That’s a Negative on the Arms

Continuing to add details. Check out those handsome pockets. Very posh.

As I alluded to in the last post, the arms were not quite right. I spent a little time thinning them down, but I began to run into the armature wire, so some drastic action was required to reposition her “arm bones”.


I’m also starting to smooth down the surface and get it as even as possible. You’ll notice too that, now that I have the pigtails at a size and shape I like I’ve clipped the loose ends of the hair wires away and covered up the ends.  I’ll be doing the same thing with the arms when I have them right and proper.

Because I’m also trying to learn some computer-based 3D modeling, I will be starting in on a 3D model Ada in Maya in a little while. (Ada and Maya, it makes them sounds like little friends ^_^) I’ll try and post some of my progress on that front as well in the near future.

Until then, intrepid Internet reader. Up next, arms of course.

Sartorial and Coiffeurial Progression

With the major body shapes in place I’ve begun adding some details. This includes the beginning of her lab coat, and of course her glorious pigtails. Have a look:

Incidentally, there were a few steps in here that I left out (sorry). After working up the initial body shapes I found that I had bulked up the armature a little too much. The foil and wires were right up the the surface of of the layer of clay, so some surgery was required. I stripped away most of the clay from the body and head and then with a pair of pliers I crushed the foil and wire of the armature so it was about 10% smaller. Then built the clay layers back up.

Sometimes it’s a little disheartening to take such drastic measure. At first I kept sculpting hoping I could make things work, but I think I lost a lot of time doing this. No worries it was worth it. Everything is dandy-swell and peachy-fine now.

The other bit I should probably mention is the wire I added to the back of Ada’s giant mellon to give some structure to the pigtails. You can just barely see the ends of the wire peeking out from the ends of each lock. Just as before I used a section of of heavy gage wire wrapped with thinner wire, but this time the wire isn’t really attached to the head armature at all. It’s just held in place by the thick clay at the back of her head.

Coming up, a face.

Ada, Modern Pretentious Minimalist Sculpture Edition

Starting to add some clay now. I’m using Super Sculpey to make this model. However, the Sculpey that comes out of the box is a sickly semi-transparent flesh tone that I am particularly averse to, so I mixed the straight stuff with 1 white and 1 black square package of colored Sculpey III to get this neutral opaque grey color ( or is it gray colour? ). If you’re planning on trying this, get yourself one of those little pasta machines to help you mix the clay. Otherwise it will likely take you an entire day of kneading and rolling to get them mixed (that was my experience anyway).

So far I’m just generally building up the mass of the major shapes.

If you compare this version with the armature in the last post you’ll also notice that there is an extra support coming from Ada’s back. I was hoping to get away with only the 2 leg wires running through the base but after a little work with the clay that proved to be unstable. With Ada’s new appendage things are much easier.

More to come, including pig-tails!

Ada’s Wiry Bones

I’ve started a new sculpture project and I’ve committed this time to try and take some exciting in-progress pictures.

One of the last things I made before leaving school was a maquette of an animal character I created as part of my final semester project. I had no idea what I was doing at the time so inevitably the whole process was loads of fun. And you know what? It turned out brilliantly.

This time around I decided to make something a little more ambitious, a standing figure model of Ada, the little pig-tailed scientist girl from my animation project.

I’ve started with an armature, basically a loose skeleton of wire that can be affixed to a base and will give the model a bit of support. Here’s my initial armature.

The base is made from a blank wood round I bought at the craft store. I simply drilled 2 small holes and ran my leg wires through them. On the bottom I took a chisel and made some channels for the loose ends of wire to sit in so that the base could sit flat.

I used 2 sizes of wire. One heavier gauge for the main shapes and one much lighter to tie things together. If you look close you can see that in places like the arms and legs I’ve wrapped bits of the smaller wire around the larger structural wire. Becuase the large wire is smooth it can be hard for the clay to stick to it in places like this. Wrapping the bare wire like this gives the clay something to hold on to.

You’ll also notice that I’ve added in some balls of aluminum foil to form the major masses. By using the foil I don’t have to use so much clay, so the final model is lighter and less expensive. I use foil because it can be baked in the oven right along with the clay.

More progress shots to come so stay tuned.