And now we arrive at the next level of the sculpture-the middle phases, which take the most time. The figure has been roughed in and the licensor (Paradox) has approved the general look and body masses.
Before we go into that, something interesting came up in my talks with the folks at Paradox. They mentioned that they’d like me to sculpt Kull carrying an axe, rather than a sword as he’s shown in the finished rough you saw in the Week Two installment. This was a decision that made good sense although it required some further discussion. This sculpture shows Kull before he is king and so it takes place before he takes the ancient battleaxe off the wall in “By This Axe I Rule.” I had designed that axe in the base because the base is intended to reflect Kull’s future and that axe plays a major role in his future when he defends himself with the axe from the group of assassins. However, Kull is still closely associated with an axe and this is, after all, a more symbolic representation of Kull. It is that axe that helps in separating Kull from other characters and is an important icon in the Kull legend.
I agreed with the rationale, but have made him carrying AN axe, not THE axe. The axe of the story “By This Axe I Rule” would be sculpted on the base of the statue. I suggested that Kull carry a sword over his shoulder as an interesting look that would add to the particular look of the piece and Paradox liked the approach. We all agreed that a sword was essential as he carries a sword specifically in several of the short stories.
We had that exchange at this point as Paradox could see the piece coming together visually although neither axe would be sculpted until later.
These middle phases take the most time because hours are spent properly “honing in” the piece and bringing the figure to the proper level of completion. If a piece is going to be fully painted, as this one is, then the figure must have a fairly smooth, finished out look or the paint may look incongruous with the texture of the figure. If this sculpture were solely intended to be cast as an edition in bronze, I would probably sculpt it with more texture, somewhat as you see the skin in the early stages.
This is also the time when costume detail work begins in earnest and that can take quite a while.
In this next set you will see some important elements have been added to Kull’s garment. I thought that Kull might have a section of armor for the front of his abdomen area and I wanted a layered look to his clothing that would have a striking effect in the sculpture. I also then decided to add some chain mail and to finish out the leather strip sections with the brass fittings. For this section of chain mail, I did a simple 4-1 ring pattern, meaning each single ring has four other rings attached to that ring. I found this type of metal ring armor pattern is typically attributed to Japanese chain mail. I was thinking of sculpting the chain mail, but then decided to test a look using small rings I furnished out of lengths of wire. It had a look that I felt worked well for the piece and Paradox was happy with the result.
I also wanted Kull to have sections of fur that would be indicative of his barbarian roots and that would add more to the layered effect of his gear/ clothing. I gave him an armored forearm piece for his right, weapon holding, hand and a light leather wrapping for his left forearm. I hope you like the result so far. Next week we’ll look at some changes and talk more about chain mail.
Thanks for reading-