Here's my final custom Donkey Kong piece for Vinyl Thoughts 2: The Next Level-- video game themed art show in Dallas, March 17th.
Most artists worked on a blank vinyl character base, such as a Munny, but I crazily decided to sculpt mine from scratch. With little sculpting experience to speak of, it proved a lengthy process for me. But the challenge was well worth attacking, and so far as I could tell, the piece was well received at the show!
I built up the 11" figure with a wire and foil armature, primarily to save on clay but also to give it a structural core. To retain a small sense of 'toy' in the piece, I left a bit of the flexible wire armature extending from the body so that the head would be able to reposition and look in different directions.
I used Sculpey Firm polymer clay to build up the surface, and after some debating, I decided to leave the surface smooth rather than giving it a ridged fur surface. That served both to stay true to the vinyl toy theme of the show, and to allow me to use my signature style of pen and ink shading to give it more detail once I painted it with a brown/grey acrylic base coat.
All in all, the process took me far longer than I expected (and longer than I care to mention), but now that I've attacked a large sculpture project like this I feel more enabled to work with sculpture moving forward. I'm looking ahead to do some simpler vinyl toy pieces using a preformed base (like a 'Munny') to save time and provide some parameters to the project. But I'm also looking forward to doing some original sculpts, but keeping them at a more manageable size so I can start to play with detailing the clay itself.
Here's another shot of the final piece...