Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Not-Duke Creation (The Making of Q-man)...

Well I’m almost ready to open up his edition here, planning to debut him at a local show “Carolina Gold Classic” which now has 84 entrants (!!! I *know* right?!!!).  That’s in under 2 weeks.  His page is done/ready to view here;
BUT meeeeeanwhile, before the edition opens officially in March I want to share some in-progress on him to re-emphasize the fact that he is NOT anything like Deputed Duke!  ;)

Truly tho this seems to be something I can't show enough pictures of! :) It’s so funny how many people have commented to me (even as they bought preorders I got some of these comments!) that the side by side comparisons really showed them that he’s a whole different personality/look/build and that he can do totally different things (well do ALL the classes really!). :D

Sooo here is probably the most convincing photo I hope that I completely build up all over the resin until you really didn’t have resin there anymore.

But let me back up.  Here is what I did.  Around 10 years ago when I sculpted Duke I wanted to make a straight trotting version.  Realizing how daunting this was I tried two things;  first I cast apoxie sculpt in a shell inside the Duke mold, roughly making the same thing as a resin but in parts, that I cobbled together, that’s the grey fellow on the left below,  the picture just below that is where I photoshopped the head back on & made some changes before deciding "ok, let's try this again!"...

The white guy above (who a decade later became Quartermeister/the Q-man!) I started as a hacked up resin.  I don’t remember what his deal was but I have to assume he was a second of some sort.  Anyhow, note that the head wasn’t working out at ALL so I lobbed it off somewhere , at some point…

How I started that white (eventual Q-man) fellow was similar, I chopped a resin into a million pieces.  Then I took armature foam and used it to hold the center together, then I superglued, duct taped and apoxied the rest back together like a giant Humpty Dumpty project.  Somehow though it was much much larger than the resin it came from.. so the resin head just wasn’t cool.  It was way too small.  Anyhow, so it went over onto the other grey Duke for a while.. because he seemed more promising.  For ONE SIMPLE very sad little technical reason:  production cost.  The longer, taller, wider (anything) a sculpture is, the more it costs to produce in resin.  Also, the post office had raised the cost of shipping back then by size primarily.  It had a big effect on the niche market I sell to:  we all suddenly started making our sculptures smaller.  To fit in a box.    It sounds trivial but when you ship out 50 boxes and they cost $10 more ea time, this is a $500 new cost.  At the time resin editions were 150-200 on average so several thousand dollars in savings just by opting to go a little smaller was nothing to sneeze at.   Customers pay more for shipping now on average than they expected to in the past.    This is a relief to sculptors who for a while were still doing postage paid editions and just paying more out of their own pockets. ANYHOW,  so if you reaaaaaally wanted to know the reasons why some horses get shelved, this is it!  Ironic that it has nothing to do with artistic  motivations at times, but just one of  “now is not the time to make something this expensive to make”. 

Still, he CALLED to me..

As I moved from home to home he caaaaalled to me until this past fall I was looking at grey passaging boy there, alongside “working trot” Duke as I called him (honestly he’s in medium trot more than working, this is a shade below when they get those snappy extensions of the extended trot…

So I began anew this fall!

I pulled that head back off of grey Duke there & cut it into pieces, resculpted ALL the boney points;

I sat down with the horse itself and photographed him & started fiddling in photoshop to see what changes I planned to make;

 Then after I took down/rebuilt that skull entirely (above 2 headshots).. I still had the task of balancing them out & adding character.  So here we see some of how I busted out with the “contour tool” to match each side up. 

 Symmetry in heads is important.  To some extent it’s NOT a requirement for realism HOWEVER.. humans are very preprogramed to find symmetrical bodies healthier (and therefore  more attractive).  It’s very weird but true.  You can change the expression from side to side but I feel like those bones need to try to be as aligned as possible.  And that IS SO HARD for me personally.  And since I know other artists who have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to do it as well, I have to assume other artists feel similarly;  it’s a challenge that any trick helps.

Those contour tools are found at Lowes or any hardware place, or online btw.  They’re not great for soft clay as the pins don’t push so smoothly. 

Other tricks I like are to take a completely 100% front view & flip half of it in photoshop.  I probably didn’t save any of those as my desktop is hideously cluttered at times.. with sculpture blotting tissues and things that look more gross than they are so I may just have not saved that..  if you look back to 2008 I did a post on that there though with Hazel.  :)

One of the tougher things with this fellow as the shoulders.  Both the hips/haunches down and the shoulders from the scapula down, were COMPLETELY cut off & then reset on using the armature foam as I said before.  However it took some time to rebuild up the ribcage through the body extremities in these places.  The shoulder of the front right leg for example was still too compressed looking even late into the game. So I had to cut here;

and then pull it all out again and THEN slather on more apoxie-sculpt to a new more outward moved point of shoulder (this is where the humerus meets the scapula)… and then add new muscles all over until I was happy with this here;

So that was some of the challenges of salvaging an old sculpture.   Sadly like previous times I”ve done this I come to this point where I say “this would’ve been vastly faster in clay from scratch”.  This time however at least I can say that waste molding clay here would have been more expensive than I’d like to consider. 
ANYHOW, musing about costs aside, I really think he came out vastly different and hope you can see this too without even having to hold the two side by side.    Owners of Duke will NOT be disappointed & feel like they got a repeat;  this is totally NOT Duke, I promise you!  :)

Again, check out his final big bad self and all the comparison shots here;
Thanks for looking!