Friday, September 27, 2013

Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Sculpture WIP #5

Been a very busy week for me so I haven't had a chance to really get anything done for the blog. I will have some exciting news over the next few weeks...maybe not as exciting as the Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Sculpture however.

Since I have been so busy, I almost missed the week without having any posts.  Thankfully, I did not lose that opportunity and I could show you a bit more progress with the Hulk.  I am getting really excited by how it is turning out and hopefully you are to.

If you have any questions on it at this point, write them in the comments and I will answer them on my next post.  You can also post any comments on how you think it is turning out.  It is always great to get feedback.

One thing that I should point out is the skirt has more underpinning to it and will look completely different by the time I am finished.

So without further is the next work in progress of the Hulk...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Sculpture WIP #4


Okay, I am getting excited with sharing these posts with you now and partly because I have gotten through the boring parts of sculpting.  Now I am getting into the more exciting area where I can start adding the details to the piece.

I have to say that I love working in the larger scale.  I can add a lot more detail and texture to the piece and it just brings it to life.  As I mentioned last week, the final layer is being done in grey stuff.  This is because I find it easier to photograph. One of my weaknesses actually is taking nice photographs of a sculpture so you should bare with me when you see pics on the blog.

One thing that is highlighted in this WIP post is just how large he will be in the end. It is a big foot!  Another thing that is highlighted is how I sculpt - from the bottom up, not from the top down.  Outside of build up, I generally start at the feet and work up and then out. Fine details are always left until the end but I will get into that in more detail as we move up the sculpt.

For now, you simply get to enjoy that we have a foot and now you will see much more than a blob of green stuff.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Blast from the Past: Creepy Freaks

If you were to ask me what one of my favorite miniature lines to work on was, I would probably tell you HeroClix, Pulp City and a few others.  One that I often forget to mention and is ranked up there with HeroClix is Creepy Freaks.

For those of you who aren't aware, Creepy Freaks was a kids miniature game created by WizKids.  It had fun characters and it centered around a group of kids that befriended and used these "Creepy Freaks" for battles.  I think the premise was very much a Pokemon style game and while my kids were still too young to enjoy the game when it came out, it was a lot of fun sculpting the miniatures.

WizKids also released a pilot for the game but sadly, the game didn't take off so we didn't get to work on more than the initial release.  Still, it was a fun project and I thought I would share a few of the pictures with you.  I don't have all the pictures of Creepy Freaks that I did, but here are a few.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Sculpture WIP #3

Well, it is the end of the week and I thought I should post up the third installment of the Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Sculpt.  At this point, I am still adding more bulk to this beast.  He was quite large by the time I started adding the final layer of putty, which I will post up next week, finally!

So, not a lot to go over today. I do a lot of my build up with green stuff and then work on the finer details in grey putty.  I don't find much difference between the different coloured putties, although there are some slight differences. I do find that grey stuff photographs much better than green stuff (and yes, those are the scientific names for the sculpting putty, lol).

In the second photo, I have included a Super-Adaptoid that I sculpted for HeroClix to give you some idea of how large this sculpt is getting.  You can also see the musculature that hulk will have but he isn't done thickening up. I will be adding a bit of bulk when I sculpt on the final layers.

When I was adding the layers, I did make changes to the pose and anatomy as needed.  It is easier to do it at this stage as opposed to waiting until I have added the final layers, although I may do some tweaking throughout the entire work.

And as an added bonus, see if you can spot the Vampirella, not my sculpt just one of the many figurines that I have in my office.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tips for Freelancers

So you want to be a freelancer, eh?  Well, before you launch yourself into a world of freelance, I want to offer you some much needed advice.  When I was first starting out in the world of freelance sculpting, I had a lot of people helping me out from Sandy Garrity to Jeff Grace to Bob Murch.  One thing that was often recommended to me was how to deal with contracts and the business behind freelancing.

