Animal Battle: Making a Sculpture

Border_Line

Raccoon_Lead

Hey girl.

Border_Line

Some time ago, I decided I wanted to start making my Animal Battle characters 3-dimensional.  I love drawing them so much that I want them to really come to life.

Quite suddenly a few weeks ago, my brain decided it was time.  It was like a switch flipped and I needed to start making that dream happen NOW.  I was really curious about making maquette sculptures, so for about a week and a half I scoured the entire internet for everything I could find about sculpting with clay.  I watched dozens of video tutorials, pored over countless blogs and websites, read through a couple books.  I looked like this:

a-clockwork-orange-475864l

But, you know, like happy, I just wasn’t blinking.

Then I made supply lists, thought a LOT about the process, made several important clicks on Amazon, and a few trips to my local art and hardware stores.  Some things I bought:

  • a pasta maker (for softening and squishing clay into flat sheets)
  • a Dremel tool
  • Super Sculpey firm clay
  • Apoxie Sculpt
  • an assortment of sculpting tools
  • a spinning base
  • spray-on plastic primer
  • a plain wooden base
  • armature wire (various sizes)

So, as prepared as I could ever be, or so I thought, it was time to embark on a new adventure.

**DISCLAIMER: I’ve never sculpted with this clay before, or sculpted much at all for that matter, so a lot of this process is a little (a lot) of trial and error, based on all the things I read and watched other people do.  Please be kind to the n00b, and also – advice is welcome!**

UPDATE: Parts II and III are posted!

Border_Line

Progress2

First, I traced the basic skeleton of one of my favorite soldiers, Battle Raccoon.  In this print he’s about 10″ tall.  I cut my armature wire and assembled the skeleton.

Progress1

Next, I drilled some holes into my base (Yeah! Power tools!) and inserted my armature.

Okay, I know what some Armaturists out there might think: what the hell?  Even now I’m thinking that to myself.  This ain’t the prettiest armature you’ll ever see.  The two “legs” that extend up the sides of body are actually sturdy brass rods, with everything else kind of goofily attached to them.  But, my main concern was making sure our man’s tiny little legs would support his much-bigger body (and head).  And, I was too impatient/didn’t have epoxy putty to meld the joints together, so I used clay, which was awkward.

But it worked.  So moving on.

Progress5

Progress3

Time to bulk up with some aluminum foil.  You can see how I’ve bent the rods a bit at the “knees” (hopefully without compromising them too much).  I also had to gently tack in a couple snips of armature wire at the “feet” because the holes I drilled were too large.  I’ve got smaller bits, but I need to buy the adaptor for my Dremel tool that’ll let me use them.  Sigh.

It’s working.  So, moving on.

Progress6

Next, I spent maybe the next hour slicing off chunks of Super Sculpey, running them through my pasta maker, and slowly blocking out our main man here.  You may have noticed how much foil I didn’t use.  I might be realizing this later.  First time, guys, first time.

So there’s my loveable lump.  At this point I retired for the evening.

Progress7

The next day I continued blocking out shapes until, slowly, a raccoon began to form.  A battle raccoon.

Progress8

And suddenly, a head!  I became so engrossed in sculpting I forgot to take pictures.  I found my sculpting tools easy to use and fun to work with, and the stylus with the tiny round ball at the end quickly became my favorite.

Progress9

He’s coming alive!  Excitement.

Progress10

Progress11

Annnnnnd here’s my moment of realization.  Just as I was about to start working on his mossy capelet, I thought to test the thickness of the clay.  The blade of my X-acto pushed right into his shoulder and hit nothing.  Way waaaaay too thick.

So, I stripped all that clay off and bulked him up with more foil.  I knew there was probably too much clay on the head now, and maybe on his torso too, but there was no turning back.

We continue.

Progress12

That’s better.  All bulked up.

Progress13

I carved out and texturized the moss cape.  I looked around my studio for something that I could use for just the right texture, and found a nice old sturdy, crappy brush.  Perfect.

Progress14

I made his little mask-hat just to see what it would look like, but I didn’t leave it on there.  I knew I’d be making that part with self-hardening clay later.

Progress15

This little stylus tool is really versatile.  I used it to make a sort of inverted “chain mail”.

Progress16

And there’s his sleeve, with another flat piece of clay ready to be turned into chain mail on his other arm.

Progress17

Next, I rolled out a suuuuuuuper thin slice of clay to make the hem of his tunic.  Like prosciutto.  (Mmmm….prosciutto.)  Then I used my X-acto knife to carve out the pattern before attaching it to the torso and blending the clay in.

