Thursday, June 30, 2011

3.1b Making Plaster Mold (Arisu)

Here are a few pictures of my plaster mold making experience.

This is my first plaster mold attempt.  You can see my wooden coddle.  I also use plastruct sheet between the plaster and the coddle to protect it.  This is when I noticed polymer clay leaves a sticky residue so I switched to an oil-based clay.

Now you can see the first half of the body plaster mold with the build-up removed.  Looks good.

Above you can see a failed attempt.  I used liquid soap mixed with water as the mold release, but I didn't get it right.  I now use Murphy Oil Soap mixed 50/50 with water which works.  I thought I would have to start from scratch with this failed attempt, but I was told I can just clean one of the halves up, add keys, and then remake the other half of the mold.  So that is what I did.

The mold release I used worked perfect this time, but I failed to mix the proper amount of plaster into the cup.  I was able to add the additional powder needed, but it added more air bubbles into the mix.  Since by this time I was panicking that the plaster will firm up too much before I can pour it I skipped the step of brushing plaster onto the figure... which resulted in air bubbles.  There are only a few bubbles in the lower part of the body, so there is no point redoing it.  But the head has enough air bubbles in the detailed area to require me to remake the mold.  Also, I was impatient removing the head mold so there are blemishes on the top of the head.

3.1a Making Plaster Mold (Arisu)

I have never made a plaster mold so I have learned a lot so far. Although I have read about making plaster molds, I still had a bit of a challenge.

First, the material used for build-up. At first I used polymer clay and it left a sticky residue. I was told I need to use water-based clay or oil-based clay. So I went and got Modeling Clay (Plastalina) which is oil-based. That worked out so much better.

Second, the mold halves were sticking to each other. I ended up buying Murphy Oil Soap and mixed it 50/50 with water. Brush it onto the plaster and let dry. Do many layers. What you are looking for is the point when the liquid soap mix can no longer soak into the plaster. You will notice the surface becoming shiny too. Soak up any excess soapy water before pouring the plaster.

Third, when you add the plaster powder to the water let it soak. Mixing immediately adds air bubbles into the mix. So just let the plaster powder soak in the water. Then after a minute or two start mixing.

Fourth, brush plaster onto object to reduce the chance of air bubbles getting trapped. Air bubbles on the outside of the mold is no big deal, but you don't want bubbles messing up your details.

Fifth, be patient. Let the mold set before messing with it. You can ruin your work by being impatient.

Here is what I used to make the plaster molds:
1. Plaster of Paris
2. Build up Materials (Modeling Clay (Plastalina))
3. Mold Release (Murphy Oil Soap)
4. Coddle or Wall to contain the plaster
5. Mixing Container (disposable plastic cup)
6. Mixing Stick (plastic butter knife)
7. Measuring cups (1/8 cup)
8. Paint Brush

I think that just about covers what I used. Some sites will tell you to have a bucket of water to clean your materials, but I use disposable items. You do NOT want to pour plaster in your drain pipes. You have to do what works for you though so if you need a clean water bucket that some tutorials tell you to have, do so.

EDIT:  I do use a small container of water to rinse the paint brush in.

It is humid here in Florida especially with it being the rainy season right now, so I make sure to wait at least a day before casting the other part of a multiple part mold.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2.2g Sculpting (Arisu)

The rough sculpting is almost complete using Super Sculpey.

I just still need to sculpt the hands and feet.  I may start making plaster mold before I finish those pieces though.

Friday, June 17, 2011

2.2f Sculpting (Arisu)

Still working on the head, but there is progress.

The face on the right in the picture above is my test head.  The face on the left in the picture above is my dolls head now.

Her head is still not done yet.  She still needs ears and some refining done on the skull of the head.  You can see I reattached the back of her skull and it is still rather rough looking.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2.2e Sculpting (Arisu)

Still working on the head.  Still not happy with the results.  The mouth area is what is giving me the problems.  Attempting simple lines did not look good.  I kept trying over and over again to make lips.  This is my best attempt so I baked it.  But notice the mouth area is slanted, so I still have to make repairs.  She also still needs ears, but I figure once I get the mouth done I can work on that next.

Still need to add angles in the arms.  Still need to make the hands and feet.

Next week I hope to start making plaster molds.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2.2d Sculpting (Arisu)

I have redone the body since the last picture I posted. I have to remember what kind of doll I am making. I am trying to make an anime chibi female.   I wanted her a little more mature than the previous body indicated, which is why I redid the chest and added more curves. And I need to keep in mind that details need to be simple.

So here is the current progress. For now the body is done. The legs have some angles carved out, but that is all I will do for this stage. I will add more curves to the angles at the next stage. Her arms need to have some angles added as well.  And I suppose I still need to do the hands and feet too.

Then there is the head.  It has been hard for me to figure out since I am using drawing to figure out how to sculpt her face.  Her face is still not completed, but below are some pictures of her face at different angles.

The legs and arms were made hollow by wrapping clay around a straw.  Since I couldn't bake these limbs in the oven because of the straw, I made a solar box.  This box heats up to 150 F thanks to the sun and I bake parts for 2 hours.  The clay is hard enough by then to be able to pull the straw out carefully with a pliers.  If I want to I can rebake them in the oven.

The head was made hollow by balling up tin foil then wrapping clay around it.  After it is baked and cooled I sawed her head open to pull out the tin foil.  The only problem with this is that the thickness of the head varies... lucky me it was thick where I decided to put the eyes so it took a while to carve it out.

