Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Micro Mini Merboy Baby

Sculpting my tiny little Mother's Day Fairy was so much fun, I decided to do another teeny tiny sculpture

(See him in my SHOP)

Sculpting a Tiny Merboy

Merfolk body proportions are not unlike human proportions, where the length of the legs are similar to the length of a mermaid tail.
I used a series of baby 'model' photos shrunk to 1.5 inches as a guide for my little boy's features. I sculpted first the face and torso. Then measured the legs to match his curled tail. I do not know where little merboys keep their 'boy parts' and so I left him rather neutral.

Once satisfied with the placement of his tail I added final details such as tiny hands with individually sculpted fingers, and a set of pointy elfish ears. (mermaids are the magical 'fairies' of the water, so fairy ears were in order)

I was afraid to use multiple clay colors when sculpting such a tiny creature lest they stain the baby's skin and get all over. (dark color clay easily stains fingers which transfer to lighter color clay)
Instead I baked the completed sculpture and then added color detail using Genesis Heat-Set Oil Paints.
I gave his tail a dark coat and baked to set. I then added blushing and facial details.

Accessorizing the Merboy

The merboy's tail was finished using another layer of paint/TLS mixture (TLS = Liquid clay) with embedded Pearl-ex (glitter). His hair, made from very fine blue feathers was added one by one to a coat of liquid clay on his scalp. Alas the feathers preferred to stick to my fingers instead of the head, but I won out in the end.

One final trip to the oven, and my little merboy is complete.

(you can call him a girl if you prefer, but he really is a boy)

He measures just over an inch in length and would be 2 inches if uncurled and awake (he may also start crying)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Micro-Mini Mother's Day Fairy with Rose Bud

I have decided to take a break from sculpting bunnies (bunny #3 keeps frowning at me) to sculpt a newborn fairy with a little red rose

And when I say tiny, I mean 'micro-miniature almost need a microscope to see' tiny
(well, not that small lest I can't see what I'm sculpting)

Sculpting on a micro-mini scale

Sculpting on this tiny scale is quite similar to sculpting regular sized fairies (hand sized and larger) with a few minor differences.
One major limit of course is the tiny size. Putting details into a sculpted face smaller than my thumbnail is not as easy as working with a face larger than a quarter. the limits come from a combination of tool size (my hands are my favorite tool, too large for this) and the fact that the small ball of clay simply cannot hold that much detail.
And of course there's all the squinting involved, perhaps I need one of those jeweler microscope head-pieces.

That being said, I still gave this little gal my all, and while she is less detailed than my larger babies, I am still quite impressed with the results.

The Process

As with larger sculptures, the sculpture began with a drawing and armature. Her tiny size actually doesn't require an internal 'skeleton' but rather gave me something to hold onto and build from (lest I squish her tiny face)

I sculpted her tiny face, emphasizing major details like cheeks, nose, eyes... I used the tiniest of prebaked eyeballs, then built up her large baby forehead.

Her tiny body got nearly invisible torso markings, a small protruding belly button, and anatomical details which my camera can't even pick up.
Her legs were sculpted in the usual manner, but rather than adding individual toes I simply marked the toe-region with a blade to hint at little fingers. A pinch here and squeeze there (and a hundred more) and we have tiny knees, calves, and thighs.
Her arms were formed the same way, with the hands sculpted as one open mitten (to hold the rose) and one closed fist
Two clay tear-drops on the side of the head carefully sculpted with the smallest of needles formed her fairy ears

Props and Details

First came the rose bud, sculpted in red and crimson clay, built up petal by petal.
Her hair is baked in red Mohair, added strand my strand, embedded into her scalp
Heat-set oil paint brought the fairy to life. I used a brown/red wash for her skin, then painted the individual details like eyes, eyebrows and lips

The tiny fairy wings were created with craft wire, fusible (Angelina) film, and glittery embellishments

I used the completed wings to make the wing holes ensuring a perfect fit, and set them aside while the little fairy baked and cooled in my convection oven. Once cooled the wings were inserted (perfect fit, woohoo) and she is now ready to face the world. Her wings are not glued into place allowing them to be moved around and 'posed'

And just in case you forgot how small she is, take a look at the photo with the ruler and coins. I tried to photograph her on my fingertips but she kept crying out for hugs.

This little fairy is for sale in My Artfire Shop