms in the first
image at the top. After that, the third taller mushroom, the snail and the lady bug. Since then I've done work in three of the four parks, sculpted full size parts for ride vehicles, painted 50 feet in the air, sculpted for projects for other parts of the world, and seen things the average guest will never see. The Fairies Meet and Greet at the Magic Kingdom started it all. It was the beginning of the best job I've ever had. A job that, as a freelancer, I could be layed off of any day. All the more reason to savor every day I get to go in and work for Walt Disney.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Finally! It took six months, but I finished my latest illustration! I hope you like it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ever Closer

The first background group of onlookers is finally sculpted. I've been working 65 hour work weeks at the scenic shop and at petsmart, so progress is extremely slow. I've only got two things left to sculpt, the second and final group of characters, and the floor of this scene. THEN I can finally paint and light and photograph. Ahhhh!

One thing that's really nice is that I haven't lost interest in this illustration yet. Usually, if I work on a project and it takes over three months to do, I lose interest and move on to other things. But I'm staying the course!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Swan Queen

I've finally finished the Swan Queen. This is photographed in roughly the same lighting she'll have in the final illustration. Her paint scheme will be fairly complicated so I can't wait to do that! First, however, I need to scupt the background people. I want to paint everyone at the same time.

Scuptwerks Car

I've finally gotten up the courage to put vinyl logos on my car. I've always been one for very tasteful car decoration, the kind of stuff you don't notice till you're really looking at the car. But you can't do that with logos. The whole point is to stick out. I've attached two pin stripings on the front fenders and a larger 5 inch logo on the back left side window.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The first mold experiment.

I've just finished making my first mold! I bought a 1 lb. silicone rubber mold kit and a bucket of 'super strong' plaster of paris. I've made a bout 6 Gummie medallions so far.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chicken Knight

Sculpting on the Chicken Knight is complete! He's made out of coathanger wire, aluminum foil, thin wire, Sculpey and Apoxy sculpt. I'm very pleased with how he came out! Next is the Swan Queen. I've got the wire maquette half finished and as soon as I get more aluminum foil, I can start putting clay on.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Castle Walls

I've finished the castle walls and tapestries that will decorate them. Of course, the stained glass still needs to be installed, but that will come later. I've started sculpting the chicken knight too. My apologies for not posting in a while, but with two jobs and an Arizona vacation trip, it's been hard to do anything else. If you'd like a sense of scale, these walls are roughly 2ft. x 2ft. The chicken knight is being sculpted at about six inches tall.