Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Magdalena Statue Part 4: Finishing the Figure

In this segment we see two phases of the figure: adding in the full figure, finishing out all anatomical masses, and then the figure finished and smoothed out with clothing wrinkles added.  The head is now sculpted and Magdalena has her own likeness. I used all the reference I had from the various artists and came up with what I hope you agree is a strong and determined as well as beautiful visage.  The wire ponytail you see is simply the armature extension I use to hold the head as I sculpt it separately from the figure.  It will be removed or, as on some pieces, it will serve as the armature for the hair (but not in this case).

I wanted the costume to appear skin tight, but I also wanted the anatomy and femininity of the figure to be apparent.  I laid in thin lines of material to represent folds and wrinkles and smoothed them into the figure, but only at key point like the right side, where she is bending and the backs of the knees, and ankles.

The arms are now added to the figure and I am ready to submit the piece for approval to Top Cow.  Once the figure is officially approved, I’ll go ahead and bake her, so that I can add the armor segments, hood, hair, etc.

Well, next time we’ll take a look at the figure with parts of the costume and armor added. See you  then!


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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in The Magdalena


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The Magdalena Statue Part 3: Fine-Tuning the Anatomy

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Most of this stage consists of fine-tuning the anatomy. NOTE: The head is a stand-in from the Snow White statue.

I sculpted the hands earlier, but I didn’t add the right hand for these photos. I’ve mentioned before that hands and arms can often get in the way of working on the torso, so I often don’t sculpt them until fairly late in the process.

This figure is actually rather tall.  A 1/6th scale male figure would be 12” tall if he represents a 6’ tall man.  Most of my female figures are sculpted 11 inches tall to generally represent a 5”6” woman.  This figure is 12” tall to represent a taller woman at 6′ in height.

I sculpt this part of the figure with metal loop tools and flat, wooden tools which I use to sculpt in a cross hatching method in order to join the muscle sections laid in earlier.  I don’t smooth out the figure entirely as there may be changes to the anatomy as the figure continues to develop. For example, I wanted her to have strong, powerful legs and hips, but I knew there would be armor sections that would add to her mass visually.  I roughed in armor sections separately that could be added and taken away from the figure as I completed this part of the sculpting.

Next we’ll see a major blog posting as the figure comes together with both hands, her face and her completed torso.  See you soon!


Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in The Magdalena


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Sneyd Mermaid Statue Part 5: Finishing the Hair & Details

Hair is difficult and time consuming to sculpt – at least for me. I lay in the hair in rolled out sections and just lay them in and build up the hair slowly. I almost never lay in large blocks of hair because that can dictate the direction the hair will want to go.  If you take your time and lay it in slowly, you are guiding the mass of the hair and it is not guiding you.

Hair is where a sculpture really comes together.  Often you will see a sculpture that is good, but the hair just doesn’t work. It should enhance the sculpture and be an integral part of the sculpture, while at the same time being an elegant form that is a sculpture in itself.

After laying in the forms, I go over that fairly quickly and pull the individual sections together, while continuing to add a bit here and there and take away a bit here and there. After that, I begin sculpting in the striations with larger loop and wood tools, then I do a final striation detailing with finer, smaller tools to finish out the form of the hair.  Below is a photo of the tools I use to sculpt hair.  The brown ones are horn, which I like, but if I only had wooden tools and metal loops, I think they would work just as well.

Throughout this process, I was in close communication with Doug.  A piece can evolve and one thing that wasn’t working was the headband going around her forehead.  It looked right in the sketch, but in the sculpture it looked dated and drew too much attention.  Doug and I agreed it should look as if it were made of her hair, originating at her temples, and not go around her forehead.

After that it was just a matter of adding the details, like her shell armband, the caption and her scallop earrings. Those details are always fun as they give a layer of complexity to the figure while also being a signal that the piece is just about finished.

hair sculpting tools

For the water, I simply pushed the material up to peaks and then finished them out with a couple of sizes of round glass beads to sharpen the water crests and deepen the wavelets.  The finished photos you see here were taken before I removed the headband.

After final approval from Doug, the piece went to Michael Measles for molding. Doug and I went over the paint scheme and then little Chlorine went to James Rowell for painting.  Jim did a great job from her eye shadow, to her slightly tanned skin and down to the gorgeous faux emerald marble effect of the base.  The piece was debuted at the San Diego ComiCon this past July and there you have it.  It was a pleasure and an honor working with Doug on this piece and it couldn’t have gone more smoothly.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the creation of our sea nymph.  Let us know if you have any questions!


Sneyd Mermaid Statue - now available for preorder at

Sneyd Mermaid Statue - now available for preorder at


Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Sneyd Mermaid Statue


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