Sculpting Quick Links Sculpting Quick Tips

Sculpting

For this How-To Guide, I will be taking you through the process used to sculpt the Devil's Workshop "Wrapture" mask. It is a rather simple and straight forward mummy type character, and it is a full head mask without a neck.

The process of sculpting a mask is an incredibly forgiving process. By that I mean, clay as a medium, is forgiving. If you mess something up, you can just smear it away into the clay and give it another try. If your proportions are off, you can make adjustments anytime!

I tend to approach the process of sculpture from a standpoint of working from the large and general shapes down to the smaller details. Always begin by roughing out and then refining your bone structure and overall design first. Once the overall sculpt is sound then it's time to begin working in details. I add detail using the same principle. I begin with the largest, most prominent features, and then work my way down to the smaller details.

I also recommend always trying to look at the sculpture as a whole. Always be moving from side to side, front to back as you work on a sculpt. this helps keep the sculpture proportioned and even.

In addition, sculpting with water-based clay is mostly an additive process, meaning you're starting with nothing and adding clay as you go on. That's not to say that I don't carve into the clay, but it's not as if we are starting with a block of marble and hacking away at it.

Lastly, it's important work in a well lit area. I tend to sculpt directly under a hanging lamp. I begin with my armature placed on top of the turntable. I also like to have my clay and tools within my arms reach.

Process

For this How-To Guide, I will be taking you through the process used to sculpt the Devil's Workshop "Wrapture" mask. It is a rather simple and straight forward mummy type character, and it is a full head mask without a neck.

Step 1 - Building Up the Form

The first step is to begin adding clay to the armature. I generally begin with the face and brow and then move to other areas around the skull. While I知 not worried about accuracy with the first lumps of clay, I do try to build up the rough general skull form. The goal is to add at least an inch of clay across the entire head, to make sure the final mask will be wearable and allow for the shrinkage that will occur during the molding and casting phases.

Click on the image to the left to view a slideshow of the process. Notice how I cover the entire piece with rough slabs of clay and then roughly blend them together. The sculpture looks very rough and primitive at this point. Notice the build up of clay to the top and back of the sculpture whichs builds up a good 2" cushion.

Step 2 - Roughing in Basic Forms

At this point I begin to establish rough forms by adding on clay. The brow is beginning to take form, as are the cheekbones, the jaw line, chin and back of the skull. In addition very rough teeth are added just to give me a feeling for how they affect the overall look of the sculpture.

This is an important concept to remember - it's ok to establish rough forms to see how they look, you can always take them away if you're not happy with how they look and sit with the sculpture. Don't be afraid to experiment and try things as you sculpt. Now is the time to do them, when you have no detail to ruin. Experimentation is a big part of the creative process!

Next I add in ear forms to establish where they’ll sit within the sculpture. I’ve also refined the brow and chin to establish the actual structure of bone beneath the flesh. I’m also starting to establish very rough contours of eventual wrinkles that I’ll add to the forehead and cheek areas. The sculpt is still super rough and raw, but I can see it taking shape!





As mentioned before, I am working the sculpture as a whole. Notice both ear forms in place, as well as the general forms across the whole sculpture. Click on the image to the left open an interactive slide show.






Step 3 - Building Out the Forms

At this point I begin to establish rough forms by adding on clay. The brow is beginning to take form, as are the cheekbones, the jaw line, chin and back of the skull. In addition very rough teeth are added just to give me a feeling for how they affect the overall look of the sculpture.




Step 4 - Smoothing the Forms

At this point I'm ready to begin smoothing down the skull to eliminate the uneven lumps and bumps. I will do this by raking the sculpture in two phases. I値l start with my metal rib and I値l comb the entire cranium area several times making sure to vary the direction of my strokes. I値l continue to cross and repeat my strokes until it feels like I have an good consistent surface. I知 also making sure not to take huge chunks of clay off my sculpture.

I will repeat the entire process again using my large circular rake tool. This tool will appear to make the skull look rougher, but it actually helps refine the shape even further. I try to move my rake in circular motions as follow the bone structure. Be careful not to rip away portions of your sculpture.