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Are you building the face by dropping one main putty/clay wad onto the head and then drawing a face into it? If so, I'd advise switching to an iterative construction process-- build the skull, then add individual muscle/fat areas (fill the cheeks, add upper/lower lip, fill the eyebrow, build the eye socket, add eyelids, etc). There's a fantastic tutorial by James Van Schaik on Miniature Mentor that walks through the process in great detail:

 

http://www.miniaturementor.com/painting_tutorials.html#jamesgirl

 

The videos cost $30 and are absolutely worth it if you're learning to sculpt (i picked them up years ago and could not be happier with the purchase). I did a breakdown of the process he outlines here if you'd like to see a run-through. Fair warning, my example was done several years ago and my resulting model is kind of crap, but it at least demonstrates the basic steps.

 

<-- Not associated with MM at all, just a really satisfied customer. :)

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That yellow light is making these photos look awful, let's try another light.

 

Sliced off a few bits, somewhat resculpted, a few things attempted to fix, hair and sleeves added. Standing next to her Super Sculpey rough sketch I used as a ruler throughout the assault gun project.

 

tWHmWI5.jpg

 

This pose was hard to do, sitting figures have... special requirements. Do people use the same humanoid armature, or does the wire skeleton look completely different?

 

NtjhG5Z.jpg

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If you want to learn to sculpt faces faster, I suggest buying a realistic mannequin head to use as a reference. If I had just a little more space in my room I'd be tempted to buy a complete mannequin, they're very cheap and it's much easier to work from a full-sized 3-dimensional model that you can rotate and view from any angle, than a photograph.

realistic-female-mannequin-head-7.jpg

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This pose was hard to do, sitting figures have... special requirements. Do people use the same humanoid armature, or does the wire skeleton look completely different?

 

I haven't done much of that yet; I've only tried sitting figures 3 times, and I failed badly 3 times. I think it's more difficult, especially with more complex poses such as a character sitting cross-legged, because the flesh and muscle are squashed together, and muscles tend to be tightened in some sitting poses. Also, if the length of the legs or torso is wrong, it will be more obvious because the knees and ankles are closer to the body.

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Thanks Arydis!

 

HIA7uZe.jpg

 

Sculpted the hair. I originally was thinking about making one of those modern sleek complex looking compound bows, except I realized I really wouldn't know where to start to sculpt such a thing. So, just a standard-ish simple bow hammered out of 16 ga brass wire. Hammering the wire heavily flattens it out more, so by adjusting the pressure I can get the tapered look. At the very ends I actually tapped lightly on the sides to make them slightly narrower and squared off.

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TeUMO5L.jpg

 

Another attempt at the 1/35 minis I need to finish my assault gun semi-diorama. Sagittarius can wait until I figure out how exactly I want to build her lower half.

 

Normally I sculpt both legs at once, building up slowly, putting all the muscle groups in place. This usually leads to seams and peeling and other annoyances. So I figured, why not sculpt the whole leg at once? Pick a side, sculpt it as perfect as I can make it, wait for it to cure (or force-cure it, but I'm not in too much of a hurry and the process isn't foolproof), and then sculpt the other leg? And so on?

 

I mean the seams will generally be in places I don't care about seams, and if I plan it right, I can leave the seams at natural sculpting boundaries where there are supposed to be seams, like sleeves and such. Time will tell if this actually works, but it's looking quite promising so far.

 

Also that set of 1/35 pin-up girls I acquired recently had an unexpected side-benefit. Seeing what forms and proportions a proper mini should have at the end is a lot more helpful than having a wire skeleton that may or may not conform to a real skeleton, and a vague idea how the flesh hangs off of it.

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What I used to use for my armatures was a ratio I found from an anatomy site (sorry no link, it was on an old computer).

 

This meant I measured each "bone" according the the ratio. So my limbs were the right proportions...most of the time. There were a couple figs I got so wrapped up in doing the knee muscles for instance that half the calf was lost.

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I use Patrick Keith's skeleton armature card. I mean, it's accurate... I just keep on over- or underestimating the volume of body parts, and a 3d reference is very helpful for that where a 2D skeleton just doesn't help. Things like heads too big, calves too big, arms waaaay too thick, etc.

 

rbHvOUq.jpg

 

Two more sculpting sessions. Other leg (a bit harder to do, but still much better result than both at once), and the torso, one session each.

 

You can see the blending problems I have where her legs meet her torso. Fortunately, they're in a place that'll be covered later. Feet and the lower part of the calves are purposely undersized since I'll be sculpting the boots in another session.

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