Creaturiste's Laboratory

Techniques, works in progress, and everything that doesn't fit in the portfolio. Comments and questions are encouraged, custom orders are welcome!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vampires In progress

Vampires finished!
Customer is taking care of the costume on both, and building the body (a simple stuffed fabric bag) for the fat one.

The vampires are built from original illustrations by "Sampar", who illustrated the stories by "Ben".
Heres a link to the publisher's page for this book.

Progress pics and process below:

I've been working on Vampire puppets for a storyteller who uses puppets to bring her stories in visual life.
With full authorization from writer, illustrator and publisher, I was asked to create puppets based on the illustrations in a book.

These are the first two heads I made by using a temporary and reusable wax called Flexwax 120. I like it!

Materials: paper mache (toilet paper for detail, coffee filters for structure, paper towel for skin texture), Monster Bone, acrylic paint, Wood (Fangs, and sticks).
The vampire hands (still require more work) were made with foil, popsicle sticks, tape, and paper mache(same ingredients)

The skinny one will be a rod puppet. The fat one will be a bag puppet.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not Too Early for Halloween!

Greetings fellow haunters and costume-fiends!

It is not too early, with the beginning of Spring, to start thinking about Halloween! What with the gloomy rainy weather, the thrilling chill in the air, and life waking up again in every nook and cranny, it is indeed the perfect time for a birth, re-birth, or exhumation!

I make monsters and spooky beings with delight, I take glee in their eerieness, but alas, it has been too long since my last excursion in the dark! You can take advantage of that! My eagerness to spook will infuse whatever I create next in that spirit! If you need an eerie or downright terrifying creature, just contact me, I'll be glad to discuss the possibilities! I also give workshops so people can learn to make their own. I offer them in person and online.

I make puppets and masks of most kinds and sizes, and static props, in a wide range of prices.

A few examples of spookyness are below.

See more of my past creations, albeit mostly non-creepy, in my portfolio, as linked on the right sidebar.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Modelling Exercise

Modelling exercice in Chavant Nsp plastalina (oil-based clay), following Philippe Faraut's instructions on his dvd.

New Workshops Catalogue!

Click to go to the Workshop Catalogue. But only if you want to!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sculpture DVD Series: Philippe Faraut

Waiting for Daddy ©2000 Philippe Faraut

Howdy all.

If you are looking for a single series of face modelling lessons on DVD, this is likely the only one you'll really need.  Philippe Faraut is a sculptor I admire for his accurately defined forms which also magically contain so much grace and life. Sharp edges meet smooth planes, without looking fake, although they are often stylized. Real human flesh seems to have been magically turned to clay.

OVERALL REVIEW: Absolutely recommended, a must-have for anyone willing to pay attention and spend the time to learn sculpting. Complete beginners will get it very quickly. Faraut is great at simplifying. He sometimes makes a common mistake on purpose, so that he can show you how to fix it and avoid it in the future. Experimented sculptors will also get their share of new info: Faraut is the real deal and he's been honing his sculpting and teaching skills for a long time.  Every DVD brings something new.  I love how in-depth they get. Highly recommended. I've been using them whenever new modelling projects come my way, and everytime I do, it's uncanny how much progress I make. I should  take a week off and just sculpt while watching the series.   Tonight, January 27th, 2012) I ordered the latest DVD, and am eager to get it.  Someday I'll also get Faraut's books. They appear to be the kind of visual reference any artist interested in the human head would keep on hand at all times.
Each DVD has samples shown on the video page.

Volume one: Children.
I'll cut to the chase for all the busy people: It's a great ressource, and I intend to get the other volumes as well. This DVD is a TREASURE for total beginners, yet will appeal to the intermediate and
professional sculptors as well.

Volume Two: Expressions and Facial Construction
This one goes deeper than the first, and builds on what has been learned before. Great for anyone looking to represent the beauty of the Feminine in all her forms.

Volume Three: Men

The title is a bit misleading. It's about more than the male appearances, there's lots of structure and detailing information, including smoothing and adding clothing.

Techniques of Sculpture: Geometry in the Clay Portrait

Fantastic approach, this DVD features the same clarity and efficiency shown throughout the series.  A fantasy twist  after the more academic lessons is very appreciated. The Bonus Feature called Meth-Amorphosis has been shown online before, but this longer version, on the big screen and in better quality, is well worth seeing.

The series is so inspiring that I felt moved to rush the order of a much needed new computer, to coincide with the upcoming stage of character design on the contract that occupies me these days. My old computer is moving to the studio, and we will use it to view the Faraut DVD while we design the puppet heads in clay. Accuracy, here we come! My colleague has never see the series, and I'm sure he'll appreciate it. Both of us had surprising results last Halloween when we carved actual Pumpkins while watching Ray Villafane's DVD tutorials, so with Faraut, there's no telling how far we'll go.

The series is self produced, and the quality rivals that of higher budget productions, such as The Gnomon Workshop's products (a few of which I also have to recommend). It's edited in a way to make it very fluid and easy to follow. In fact, time flies when watching it. I saw volume one twice the first night I got it.

Mr. Faraut makes it look easy, and better yet, he actually makes it easy, by
his very straightforward, simplified steps and explanations, demonstrations and visual aids, such as showing
us a giant child nose, and a few of his finished clay creations.

His steps are so simple they seem impossible to miss. He manages to do it
without talking down to absolute beginners. It is all very minimalistic,
which is perfect, because it is all about showing you the very foundations of sculpture,
to achieve the real results without distractions.

Often, the voiceover is live,with all him narrating as he does it, and he is very
good at it.  His voice is soothing, and the video makes the viewer feel like he is
standing right next to the artist, being shown the steps.

I was almost giggling with glee as I saw some very simple, yet very powerful
solutions to problems I had been struggling with for years. None of the other videos
I've seen, although very detailed and very useful in helping me progress,
brought these specific tips, and none of them were as easy to follow.

I don't care how many sculpting videos you've seen, or how long you've been sculpting heads,
Faraut certainly has something useful for you.

He works with waterbased clay on his videos, but the sculpting & shaping
methods are the same with oil-based clay and polymer clay. Just change to a
solvent when smoothing, instead of water. Using heat is also an option. Professional oil-based clay is often much denser, therefore requires much more work to smooth out with tools, heat, and solvents, compared to water based, where all you need is a bit of water. I'm planning to give water based another try, in the coming weeks. I purchased a big bottle of very good hand cream, to prevent the dry bleeding hands I used to get with that kind of clay.
 Back to our program:

You can see Faraut at work on his website, on his Video page.

Worth mentioning is the high quality of Faraut's website. Very sleek, easy to navigate, very informative, and the online store is convenient.

And do yourselves a favor, make sure to check his online gallery!

For Canadian citizens, the only supplier I could find for these videos is
Sculpture Supply Canada. They do not use regular mail, they only ship
through UPS. Pricey, but you get your stuff, and you get it fast.
They don't always keep the website updated, so they might have some items in stock that they don't show online. So just call them and ask.
Considering how much it would cost to take a sculpting workshop with a
master such as Faraut, the extra money for shipping a DVD you can watch
indefinitely is nothing!
Besides, I made the calculations, and ordering straight from the source
would cost me about the same, and there is a danger of delays at customs.