Sep 23, 2010

Testing Flock & Sculpey

Anyone having to put up with me on Twitter recently has had to hear me drone on about using flocking (coloured felt fiber) in Super Sculpey work. I thought I owed an explanation of the idea, and this is it.

I've been keeping an eye on a few very good artists who recently have been using the coloured flock in OOAK pieces. The results are incredible in my opinion. Super Sculpey is a slightly transluscent material which, with added flock, can add a beautiful depth and texture to the work. For excellent examples of this technique in full effect visit Matt Levin's blog. I wasn't sure where the idea began, but just learned that this probably started in a class with creature designer/effects artist, Jordu Schell. I've been staring at the pieces I find posted in sculpting forums, thinking of what the process might be and developing a few guesses & ideas of my own. What I wanted to try, being maybe a touch different from the pictures I've seen.

I wondered if I could use the flock for even greater depth in one-off sculpts myself, so I picked up some red & blue flock and a few blocks of Super Sculpey. The thought here is that to a degree, faces can have a slightly blue hue to deeper areas (such as eyes, etc.), and a red hue to the fleshier areas. rather than create a consistent mix of flock & clay, I hoped to work in layers & use the clay's natural translusence to my benefit.

While baking a basic skull form in Sculpey firm (the harder, grey stuff), I mixed regular Sculpey with a fair amount of blue flock & a bit of red. I want the red to carry through as later layers will have greater red to blue proportions. I'm thinking of this somewhat like a topographical map. in my first test here, I'm working three to four layers on the basic skull. More than enough heavily flocked material is made & after applying a very simple layer of flesh on the skull I send it to the oven. The remaining material is remixed with plain Sculpey to lighten the blue tint, while a touch of red is added. This is used to build the next layer & blend to the last. After another bake, I repeat the entire process with lighter, more red-tinted mixes. layers are so thin that the blend carries well it seems. Once more, the process is repeated with a mix that is now not much more than flock-reddened Sculpey.

The third stage pictured here is applied only to the right side (in picture) to show comparison. The sculpt itself is 1/6 scale & intentionally exaggerated for effect and speed of the test.

Things I'm thinking during this test are; using regular Sculpey for the skull-base to lighten the effect as well as less flock in the initial mix, using combos like green/yellow & brown/red for aliens, demons, etc. I've enjoyed the education this is giving me & expect to be at this some more very soon. as I do, I'll post worthwhile results here. Feel free to comment.

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