Wednesday, January 1, 2014

SCULPTURE: "The Great Wooly Jack Raboose"

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Nothing like posting something strange on the first day of 2014!

This project was somewhat of an unplanned diversion at the end of last year.  I was able to participate in a paper mache workshop for a couple of days at my job with Hallmark.  We had a department "day away" from the office in October, and I was able to get the armature done.  After that, it was weeks of my own time spent at home to complete the sculpture.  While fun to work on...paper mache is not my favorite medium, as it takes SO long to dry.  I am not so patient with the materials, so this is likely to be my last mache piece!

So how did I end up with THIS goofy animal?  It all started a year ago...when I did this sketch of the "Horned Jackalope" at the KU Natural History Museum.  When the mache workshop came along, I just thought, "I'll make a prehistoric relative of that critter!"  So I added the "Wooly Mammoth" features of the tusks and long fur...and "upgraded" the horns to Moose antlers.

Now I will show you the various phases that this guy went through.  Below is the armature that I was able to construct at the workshop.  It's made of  crunched up newspaper, chicken wire, and a wooden circle at the base of the neckline.  I added more wireframe to the antlers, to make them bigger, once I got home.  Everything is covered with masking tape...wooden balls were glued on for the eyes.

I decided to use some "mache paper pulp" that I had in the basement for years.  Just add water, and the "clay-like" mache allows you to sculpt.  It's about the consistency of thick oatmeal.
 Over a period of weeks, I would add more mulch...let it dry...then repeat the process.
I had to let things dry completely, or the wet mache would have been too heavy for my armature.

The next stage of mache was in adding more refined detail.  I used some "paper clay" that I had purchased, to sculpt around the eyes, mouth, teeth and tusks.
Once that layer was dry, I sanded off everything.  Then I coated everything with wood glue to give it a good hard shell, and also help smooth out the areas for painting later.

I then began the process of painting the critter...mostly concerning myself with the areas that would not be covered with "fur".
I was not happy with the shapes of the spikes on the antlers, and added more "paper clay" to extend them a bit. I also added more clay to the ears to smooth them out a bit more.
The base was cut out in the workshop at work...I added the mulch mache to make it look like stone, and painted it in "rock" colors.  The holes were drilled before sculpting, and the bracket added (on the back side) for hanging the base onto the wall.

Here is the final painted Raboose, before the "wooly fur" was added.  In some ways I like the "un-furred" version better...a little more fierce looking.

The next step was to add the "fur".  I found just what I needed at a fabric store...I liked the reddish gold color...very "mammoth-like".  This process was quite time making puzzle pieces to conform to the shapes of the head.  I also had to consider the direction that the fur would naturally flow.  I used some "tacky glue" I got at the fabric held the fur pretty quickly and firmly.
The last part for the fur was to dry-brush some black acrylic paint around the eyes, nose and mouth. (I he looks "cute"...wasn't expecting long as he still looks "funny", I can live with it.)

The last component to add was the base...four woodscrews and the project is complete! I had also applied some little squares of "peel and stick" rubber, to keep from scratching the wall.

Behold!  The Great Wooly Jack Raboose!

And here is this little critter's new home...on the wall of my studio!


pedalpower said...

I like that he looks "cute" because with all those tusks and antlers and such he would be a bit fierce and scary otherwise! Cool project!

Anonymous said...

He's so cute! Really a time consuming project! Mom

jinxxxygirl said...

That is incredible! I love em! Hugs! deb

late night Ferengi said...

I have a question for you. I have been drawing all my life and I have to ask you, how do you improve your artwork? I try to sketch everything but somehow my work is just as mediocre as it always has been. Is there a technique or way that I can challenge myself to improve my drawing?

Warren Ludwig said...

Dear Ferengi...that is a great question. I'm not sure if you have ever gone to art school...that was so important for me to have a strong foundation in drawing and painting. And I have been a professional artist for 35 years now...drawing almost everyday. But I would say the biggest help that I have found is to look at other artists work. There are so many wonderful artists online...blogs, sketch groups, designers for movies, illustrators who work on books and comics. I study them all, and buy lots of books to be inspired by. But the best advice...don't worry so much, and try to have as much fun as you can in the process. You WILL improve if you stay busy sketching...take classes...join with some other sketchers...and just keep at it! Good luck!

late night Ferengi said...

Thanks for your encouraging words. Yes I did go to high school art school many years ago. However the college I wanted to go to was in a very crime ridden area. I decided not to go because I didn't want to become another crime statistic. Turns out I was right. Without making this a long story about my life and times, The NY Daily News ran a number of stories of crimes that occurred at that particular campus. I decided to stay in my state and develop myself as an artist. I am not a savvy city person and it would have not been the environment for me to be in.