Anatomy of a Custom Figure – Part One

Most people never get to see some of the ‘behind the scenes’ steps involved in the development of a custom figure. Thought some might enjoy getting a taste of that process. I have a customer who wanted a custom figure that looked like his goddaughter, and wanted a nice caricature of her.

On occasion I will consult with or consign a fellow artist or colleague, and felt this was the perfect project to utilize that kind of help. I called on fellow figure maker and character designer Larry LaFontsee of ‘LaFontsee Character Design’. I sent Larry several photos (provided by the customer) of the little girl in question, and set him free on doing a caricature suitable for a custom little girl vent figure. (These are all copyrighted by Larry LaFontsee.)

When Larry sent me the sketches he had done, I was bowled over! I knew he was talented in this department, but didn’t realize just how talented he was. Here are a few of the sketches he did for me:

These are just a few of the drawings Larry sent me. I was absolutely amazed at the variety of caricature styles that he came up with. He is one of the most creative character designers out there, I think. In any case, he gave me a plethora of material to work with, which is always better than not having enough to work with. I then got to work on it. I created an armature just for this project. I lathed a smaller than usual neck piece, and tried something new for this armature. I set in small dowels with markers on them, so I would have proportion references during the roughing out of the clay model. Here are some pics of the armature:

The armature worked very nicely and the dowels with the markers came in quite handy. Saves some time in the rough sculpting stages and keeps you on track. So then wads of oil based clay began to be added to the armature. In the next installment, Part Two, I will show you the clay sculpture and the figure of her that’s almost complete.

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2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Custom Figure – Part One”

  1. Wow!!! You are both so skilled and talented!! I wish you master figure makers would have a lecture for up and coming figure makers!! The masters could have a Q &A session. It would probably last for hours!! Lol

    Best regards,

    Mike Palma

  2. Hey, thanks Mike! Yeah, you know the old saying, "Jack of all trades, master of none!" I'm still learning after all these years. If I stop learning at some point, so does the fun!

    Mike Brose

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