Monday, 22 March 2010

Sketch-Sculpt: Part 2

When I started out on making my sketch-sculpt, I only knew two things: I wanted to sculpt a woman, and I wanted the pose to be dynamic. I wasn't concerned with realism or with detail yet. I didn't even know how far I was going to take it. I just wanted to do something that had some energy and appeal. So, first thing I did was flip through a few art books for reference. I decided to go with something out of Shane Glines' Cartoon Retro book. His sketches always have a lot of character and I thought this would help make a great foundation for a sculpture. Here's the drawing (to the left) that I made for myself based on one of his sketches. I scaled it up (by eye) so that I'd be able to build my armature off of the dimensions of this drawing. I made the drawing so that the sculpture would be about 8 inches tall.

At this point I was working very quickly. I was not at all concerned with being too percise. I was in "just a sketch" mode. This was a good thing though, because before I knew it, I had cut up a coat-hanger, bent it to represent the form I was going to sculpt, and started building up my clay onto it.
By the end of the day, I had, in my mind anyways, finished my first sketch-sculpt. I was happy. Even if I had stopped here, it would have been a great exercise. I had fun finding the shapes in the sculpture, and also in translating the 2D concept sketch into a 3D version. As I went along, I made decisions that pushed the sculpt away from the notable stylized look of the pencil sketch and more into realism, but even as I did this I always tried to hold onto the original energy of the pose, and certainly any exaggerated qualities of the body's shapes that were a direct result of the original stylized design. It was clear that those stylized elements were enhancing the overall appeal of the sculpture's silhouette.
Now, as you've probably noticed, I only had a concept sketch for the front of this sculpture, and nothing for the back. So, when I got to working on her backside, I just kept as consistent as I could with how I had started on her front. It was all about the shapes of the body parts at this point, and not really about true anatomy, so I just kept at it in the same fashion as when I did the front. In any case, not having reference for the back was nothing to worry about at the time because this sculpture was just a sketch. Here's the back:
After this point, I completely stopped relying on the reference drawing that I made. It had served it's purpose. It gave me a great starting pose with lots of style, energy, and attitude, but beyond that it didn't really apply anymore. The sculpture was starting to do it's own thing at this point, and I was happy to head in this new direction.

My next post will cover the next few revisions that my sketch-sculpt went through, which includes adding in a lot more detail such as hands, feet (or shoes rather), and a face. But, that being said, I just want to take a moment to say something about this first early stage. Even though the sculpture, as you see it now, is lacking in great detail, this was one of my favorite times to have been working on it. There's something about the very beginnings of a sculpture that are very rewarding, very exciting, and lots of fun! I'm glad I took these photos at this stage because it's like keeping a record of this original sketch before I scribbled all over it to get the next refined iteration.

~Tony Preciado

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Sketch-Sculpt: Part 1

We all need a kick-in-the-ass sometimes. I got one last year. It was while I was visiting an art blog where an artist made a striking sculpture that caught my attention. That particular art blog belongs to the Process Junkie, Mr. Lucio Alberto Ruiz-Diaz. He's a very talented artist, and his sculpture is really great, but the thing that grabbed my attention the most about his sculpture was his approach. He treated his sculptures like sketches. He would build his armatures out of coat-hangers, styrofoam, and anything else that served the purpose. Then he'd just go-to-town on it with his box of clay and whatever sculpting tools (make-shift or not) that he had on hand. In short, he didn't make a big production out of it. He just did it. After all—it was only a sketch.

This hit me like a ton-of-bricks! You might call it a form of inspiration, but it wasn't just inspiration that got me going. Something else was at play. I felt challenged by the simplicity of the process. It's just a sketch, right? I can do a sketch-sculpt. I have some extra coat-hangers. I have those same tools. Heck, I even have clay!

Maybe it was the challenge, or maybe it was a much needed distraction from my work, or maybe I finally realized that sculpture was something that I've always wanted to do. Whatever the reason, I'm glad for it because it worked.

It was on a Sunday, sometime in the afternoon. I grabbed a coat-hanger, a pair of vice-grips, some duct-tape, and a small wooden base, and I started my first sketch-sculpt.
This is where my sketch-sculpt stands so far. I'm not quite done with her yet. She'll go through a few more changes before I'm through, but that's ok because it's just a sketch. A sketch can change. A sketch can be altered, refined, and even played with. A sketch is a learning tool, and this one has taught me a lot! It took me several months to get to this point, including many do-overs and adjustments, and I'll go over some of the steps I took to get here in my next post.

One last thing. Getting started on sculpture wasn't the only kick-in-the-ass I got last year. I also got a good one from Tippett Studio that helped me pump-up my animation skills while I was working there as a character animator (those guys are amazing!), and another kick from all my pencil-pushing artist friends to start doing more drawing, and yet one more kick that I gave to myself to put up this art blog. That last kick finally worked.

Welcome to my first post!

~Tony Preciado.