Saturday, September 29, 2012

Abe Lincoln relief sculpture

I just finiehed this miniature relief of Lincoln. It will be sold through Michael roberts Ltd.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The completed relief

The completed relief. The bayonet was made mostly from plastic stock with the remainder being putty and a very small piece of brass wire. Castings of this piece will be available through The Artist Preservation Group.

Early stage of sculpting

These photos show the early stages of sculpting. I started with the head to establish the character of the piece.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Getting started

The techniques used to make this relief are the same as those used for the Confederate bugler. So if you're trying to make a relief of your own refer to those other posts in those areas where I may have unintentionally skipped over. The photographs in the following image are intentionally dark so the steps can be more clearly seen.

The drawing is attached to the sculpting surface by rubbing it down while applying a little pressure. It will be enough to hold it in place while transferring the drawing to the Sculpey. The drawing is transferred by poking through to the sculpting surface using a pointed tool.

The tracing is slowly lifted from the sculpting surface revealing the drawing which is made up of as many or as few holes as one chooses to make.

The entire outside of the design is cut into with an X-Acto knife. Then a second and third pass is made slowly cutting away the excess material from the outside of the design.

The excess material can be used where additional relief is needed. There is a thin film of Vaseline between the tile and the Sculpey. Given that the excess material may be a bit softer than usual due to the Vaseline. This excess can be thrown away, I just chose to use it. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Son of Erin

Though I was happy with the way the confederate relief came out, something was missing. The Artist Preservation Group (APG) show is being held this year in Fredericksburg VA. I thought a relief of the famed Irish Brigade could not be a better choice given the show venue. I've decide to do another relief and make this a second donation to the APG's show and continued efforts towards Historic Preservation.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Confederate Relief done

Here's the finished sculpture. This will go into the mail at the begining of the week for casting.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Into the homestrech

The Confederate relief is almost done. There is some cleanup work along with some minor back filling and other minor things (like adding the bugle cord) before it ships next week. The photograph shows the pieces that make up the sculpture. The small tassel that hangs off of the hat will be permanently attached. The bugle and saber blade are the only separate pieces.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sculpture in progress

Here is how the piece has progressed as of today. Though some areas look finished I'll still go back in for further refining.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Let's begin

The first step involved scanning the art and then reducing it to the actual size of the finished piece. I took a piece of acetate and traced (yes, I cheated) the painting. The acetate "tracing" was taped to a piece of white paper and traced again sing a piece of waxed paper. A fine point Sharpie worked fine for drawing on the waxy surface.

The tracing.

A mixture of Sculpey Firm and Sculpey III was mixed together and rolled into a ball. It was then placed on a piece of black floor tile and flattened by pressing down on it with another tile. The wax paper tracing was pressed down over this once the Sculpey was flattened to where the design fit. I then poked through the drawing with a pointed tool. The purpose of this is so an outline of the drawing is left so the forms can be sculpted.

After I finished poking through the entire drawing I slowly peeled the wax paper off. To my surprise the drawing transferred to the Sculpey in addition to the holes from the tool. I thought maybe the tool carried some of the ink though, I'm not really sure.

Ready for sculpting!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Relief in sight

Now that things are moving a long I can post something new. The next project is my donation for the Artist Preservation Group. It's been a long time since I've done a relief sculpture. The project was started after getting permission from Historical Artist Keith Rocco to reproduce one of his studies. The subject is a Confederate cavalry bugler.

Check out more of Keith's work at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On a related note

In addition to sculpting and art projects I've also been involved in a miniature related project. Mike Stelzel of Michael Roberts Ltd has just released two sets of photo etched Civil War belt buckles and cartridge box plates for use with 75mm figures. I did a total of seventeen different designs that make up the Confederate and Federal (Union) set. Here is a sample of the designs along with the finished product in photo etched brass. Though the design work plays a major part, the folks that did the photo etching played a major role also. These piece will help save a lot of time (and stress) on future projects. Believe me, sculpting something this size with detail that small is not fun.

A sample showing four of the designs.

The finished product in brass.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sculpting completed

The sculpting portion of the figure is now done, finally! I have to now add some fring to the shoulders and sleeves. I believe I'm going to use lead coated with superglue for strength. The only piece missing from the figure is the powder horn which attaches around the upper right corner of his bullet pouch/ hunting bag.

Left arm and hand sculpted

This part was a little tricky. The remainder of this figure is turning into a bit of a learning experience. The rough body of the hand overlapped the barrel of the rifle too much. I thinned it down as much as I could with the hand glued to the rifle barrel. It was a nail biting process as it was not holding onto much. The addition of the fingers gave it additional strength. So if you're wondering why the fingers are not wrapped around the entire barrel that's why.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let's get moving!!!

It's finally time to get this project done. What's the deal with work on a piece coming to a dead stop when it's about 70 to 90% done? I almost always seem to run out of steam went a piece gets to that level of completion. Let's get on to what's new on the trapper.

Trigger Guard and rifle placement
Originally I planed to make the trigger guard out of putty rolled out and cut into a strip. Due to the size and shape I decide to try a different approach. The first 2/3 of the guard was made from flattened sheet lead ( yes lead ) cut into three small individual pieces. Each piece was shaped and applied using Gorilla Glue ( super glue ) to assemble the pieces. The last 1/3 was made from Magic-Sculpt. The rifle was then fitted and glued to the blocked out left hand. After the glue thoroughly dries I'll add the fingers.

What's left?
After the hand I'll then sculpt the remainder of the coat sleeve. After that comes strips of fringe that will run down the back center of the sleeves. I'm thinking that more flattened sheet lead will work best here. After that a little detail on the powder horn and a feather for his hat will see it complete.