Fanexpo Project: Tag Team Sculpting

The Project Overview

Meet what we have unofficially named Mega Furby. We finally got the go-ahead to start constructing the giant fur suit for FanExpo, and we dove right in starting with the head sculpt. This was a combined effort between my classmate Carson and myself. I have to say, it was nice not to sculpt this guy all by myself just considering the scale. You can get an idea from the pictures below of how large this monster head is next to us.

Monster face sculpting time
Monster face sculpting time

The overall plan is this: we as Sheridan students have been “hired” to create display pieces for Sheridan College’s booth at Fanexpo Toronto 2014. The faculty told us roughly what they had in mind for the project, and we came back to them later with concept art and proposals. If the proposals were approved, the school would order us the appropriate materials and we would begin building under a faculty team lead.

This is the maiden voyage of this project. Sheridan has never invested in booth at Fanexpo before, so this is a test of sorts. When you think about it though, Fanexpo is an ideal place to seek an art school’s target audience.

I am hoping the project is well-received at the convention because it would open up opportunities for students in the future to work on large projects and have their work displayed to their niche market.

The Build

The end goal with this monster suit is to build a giant furry creature to act as a mascot at the booth. It will be build with two sets of interchangeable legs so it can be worn with and without the use of stilts. Once it is completed the finished suit will be puppeteered by our teacher’s husband, who is a professional performer.

Carson Lines and the furby
Carson Lines and the furby

As you can see we are currently on the sculpting stage of this project. This creature head is being sculpting out of WED clay, which is ceramic clay with the addition of glycerin to retard the drying process and to prevent cracks. We opted for WED clay over monster clay due to the scale and the time crunch we were under to complete this project.

I tag teamed this sculpting project with my classmate Carson. Working together and alternating sides every few minutes we were able to block in large chunks of this monster’s face in record time. I’ve never sculpted a project with a teammate at the same time before. It is certainly something I would recommend for artists as a sort of team-building trust activity because you have to release some control over the final product.

So far I think this sculpt has benefited from having more than one set of eyes. The symmetry was spot on almost right away, and he ended up having so much personality in his expression.

In terms of technical application, we can already see that the ears are going to be a problem. Clay has limitations, and the weight is not working in our favor. We could tell that the ears were not going to be able to support themselves when we were only half way done sculpting them. Clay needs a certain amount of bulk at the base to support itself, and these big thin ears can only be so thick before they start looking awkward. When we left the sculpt over night and came back in the morning we found that half the clay had actually fallen off the wire armature.

Moving forward, the plan for the ears is to cut them off and sculpt them separately laying down. That way when we make the mold we can cast it with as thing a layer of foam latex as possible. This way we can still get some transparency that you can see in mammals with naturally large ears.

From Drawing to Sculpt
From Drawing to Sculpt

I am already imagining this beast as a gentle giant. He is somewhere between a cuddly bear and a turkey with sad eyes. He is kind of cute in his own way.

I will post an update when this project in completed, and I promise I will include pictures from the Fanexpo convention.



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