Progress19

Progress18

For all the bottom detailing, I had to elevate the sculpture on a shoe box so I could see what I was doing.  But, there’s my workspace, and there HE is!

Progress20

Progress21

Progress22

After I took these photos, I decided to add a little more detail to his clothing – stitches for the pocket and heart, folds in his tunic.  And I gave him a nice brush-down with alcohol to smooth out the clay a bit.  I’ll be adding the rest of the details later with Apoxie Sculpt, like his paws and sword, and his tiny, tiny bolo tie (that should be interesting).  And then – painting!

But for now, our hero is in the oven, AS I TYPE THIS.  He is slowly baking and turning into a (hopefully) sturdy little statue with (hopefully) not too many cracks.  I’m particularly worried about all those little chunks of hair on his head, I left them there as a test.  OH THE DRAMA!  I can hardly stand it.

Stay tuned for the next update on my Animal Battle maquette!

xo

LW_Sig

Goodbye, 2013

Border_Line

Hello_2014

Maryanna_Painting4

Border_Line

Boy, what a year 2013 was.  Any way I cut it, I have to admit that it was a pretty spectacular year, both personally and professionally.  Hop into my time warp machine with me for a quick whirlwind journey through the past.

* This is a mega-long post, but hopefully makes up for all the stuff I didn’t have time to post last year! *

// JANUARY \\

GRIDLords_Interview_MHoggatt

ABV2_Front_Cover_Etsy

Gridlords was kind enough to invite me to their monthly reading event and debut the second volume of my comic series, Adult Babysitting.  The reading was great and I was beyond excited to release my comic child into the world.

Border_Line

// FEBRUARY \\

44287_10151321786090975_1509187491_n

Now a full-time member of the Pony Club Gallery, I began to regularly contribute new work for group shows, starting with this fun number where I drew my awesome lady pal Brooke Weeber.

Xmas_Reindeer

In one of the most pivotal and bittersweet moments of my life, I quit my bartending job after nearly 6 years of service. I was now a full-time artist, and braced myself for all the ups and downs that would come with a freelance lifestyle.  (And I would never wear those reindeer horns again.)

Border_Line

// MARCH \\

Animal_Battle_Header

H&S_Detail_Raccoon

With just two months before my first solo show at Pony Club, I launched into my very first Animal Battle piece and began posting all progress photos on my Instagram (@Leetlewolf).  The response was immediate and warm, and I knew I was on to something great.  I had a new love, and that was to paint fuzzy battle animals.

Border_Line

// APRIL \\

IMG_1514

IMG_1519

April saw the annual Stumptown Comics Fest, and this year I shared a big booth with my fellow members at Pony Club Gallery.  The highlight of the event?  Meeting Muriel Fahrion, THE creator of Strawberry Shortcake.  She was just as sweet as she looks.

Maryanna_TreeStump

I was contacted out of the blue by a photographer named Margaret Jacobsen, and we had a fun photo session in my neighborhood.  The lady takes a good photo.  This impromptu meetup would soon lead to a much bigger and more magical occasion.

Border_Line

// MAY \\

Hearts&Stars_11x17_WEB

IMG_1410

My solo show, Animal Battle, opened at Pony Club.  It was radness all around and the response confirmed that I would be exploring this fantasy world for quite some time (FOREVS?).

Sasquatch_2013

For the second year in a row I traveled to the Sasquatch Music Festival to work for Red Bull as an on-site photo editor.  Along with a team from Roundhouse , we photographed nearly 3,000 rambunctious festival-goers, danced like crazy, and yes, drank a lot of Red Bull.

See_See_Color_FINAL_WEB

One of the last projects I worked on in May was this poster for See See Motorcycles.  Babes and bikes – my cup of tea.

Border_Line

// JUNE \\

Enemy_Badger_WEB

SUMMER.  Each year, the question remains: did you spend enough days outdoors?  The answer is always “never”.  Nope, most of June was spent drawing.  Animals.  In battle gear.

Border_Line

// JULY \\

headout_pridebingo

For the first time in quite a while, I was hired by Willamette Week for an editorial job.  This led to a string of new jobs throughout the year.  Thanks to all the furiously speedy work I put into my comics, I was now fluent in Photoshop and now considered it a True Friend.

Muppet_Animal_WEB

I painted some muppets.  Because I love Jim Henson.

Border_Line

// AUGUST \\

Cannon_Beach

789387a0008711e3bdcf22000a1fbe62_7

A brief but adventurous trip to Astoria and Cannon Beach with Lauren, my Arizona Sister from another Mister, before holing back up in my studio.

