Sunday, January 4, 2009


Vivian is a character designed by my good friend and fellow Simpson-ite Tim Bailey. I needed something different to sculpt... something that was a far cry from my own stuff. Tim always had drawings of his Ninja Cats up at work so I asked him if I could try to sculpt one and nail his design in 3D.

So Tim gave me two drawings of Vivian, the one at the top of the page and one little sketch of what she would look like in profile. That was about it for reference. I would ask Tim questions when I got hung up and he'd advise me about how her features should blend into her head shape and stuff like that. We adjusted her kicking pose to be more dynamic than in the sketch. That was fun- getting more energy into her pose! The first time I brought the proto-sculpt to work for Tim to see, I had the head interpreted wrong. It was a bit too wide and a little too big. I sleeked-out her face more and Tim liked it.

Vivian was really a blast for me because it was fun to try and dimensionalize someone else's 2D sketch! Tim had a much better idea of what these cats look like than I did. It was fun to see Tim's face when he saw his character sitting there in the little pyrex baking pan I cooked her in. (She was easy to move around and transport in that pan so I just left her in it.)

I found some construction pics I took when I was putting Vivian together. You can see her armature and what I call, the "doll" I made first. I started doing this armature doll technique with my mother's Ariel sculpture. It works really well. The doll acts like a rigid skeleton, making it easier to sculpt onto with the soft sculpey, plus it's easy to pose the character better than if it was just armature wire.

Doing this sculpture really made me want to see what else I could sculpt using another artist's distinctive style. It was fun taking a 2D sketch and figuring out how everything had to fit together to make that character work at every angle and still look like the artist's drawing!

I was really happy with how Vivian turned out. Tim really liked her as well. I will re-post Vivian when she is all painted up.

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