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.
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!