Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Drab Future Campaign

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Jareth (BJD prototype 1)

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The process of creating my Puppet Richard left me inspired to create something more elaborate. I just love the Ball-joint dolls put out by Volks and other similar companies, and wanted a modular action figure-like platform, where I could swap out parts and create different characters.

I started where I’d left off, with a complete cast resin Richard. Looking at them I figured out what I liked and didn’t, what was working and not. I actually learned a lot in the process of making them. I definitely liked the posability, but the string method wasn’t working for me. They have a tendency to hang lifeless and their joints gap. I knew I wanted something tighter. While I love the amount of detail I managed to get in the casts, the stranded muscle and wrinkled skin wasn’t something I wanted for every figure I made, it was too unique to him.

I took a clean casting and started breaking it down. I drew lines in the places I wanted to cut to create new articulation, and used the belt sander to grind down the upper thighs for the joints at the hips;
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I also started planning how I could fit in new parts, female hips, chest, and a more the more refined doll face from my Bianca.
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After each part was cut and the points of articulation worked out, I started adding plastic spheres to form the ‘ball’ of the joints. The sockets I created from magic sculpt, pressing the ball in place.


I drilled completely through the limbs, to run a single cord through. This way I wouldn’t need to glue it, and I could cinch it as tightly as I needed to;

From here I started painting him with primer and sanding to even out some more of the surface detail. I also started thinking about props to tie him into character. The wig and juggling sphere really start to sell the idea that this one could be David Bowie’s character from the Labyrinth;

I started sewing some costume elements for him, trying to keep it simple, I also decided to drop some of the clear spheres into his eye sockets;

I pulled the costume back and laid basic tones down with the airbrush;

And gradually worked in more tones for his makeup, trying to keep it subtle and stylized and still keep with the character;

Once I was happy with the paint job, I removed the tape from his clothes and cleaned/polished off his eyes;

I decided to display him as a marionette, so tied strings to his limbs and suspended him from the ceiling;


As an added special touch I wired an LED with tiny batteries inside his head to illuminate the clear spheres…

Here he is on display in the gallery;

This was exhibited at “Dance Magic Dance” the Labyrinth themed group show at R&R gallery in Los Angeles

Dance Magic Dance

A Group art show

Inspired by the film LABYRINTH

Opening reception
Friday July 9th, 2010 7p – Midnight
Ongoing 10th – 17th by appointment

Featuring creations by
Austen Stanton, Ayami Kawashima, Brad Isdrab, Bryce Takara, Carrie Cottini, Chico Munson, Cody Comrie, CW, Damon Alcorn, Daniella White, Daphne Yap, Dave Correia, David Ra, Emily Hart Wood, Heather McMillen, Mike McQuade, Jason Moore, Jeben Berg, Jess Sluder, Jonathan Wayshak, Justin Fry, Kube, Lucien Shapiro, Patrick Hruby, Robert Bowen, Tony DeMille, Vic Back, Wendy Teague and more…

Puppet Richard

My first edition of marionette-style figures.

I needed a figure sculpt to start with. I chose my ‘Richard Simmons’ character, sculpted in Super Sculpy since I knew I’d be making a few of these guys for my ‘Crom’ sculpture and wanted a pose-able base to work from.
Oct 15, 2008
Once the figure was blocked out and mostly detailed, but before I cooked the clay I started cutting into it and dividing it up, that way I could plan how it would break down into parts. After I’d scored into the clay I cooked him and finished the cut all the way through the armature.

Disassembled the parts, and started clean up on them. I had to make sure it woulf fit back together and that the joins weren’t too jagged.

South of Market, Oct 18, 2008

Next I sprued the parts to make molds. This is the process of attaching the parts to a board and to each other to allow them to be suspended in silicone for the mold. The thing to keep in mind at this stage was that I needed to pour the parts in a way that would minimize air bubbles, and allow the resin to flow through. This is one of the most tricky and intensive parts and I’ve learned a ton by trial and (expensive) error.

South of Market, Oct 19, 2008

Pouring silicone molds;
Silver Terrace, Oct 21, 2008

Molds cut open and original parts removed;
South of Market, Oct 24, 2008

I cast the parts in urethane resin,
South of Market, Oct 25, 2008

Which gave me plenty to work with;
South of Market, Oct 26, 2008

Each of these needed to be drilled and have string glued in one side at a time;
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I’m particularly fond of the way I set up the rolling/shrugging shoulders, with string that feeds through the torso into the upper arm;
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And here it is fully assembled.

Detail in the hands.

I made a few of these guys;

These were first made available at the Alternative Press Expo in 2008 and are currently sold out.

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