Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So far.... so good.

I've been admitedly lazy about this illustration. I'm trying to keep the rigorous schedule up that I had for The Last Breakfast, but Batman: Arkham City and Infamous 2 keep getting in my way.

Anywhoo... I AM sculpting slowly, but surely. I finished the three polar bears tonight and I'm pretty happy with them. I really like the one lying on the floor with his tongue sticking out. The main snow monster stands at 12 inches tall at the moment.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ice Cave: Preparation

Here's the first resin test. I coated it multiple times to build up the ice. It maintains the detail fine, but I don't like the idea of them all in a thin amount of ice. It implies they stood still for 20 years while water dripped and froze on them slowly. I want this to look more like an instant frozen forever in ice.
This is the thickness of ice that I want. I only sanded a few small areas enough to confirm that you can still see all the detail inside. If you go at this with 80 grain sandpaper and work your way down to 600 grain, I'm relatively confident the detail will show through.

So now we move on. I've taken the computer off the table and moved everything in order to make space for the 15 inch tall sculpt.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2nd to last Illustration: "Ice Cave"

So I've started work on the second to last illustration. I want this one to be an underground ice cave, most of it cast in clear resin. The sketch up above is still very loose and not a tight sketch at all, but I'm moving forward anyway. I'll deal with composition and pose when I sculpt it (not a good habit at all, but I'm tired of drawing and not sculpting).
I'm doing something I've never done before, but should have the whole time. I'm scuplting several maquettes to work out the main figure. I also need multiple maquettes to test the resin on. I need to know how the paint will be affected by resin. I need to see which technique will not warp the light so you can still see all the detail. You'll see what I mean when I start posting final test shots. The whole idea is this little eskimo kid and her dog stumble upon this violent frozen scene while exploring an ice cave. I thought it would be funny to have several polar bears attacking a snow-monster for his 'cola' . Now I could have them all frozen in one huge block of ice, but I think that would look a little too cartoony and cheap. That would be the easiest answer as I would only have to put them behind a piece of plexiglass and sculpt icicles around it. But I want to try having them coated in icicles themselves, hoping that they wouldn't be too distorted through the resin to see detail. Anyway! It will all be clear once I get on with this and start posting more photos.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Yay! She's done! No, I'm not happy with this photo shoot. Now this is just a side project, certainly not portfolio material. If she's lucky I'll try to sell her on Etsy. I want good pictures for the archive though and I think she'd do well in real sunlight!

As you can see, the decals worked PERFECTLY. I'm very very impressed with Testors simple, easy to use package and I WILL be utilizing this new knowledge in the future.

Primer stage!

Now she's ready to paint, and decal!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Custom water slide decals! Woo!

I bought a Testors package of water slide decal paper for ink jet printers, so I can design and print my own decals! So here's the sheet I've got for Avarice. The eight dollar sign designs on the bottom are the hoof armor decorations. I threw in a few extra Sculptwerks logos because this stuff's expensive and I don't want to waste any space. I'm printing multiples of everything because I'm not sure how opaque my printer ink will end up being. I guess I'll just have to find out tomorrow! She's all together and sanded and primed. Tomorrow I can begin painting her! I'll post photos of her in the primer stage.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Not much to say here. I sculpted the hair. Maria critiqued it and I had to resculpt the entire back. Now it looks much better!
The Head does still move! This was important to me to make it still move. I want this to be as if Hasbro produced a very cynical real My Little Pony with major safety issues. The Wings will, of course, not allow the head to rotate all the way around, but that would just be creepy anyway!
The wings aren't permanently attached yet so I kept them off for these photos. The tail, however, has been attached, so it's one step closer!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wings and Tail!

The wings and tail are finished! The tail is a core of aluminum foil which I then cover in clay and sculpt. This reduced the amount of Apoxie Sculpt I have to use.

The base of the tail and the base of the wings still need to be sculpted on, but I'm going to save that until I get the hair sculpted.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Of Avarice.

