This month I decided to finally try and teach myself digital sculpting. There are a lot of things I think I could be doing, like sculpting at a smaller scale, or making props that would be more difficult to accomplish traditionally. I was curious about Zbrush (expensive, but a free trial is available), Blender (free!), and NomadSculpt, which I’d already loaded onto my iPad. After asking Twitter, I decided I was going to try Blender and got through about three Youtube tutorials before I recognized some of the controls as being similar to NomadSculpt. Between the ease of use and the sensitivity of the Apple Pencil, I just gravitated toward NomadSculpt.
Someone once told me a traditional sculptor learning digital sculpting is like a pianist learning the saxophone: same notes, different instrument. I’ve been at three weeks now and I have been having a blast. Here are some of the things I’ve worked on. Expect to see more soon.
“You can’t collect scientists and not have a Rusty Venture on your mantel.”
From Adult Swim’s THE VENTURE BROS.: the underachieving son of legendary super scientist Jonas Venture and father of Hank and Dean, the Venture Bros. themselves, here’s 5” of screamin’ hot Rusty. The Venture Bros. were created by Jackson Public, and the series was written by Publick and Doc Hammer.
This Rusty Venture was sculpted in Super Sculpey over an aluminum and apoxie armature, molded with Smooth-On Equinox 40 and cast with Smooth-Cast 325. The glasses were fabricated with tiny wooden and styrene rods, then molded and cast separately (and were in incredible pain). The base is a wooded blocked, sanded and distressed, and it was all painted with acrylics and finishes with a Lazertran decal. It stands 5” tall.
Cartoonist Darwyn Cooke adapted four of Richard Stark’s violent PARKER books (THE HUNTER, THE OUTFIT, THE SCORE and SLAYGROUND, all published by IDW) into graphic novels before Cooke’s untimely death in 2016. Sad that we’d never get any more of the adaptations, I started reading the original novels, which I’ve been enjoying. I’ve sculpted Cooke’s version of Parker before, but only as he appeared in the first book THE HUNTER, after which Parker had extensive plastic surgery because he’d run afoul of he underworld. Cooke’s second version of Parker is less conventionally handsome, more chiseled, and just meaner looking, and I wanted to sculpt that version, too.
This 1/6th scale minibust is about 3” high, sculpted in Sculpey Firm over an aluminum wire and foil armature, and accented with black cel vinyl.
Cooke PARKER fans: can you tell which specific panel from which Cooke adaptation this was based on?
I saw GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS and came home and made some Godzillas.
This was sculpted in, appropriately enough, Monster Clay, molded with Smooth-On Equinox 40 silicone mold rubber (a kind of miracle product I can’t believe works as well as it does), cast with Smooth-On Smooth Cast 57D and So Strong resin tints, and finished with acrylic paint.
Big G was sculpted from memory and is kind of a hybrid between various classic Japanese Toho Studios Gojis and the American Legendary Pictures version. He’s got the compact muzzle, bulkiness and gills of the American version, with the original Japanese detailing of the brows and top of the head, and the often-forgotten tiny, cat-like ears.
I had a few of these at HeroesCon 2019, and I’ll have more available very soon.
I’ll be at HEROESCON, FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JUNE 14th-16th, 2019, and I’m taking commissions and producing mini-busts and reliefs right there at the con. Mini-busts are approximately 1/6th scale (about 3″ in height), made of durable gray polymer clay and epoxy. You pick the character and I’ll make them, and you can take it home with you bubble-wrapped and boxed.
Mini-busts are $100 each at the con, BUT if you’d like to pre-order they’re only $90!
I’ll also be offering sculpted reliefs. Reliefs will come mounted on ready-to-hang wooden plaques, and will approximately the same size and height as the mini-busts.
Reliefs look like this when viewed from the side.
Relief sculptures are $75, but preorder and they’re only $60!
The fine print: some characters are too complex or detailed to render in a timely fashion at a convention. Because of this, I ask that you don’t request characters with complicated costumes (such as Galactus), mechanical parts, or specific likenesses. Thank you for your understanding.
Created in 1934 in the comic strip by artist Alex Raymond, Flash Gordon, savior of the universe, was rocketed to the planet Mongo to save the Earth from the evil Emperor Ming the Merciless. Leadership comes easily to the athletic, charismatic Flash, who shows the oppressed and divided kingdoms of Mongo how to unite and combat Ming’s tyranny. Over the decades, Flash has been the star of comic strips, comic books, novels, movie serials, animation, TV shows, and a well-loved 1980 film starring Sam J. Jones.
Sam J. Jones’ cinematic Flash served as inspiration for this version’s costume, and I lifted his FLASH-branded ringer t-shirt, tan pants, and Nike sneakers (the pants and shoes have been updated from 1980 fashions). I didn’t try to capture Jones’ likeness, instead looking at Alex Raymond’s original drawings of Flash, but I did take some inspiration from 1930s live-action Flash actor Buster Crabbe’s distinctive finger-wave hairstyle. This sculpture was made with Super Sculpey and Aves Apoxie over an aluminum wire and foil armature, and is 1/6th scale and is approximately 12″ high. It’s painted with acrylic and enamel paints, gold leaf, and the sword is hand-made from aluminum tubing (lots of hammering, filing, and sanding!). For Ming’s image and Flash’s logo, I did simple vector drawings in Adobe Illustrator and printed them on Lazertran inkjet decal paper. This was my first time using this paper and I was really pleased with the results.
As you can see, I’ve updated Flash a bit for the 21st century: he was originally a polo player.
Created by Richard Stark (the pseudonym of writer Donald E. Westlake), the violent and remorseless criminal Parker was the subject of twenty-four Stark novels from 1962-2008. The first PARKER book, The Hunter, was one of four adapted into graphic novels by the late artist Darwyn Cooke. Although Westlake, who died in 2008, never saw the finished graphic novel, he worked with Cooke and even approved the use of the Parker name, something he’d refused the several film adaptations of Parker novels.
This sculpture is based on Cooke’s design for Parker, one authorized by Westlake, as he appeared in THE HUNTER (in subsequent stories, Parker underwent extensive plastic surgery so he wouldn’t be recognized by the criminal underworld; Cooke redesigned Parker’s face accordingly). It was sculpted in Super Sculpey over an aluminum foil and wire armature and stands about 7 3/4″ tall. It’s painted in a high-key color scheme where I tried to match the style of the colored inkwash technique Cooke utilized in his graphic novel adaptation.