Monday, August 22, 2011

ELPHABA (Day 2: Bat Wings and clay sculpting)

In the last post we worked on our design and soldered the armature together. Yesterday I was able to work on the barn then get some work done in the afternoon on the clay application. (OK- I got a lot of work done on the clay)

I started with the monkey so I had a finished piece to attach to her wrist. The monkey is sculpted completely then cured in the oven or with the heat gun. Once he is cured, I use the heat gun to superheat his entire body so the stress from the wing support wire will not crack him later.
 The monkey from the side.
 The wings for this guy are going to be made of Translucent Liquid Sculpy. First, I crinkle a piece of heavy foil to act as the support for the wing while it cures. The creases in the foil make the final product look like it has veins in the membrane.

 The foil is shaped to the underside of the wing and tight against the body.
 TLS is applied.
 It is then smoothed out with a brush so the struts are covered and the membrane is uniform in thickness.
The first layer is cured with the heat gun.
 I have then repeated the process until I have three layers of cured TLS on the wings. The wing is cooled and the foil peels of the back easily. In this photo the left wing has been trimmed with a pair of scissors.
The monkey in flight.

The translucent quality of the wings shows nicely this way. I will color them later.

 The broom stick is covered with clay and cured with the heat gun.
 The clay is conditioned. Clay is ready when you can flatten the clay and the edges do not crack. This clay is part Baby ProSculpt and part Green colored Bake and Bend Sculpy.
 The armature is covered with the conditioned clay to a depth of about 3/8".
 The details are then sculpted and cleaned up for curing. You will notice that the body is not very well detailed as I will be clothing her from head to toe.
The face is modeled after the daughter of a doll artist Kelly and I met at show.
 Since she will have a tight bodice in her dress, her breasts need to be pressed together and up so they look more realistic before the dress is applied. the feet are shaped as supports for the stye of shoe I will add later in leather.
From the back. The sculpture is suspended above the broom so fabric can be inserted under her backside.
 You may be able to see the depression as her thigh muscle and skin are pressed against the broom stick. Again, note the gap between the broom and the buttocks.

 The final fit of the monkey into her wrist. The tube at the wrist is left exposed so he can be inserted and removed. Any misfit can be covered with the sleeve of her garment.

All ready to throw into the oven. Thanks for dropping by, have a great day!


  1. Woohoow! Another gorgeous piece forming! I love the way you made the wings! Clever!

  2. BRILLIANT!! Mark you are brilliant!! Carla Goncalves / Incantostudios

  3. I love the way this peice is coming together. Your work is amazing.

  4. Owwww ... what a wonderful piece ... Love the pose and the way you 'bind' them together. Really awesome :)

  5. Thank you for showing us HOW TO Mark. I love the TLS wings. I so need to get a heat gun..LOL!!!

  6. Thanks for the info on the balancing, Mark! This piece is already completely amazing! I'm loving it!

  7. Hi Mark, I love the way you tell us exactly what you are doing, why, and then show the results! Such a great sculptor, as well as teacher. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. I am mesmerized by your talent! Christel

  8. Loving the monkey! Can't wait to see your next steps! I know witches all kind of turn out the same but Elphaba right now is reminding me of the witches in Shrek Forever After they way she's sitting on her broom =^D

  9. This is probably one of the coolest things I've seen.