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Sculpting Feathers


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I have been looking all over the internet on a good tutorial on sculpting feathers and have not found anything deep. Anyone have any helpful insights that can share with me? Should I make one at a time and put them together or all at once? How do you get the barbs and shaft nicely on a 28-32mm scale? What would be the best tool for the job, an angled chisel?

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This would be better with pictures, but I am in armature mode right now. Maybe later in the week when I am sculpting again I can make a couple and take some pictures.


Anyhow, here's a brief version of how I do it:


For primaries:


1. Start with a smooth board with a bit of vaseline rubbed into it to keep the GS from sticking.

2. Roll out a thin rope of GS, about 2 mm thick with a tapered end.

3. Using the flat of a spade bit tool, press down at an angle and stroke the rope toward the tip on one side to flatten it like a blade. Repeat this stroke until you have formed the feather. It should look a bit like the blade of a butter knife at this point.

4. Using a scalpel (I use a mini scalpel that I forged), slice a fine line along the spine of the primary for the quill.

5. Use the scalpel to lightly sculpt in the vane details.

6. Cut the feather off of the GS rope.

7. Using the spade tool, slice between the board and the feather to free it from the board.

8. Turn it over and lightly repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other side.

9. Attach the feather as you see fit.


For, secondaries and tail feathers, do as above, except flatten both sides of the feather with a rounded tip and the quill down the middle in steps 3 and 4. You can also do the seconaries as a block, using a larger flat section of putty and cutting in the feathers.


For body feathers, lay down a thin sheet of GS on the model and use the tip of a small spade bit to sculpt the feathers. Remember at this scale you won't see many of the individual feathers of this size.


I hope that helps.



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