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July 4, 2011


by sven at 5:00 pm


Happy birthday to my brother Shield! As a gift, I created this little goblin fairy, "Clyde."

painted backdrop

If you scan back through my work, you'll see that I've been experimenting with wall sculptures for several years. And monsters… Since childhood. This feels like the next evolution for both. Very excited.

alternate wall mount

Clyde can be detached from the abstract painted backdrop panel. As an afterthought, I created an additional alternate wall mount, which focuses attention just on Clyde.

wall mount from side

I think I kind of like the simple presentation better… But now Shield has both, and can pick whichever one works best for him.

clay sketch

While figuring out what I wanted to do for this piece, I did some sketches in clay. I allow a lot of room for improvisation while sculpting — I thought you'd be interested to see how different the sketch is from the final.

armature core

A big discovery on this piece: how to make a good core armature. I'm an armature guy — you'd think I'd already know what I'm doing. But armatures for stop-motion puppets and armatures for static sculptures are two very different things. Realizing that a simple block of wood on two steel posts makes a good core opens up whole worlds.


This armature isn't that great, actually. I was improvising, and didn't drill the holes for the rods perfectly straight. And I used hot glue rather than epoxy for attaching limbs. Still, the concept is there.

bulking out with aluminum foil

Super Sculpey (a polymer clay) needs to be fairly thin for baking. You bulk out the basic form using aluminum foil.


Here's the sculpture before baking or painting. After baking, I did a lot of work with sandpaper to smooth up the form.

base coat of paint

I wound up spending a fair amount of time painting texture, highlights, and subtly different colorings for different parts of the body. Basically, though, the paint job begins with a dark base color, then proceeds to dry-brushing on the blue. It's a good way to make sure that crevasses are dark — instead of trying to paint them in with a tiny brush.


Here's what the back looks like with the two 1/8" dia. steel rods protruding.

have a nice flight, Clyde!

I hope that Clyde enjoys his new life with Shield and his family.

And Shield: stock up on sugar cubes. I think this little guy has a high metabolism.

posted by sven | July 4, 2011 5:00 PM | categories: painting, sculpture