I took a break from doing the prehistoric trees; got stuck on the tree fern leaves. still haven't figured them out yet but did start on them again tonight . In the meantime while they sat. After watching episode 2 of this seasons Walking Dead and seeing a really cool zombie that seemed to be rotting into a tree I figured I'd try and make a kit out of it. I think I'll call it 'Fertilizer'. It's ready to be molded now. If you like zombies, and who doesn't, enjoy.
Did five zombie heads for my brother-in-law also. Was thinking about making them out of candy with bubblegum brains and call them zombie pops; then you could eat the zombies brains.
The leafs were made using a paper punch used for scapbooking I found at a local craft store; I found an oak leaf, a Christmas holley one with 3 leaves and a couple barries; I also found one with a couple fern leafs which I ended up not using. I took all the plastic parts off them ( I put it back together since) once I could get to the "waiste" part I rolled out a sheet of supersculpy between a couple plastic sheets then experimented trying to punch some out; that took a bit of trial and error since the thing is made for inserting paper. Once I could get the clay in there; and it had to be cooled so it wouldn't stick as much, I would punch and hold the trigger down and peel each leaf off the punch with a pin stuck in an old paint brush handle. After peeling each leaf I had to pull the sheet out and clean out the punch of the leftover little pieces that would stick; if I didn't do that i couldn't move the clay sheet over to punch more. After punching out a few of them, handling the clay would get the thin sheet too warm and sticky so I would put it down and get another sheet and keep going. After about a couple hundred were made I worked the base of the model to look like dirt and started placing the leafs one at a time, tapping them down with a paint brush and then adding the veins with a sculpting tool. Once that was done I would brush it down with alcohol until it looked right. This all took a few weeks to get done a few hours a night. the thing is fired now and the zombie is cut up and ready to be molded.
I've punched out a bunch more leafs from paper that I'll paint and add once I have a resin copy made and painted along with some railroad scenerey stuff. I've punched out some paper fern leafs also and I'll see how they look painted up. if they look good enough I'll have a couple plants attached to the base and one growing out of Mr Zombies chest.
Post by artdecovampire on Dec 22, 2013 2:50:54 GMT -5
Your patience astounds me. I've modelled figures but on a much bigger scale for ornamental staffordshire wear but they were smooth and stylised, intended for going on a shelf or mantel. I can't see old English ladies with a zombie over the fire, they'll stick to ladies in frilly dresses. LOL! This has really inspired me to have a go at something more model based rather than art sculpture. Is the alcohol to slightly dull the edges of the sculpey when you engrave it and get rid of the flash left by the tool? I've worked in mineral clay and water works best as you know. But I bought some sculpey and haven't had the chance/inclination to use it yet. Making repeat detail in the past I have bent copper wire or rod in to shape with fine pliers and soldered them together, taped them to a handle and stamped the pot clay out. But these were quite big. I have done some sculpture in icing for wedding cakes and they also do a range of stamps for icing sheets which may have a similar texture to rolled out sculpy. These stamps have a little plunger on the back which ejects the little icing shape from the mold which like sculpey warms up quite quickly.
Brilliant work either way you look at it. Are you going to make a short run of kits? The world deserves this kit, it really does. Its like the bicycle girl form Walking Dead. It really creeped me out, but in a good way! LOL
Yep, the alcohol is used to cut the sculpy and smooth the hard edges. It still leaves brush marks if you’re not careful. I’ve heard of several ways to do this; water works but it doesn’t cut/dissolve the clay. I’ve heard of people using odorless turpentoid and heard that is what is used to actually make the stuff. I bought some years ago and think I tried it once or twice though cant remember now; still have it on the shelf. Some people use it to “brush down” the clay once they have the basic shape they want but I think that’s a waste of material; it may be quicker but I’d rather take the extra time and have better control and not have diluted down clay to try and add detail too. I know that’s sometimes a problem even with the alcohol. One other thing I’ve seen some use is vegetable oil. It’s used just before firing to give the clay a shine usually with female skin. I’ve never tried that one. you can also use plastic like a Zip-lock baggie and sculpt through the bag to stop the hard edges from being engraved in the first place. It’s really time consuming and just easier to use the alcohol most of the time. This is the second base I’ve used these leafs on. The first was my Halloween piece I did a couple years ago. I probably used at least 500 if not 1000 on it. I punched them out, put them on a board, used the plastic bag trick so no alcohol and fired them in bulk. Once they were semi-fired and still a bit flexible I put them on my base made with oil based modeling clay. Since this was not going to be permanent I poured a one piece mold and it was destroyed in the process. I tried to pull the leafs back off but it was just a mess so I ended up trashing all of it. It didn’t matter since all I wanted was the mold in the end. It would be nice to find some other punches but I believe the scrapbooking thing and therefore the amount of product made for it is heading down hill along with the stamp thing which I think was the craze before this. I found some rubber stamps of leafs some years ago and made some molds of them but in the end what I was trying to do didn’t work out. Trying to make leafs with clay is just a pain which is why you don’t see that much of it and when you do it’s not that great. I’ll probably pour a few copies but I’m not really set up to make a bunch of them and I don’t really have any way to sell them other then word of mouth here and there. I really made it so I could add more paper leafs and railroad scenery so it may be a bit too bare for some people. I suppose if I sold a few I could include some paper oak leafs, string for making vines and some fern leafs as well.
Post by artdecovampire on Dec 24, 2013 2:41:50 GMT -5
Some good tips for Sculpy there. I feel a sculpy sculpt coming on!
For anyone else reading this, a good way of getting a base texture or tree bark is to fold and scrunch foil the spray mount it to a sheet of ply or an old chopping board. Then roll the clay over it with a roller, and the clay pics up the wrinkle detail. Randomness is the best but you can create sheets of bark that way with a bit more car. I've found self hardening clay works on this, as does using heavy textiles like a woven floor cloth or canvas. Getting a natural look to engraved detail is always difficult. Many thanks Jeff, this has been very useful and these are some vital tips for anyone thinking about taking the plunge like myself. Now just to find the time!
Finally finished the walking dead tree zombie; only took 2 years to get back to it but its ready for WF in June. I added more leaves made from disposable aluminum pie plates, some twigs left over from a RR tree class I took years ago. used the plastic ferns I was going to use for my prehistoric tree ferns that has not worked out yet; cut them up and used a candle to reshape them and glued them to some sheet plastic until they dried, then cut them off and painted them. used some string and other plastic leave to make the ivy. the tree still looked too bare so mixed up some green paint with some scenic cement and sand until I had a nice semi solid but still wet mass and made more moss going up the tree and added some to the zombie. still have about 10 more aluminum leaves left but think it looks good enough without them. just need one more coat of Dullcoat and its done. I do have a piece of oak left over to make a nice wood base but not sure that would add to it or not. still have not figured out how to add any pictures as attachments so uploaded a few pics to Photobucket; I hope the links work.
Post by artdecovampire on Mar 15, 2016 15:08:26 GMT -5
Hey Jeff that's amazing. I took your advice about stamping leaves and it really worked for me. Icing press- moulds work well for ferns in particular. This really does look so good in a truly revolting way.