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facts & figures


After a…what is it, three-year hiatus? I finally sculpted something again. Hooray!

This is something I wanted to make for my husband David back when he was still just my boyfriend, but I got busy (2011), and then we didn’t really like the house we were living in (2012), so I didn’t get around to it until now (2013). We just got married and bought our first house, so this seemed like the right opportunity.

Anyway, it took about two days, several photos, and a Google Maps aerial view to get the house sculpted, and then came the scary baking part where the whole thing could go up in flames (literally). But the house survived, and then all I had to do was stick it in the snowglobe…somehow.

Ever wondered what’s inside a snowglobe? I don’t know about yours, but mine is full of plastic snow, three bottles of distilled water, a shot of vodka, and an adult enema kit.

Listen, we were out of rubbing alcohol (to prevent bacteria), and they don’t sell pure glycerine (to break the surface tension of the water) at my local drugstore. They do, however, sell glycerin-based adult enemas. And I had an open bottle of vodka in the house. So.

Ho ho ho?

Man do I hate hands.

At least it’s one of those things that’s hard for everyone, right? Don’t all artists hate hands? They’re brutal.

I’m still working through the Wendy Froud DVD, and she’s definitely improving my work a ton. But every once in a while she speeds through something insanely difficult like it’s a cakewalk and it kills me. Like, she’s all, “So then you just make some fingers, and ta-da! You’re done.” Not all of us worked on Labyrinth, Wendy. How do I make fingers? Because I’m pretty sure you don’t just shove five little worms on the end of a ball like I did.

The other challenge is working with such a relatively small amount of Sculpey, because it warms in my hands until it’s too soft to be sculpt-able. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

More fun with Wendy Froud! I basically just refined the face I started last week, and after I smooth it out with acetone, it’ll be ready for baking and painting. We’re about to start sculpting hands now, which I’m a little nervous about. I predict that I will sculpt one excellent hand, not be able to duplicate it, and decide to give my figure a hook for a hand. Or maybe a tentacle!

Here’s a quick sketch of a head I did while watching Wendy’s DVD. It’s not perfect, but it was already so much easier to sculpt with someone helping me in the background. If you recall, the last time I tried to sculpt a head was an epic failure, even though I had an open textbook in front of me with a lot of helpful illustrations. It’s just not the same as watching someone move, hearing their voice, and getting a sense of the process in real time.

So here’s a rough draft of what may become my male figure sculpture. Hooray! I’m kind of digging on his bat ears.

The more eagle-eyed among you may notice that this is not a sculpture.

A few weeks ago, I received a small grant from Berkeley Repertory Theatre to teach my lazy self how to figure sculpt, which means no more worms and boxes for this girl! Human figures all the way! I tried signing up for a class where I could learn from a live model, but there weren’t any being offered locally during the time I needed them. So I did the next best thing: ordered three fantastic DVDs from the world-renowned Gnomon Workshop. I even had enough grant money left over for two wire armatures, eight pounds of Super Sculpey, and eight pounds of Sculpey Firm. Woo-hoo!

Step one: Creating a Fantasy Figure by Wendy Froud (who sculpted characters for Labyrinth and Dark Crystal). At the moment, I’m just watching and learning. But I’m going to post my progress as I follow along with her, so this little wire guy should have some meat on his bones in a day or two…I hope. Stay tuned!

It’s…a bookworm!

Yes, yes, I know. I took a month and a half off and then sculpted a worm. Toddlers can sculpt worms. I get it. But I got +5 xp for it, so…cool?

For those of you who just went “huh?”, my friends run a game company, and I’m playtesting their new ARG. Pretty neat, right? Anyway, one of my character’s classes is “bookwyrm” and I get experience points for designing an avatar, so…you already stopped reading, didn’t you? Ok, fair enough.

Anyway, worm! It’s better than nothing.

Super Sculpey

Look, it’s the TARDIS!

If you couldn’t tell, this photo features my brand new light box. I’m still working out how to trick my camera into ignoring all the seams in the background, but that’s a problem for another day. Regardless, I definitely appreciate not having to worry about lighting anymore (notice how 90% of my photos appear to be taken in the one well-lit corner of my kitchen?).

Here’s the TARDIS again with an old friend:

~2.5 hours, Sculpey III


This month’s (let just be honest) figure comes to us from my beloved BBC total-nonsense series, Dr. Who. The Daleks are scarier than they look, man! I’m just saying.

Seen here, Dalek Sec is posing among his distant relatives: the attachments on my kitchen blender.

Here’s a better view of his eggbeater arm:

Sculpey III, ~2 hours

Remember the frog prince from this post? I decided to clean him up and give him as a gift to the boy who inspired him, so I popped him in the oven a la Rhonda’s R2D2. Unfortunately, unlike Artoo, he came out a little burnt:

So I painted him. But rather than go to the store for some new acrylic paint, I used some hand-me-down tubes of paint from my grandmother, who bought them for an art class maybe 40 years ago. I can’t find a date on the box anywhere, but it looks like it’s from the 70s at the absolute latest. When I tried to twist the cap off the tube of white paint, the tube itself split down the side.

This is my way of explaining that the paint came out a little…funny.

But after the first, somewhat chunky coat, I started thinning the paint with water (I was also using those rainbow-colored dollar-store brushes with the black nylon bristles; classy) and the texture improved. Anyway, here he is in all his whitewashed glory. Enjoy!