Brian_Weaver_FINAL

Amongst more Animal Battle exploring, I illustrated a series of portraits for Willamette Week’s annual issue of the Finder.

Border_Line

// SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER \\

WeMake_Fox_FINAL

It’s a good thing I got outside a little bit prior to this, because things got insane for…well, the rest of the year, really.  Above, I designed my first poster for screenprint as part of WeMake’s annual party for Design Week in Portland.

Fantastic_Bandits

Bad_Dads_Spoke_Art

For my first showing outside of Portland, I was happy to be included in the annual Wes Anderson-themed show, “Bad Dads”, hosted by Spoke Art in San Francisco in October.  The show is always a massive success, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

DeadMan_Postcard_WEB

I curated my first group show as a member of the Pony Club Gallery, and featured amazingly talented artists such as Mark Rogers, Esao Andrews, Teagan White, and many many more.

An_Idea_Faces_Fear_Final_WEB

I was invited by the lovely ladies of TINY PENCIL to contribute a piece for their new issue, and was also featured in an interview on their blog.

ZACH_Fundraiser_Poster_REVISED2_WEB

860465_10151893795480975_950252239_o

Together with my friends at Pony Club, we hosted a special holiday fundraiser at the Cleaners Ace Hotel.   Dozens of artists donated work for a silent auction, and all proceeds went to a benefit a friend who suffered a traumatic accident.  The event was a great success and we were so thrilled to help.  Luckily for everyone, I did not sing.

Xbox_Controller_FrontBack

I was lucky enough to be one of the artists selected by Microsoft to customize an Xbox One controller.  The controller is somewhere…out there.

And kids, I suppose that’s not even all of it – but I’ll save the rest for some other posts.

One last thing though – what really made this year magical?

Elopement

Photo by Margaret Jacobsen (See? There’s that magical occasion I mentioned earlier.)

Paris_Eiffel3

In December I eloped with my very best friend, Jake, and then we celebrated in Paris!

Not a bad way to end the year, eh?

So here’s to 2013 – and onwards and upwards to the next year.  It’s got some pretty big shoes to fill, and I’m excited for it.

To all my readers, thanks for sticking with me, reading along, and for all your notes and comments over the last year – thank you.

xoxo

LW_Sig

WeMake SketchXchange

Border_Line

WeMake

Border_Line

I’m LONG overdue for a massive update on here (such is the insanity of December, guys), but in the meantime, I’d like to share this announcement: I’m kicking off the New Year as a guest of WeMake’s sketchXchange series!  On January 3rd, I’ll be sharing my sketchbooks, stories, and process in an intimate event hosted in WeMake’s new space at Tillamook Station.  Past guests of WeMake’s sketchXchange include B.T. Livermore, Gary Baseman, Nelson Lowry of Laika, Amy Ruppel, Adam Garcia, and Jolby & Friends.  You can check out WeMake’s video collection of previous events here!

Registration begins this Friday, and space is limited!  For more information, a special interview, and where to get tickets, go here.

AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

xoxo

LW_Sig

Xbox One // Customized Controller

Border_Line

Xbox_Remote_Front“Beast of The Enemy // Pronghorn”

Hand-painted Xbox Controller 

Border_Line

Back in late August, Microsoft commissioned eight artists to customize a set of new controllers for Xbox One.  I was lucky enough to be tapped for this project – and, even better – I was given free reign to do pretty much whatever I’d like.

(Animal Battle, duh).

Border_Line

MHoggatt_Xbox_Concept_Drawing_FRONT

MHoggatt_Xbox_Concept_Drawing_BACK

Border_Line

The project presented some new challenges for me (which I dig).  While I waited for my concept sketches to be approved, I did my research.  How exactly do you paint a remote control anyway?

Border_Line

Xbox_disassembled

Border_Line

Because my controller would only be displayed, and not used in play, I didn’t have to worry too much about maximum durability (i.e. – shows no wear even when smashed onto the floor by overzealous gamers), but I still wanted it to have the permanence of a painting.

After disassembling the controller, I lightly sanded the entire surface with very fine grained sandpaper.  Then, I applied a few coats of white acrylic gesso, mixing in a little yellow on the final coat.

Border_Line

Xbox_prepped

Border_Line

From there, it was just a matter of transferring my concept sketch onto the remote.  Most of the challenge was getting reacquainted with my old buddy “Acrylics” while befriending a new stranger “3-Dimensional”.

