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JeffWoodall

Jeff Woodall- recent sculpts

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Posting my attempts to improve at sculpting.
Feel free to comment and critique.
Sorceress adventurer casting fireball. Made of polymer clay, greenstuff and wire. 34mm from feet to head.
Dwarven scribe about 30 mm tall from base. Made from polymer clay, greenstuff and wire.

casting fireball.jpg

dwarvenscribe.jpg

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Nice - far better than I can do. 

My biggest critique is that the flames on the fireball don't look right.   Honestly, i think it would paint up better as a pineapple. 

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1 hour ago, kristof65 said:

Nice - far better than I can do. 

My biggest critique is that the flames on the fireball don't look right.   Honestly, i think it would paint up better as a pineapple. 

Thanks. Yeah I'm not quite happy with that fireball, maybe I'll go over it with some green stuff and get it better.

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Agreed on the fireball--more texture would help a lot there.

The dwarf scribe is pretty narrow in the shoulder and waist for what I imagine as dwarven physiology; I get more of a short human vibe from the proportions. 

Detailing is quite nice, and smoother than I've ever been able to do! These are shaping up well and I'd love to see more!

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3 hours ago, kristof65 said:

Nice - far better than I can do. 

My biggest critique is that the flames on the fireball don't look right.   Honestly, i think it would paint up better as a pineapple. 

It also kind of looks like a dragonfruit, come to think of it. 

 

Or a punk rocker Oddish. 

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22 hours ago, Rigel said:

Agreed on the fireball--more texture would help a lot there.

The dwarf scribe is pretty narrow in the shoulder and waist for what I imagine as dwarven physiology; I get more of a short human vibe from the proportions. 

Detailing is quite nice, and smoother than I've ever been able to do! These are shaping up well and I'd love to see more!

Thanks, I'll post more as I finish them.

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Did a sculpt of a monster that I wasn't real happy with and may get back to soon. So I decided to try another attempt at a female this time an elf magic user in the old First Edition DnD art style (Jeff Dee, Erol Otus, Russ Nichols etc). Trying to also figure out what sort of background to use on the photography.

elfmu2.jpg

elfmu1.jpg

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My recent sculpt done for a sculpting challenge. A wight (as in barrow-wight) done in the old First Edition DnD style (as in Erol Otus, Russ Nichols, Jeff Dee, and similar illustrators).

wight2.jpg

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Thanks for sharing these, Jeff!

I like seeing the range of character types that you're sculpting.

 

I improved the most in my sculpting by using real-world or photographic reference, whenever I could. 

I still sculpt in Green Stuff (with ProCreate or Aves Apoxie Sculpt mixed in), so I can't give any advice specifically about polymer clay, but most of this should apply to sculpting in any medium.

 

- Hands!  They are hard to sculpt, or even to draw. 

Be specific about how all 4 fingers and the thumb are positioned, as well as how they all work together.  Remember that the fingers have bones and joints, so the backs of fingers should show flat segments and angles, not continuous curves.   I've sculpted plenty of unintentional "catcher's mitt" hands if I didn't keep this in mind.

When I'm about to sculpt a figure with an open hand, I take a photo of my hand in that position.  When I'm about to sculpt a figure holding a club, sword, spear, etc., I take a photo of my hand(s) holding an object of similar thickness, such as a roll of tracing paper or the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels -- a little thicker than a real hammer or knife, because I exaggerate the proportions for casting.   If the figure would be holding the object tightly, I told the object tightly.  Then I keep these  photos as a reference ("on-hand", if you will!...) while sculpting.

When I sculpt a hand grasping an object, I start with a mass of putty, then use a clay-shaper or a knife to flatten the planes between the joints, then cut in the gaps between the fingers. 

When I sculpt a hand without an object in it, sometimes I use a very thin wire armature in individual fingers, or use a harder putty like Apoxie Sculpt to be self-supporting.

This was one of my earliest sculpts (a derro, for Reaper), and his big chunky hands gave me more room for error, but I still think it has among the best hands I've ever sculpted:

derrogruntspear_dks_Final-Frontview400.jpg.45e7a5a923aed6a4e2bffe54adc68127.jpg

 

The hands of this vampire spawn are too big, I know, but you can see how I supported the splayed fingers: 

VampSpawnMale_dks_WIP5stages-400h.thumb.jpg.75fa42b661c2698539f67be88a4f15ce.jpg

 

 

And this is one of my most recent sculpts, but I'm proud of the tension in his raised right hand.  The fingers are Green Stuff with some Aves Apoxie Sculpt mixed in for rigidity in the final cured form.  (Aves is a very light gray, and ProCreate is a mid-gray, so you can see the mixes in the different colors of the putty):

Barzillai_dks_green2views-500h.jpg.b2de387fe5f3324bd8a45c4007d75772.jpg

 

 

- Clothing / drapery. 

