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HVAtv.com - Issue 1 - Tony Cipriano

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In this issue of Heroes, Villains & Artists, we're going back to visit Tony Cipriano and really see what it takes to make those statues and action figures we all love so much. I hope you're ready, 'cause Heroes, Villains & Artists starts now. HEROES, VILLAINS AND ARTISTS WITH TONY CIPRIANO My name is Tony Cipriano and I guess I'm a commercial sculptor. I make toys and statues. CONCEPT TO RESIN The phone would ring, it'll be a client, and say: "I got this job." In this case is Dark Horse Comics, they're doing a series of minibusts based on the characters of Robert Lee Howard, the guy that created Conan, they'd give me a deadline, or do it on a price, sometimes I'd get a contract, I'd sign the contract, send it back, and usually the deadlines are pretty reasonable. Sometimes when there's a show coming up, like the San Diego Comic Con, or WizardWorld, or one of those shows, the deadlines are tighter, but... usually is pretty— a couple of weeks to a month. In this case they let me come up with the designs for the series, which is great. Sometimes the client will give you a sketch to work from, or turnarounds, drawings, but in this case, they let me do the sketches, which is fantastic. I e-mailed them to Dark Horse, I did some without arms, some with arms, some with swords, some with axes, and this is the one they decided on, so the next step is to make the armature, and that would be this. Very simply, just aluminum wire bent into the gesture, the pose, and reinforced with epoxy putty, that's this stuff, is a two-part putty, and it cures in a couple of hours, like rock hard. So I kinda just blocked in a rib cage, and a little pelvis, and a skull, and then I can, you know, manipulate it and put it into the pose I want. The next step is to start roughing it out with the clay, it's pretty much just a matter of squeezing it over the armature, a little bit at a time. I don't even use tools at this point. The reason that I had a rib cage and a pelvis, I left a little bit of exposed wire there, is just in case I want to change the pose mid-way, you know, I can still manipulate it a little bit. I can move the head if I want, I can move the arms to a different position if I want, and this next step— This is a little bit further along. This is still the pink clay, but unfortunately the pink clay is a little bit translucent, and it's tough to see the surface details. So what I do is, once I have it baked, I'll prime it with a gray spray primer. And, as you can see, is very rough, it's still at a very rough point. I usually take some sanding pads, and just kinda... just sand it smooth if I want. You can see the pink stuff underneath. The arms—I broke arms off to work on them separately, and I reattached them with KrazyGlue and epoxy putty. It's very loose at this point. It's very quick, and I just want to lock in the gesture, and make sure I got the right pose and stuff like that. After this point, I made a quick waist mold of silicone, I poured myself a wax copy. The reason I do that is because, at this small scale, it's kinda tough to get really crisp details like eyes, and nostrils, and stuff like that. With the wax, it's very hard material, you can really get clean, crisp details at a small scale. And then it's just a matter of buffing it, and sanding it, and tooling it, and carving it, and putting all the intrincate details. I have a wax pen, it's called, and you can adjust the temperature. And you dip it in wax, and you can actually drip a nose or hair, and you can actually draw with the wax pen. And that's how most of the finish work is done. Once the sculpture is done and approved, then I can make the final mold. But once you have that mold, that's where you pour your hard copies, and that's made out of a plastic polyurethane material, called polyresin— I don't know what it is. I just— It stinks, it smells, and I hate using it, but that's they make the hard copies out of, it's a plastic. You pour your resin. Usually the client needs at least three copies, exact copies. Two usually get painted for solicitation photographs, or to display at a convention or something like that. And the other one is called the tool part, that goes to the factory, and they make their master molds, and that's where the production line is, is made from the tool part. So the tool part has to be clean and perfect. PRINCE OF ATLANTIS I'm gonna do a rough sculpture for you. This is a book, an old book I have, "How to Draw a Comics the Marvel Way". And I always thought that was a great image of Namor, the Sub-Mariner. First, I just want to show how I make an armature. This is 1/8 inch aluminum armature wire. You pretty much need to get this stuff at an art store, they don't really sell these in craft stores, I haven't seen it. I just took a long length. This is for an 18-inch figure. I took a long length, this is about— Probably about 24 inches, I left a lot extra down at the bottom, cause it's always easier to shorten it than it is to lengthen it. I bent it in half, just made a loop, tightened it. This is gonna be the arms, I took another length, bent it in this shape, and I'm just gonna lash it to this piece, like that, using a very thin craftwire. This is the way I've been making armatures for about—over ten years, it hasn't changed, it's just the same, same way, no matter what scale the figure is, whether it's an 18-inch figure, or a 6-inch action figure, this is always the way I make an armature. I don't really look at the armature as the skeleton of the figure, it's not really—on a skeleton, a human skeleton, the skeleton comes to the surface, you can see all the bones, you can see the