Monday, July 4, 2011

Work in Progress- Rudy the Dog Gets His Fur

This custom dog sculpture has been a bit complicated and is taking more time than I anticipated, but after some changes I'm happy with the progress up to this point.  And even more importantly, the customer is happy with progress.  When I last posted, this Irish Wolfhound/ Collie mix only needed some refinement to his basic body shape and the layers of clay that would become his fur.

Before adding a new layer of clay I covered the sculpture in a thin layer of Tacky Glue and let it dry.  This helps the fresh clay adhere much better.  This is the sculpture after it's been completely covered.  I've started to texture the belly and back paws.  When adding fur texture to animal sculptures I usually start with those hard to reach places first.  This allows me to hold the piece without distorting anything.  Generally I'll texture the back last, because I can usually do this without touching any other part of the sculpture.
Next I start adding fur texture to the front legs and chest.  I added more clay as needed to fill out the chest and shoulders.  I used various sized knitting needles and Christi Friesen's Gotta Have It tool to create all the texture on this piece.  Rudy had many different textures to his fur, so I had to change tools and strokes for the different parts of his body.
It took about a week to completely texture the entire piece.  I ended up cutting off the original tail and creating a new one as well.  The more I looked at it and compared it to the pictures, the more i realized it was going to be too thick as it was. The ears were added after I had textured the head, and I tried several different pairs of ears before I was satisfied.  Rudy's ears are very important to his expression, so I had to be sure I got them just right.   Once the head and ears had been textured I was able to move on to the back and hips.  Here you can see me texturing the back of the dog, nearing the end of this stage of the sculpture.
And here is the handsome pup ready to be baked.  I also repainted the eyes so they were both looking in the right direction, and this little change really perfected Rudy's expression.
The next step will be to paint him with acrylic paint.  And then I believe I will be able to call this project complete.  By now I feel almost as though I knew Rudy.  Working on a big project like this one brings me very close to the subject being sculpted.  Some part of my mind is constantly thinking about not only the sculpting process, but the animal himself.  Pieces like this help to keep a beloved pet's memory alive.  Stay tuned to see the final results of more than a month of work!  Thanks for sharing this creative journey with me!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters