Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Adding interest to the basic sculpt.

As I look at these figures, I realize just how boring they are. So lets look at a few ways to make them a bit more interesting now that they are fully sculpted and the damage is done.
Here they are, the basic figures which looked so good to me as I was creating them now look so plain. As the dressing is finished, you will notice that the pictures make his neck and arm look longer. Part of this is the camera and part of this is just that I made him a little long.

 Sorry, bad picture. To start the process of adding more interest, I want to age the clothing slightly. The right leg has been sanded to add wear spots to the folds of the leather pants and worn spots on the shoes. The left leg is still brand new.

A wash of Raw Umber and Retarder/Extender is used to add "dirt" to the pants and boots. this is only on the left side right now to show contrast. The Raw Umber mix is worked into the creases and folds to add shadow and accumulated dirt to the seams. Once they are dry, I will sand the high spots again and touch up with the wash in a series of layers until the clothing has a used look.

Before I proceed, let explain the thought process here. I want to add interest to the piece while shifting focus from the issues I see in the figures; namely the seemingly long neck and arm of the male. I thought about just adding a collar to the shirt but the piece was still boring so I came up with the idea of using a cape. I don't want to cover her with a cape as well so my thought is to use his cape to encircle her as a form of protection from a sudden spring rain. The cape flowing in the wind with a bit of rain or sleet would add some interest to the piece and allow me to shift the eye away from the issues I see.
The cape is made of a coarse cotton fabric from a pair of worn pants. I have sewn a hood onto the top and added a very roughly sewn hem with a pocket on the edge.
The cape is roughed up with a coarse sanding pad to add wear to the fold and hem.
The same Umber wash is used to dirty the hemline.
Finally, a wire is inserted into the pocket of the hem.
The finished cloak can now be posed around the figures.

 The figures are separated and the robe is pinned in place so I can figure out how to get the figures back together with the robe on and so I can shape the folds as I want.
 I work my way around the piece making adjustments as I go.
The female is put in place and the posing of the cloth continues.
 Now, I have the pose so I start gluing parts of the cloak together and pinning and clamping them until the glue sets.

The finished pose of the cloak.
 And from the rear.

The last step is to add some sleet/rain to the figures. I want the start of a spring shower so I used Gallery Glass and a tooth brush to spatter the figures from behind and above the male. This image shows the heavier deposit of "rain" on the cloak where his head and her arm (under the cloth) keep the cloak in place. This is where the rain will soak in first rather than the entire cloak. Her face and hair also get slightly spattered with the Gallery Glass so she ends up with beads of rain in her hair.

If you look closely, you can see the pattern of wet spots on the silk dress where it is not sheltered by his cloak.
 The cloak hugs his figure as the wind whips it around them both.

Thanks for joining me today.
Have a great day.


  1. I like it, now it has interest and tells a story too (I still think he needs a beard or a nice mustache)

    Marisa :)

  2. Excellent! Thank you for showing how you did the cape to give it movement.

  3. I've just stumbled across your blog......just wanted to say.......amazing, fantastic, incredible, can you tell I'm impressed!!

  4. Wonderful Mark. Just love watching how you put movement in your pieces! Jain

  5. Okay, I thought it couldn't get better and it did! Love this, Mark. Would have never thought to use gallery glass for rain spots. What about his shoes? Would they have raindrops, too, or would that be overkill on the piece? I'm learning so much here. My favorite blog!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this technique! Makes me want to sculpt someone standing in a rainstorm! LOL

  6. Ditto, ditto and ditto. Inspirational work.

  7. Wow! I've been working on a cloaked laying down figure for the past two months but had dificulties with the cloak. Now I know how I'm going to make it! Thanks Mark:)

  8. Wonderful as always! It's a bit late and I'm a bit bushed but... it appears to me as though the cloak changes colour. Is it just me or the lighting in the photos, or is the cloak multi layered...?

  9. The cloak is actually sage green but I did not adjust the camera settings as I moved from my studio to the house and then to my photo set up area so that is why the color shifts. I will set up in the photo area with the proper settings sometime for a finished picture. Thanks for the comments!

  10. caroline wakefieldApril 1, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    just wow wow wow fab

  11. Mark - another excellent post. Love how you took a stagnant sculpt and then added the wind motion and also a tenderness to the couple! Absolutely wonderful! THX for sharing your talent!


  12. DiTTo on all said, the details are incredible.


  13. It's amazing how adding one element can change a piece so drastically. And interesting use of the GG - now I have a desire to play around with that concept, thanks for the inspiration!