bone right at the surface. Look at the armature, it's like a— more of the center line, a gesture line, and I want to keep it in the middle of the limbs, and in the middle of the body, cause there's nothing worse than sculpting and hitting the armature, then you gotta grind it away. You can see I also started to squeeze some aluminum foil over it. This is because, if it was solid clay, the whole sculpture would weigh a ton, and the weight of the clay might cause the sculpture to droop like that, so I want to bulk it up as much as I can with aluminum foil. A figure this big, this is gonna be a quarter-scale figure, 18-inch figure, a figure that big, I usually like to have a back support, So I took some thick armature wire, 1/4 inch, I stuck it through the putty, back here in the pelvis, secured it, drilled it into the board and secured it. I'm gonna be using this oil-based clay, very soft, it never hardens, I'm just gonna start squeezing sausages onto the armature. It's sticky clay, so I don't think I'm gonna have a problem with the gripping. I'm not really looking at the reference too much right now, I'm just trying to get the whole thing covered. I know a lot of guys that do a lot of preparation before sculpture, they do a lot of sketches, and I don't like to do that, it kinda takes the energy out of it for me, takes the fun out of it, I just get right into it, and just work out all the bugs as I go. I'm not concentrating on any one area, that's always a mistake. You never do that, you always want to work on the whole thing, at the same time. That's another nice thing about working in this soft clay, there's no pressure, you know, some of the modelling waxes there maleable when they're soft, but once they cool they become hard, and then you need heat to work them, you need heated tools, you need alcohol torch, sanding heated pads, and it's a pain in the neck. With this stuff, there's no pressure, you just work at your leisure, and it's never gonna dry, it's never gonna get hard on you right in the middle. I think there's two kinds of— People work two different ways, there's like modellers and carvers, I think I'm more of a modeller, I like to add— I like to add clay rather than scrape wax. Now it just becomes a process of adding, substracting, adding, substracting. And grate down this leg a little bit. Actually I'm gonna try to start grating down the whole thing. And this just ties together all the little sausages and all the little dots. This left arm is back, so that's gonna— That's gonna push out the muscles of the back right here, the shoulder blade, and the trapecius muscle, that's gonna be bulging out because he's flexing that side of the back, and this is gonna be a little bit flatter, this side, cause it's stretching: squash, stretch. This goes back to that animation rule, one side of the body is constricted, the other side is stretching. Sometimes what I'll do is I'll draw on the clay the muscle groups, so I just take a pointy tool, and just draw— And say allright, there's that big muscle, there's that quadriceps muscle, then there's that— that group of muscles right on top of the leg, right there, taking kind of a diamond shape, or a heart shape. Then there's this muscle right here, and I just kinda scribe it in, and then there's that muscle— that tendon that wraps around that. And there are the shorts. And there, the shorts are gonna be right there. Now, that's kind of a guide, where I'm gonna start removing and adding clay. Alright. So I'll take a loop and I'll kinda remove a little over here, and just start giving these big groups some definition, some form. Just from doing it so many times, it's almost like a formula, a superhero anatomy formula. It's probably not completely accurate, but I know basically where things go— I'm not anywhere near an expert in anatomy, human anatomy, but I know kinda where the muscle groups go, and at this point I'm just blocking it in. But this is pretty standard comic book anatomy. You've seen this with great artists, everything works great, everything looks in the right place, it's not like stylised or anything, It's pretty much based on realism. I just blocked in the basic bone structure and stuff. This is the rough clay sculpture cut up now, you can see I made little registration marks with magic marker, I cut it up for molding, and I got an exact copy of that. The wax is much harder than the clay, and you can get much finer detail, you can get the teeth and the eyelids, much more crisp than you could with this stuff. This is the most tedious part. This took—I don't know, The whole figure and the base took maybe a couple of hours, but now this—I'm gonna spend at least probably three to four days alone just on this part, and maybe another two days on each arm and hand, and another two days on each leg and foot, another couple of days on the base, and that's working, you know, eight hour days, ten hour days. It's a lot of work, it's not like a forty hour work week, then you come home, and you got Saturday and Sunday to just relax. I work weekends all the time, constantly. You know, I'm just not unusual to work from 9 to 6, going in the house, eat dinner, then come back out here, and work from 7 until 3 in the morning. That's a common thing with this business. Especially when there's like a big show coming up, and everybody needs their prototypes to be displayed— You could work your butt off. So it's not all wine and roses. Well that wraps it up. We'll see you in the next issue of Heroes, Villains & Artists. Sayonara.

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 54 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 73
Posted by: chords on Jul 26, 2014

HVAtv.com - Issue 1 - Tony Cipriano

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