Until next time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2.2c Sculpting (Arisu)

This is how she looked after I baked her with her arms and body mostly done.


I did carve her body and arms to refine them and then started to work on the legs.  After some frustration with adding clay to the legs, I decided to cut her apart after baking any progress made and do her one part at a time.  So here is her body.  I am very pleased with how it turned out even though it is chunkier than the original working drawing.

It is hard to see some of the details I carved in from the photo.  Now to finish the limbs and head.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2.2b Sculpting (Arisu)

I refined the body and arms enough to bake again. After it was baked I was able to get a better look at her without fear of messing her up so I was able to see some things I need to fix.  For one thing, her butt is too big. I also noticed her right arm needs more bulk. After a few fix ups I will either start working on her face or legs before baking again.

I really like how she is turning out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2.2a Sculpting (Arisu)

At first I put a single layer of clay around the armature just to cover it and I baked it in the oven.

Then I started to add more clay to create the body and arms.  This allows me to hold the previously baked legs and head so that I don't ruin the progress I have made.

Here are some of my sculpting tools.

One of the things I have learned so far is that it would probably help to twist some thinner wire around the armature to give the clay something to grip.  Also, I need a better work station.  It would help to have something hold up my figure keeping my hands off except for when I am sculpting.  The clay slips around easily and a bad bump or squeeze can be a headache.  I am thinking along the lines of a device that will hold the figure from the head so that it dangles. A hanging apparatus will also help keep the figure from getting a flat back from laying on it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

2.1 Build Armature (Arisu)

The clay I will be using to sculpt my doll form is Super Sculpey, which requires an armature to help maintain its form.  I decided to go with aluminum wire for the armature.  Her arms are out to the side in hopes that it will be easier to form her arms.

I guess I technically could make a finished doll with just Super Sculpey, but I would need to make the doll hollow.  Instead I plan to create a rough sculpture form with Super Sculpey then hack it to pieces to make a mold.  Then it will be cast with carving wax.  At that stage the details will be refined and the joints finished.  Then time for another mold to be made and then finally cast in resin.  And the list goes on and on about all the other steps that follow.  I could spend all my time thinking of the whole process from start to finish, but then I would get nothing done.  Sometimes it is better to make a few plans and start them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

1.3 Working Drawing (Arisu)

I was not happy with the pencil and ink drawing, so I went digital instead.  I scanned my original drawing and used inkscape to finish my working drawing.  I won't go into a lot of detail on how I did it, but I am pleased with the clean lines and symmetrical results.  I was even able to print it to the exact size for my doll.  A bonus is that it is easy to print the working drawing in various sizes without having to redraw my plans.

Now to create the doll with clay.

NOTEI did notice a few errors with this working drawing and have since made the adjustments needed.

Joint Study: Ankle and Knee

WarningI am no expert when it comes to the human body so it is likely I have made some errors.  But that is fine seeing as how I am not studying to become a doctor.  I am just trying to make a doll with as natural an articulation as possible.

Although you can find drawings of joints people used for their own dolls, I think it is a good idea to understand how they work.  Plus, learning how the joints work allows me to select the joint style that best suits my needs instead of just whatever works.  While learning about how the ankle and knee joints worked I realized that it is not essential I understand joints for my working drawing.  Below are my rough sketches.

I think it will be a challenge to design the knee joints because of the angle.  A seiza position requires an angle of 155 degrees.  Sitting in a chair requires 90 degrees.  After some consideration I have decided that my doll, which is a child, should be able to sit in a 'w' position but not a seiza position.  This makes the angle I am working with less and hopefully less of a challenge.  But I won't know until it comes time to make the joints.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1.2 Drawing (Arisu)

WarningI am not good drawing humanoid figures.  So please understand I may have made some mistakes drawing the human anatomy.  I am learning.

I originally planned to do a young teen wolf anthro bjd so I did make a working drawing.  For her proportions I found a drawing of a chibi unicorn (below picture on left) I liked.  Although I like the body proportion, I do not consider the enlarged head visually appealing for my doll.  So I made an assumption on how big the head will be and drew my anthro (below picture on right), which is 5.5 heads.

Later while searching for other bjd designs I came across some working drawings (picture below) with 4.5 head, 5 head, and 5.5 head proportions.  I can see some changes I want to make when comparing my anthro with the 5.5 head drawing. 

At first I was planning on keeping the 5.5 head proportion, but later decided to make changes.  I wanted her to look younger and more child like.  So I drew a 5 head design(below picture left drawing) to see how she would look.  But I wasn't satisfied yet, so I decided to draw a 4 head design (below picture right drawings).

Now that is much better.  I guess the above picture could qualify as a working drawing, but I want to refine it some more before considering the design process completed and start working with clay.  Also I want to consider range of motion, joints, etc.

Reference Links:

1.1 Concept Design (Arisu)

Name: Arisu (just named 07/15/11)
Type: Anime Chibi Humanoid
Gender: Female
Age: Child
Size:  6" tall

Description:  I was originally going to make my first bjd an anthro doll since I have never been very artistic with the human form, but I later decided to try a chibi.  Wikipedia states that Chibi is a Japanese word meaning 'short person' or 'small child'.  Since my bjd is going to be in an anime chibi drawing style, her proportions does not need to be realistic and the details can be simplified.  One change I do plan to make is to have the head size more visual appealing for a doll than the over exaggerated head size seen in some chibi drawings.