Where have you been?! I was worried. You didn’t call, I didn’t know where you were… phew. So, I’ve become an even fuller-time daddy than the full-time daddy I’d been about a month ago. It truly is a special sort of mind-suck and I couldn’t see writing you blog after blog about the Funderdome! That really is a real place and a handy indoor playground on rainy days when the Master needs to expel some energy to nap so the Blaster can get some projects done while he sleeps.
My recent art project is chess pieces…again. Since Solafar has been a “dot com” I’ve been making (among other things) chess pieces from the oven bake clay, Sculpey. I want to make a chess set so bad! The problem: I haven’t finished designing or sculpting a full-set of chess pieces. Dragons, bugs, robots and now dinosaurs. I’d posted Instagram pictures of the recent dinosaur sculptures on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. They received so many comments from y’all I just had to write a post already (thank you for the push).
I feel the need to clarify that because these are meant to function as chess pieces, both of these sculptures are pretty small. This Camarasaurus is 2 inches from head to tail. I wanted to start with this dinosaur to set the scale since it’s relatively the longest dinosaur in the bunch.
As you may have noticed in the above images, my original plan was to make the Camarasaurus’ legs shorter for a more smooth and stylized dino-look. That’s when I decided I wanted a slightly larger more realistic dinosaur. I used pieces of toothpicks stuck up through each leg to begin sculpting longer leaner legs.
The hardest part of sculpting the stegosaurus was the plates along its back. By brushing a little bit of Mineral Spirit where I was sticking each plate, they stuck like a charm. The problem: getting the wet clay “plate” from my big fat clumsy finger to the dinosaur’s back without squishing or otherwise mangling it.
My best advise (if you’re trying this at home): trim your nails, wash your hands and just be gentle, slow and steady. A small amount of Mineral Spirit on a soft brush will smooth away any unwanted fingerprints but it’ll also melt away the good detail. 10+ hours on each dinosaur; I was adding the final detail with a toothpick and a needle. Because I put such an absurd amount of time into these pieces, I plan to make molds to create the actual chess pieces. This way I’ll only need to work out 6 different designs, but honestly, I’m having trouble coming up with even 6 corresponding designs for any given set… so far.
Now, I’m working on the designs for a T-Rex and a Triceratops. Do you have any other ideas?