Monday, February 04, 2008

Dr. Tongues 3D House of Stewardesses

All right, the title SHOULD read "HappyGlyphs in 3-D!", but it did get your attention, didn't it? So... Happy New Year! It's been a long while, but I've been busy and I like to wait until I have something better to post than "Sorry I haven't been able to post lately".

So Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses was a classic sketch on the delightfully entertaining SCTV, and involved 3D movies. In this post, I want to discuss a different 3D... moving my cartoons into... the THIRD DIMENSION!

Yes, as you can tell from the photos here, I decided to do some sculpting. Why? For one, sculpting 3D figures is an already established tool for Cartoonists to learn to draw their characters from different angles. Two, I wanted to stretch myself again, and learn something new. Three... well, THAT'S a secret, for now.

I'm a strong proponent for trying new things, and avoiding falling into a rut by keeping busy and pushing yourself and your talents. I also find it hard to label myself as a Cartoonist, Illustrator or Writer, because I am all of these things, and more. And sometimes, I just want to prove to myself that "and more" bit.

So, onward. I love putting together model kits, but always want to push them, add to them, and frankly, make my own. Sculpting fits the bill, and I've been wanting to tackle a few projects for a while. This is not a tutorial, since I'm brand new to this, and am hoping to learn a lot as I go along.

Today's lesson: Don't rush things! Patience is very important in any art project, and even though I wanted to make this a weekend project, I tried very hard to take my time and do things right. I made a lot of mistakes, but managed to finish the project, and frankly, I think it came out pretty good for a first attempt.

I chose to recreate my new HappyGlyphs Logo, since I love it so much, and I (mistakingly) thought that it would be, like, really simple.

You can see in the third photo's background a yellow piece of paper with sketches on it. To start this project, I sketched out the model from different angles, in order to visualize the original illustration (above) as a 3 dimensional object. Fortunately, I visualized the scene from all angles in creating the original illustration, so I could easily imagine the scene as a model. I also paid close attention to how each piece related to each other in size.

Of course, if you look closely at the photos, you can see that 'paying attention' isn't always enough, and I ended up redoing various parts of the model as I went along.

The second photo shows the model in its initial stages... I laid out the base, with the standing stones, made legs for the sheep, and forms for the sheep bodies. I baked the legs so that I could stick them into the body while it was still soft, without damaging them. I also made the body forms, because the sheep would be too thick to bake all at once, without burning the clay.

Compare the size of the standing stone in the second and third photos! I initially made the tall stone too short, so it was a good thing that I didn't rush things, and bake the initial base and stones right away. I also made the first two sheep way too big for their position on top of the fallen stone. I had sized it right, initially, but underestimated how thick I would end up putting the wool on.

Again, the difference between seeing it in your head, and actually doing something.

So here is the final piece, almost done. What do you think? I still plan on touching up the paint a bit, but I think it's looking good. :0)

PS The first two sheep were given their own bases to stand alone on, and don't worry... they've already been claimed to good homes. :0)

Cheers, and please let me know what you think, eh? JOHN :0)

What's on my iPod today? Soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar. Awesome movie, awesome sounds. :0)

UPDATE: Here's a pic of the first two sheep, painted.


Brian Hughes said...

Michelle collects sheep. Not real ones, of course...ornamental ones. If you're thinking of making any more and don't know where to send them, wrap one up in cotton wool, stick it in a box and put our address on the front. It'll take pride of place in the middle of the flock we've got stampeding across the mantlepiece.

John said...

Hey Brian,
Seeing as this is your second request for one of my ceramic sheep, I am inclined to believe that you honestly want one. I honestly would like to make one for you, and already have sketches laid out... my question, is, of course... what's in it for me?

I know, I know... that sounds very American, doesn't it, and I'm sure your answer will lie in the realms of good karma, international relations, friendship, or because you'd bloody well like a ceramic sheep for your mantel.

Still.... :0)

John said...

PS Take another look at the blog again... I posted a picture of the other two sheep painted.

Cheers, JOHN :0)

Brian Hughes said...


What's in for you is knowing that one of your sheep is now being advertised to all the visitors at my house. It's not much, I know...but it's the start of an international reputation.

John said...

Wow! Sounds like some kind of deal there.... 'international' sounds so... multi-national or something. :0)

By the way, what's with the new avatar? I know I've seen that somewhere... care to shed some light?

Cheers, JOHN :0)

PS I'll get back to you on the sheep... I only have a half dozen other things to do right now, but making another sheep is fun, so who knows?

Brian Hughes said...


People kept complaining about seeing my ugly mush on the was putting them off their dinners, apparently. The new one's my take on Nigel Molesworth...who you've probably never heard of, but a bit of a hero of mine.