I also often use photo reference to figure out a realistic arrangement of wrinkles and folds, at least if I have a shirt or trousers from my closet that is similar to what the figure is wearing.  I stand in the same pose, take a photo, and then sculpt those folds on the figure. 

It's tougher with fantasy garments -- loincloths, cloaks, robes, etc. -- that I can't replicate with my mundane wardrobe.  In those cases, mostly I look at other good miniatures for reference and I just try to copy/adapt what that sculptor did.  Or sometimes I can use my imagination and make up a garment and folds, but sometimes the result isn't so good.

Dynamic/action poses also make it hard to sculpt realistic drapery, because I can't get a photo of myself leaping through the air (for example).  And if I just stand with my body in a similar pose but not moving, the folds in the cloth doesn't have the right lively quality.

I also remember that a layer of putty or clay is much thicker in scale than an actual garment on a body, even if it's a thick fabric.  To compensate for this, I usually don't sculpt the underlying body to its full thickness, but I leave it undersized, so then the extra-thick layer of putty "clothing" looks like a properly thick layer of cloth on a proper body.

I used photo reference for this guy's trousers (myself as a model), for example:

VladFinal-dks_2views.jpg.6585912b166fa2ef0e80c9914759ab73.jpg

 

 

- Anatomy, especially of bare arms. 

Again, reference is my friend.  I can use my own skinny arms to see how the muscles and tendons connect when I'm sculpting a thin human or elf or ghoul, but I need help figuring out a more massive and muscular body.  Then I go to reference.  I used photos of bodybuilders as reference for Kevoth-Kul:

KevothKul_dks_green_front-500h.jpg.c46b113ed15f7fa0ffdb94df93e68b69.jpg

 

 

Small but specific suggestions for you, about arm proportions:  Shorten the forearms (generally), and maybe lengthen the upper arms (generally), starting in the armature phase.  On a given figure, make sure the left arm and right arm have the same shoulder-to-elbow length, and elbow-to-wrist lengths that are the same for left & right but slightly shorter than the shoulder-to-elbow.  I use a drawing compass to compare lengths and proportions on my figures.

I know, we are exercising artistic license and not trying to replicate realistic proportions, but it looks a little weird to me if the elbow-to-wrist length (ulna & radius bones) is visibly more than the shoulder-to-elbow length (humerus bone), or if the lengths are different on the two arms.  

I always make my figures' hands a bit oversized, but I try to keep the upper and lower arms in realistic proportions ... unless I want to have a grotesque effect, such as with this Pathfinder sinspawn's long forearms.  Nevertheless, I used my own arms as the starting point for the bones and muscles:

PathfinderSinspawn_dks_GreenFinal-3views400h.jpg.715dd9e7ba8f302e9e8abb9318b0f403.jpg

 

 

Anyway, keep working and keep sharing!

 

Derek

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To elaborate a little on what Derek @dks was suggesting about the arms: we often need or want to exaggerate arms as a feature in particular but in order to keep them feeling realistically usable and recognizable for the viewer there's a couple easy "checks" I do. 
1. Make sure both arms/legs have the same proportion. (Shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist, hip to knee, knee to ankle)
2. The elbow should fall at the same height as the smallest point in the waist and wrists end roughly at the pelvis.

Wingfeather-5.jpg

This is artwork by Nicholas Kole for the comic Wingfeather Saga. Although each character has vastly different body types and proportions he is still maintaining the general rule that elbows fall at the smallest point in the waist and wrists fall roughly at the pelvis. To compensate for the enlarged arms the rest of the figure has been adjusted to fit within these guidelines. 
3. I always have to break down hands by the blocks/shapes that make up each component. I find that animators and cartoonists are great resources to study for understanding how to break those complex forms down into something understandable and usable. Here's a study by Mitch Leeuwe of breaking down hands. I find his simplification easy to apply to a variety of hand poses. 

th?id=OIP.rUnk_qpydWITfNn5NLgY6wHaHa&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

Hope that helps :)

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