Wednesday, October 21, 2009

White Rabbit Mask Commission Part 2

During our last thrilling episode, our bold heroine had just finished a mask sculpture in a blazingly fast twenty one hours. Tune in this week to see if she can actually make a mask before Halloween!

I positive cast the mask in Celluclay over the plasticine rabbit sculpture and let it dry with the help of a fan. Then I cut it off, reassembled it, filled the seams and added the hair texture with more Celluclay. I just got a new batch of Celluclay and don't know if it's because it's been reformulated or just because it's fresh and new, but it was so much smoother and took texture so much better than it has before. (For more about positive casting, see this earlier post here)

Here is the mask with texture freshly applied. The hair on the nose and muzzle looks rather schnauzer-ish, so I later sanded it down.

Here is Brian the hapless hubby modelling the mask with the flash going off in his eyes. I've tamed the hair texture somewhat, as well as sanded down the eyes, the nose, and inside of the ears. At this point I deemed the mask was ready for paint!

The customer sent me this wonderful traditional Aurthur Rackam illustration for ideas for colors.

I love this color scheme, with the creamy/yellowy white, the sepia undershadings, and brownish/reddish eyes and nose. That is one seriously wierd looking bunny though!

And.. (drumroll please).. the finished mask!

I added just a tiny bit of metallic copper paint to the irises, so that the eyes will flash when the customer moves his head. Overall I'm really pleased with how this mask came out.

And... as an added bonus, this is the only Sans Souci mask to date that is really two masks for the price of one. What a deal!

White Rabbit Mask Commission Part 1

A challenge! A customer asked me if I could make an Alice in Wonderland White Rabbit mask for Halloween. I had only a month, and I usually need around a hundred hours to finish a sculpt, often more, and at least twenty or thirty to make an actual mask. I really didn't think I had time, but I had also wanted to make a rabbit mask anyway and see if perhaps, in the two or more years it's been since I've started a new sculpt, I'd become more proficient. So I took it on.

First, I made a clay sketch on a miniature armature, to get a basic idea of masses and shapes without having to shove around pounds of plasticine. I then used this little sketch as a reference for the full sized sculpture.

Here we are fifteen minutes into the big sculpt, and Arnold the Armature is picking up your signal loud and clear. Those little bitties on the sculpting table in front of him are snails, frogs and slugs that Isabelle sculpted after sneaking into my studio one day.

End of Day One. The armature is covered and the resulting lump is somewhat rabbit shaped.

End of Day 2. Looking a little more rabbit shaped. The little clay sketch I made at first is visible in the background.

End of Day 3. Ready for liftoff! Muzzle and brows have also been refined.

End of Day 5. Per customer's request, ears restrained, cheeks narrowed down and eyebrows refined some more. At this point I am pretty much satisfied with the sculpture.

During this project I discovered some amazing new time saving sculpting tools- the digital camera, the scanner, the printer and my lightbox. At the end of each day I would take pics of the mask, print them out in black and white, and sketch changes over them I'd want to make the next day. This helped me stay focused and saved hours of needless fiddling.

These are two sketches I did to show my customer ideas for new ears and cheeks. He opted for ears somewhat between these two possibilites.

I also found that if I took pics of the mask on one side and then kept the tripod and the stand in one place, I could spin the stand around and get a picture of the other side of the mask that when flipped over, would line up very closely to the first. Then I would print out both pictures, trace around the major lines in red, flip one picture over and then lay them down on my lightbox to see any significant differences between the two sides. This was very helpful if one feature looked "right" one one side but "off" on the other, I could tell right away what the difference was.

A pic of the right hand side of the mask, outlined in red, with an area from the left hand side superimposed in green over part of the ear.

A pic of the left hand side of the mask, outlined in red, with an area of the right hand side of the mask superimposed in green over the eye.

So I had a sculpture I liked after only twenty one hours of work, which is far as I'm concerned is unprecedented.

Next, casting and painting the mask!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

New Cat Mask

Finally, a new cat mask in my Etsy store! I am extremely pleased with this mask. I used Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue, a kind of waterproof wood glue, for the first time when I cast this mask. I had bought cases of Weldbond Outdoor Wood Glue which much to my displeasure went bad in storage, so I had to run out to the hardware store to try whatever outdoor wood glue they might have on hand- and it might have turned out to be a very fortunate thing! The Titebond is very, very thin and watery, which might seem like a disadvantage but... it was not necessary to mix it with any water to cast with it, so I got next to no warping. The three pieces of the mask dried fairly true to shape, all the seams went together well, and there was much less refinishing work than usual- hurrah!

So I believe my store is relatively well stocked for Halloween. Now I just need to decide what I'm going to be when I go out trick or treating!