You're probably wondering what ever happened to my side project "Avarice"! Well, I've been working on her, and she's coming along well! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about here's the breakdown: I needed specific electrical parts for the "Carbonite Doughtnut" and I found them in an eight inch Princess Celestia doll from "My little ponies, Friendship is Magic" ( a fantastic show by the way). Once I had gutted her of her circuits and LEDs I had a perfectly good princess to modify. I decided, being a cynical bastard, I would create a my little pony based on money and greed. And what better name for a pegacorn than "Avarice"! And with this, a side project was born!!!! Behold! The process so far!

Here she is as Princess Celestia once I put her back together. The circuits and lights were installed in "The Carbonite Doughnut". She was all ready to transform into Avarice!

First step was to fill the inside so that I could cut into her as deep as I wanted and still be able to sculpt the inner space. To achieve this, I filled her with "Great Stuff" expanding foam insulation and taped her up so she wouldn't expand apart, then dry.

Here she is after the first day of sculpting. I expanded and sharpened the horn and ears. I also lengthened the muzzle and added a smile. The hind hooves were enlarged slightly and all seams and holes were filled in.

The next day I drilled holes for the tail and wings and set the wire in so that the clay would cure to the right size hole. I also added the eyebrows and bags under her eyes. This immediately made the smile on the muzzle fit! Now she's evil! Yay!!!

A close up of the evil face. I've ordered water slide inkjet decal paper for the eyes themselves. This will be the first time I've ever made my own decals and I'm excited at the prospect! I'm also going to use the decals for the 'cutie mark' on her ass and the detailing of the armor on her legs. Tonight I'm sculpting the wings. I'll post those photos tommorow!

Thanks for looking!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mr. Badger process photos.

As promised, here are some process photos. Above is the tight sketch Maria gave me to go off of. Above that, you'll see the whole set up on my table. This will give you a good idea of how big the whole thing is. Above that is a shot of Maria testing placement during the painting stage. Last but not least, above that, a photo of the badger just before I cooked him to make doubly sure he was the right size. You can see from the tight sketch that I took some liberties here and there. But I think I did a good job capturing the overall image.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mr. Badger's New Book.

And here it is! The collaboration project I promised oh so long ago. Maria and I concepted it. She suggested I do a simple children's book illustration and I stipulated that it must take place underground in a burrow. She did all the character design and drew the tight sketch. I sculpted and built it. Maria helped a little bit on painting it, and was very very helpful during the photo shoot. Together we chose which photo (out of about 80) was the best, narrowing the list slowly down. We also each did a bit of photoshop adjustment on it. Nothing much, mind you. Just color adjustment and I darkened the fireplace innards to let you see the rockwork a bit more. And last but not least, Maria named the piece. I'll post process photos soon. Not now though, it's very late....

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Doughnut In Carbonite

Behold the Doughnut in Carbonite! This is one of many stupid projects I create and mail off to my best friend in California. It was mailed with this letter attached:

Dear Max Lawson,

My name is Boba Fett. I’m a freelance bounty hunter working out of the Mandilorian system. Currently my client is Jabba the Hutt, from Tatooine but I suspect his activities are funded by the Empire. None of this, however, is why I’m writing you. I recently came across a Dunkin’ Donuts on Courscant. Now you know how hard it is to find a Dunkin’ Donuts, especially way out on the westward end of the galaxy. I had heard Dunkin’ Donuts simply didn’t exist out west, but low and behold I managed to find one. Now I can’t tell you where it is. I like having my secrets and this is one I intend to take with me to the grave. I guess that’s part of my bounty hunter nature. So of course I had to get a dozen doughnuts. You don’t just come across a find like that and not go all the way. I tried to get one of every kind: jelly, boston creme, frosted glaze, man they even had MAPLE!! I got two of those. I skipped plain because what the hell’s the point. You don’t show up to a brothel and say “I’ll take the protocol droid!” Anyway, along with all these doughnuts I finish with two chocolate frosted because they’re just so classic.

