Thursday, March 25, 2010

The plague of the high seas grows...

Ahhh, spring break is for the weak! The Captain is growing! Being a mix between a bear, Blackbeard, the Death Dealer and Conan the Barbarian, the captain has recently been deemed Captain "Bonebeard". As the story goes, his nickname was derived from his beheaded victim's bones, which remain buried in his unwashed beard. In the end, the Bonebeard sculpt will have his beard and a slick mustache as well.

Here are some detail shots from the final clay sculpt:

As you may've noticed, he's looking a tad gummy. Due to the impossible undercuts, the teeth have been made into removable plates for molding. Notice the token Arnold gap:

Here's a few shots of the head from the (extraordinarily heavy) molding process. The original sculpture is actually destroyed during the mold-making; obviously, you really can't grow too attached to it. On the other hand, the concrete mold retains all of the details as long as you know what your doing. Fortunately, Mr. Hazlerig is an expert mold-maker and the casting came out great:

The head was cast in a thick layer of dyed latex and then filled with soft foam. The end result is light and fairly durable, almost like a sponge coated in rubber. As you can see, there is a seam surrounding the face, separating highly detailed areas from the rest of the head. While a bear's face is actually covered in fur, I wanted some details like wrinkles and bags under the eyes to show through. So, the areas below the seam-line will be covered in fake fur, and the areas with detail will be covered in much less dense, punched fur. Punching the fur will be a test of will power for sure, as they can only be punched a few hairs at a time.

So, this week I've been building the body. The basic frame was a foam-cast, taxidermy bear armature. These casts are made for real bear hides and were ideal for the project. However a bear armature without fur resembles a large dog standing on it's hind legs. The fur that we're using is just about as realistic as it gets, but unfortunately our fake fur is about a tenth of the length of real bear fur. In order to become less dog-like, the sculpt just needed to get bigger and bigger to make up for the short fur.

Then, there was the issue of reassembling the armature into different poses. The captain couldn't just be standing there lifelessly. He will be holding a massive axe above his head for the final display, so I had to cut off the arms and add about a foot and a half of foam to spread the width of his shoulders. Of course, there's also the bulging muscle factor, or Conan-factor, and the width of the arms had to be extended as well:

Well, the foam carving should be finished soon and I'll post some more updates during the next few weeks. With only a little over a month to go it's crunch-time!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monster in the Mud Puddle

Here's my final to a children's book project I've been working on. Colored pencil and acrylics on illustration board.

Friday, March 5, 2010