Border_Line

Xbox_InProgress1

Xbox_InProgress2

Xbox_InProgress3

Xbox_InProgress4

Border_Line

Once the painting process was complete I applied a few coats of high-gloss varnish, for sparkly protection.  I then reassembled the controller and VOILÁ!  An Xbox One controller, Animal Battle style.

Border_Line

Xbox_Remote_Front_Standing

Xbox_Remote_BackStanding

Xbox_Controller_Side

Xbox_Controller_Side2

Xbox_Controller_Top

Xbox_Controller_Bottom

Border_Line

Funnily enough I haven’t seen any other controllers from this artist series pop up on the Internets, but since I saw that Xbox France tweeted out an image of my own remote, I know they’re floating around out there somewhere.  Hopefully the whole collection will be posted soon.

Hope y’all are having a wonderful holiday season.

Cheers!

LW_Sig

Badgers and Giraffes, Oh My

Border_Line

Enemy_Badger_OriginalPromo

The Enemy // Badger

Giraffe_PROMO

Giraffe Scout

Border_Line

A special sale is still happening in my shop, with a handful of original Animal Battle paintings up for grabs!  Save 15% with code BATTLECRY.  Sale ends this Monday, 11/25.  These beasts are looking for a new home – will it be yours?

Visit my shop here!

Tally ho!

LW_Sig

Sparrow House

Border_Line

House_SgtSparrow_WEB

Border_Line

Exploration of the Animal Battle world continues as I venture into new territory: habitats for my soldiers.

This cozy bungalow is Sergeant Ludlow “Supper” Sparrow’s off-site hideaway, nestled deep in the heart of Summertime Forest.

LW_Sig

Striped Hyena

Border_Line

Striped_Hyena_OriginalPromo

Border_Line

“Striped Hyena”

This feisty lady warrior of the Eyes + Hands army is now listed in my shop.  Save 15% on original paintings with code BATTLECRY.

Sale ends 11/28!

LW_Sig

\\ SALE //

Border_Line

11.13_Raccoon_SALE_Announcement

Border_Line

YOU GUYS

There’s a big sale happening right now in my shop! Prices have been reduced on all prints and zines, PLUS save 15% store wide – including newly listed original art.  Code: BATTLECRY.  Warm up a wall with some fuzzy animals, or give the gift of a noble beast.

Sale ends 11/28!  Get some of the christmas shopping done early.

LW_Sig

Cat Fight

Border_Line

Battle_Cat_Mini_Sketch_WEB

Border_Line

My cat wishes he were this tough.

LW_Sig

Show Updates

Border_Line

 Spoke_Art_Prints

Border_Line

The 4th annual Wes Anderson tribute art show at Spoke Art Gallery was awesome!  Together with my main squeeze Jake and art homie Keith Carter, we trekked down to San Francisco to suss out the scene ourselves, and we weren’t disappointed.  The art was wildly different and wonderful, and there were plenty of costumes inspired by Anderson’s many films.

Since opening weekend, originals and prints from the show have been flying, including my own print (pictured above).  This little 8 x 10″ number has been going so quick I just signed a whole new batch to ship to SF yesterday.  Here is where you can get yer paws on one of your own!

To top it off, the trip made for a great Halloween weekend, although we ourselves didn’t dress up.  That was done the weekend before.  What did we go as?  Well, see for yourself:

Border_Line

ToySoldier

ToySoldier_Coat

Jake_Scarecrow

Border_Line

While I can’t claim to have spooked anybody with my toy soldier outfit, Jake did a nice job of creeping out several Normals with his Scarecrow steez.

*ALSO*

(more, so much more, where do I have the time)

Last Thursday was the opening of my first curated group show as a member of the Pony Club Gallery, “Dead Man’s Party”.  I knew I had a stellar lineup, but when the work started arriving the week prior, I nearly teared up it was so beautiful.  Tears in my eyes, guys.

A small sampling:

MarkRogers_birthdayparty

Mark Rogers

Dead_Man_WEB

Brooke Weeber

TeaganWhite_AnimalChantsAndForestWhispers_1000w

Teagan White

DMparty_Esao_WEB

Esao Andrews

BradDelay_InAllGoodFaith3

Brad Delay

And MORE.  So much more!  See the rest, and photos from opening night, here at Pony Club’s page.  If you’re in Portland, the show is up all month through December 1st.

Welp, with the holidays just around the corner there’s plenty left to do.  Keep your eyes peeled here for a special pre-holiday sale coming to my shop!

LW_Sig