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My father is one of those people who is always really hard to buy for. This year I drew his name for Christmas. He is an amazing woodworker and craftsman. I wanted to get him something he didn't have and wouldn't buy for himself. I was perusing Wood magazine, and saw an add for ID coins; essentially they are laser engraved metal coins that you countersink into the bottom of your woodwork to identify it as having come from your shop. The design is yours and they make the coins for you.
I can do that, even better! So I started designing it. My dad loves owls; they are kind of his symbol already. Also, our last name is Pieper (pronounced Peeper), so every guy in my family going back at least 4 generations has been known by the nickname "Peeps" at some point in his life; it's kind of a family right of passage when your friends start calling you Peeps.
So I am designing a 3/4 inch coin with a barred owl (his favorite) on it and the words "PEEPS WOODCRAFT". I will then mold it and cast a bunch of copies in bronze for him for Christmas.
Last night, I sculpted the owl:
Hey, @ub3r_n3rd, here's the figure that I managed to finish. The top clear coat makes it a bit shiny, but I've got it under harsh lights.
With the very zoomed in picture I'm not exactly happy with the shading on the right hand side where it transitions from light to dark in the middle fold, but that was vexing me for a long time. It's the way I want it to look, but I'm not sure everybody's eye will interpret the shape that I wanted to illustrate. There's also a woodgrain painted on the bow, but it is very subtle and doesn't look to show up here. I guess that should have been something a bit more stark.
Really feel that she's missing an arrow in her hand, since she seems to want to be nocking an arrow, but there's nothing there. Need to work on my eyes for the next figure, but that's a common refrain.
Oh, stop, I mean the piece, not the girl...
This is Nemrod's flat resin pinup bust 'Sattheen' who is described as a girl wearing a tophat and corset. Because the piece is resin, it's considerably thicker than the traditional metal piece, presumably to prevent warping. The facing detail is quite small in terms of depth and very close to traditional flats. The master was sculpted by French artist Ivan Durand who also sculpted my 'Redhead Flat' buried back in the Reaper archives.
Since I sometimes have issues with leaving well enough alone, I decided to convert this piece into something more along the lines of a Steampunk bust. I've shortened the tophat, added the mandatory goggles (plastic tubing/putty), removed the necklace and added a choker (scribing/sheet plastic/putty), altered and added details to the corset (scribing/sheet plastic), and hollowed out her upper left arm to create a mechanical arm. The gizmology is composed of watch gears, plastic rod and sheet, and bolt head sliced from octagonal plastic rod. The plan is to use thin sheet plastic to build the outer skin of the arm, but leave the mechanical bits visible. This is what I've got so far...
so.... I have an idea. Yes, my precious I do!
Ahem. This is probably a crazy idea, but I wanted to take one of my favorite visual artist's work and apply it to my miniature hobby. First, a bit of info for those not familiar with art nouveau: Alphonse Mucha was a Czech painter with a really cool linear style. Feel free to Wikipedia him. He's fairly distinct. I happen to own a Mucha print book, which made it much easier to plot out my evil plan.
The idea is to take one of his prints, create a demi-rond (like a flat only thicker and closer to a bas relief, and have it becoming more 3-D as it approaches the edges of the picture frame that surrounds it. I'll create fully 3-D elements within the frame as well. Then paint the whole thing. Hard to describe, but hopefully the WIP will get there!
First, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out which print I wanted to tackle. My main goal was something not too complicated, since I don't do a great deal of this type of sculpting. I suck at sculpting faces, and I've learned symmetry is hard. Have you ever noticed how sometimes the eyes in a given mini are different? Yeah. Mine would be even more different! So, in order to avoid the not-quite-symmetrical trap, I knew I needed either a profile or a 3/4 face, to make my stress level reasonable. After much hemming and hawing, I chose this one:
See- look at all those nice lines! Such a friendly pattern to follow. Many paintings are softer, with less obvious transitions. I'd thought about using a Brom, but this should be easier, and since it's an ambitious project, I need all the help I can get!
Then, I used my trusty book:
I picked out a picture frame from my local hobby store, and the little cardboard backing is to the right in the above pic. It's the perfect size! Plus, it was on sale 70% off...
I liked this frame because it had curly lines and looked organic, and my style is organic and I plan to do a bunch of vines and leaves per usual! So I printed out the Summer and darkened the copy to make the lines stand out more:
I cut out an additional copy:
...And applied it directly to a rolled out slab of fimo. First, if anyone tries this again, a few fimo caveats. One, the stuff is firm! I bruised my poor hands kneading it. I may have to invest in a pasta machine! Two, I tried rolling it out originally on a styrene sheet and it stuck. So I had to peel it off, re-knead it (curses) and re-roll it out (used a spare rolling pin) and this time place it on a piece of parchment paper. It should be easy to sculpt on the styrene sheet to keep it flat and the parchment should peel off. Or I can bake it on the parchment and peel it off after. At any rate, if has a firmer consistency than my sculpey, so i'm hoping I can get nice hard edges, though my style is softer in general.
The reason I put the cut-out on top is that I can use it to transfer the lines to the fimo. I used a pin tool (ceramics tool, similar to an industrial strength paint pokey tool) and presed it along each line, letting the clay pick up the impression through the paper:
So you can see the lines- much easier to follow as I sculpt!
Then I started sculpting!
Hard to see with white on white, but the nice thing about these clays are that they are to some degree compressible. Which means unlike wood or plaster where I have to carve away, I can compress the edges to get the relief. I do still carve some away though.
So, still in progress, but it's been fun experimenting with this. I'm hoping to make some more progress this weekend!
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