Anatomy of a Custom Figure – Part Two

In the first installment I showed the concept art developed by character designer Larry LaFontsee and the special armature I made just for this project. I did not get any photos of the clay sculpt as it progressed unfortunately, because so often as I get sculpting, I don’t think about getting a camera out. Here are some photos of the sculpture well along.

The customer picked 3 of the drawings and I had him pick out which features he liked best from each of those. So then I proceeded to sculpt a face incorporating each of these features and creating a composite face. As time went on, and more conversations with the customer, it was decided to make a few small changes in the clay sculpt. One of the changes was to make the neck regular size instead of the exaggeratedly small neck in the original concept. Here are a few pics of that the updated clay sculpture:

Next a quick mold was made and then the head was cast in resin. I also made some custom eyes for this figure with larger irises (the eyes in the clay were just a mock up for reference to sculpt around), 3/4 of an inch in diameter. There was one more change made when we got into the casting stage of the project. It was decided to make the mouth bigger for better visibility (usually desirable on a pro vent figure) and more closely resembling the mouth of the real little girl. Here is an early pic of the casting:

One more subtle change was made in the sculpt at this stage. Instead of a neutral expression, a little bit more of a smile was added per the customers request. Finally, the head was fully sanded, primered, painted, and the eyes and winkers were installed. Here are some pics of her currently:

This is where is starts getting exciting and you know that all your hard work is paying off. I sent these photos off to the customer and here’s what he had to say, “The face is perfect. What you have been able to do, is remarkable. You have managed to capture all of her different looks, …in one figurine. It is not your typical dummy. This dummy has facial expression, just like my God daughter. Now, I’m really excited, I hardly know what to say.”

That’s what makes it all worthwhile!!! I have yet to install her up/down eyebrows, finish her mechanics, wig her, and finish her body. But it won’t be all that long and this cute little figure will be in the customer’s hands.
I hope this little peek into the ‘Anatomy of a Custom Figure’ has been of interest.

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