Sculpt with con­fi­dence

Sculp­tors and broth­ers Bran­don and Jar­rod Shi­flett un­veil their process for craft­ing a char­ac­ter who’s in­flu­enced by clas­sic fan­tasy art… and Dr. Seuss

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Be in­spired by The Shi­flett Broth­ers.

We’re cre­at­ing a char­ac­ter sculp­ture, in clay, and our goal is to open up a lit­tle win­dow on to our sculpt­ing process. Al­though we’re sculp­tors, we’re in­spired by many old school pain­ters and il­lus­tra­tors such as Frank Frazetta, Jef­frey Cather­ine Jones, and Moe­bius. In­deed, Moe­bius’ in­flu­ence will play a big role in this piece. We don’t do any sketches or draw­ings be­fore­hand. In­stead, we largely make up our char­ac­ters as we move along, hav­ing only a rough idea of what we’re go­ing to cre­ate at the start of the sculpt­ing. And our rough idea this time is a guy wear­ing ar­ti­fi­cial wings and a dragon cos­tume, so that he can sneak into dragons’ nests with the goal of steal­ing some eggs. We sus­pect this job might have a high turnover rate, as dragons are known to be very fond of their eggs! We’d like to achieve a lit­tle whimsy in this piece, with maybe even a touch of a Dr. Seuss vibe.

We’re cre­at­ing this sculp­ture in Aves Apoxie Sculpt, which is a two-part mod­el­ling com­pound that cures when mixed to­gether into a very dense and high-grade sculpt­ing ma­te­rial. It hard­ens be­tween two and three hours af­ter you’ve mixed it to­gether. It can be carved, drilled and sanded, and it stays crisp.

be­fore we be­gin...

For a sculpt like this, one needs an armature, be­cause this clay won’t stand on its own. In fact, one needs a wire ba­si­cally any­where there’s a piece of clay stick­ing out: fin­gers, horns, wings and so on. The sil­ver wire is an alu­minium al­loy armature wire, which can be bought in vary­ing gauges to fit what­ever size piece you’re cre­at­ing. We use lots of flo­ral wire – the tiny, white, cloth-cov­ered wire – to bind the armature wire to­gether.

Once our armature is built, the real work be­gins, block­ing our char­ac­ter in clay, like the first broad strokes of a paint­ing, and then get­ting down to the de­tails, us­ing smaller and smaller pieces of clay. We’ll be pay­ing close at­ten­tion to this guy’s face, be­cause we’d like for him to come across as a sym­pa­thetic char­ac­ter.

In the end, we’ll ap­ply a paint job with acrylic paints that’ll sep­a­rate the or­ganic parts from the sculpted hard­ware parts more suc­cinctly. This char­ac­ter is go­ing to end up be­ing about 13 inches tall, and we’re call­ing the piece Dragon Di­vi­sion: Egg Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Unit. It has a nice ring to it… The Shi­flett Broth­ers, Bran­don and Jar­rod, have been sculpt­ing comic book and fan­tasy char­ac­ters for 25 years. www.shi­flet­tbroth­ers.com

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