Jareth – Sculpture Project – The Hair

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As I got further on with my Sculpture of Jareth, I was nearing the end of the face and clothing, not finished, but getting there, and I was starting to look at the next stage – the hair. I had a quick look on the internet and was perturbed with some of my search results.

the face is amazing, it’s a great David Bowie face, but it’s not Jareth, you know… and the hair.. not quite right…

 

these guys took the use real hair route and the full model has fantastic attitude, but the hair isn’t sculpted

The colour and the detail on the clothes look fantastic, the face is not really Bowie but I don’t know what MacFarlane were thinking when they made this hair

This is quite a nice plaque, doesn’t look like Jareth at all, looks more like younger Bowie to be honest  – (actually if you look on the site this sculptor has obviously got one David Bowie face that he casts and put slightly different hair and accessories on) and the hair is just not quite right…

ok, this has started to get a little weird, again the face has got it, but the hair, who have they borrowed that from?

So after looking around and not finding anything I liked, or could even start to base my hair on, my next step filled me with quite a lot of intrepidation.

In reality I actually put my model to one side and just looked at it for a whole week, not knowing how to progress.

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After looking at my model under it’s safety plastic covering for a week or so and not finding any inspiration (see above), or technique I could use to get how I saw the hair for this model right, I just had to try.

So I thought I would test some ideas, and see how it worked within the Monster Clay, keeping in the back of my mind that I could just take it all off if it went terribly wrong…

At first I tried rolling little strands and trying to apply those, but it looked more like dreads than the short long hair combo that was the actual wig for Jareth.

I took those off.

Then I tried rolling flat bits and cutting through them, thinking I could apply them in semi circles at different layers round the back of the head, but that didn’t work either…

More hair removal, back to baldy Bowie again!

Then I tried to scratch into the surface of rolled and slightly flattened pieces, I thought this might work, so started to layer up on one side, but after consideration I felt this was not right. too chunky, no fineness to the strands.

Everybody off!

It needed more life, more ‘poof’, less heaviness.

I started to just add and push back with the wax carving tools, just to pull at the once again softened clay and add those bits on, a bit like adding leaves and then pushing back into the soft and thinned edges, this was better..

Still quite heavy but I liked the texture and different levels/layers.

Then I tried adding longer strands and slightly flattened but slimmer pieces…

Back to the reference as much as possible for this bit

I am pleased with the heavily textured back area and adding in the thin trails or strands is working for me.

It’s still a little too heavy in the body of the hair, but I’m a bit stuck as to how to fix that… The fringe at the front is too chunky, but I’m going to leave it to harden up and see if I can work out how to thin it down without making it really straggly. I’m very aware that after my googling similar sculptures the hair is the hardest thing to get right.

I am also going to remove the eye beads and sculpt the orbit of the eye in clay.

The skin needs work, but again I’m not sure how to get a nice finish on it, if I blow-torch it, it just looks shiny and can melt quite easily.

The collar also needs more attention but I need to look at being careful with the finish, so a bit more research into this before the next stage.

Really useful sculpting Videos on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4waaHk-gI8_dzywddif1hQ7z-6eDa-Ro

(Polymer Clay is quite close to Monster Clay) and this guys tutorials are really good.

to be continued…

Jareth – Sculpture project

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Ever since I got back from my Model making course at Pinewood Studios (sounds so fancy doesn’t it) I have wanted to do a bit more sculpture, if I lived in a perfect world I’d work on massive sculptures, but I just don’t have the room or resources to do that.

But what to sculpt… I love David Bowie, one of my all time favourite films is Labyrinth, and the title of this blog post kind of gives it away, so I decided to try making a Jareth bust. I had managed to source some Monster Clay a little while after my course, but not done to much with it, although I loved the fact I could just restart and go again…

I had started to sculpt my whole fantastical animal in Monster Clay, but I then decided I wanted to make it as a proper stop-motion puppet (another blog needed for that!).

Then I kept seeing this super curvy lady who had an incredibly tiny waist, so I started to sculpt her with the intention of casting the ‘underbody’ of another stop-mo puppet in foam from it, but I could never re-create her incredible figure.

