Welcome to the 6th installment of the Sculpting of Kull blog. Today we’re going to look at the final costuming details and the reasoning behind the look. We’ve discussed that Kull isn’t an ostentatious sort of warrior in either his demeanor or in his approach to his gear. However, he is from Atlantis and I felt he might want to reflect that is some of his gear. It would also make sense as this is a symbolic sculpture of this warrior who eventually becomes King of Valusia.
I haven’t often shown my work publicly while it is in progress and there are a lot of reasons for that regarding license approval and too much input, etc. But I do sometimes discuss a piece with fellow artists that know my work well and whose opinions I greatly respect. Mark Schultz is one of the best in the field and has solved many of the same questions in his superb Conan illustration work that I have come across in my sculptural work on this piece. Manuel Carrasco is a terrifically talented character designer and illustrator in the gaming and animation business and both of these gentlemen attended the Robert E. Howard (REH) celebration and so were part of many of the discussions about REH, including this sculpture and the “big belt.”
In a subsequent conversation, Manny (Manuel) made the observation that the belt looked good as a large, blank area and suggested it be sculpted as sharkskin. That made good sense to me since I wanted elements that were reminiscent of the maritime island from which Kull first came. The look worked for me and I hope you agree that it does, but at the same time I thought something was lacking. I felt that an element that was powerful and evocative of his roots, but was not overly decorative was in order.
At this point I drew up the octopus or “Kraken” brass attachment for his belt in a dull gold color which would contrast with the dark gray of the belt. I felt that the design worked well and was properly reminiscent of an island people.
I had also felt that Kull might have come across an alligator or two in his travels along the coast of his land or those he reached when he left his unenviable position as a galley slave. I thought that a section of alligator skin would make a good addition to the more common sections of armor and furs most barbarians tend to sport. It seemed that a large section of reptile skin would make serviceable armor and would also be fairly flexible. I sometimes over think these things, but there you have it.
As a final touch, I decided to change my approach to his “greaves” or shin guards. I had always planned to sculpt greaves as a functional bit of armor Kull had taken off a vanquished foe. I had sculpted knee guards, which show in earlier photos. I had made them simple and practical, but the fact is that they were an unnecessary and pointless element. At any rate, I just didn’t like them. I decided that armor that only covered the shins made more sense and since he had taken them off someone who didn’t need them anymore, they may have been fairly decorative (suiting the taste of the previous owner) so I gave them some flourishes.
At all times, Paradox was very agreeable and supportive of the design decisions made throughout the course of the costume sculpting.
I think that covers the main figure and these photos show the Kull figure lacking only hair/face, weapons and base except for some minor detailing not shown on his more narrow belt. Next week we’ll look at the approach to the hair and face portrait.
Thanks for reading,