Later, I’m at home finishing up a marathon of Jawa Shore and I’m getting down to the very last doughnut. It’s getting tough because eleven doughnuts is a hell of a lot even for a bad ass like me and I’m just not sure I can do it. I totally have to force the very last bite of number eleven down and I pick up the last doughnut. I take one bite and all of a sudden it’s like I’ve never eaten before. It’s like all my life I’ve been outside myself letting my physical body eat simply to sustain some kind of crude existance. All this hits me at once. It’s an epiphany. I wake up. This little Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate frosted doughnut is the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. I don’t know how long I sat there with that thing in my hand. Jawa Shore was over and I must have not even noticed. I just stared into the middle distance with that blessed doughnut perched an inch from my face. When I finally came to, I knew this was a sacred object. The universe is full of unexplainable things. Throughout my career I’ve seen and hunted just about everything you can imagine. But of all those things, nothing comes close to the taste of this doughnut. No, that’s not right. Nothing comes close to the experience of this doughtnut.

I put the doughnut down and had to take a walk. You see, I re-examined a lot that day. My whole life I’ve been running away from the pain. You can probably guess, like everyone else in this galaxy, my father was murdered when I was nine years old. Whose wasn’t? Am I right? Anyway I figured if the experience of food had eluded me all these years, what else had I been blind to? Five or so months ago IG-88 and I had to fight our way out of a Rancor cave. I’m talking a dozen or so Rancors. And we’re there crushing them with rocks by firing into the walls and blasting inside their mouths to shoot their brains. But it occurred to me I’ve never looked a Rancor in the eyes. Is there a soul? They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. What if I murdered the fathers of a bunch of little Rancor pups? What if they have to be sent to some kind of foster Rancor home like me when I was a kid? And what about love? Maybe there’s more to love than visiting the Gungan home world every few months and just raping the hell out of the local population. It’s fun, that’s for sure. And man it feels good! But what then? What do I have to show for it? Just a closet full of Gungan skulls. And I never get a chance to show that closet off anyway. So I’m just not sure about anything anymore...

I got a communication from Jabba the Hutt. He’s throwing a party in a few days on his barge. I don’t know if he’s unfrozen Solo or what, but I’m thinking this party might be a good opportunity to clear my mind. It might be good to be around some people. The day before I wrote this I decided to take the doughnut to Cloud City. The Ugnaught carbonite workers were nice enough to freeze the doughnut for me. It should be in good condition for when I get back. I’m sending the doughnut to you Max. Take good care of it till I get back. Maybe you can help me sort some things out when I return.

Thanks again fellow bounty brother.

Boba Fett

P.S. Did you know if you press the grey button on the side of the Carbonite chamber you can hear what the doughnut is thinking? It’s weird.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rolling right along....

For my next illustration, I'm doing a collaborative piece with Maria Clapsis, of Disney Vinylmation fame! We've decided that a simple children's book-esque illustration would be fun to do! I've recently learned an awesome sculpting technique for doing quick underground scenes, so my only stipulation is that the scene take place in a burrow. We've come up with a badger, reading by the fire in his den. Simple, yet full of visual potential! Above are the first rough character sketches that Maria did.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

How it was done.

Here's the original tight sketch for the whole illustration.

Once I was happy with the sketch, the next step was to set up a cardboard mock up of the room to get the forced perspective worked out, as well as the size and spacing of the characters.
This was the angle I wanted the final piece to be.

The table was going to be one of the largest and most difficult pieces, so I started sculpting that first. Not only did it dictate the position of everyone, it also had to hold the weight of all the food and three of the characters standing on it.

This was the first attempt with the room. All the walls are cardboard with a thin layer of sanded bondo to make them perfect. The Florida air quickly turned them into a warped mess, so I had to redo it all with another material.

I found that masonite was very sturdy, easy to work with and within my budget. This is the same room completely rebuilt.

I then started sculpting the figures based on the sizes of the cardboard mock ups. I of course had to start with the Cap'n!

Here's one of the first lighting setups we did. The paper in the foreground is to reflect a little light up to the front of the setup. We ended up doing a three light set up: one light directly above the center, one fill light on the right side, and one light to light up the background outside the windows.

Normally, I do two extra angles in addition to the main portfolio angle. These extra angles would have been the 3D stereographic angles..... but I FORGOT!!!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


A little less than four months ago, I started a piece I call "The Last Breakfast". Here it is, unveiled in all it's glory, just for you.