So unhappy with them both, they spent some time in plastic and I am now deconstructing them.

Putting the plastic on, keeps dust and muck out of the Clay

But I found it a useful process to actually work with the Monster Clay,

I didn’t have a hot gun, or blow torch and trying to warm the surface of the Clay up with a normal hairdryer was not successful, but worst of all it kept blowing everything on my desk about. I don’t have a sculpture studio so found this quite maddening to use. I also found that my tools were somewhat lacking, so these sculpts got mothballed whilst normal life carried on.

Then Covid 19 hit.

Sat at my homedesk a lot more, I started to look up Monster Clay techniques, tools and tutorials. I discovered that Francesco (tutor on the prop modelling course) was doing Monster Clay lives on Twitch, so sat watching those, alongside other YouTube videos for good research before I got started.

And eventually got down to making the armature for my Jareth.

Carving some foam to make filler for the head

Hot gluing the foam head former onto the wire and baseboard

adding foil to pad the shoulders

So using the foam and foil on the wire is just to bulk out the inner of the model, it makes it lighter and cheaper than working on a solid block of Monster Clay.

I had already made a moodboard of images from the film, showing hair, face and profile, and choosing which ‘Jareth’ costume I would be trying to create. (top left)

Bowie – Jareth Moodboard from various stills and promo images

To get the clay super soft and mouldable, I heated the large tub in the Microwave (it’s non toxic) and then started to add substance to the skeleton.

you can see how warm the clay is at it looks quite shiny at this stage, I was just using a plastic loop tool to pull the soft clay out of the tub.

Clay Loop & Ribbon Tools - The Compleat Sculptor

loop tool – mine was a plastic one found at my local craft store

Then I needed a little more precision to try and get some basic facial structures in place, for this I was using my Christmas Present of metal carving tools…

12PC-WAX-CLAY-SOAP-CARVER-POTTERY-CRAFT-TOOL-SET-MODELLING-CARVING-SCULPTING

12 piece Wax/Clay carving set

trying to get the brow shape and frown right for my chosen image

Making sure to keep checking my reference images I then worked on the mouth and a little more work on the nose and brow, looking at it from all angles…

From some angles I was really pleased with it, but I was starting to want some better tools, finer with more precision, the metal ones I was using to carve with just weren’t fine enough, I also wanted some of the really small tools, like mini loop tools that I had seen quite a few of the online tutorials were using.

I started to look, but wasn’t having any luck until I discovered they are actually called Sgraffitto tools, used for making intricate patterns, traditionally on clay pots.

I bought these online/ebay because they were the closest to what I was after before I discovered Sgraffitto!

And whilst on Ebay I bought myself a chef’s blowtorch too, just make sure you have the right gas/fuel to go in it as they don’t like to sell the little ones with gas ready to go!

So with newly acquired tools, I continued on, and for some reason decided that I would add in some glass eyes as I was finding it tricky to make the eyes look ok, just in Monster Clay.

Adding in Glass eyes

I didn’t want to fiddle too much more with the face, I was fairly happy, so moved onto making the elaborate collar. Monster Clay came into it’s own for this.. one of the qualities of Monster Clay is that it can be totally molten and then ten minutes later, quite solid and rigid, so I only needed to prop the collar for a little while until it held it’s own weight.

I rolled out a piece of clay on a board and shaped/cut it to size whilst it was soft and flexible, trying it in position and adjusting and then as it hardened applied it onto the shoulders with more of the very soft clay

It wasn’t until I re-watched the film and kept rewinding and forwarding that I realised that the collar is even more elaborate than I thought, so I need to add another point here and it looks like bones hold it up in the film… more work to be done!

My working desk

Adding details to the chest area, such as clothing, and refining the collar

I think my most used tool is my retractable craft knife I’m finding it amazing to be able to really carve with it on the Monster Clay (once it’s set really hard of course).

Up to this point I’ve been quite happy, finding that I’m managing now I have most of the tools to hand.

I even find some websites on how to make my own Sgraffitto tools, awesome! I’m still watching and trying to learn though, I’m not quite sure how to get the right texture/finish on the face, but I’m enjoying the process.

But now I’ve got to think about the hair….