I am big fan of the Comic art of Humberto Ramos
and Francisco Herrea
and especially the way that they draw Spider man. Their work has inspired me to have a go at a funky sculpture of the webbed fella, and the above image is the first stage in its creation. I though that I could use this as a case study to look at how I put these things together, seeing as a few people have been asking my advice at work lately. Righty-tighty - off we go.. .
1. First I wound two pieces of aluminum wire together, and arranging them in shape and proportions of my design I epoxied them at hips and chest to make a strong yet flexible armature that I can adjust as I fine tune the weight of the Piece. I use thick enough wire to be able to hold the pose at the brace of the foot and the ankle. This is where the most weight is being taken so it's the weakest, and if I have a character with a thin ankles, standing on one toe then I'll use Steel and then attach that to aluminum wire at a point of less strain.. the hips of shoulders.
2. I like to 'key' the armature by winding cotton thread around it and then covering it in plastic cement glue. This helps the clay stick to the wire.. .always tricky thing.. .especially with thinner characters. Some people will bulk up some areas of the armature with putty but I find that that makes me less flexible with the design. Unless I have a really clear set of plans I won't do this. I want to be free to adjust the core of the shape as it forms.
3. This armature is pegged into the base using sleeved K&S brass square section
- male on the figure and female on the base. This is very important.. it makes the figure solid and controllable. You want to be sure that my figure can support it's own weight when it's hardened. This might sometimes mean adding supports whilst I work on it and taking them off after baking (I did this with Man Holding Bear
). But if the thing still can't take it's weight when it comes out of the oven without some horrible support sticking out of it's crotch then your stuck trying to paint the unsightly thing to look like something inconspicuous. Use your imagination.. . :)
4. To start sculpting I covering the whole armature in a thin layer of Super Sculpy
. And then I sculpt a foot. I need a foot to start.. .it's where all of the weight goes and if I don't believe in the foot I cant believe in the weight of the model. Perhaps this comes from Stop motion and 'tying' down models with threaded bar, but there has to be one foot before I will continue the model. That foot could change completely.. .and probably will, but I NEED IT to get going. FOOT...!