Saturday, February 21, 2009

Garvin & Jerry

These two ostriches were gifts for two ladies, Joanna and Luella, that used to babysit me. I think my Mom went to college with them. Garvin and Jerry are their husbands names. Anyways our families all grew up together and I've known them and their kids since I can remember. These ladies are school teachers who have worked together forever! So when I came up with the idea to give them the sculptures, I thought it would be cool to make them in such a way so that they work together or by themselves. The bases fit together and make a goofy scene with both of them, but still work as a sculpture when they are each by themselves.

The tricky part was that I had to make everything twice! I did most of the work on one first to see if the design was going to work and when it did I started the other one. It's always hard for me to match or mirror something I've sculpted like ears or hands or fett. I always seem to make one that I think is better than the other one. These guys turned out to be a pretty close match.

I used the same technique of baking some small structures onto the armature to make it easier to sculpt and pose while the sculpey is still soft. The armature was kind of tricky because of the skinniness of the legs, while still having a pretty hefty set of leg muscles, along with the a big turkey body. It was sort of finding a balance so he would stand on his own and then try to keep that going through to whole process.

These guys were really fun because I wanted them to look sort of graceful yet goofy... kind of what I think of the ostrich anyway!

The white color on the first one is primer and the tan ostrich is plain fired sculpey.

I had wanted the feathers on their heads to look like Big Bird's feathers from Sesame Street. I put some thin black wires in the top of the heads and in their necks as hair. Then I pressed tiny pieces of epoxy putty onto the wires on their heads and let it dry. When I painted the putty, it looked like tiny feathers on top of hair just like Big Bird.

I had never done anything like feathers either! They were fun to figure out. I had to put some thin wire armatures in the big rear feathers and even smaller ones in the skinny wing feathers that I wanted to flair away from the body. I scratched some lines in the soft sculpey before I baked it. I figured I could sell the idea of them being feathers more with the paint of it didn't work. I think it worked out fine!

The bases were very simple. To simulate the sand I just pressed a wired brush into the sculpey before I baked it. I added some wire grass later too.

So why ostriches? One summer when I was very young, all our families were camping together and Joanna told us kids about how she had had an ostrich as a pet when she was a little girl growing up in Chile. She would get to ride on its back! Well I thought that was the coolest thing ever! I'll never forget that story. Good times!

Garvin and Jerry were very well received! By the way, Garvin's wife got Jerry ostrich while Jerry's wife got Garvin ostrich. What?!

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