Over the years, I have realized that a lot of new sculptors coming in to the industry don't have the same advice that I have had.  In addition, they really aren't sure how to approach freelance.  I know it is exciting when you book your first commission.  Every freelancer from artists to writers, feels that rush of excitement as they sign on the dotted line.  I felt it with my first commission, and every time I commission a piece I am interested in.  My wife, who is a freelance editor and ghostwriter, feels it when she signs a new contract or publishes articles/books with her name on it.

The problem is that during that rush, we often make the mistake of not following some important steps to ensure that we protect our viability when we sign those contracts.  To do that, you should follow some points and this is a universal truth, whether you sculpt, write or paint.

Before I give you those points, however, I should say that I have been called difficult to work with. For those who have worked with me for years, they know this isn't the case.  I do changes when asked, I work quickly and I give input when asked.  I offer advice on building a gaming business and I generally keep to myself.  The only thing that I am firm on is my terms of payment.  When you don't pay, I become difficult.

I think of it in terms of being a mechanic.  If you put your car in for an engine repair, you don't get the car back if you don't pay.  End of story.  Why should a freelance artist be any different?  So with that said, let's look at the tips that I have been given and the ones that I have learned over the years.

Tip Number One:  You are the Provider, not the Employee

This is a huge mistake that many people new to freelance make.  They treat their clients like they are their bosses.  What this means is that they take a lot of abuse from clients and end up working insane hours to please everyone.  The simple fact is that these contracts are not your boss, they are your client.  Yes, you have a responsibility to them, however, you do not have to take any mistreatment and you do not have to work yourself into an early grave.  Instead, you set your own hours, let your client know what those hours are and go from there.

Tip Number Two:  Make your Terms

Before you get into any freelance work, it is important to create your own terms.  These terms should include changes, payment amounts, and payment terms.  Payment terms should have a set standard.  Are you going to be paid in 30 days?  Is payment due before changes are done?  In addition to the terms, you should give deadlines for approvals.  Some clients will procrastinate on approval to delay payment, case in point, my wife ghostwrote a fiction novel and in the process, edits were to be done before payment.  The client took 2 months to get edits back to her...and when she sent it back, there were no changes, the book had been approved.  As you can see, stall tactics are seen in every industry.

Tip Number Three: Be Upfront

Now that you have those terms, don't hide them.  Every new client should be sent the terms and they should sign off on them.  I do allow room for negotiation on some things but I am firm on others.  Be open and honest about your terms and you will find that you don't have as many headaches when it comes time to get paid.

Tip Number Four: Hold on to the Figure

This is one thing that drives me insane; people sending the finished piece before they have been paid.  I have been sent emails asking me how to get a client to pay after the figure is sent.  The answer is can't.  My rule of thumb is that the figure doesn't ship until the payment has been made.  The only exception to this rule is for clients that I have a long standing relationship with.  Keeping the figure ensures that you get paid, if you send it out before you get paid, there is no reason for them to pay.

If you don't feel comfortable holding onto the figure, you need to go the same route as a freelance writer.  Every client, for every single piece, has to sign a legally binding contract with the payment terms explained.  Again, I defer to my wife's policy as it is impossible for her not to send the work before payment.  She creates a contract for everything, even a 10 page editing contract that takes her less than an hour.  In it are the terms for payment, as well as the deadline for payment and where any legal matters will take place.  She never travels for legal matters, all clients have to travel to her and when she has clients as far away as Singapore and New Zealand, people make sure payment never gets to that point.

Still, as a freelance sculptor, my best recommendation is to hold onto the figure until payment is made.

Tip Number Five: Don't Work for Free

There is a rule for artists and that is, "You can't call yourself a (insert your profession - painter, author, sculptor) until you have been paid for your work."  This is a universal truth and while many people start out by doing a few free pieces, you shouldn't.  Name recognition is not necessary in today's world since you can build your own recognition through networking.

Get paid for your work since people are going to be making money off of what you do.  The only time I have not been paid for a piece is when I have done it for a charity or if I offer to add a few extras, such as an extra gun, into a sculpt I am doing. When you do work for free, you are only hurting yourself as people will continue to expect that free work.  Also, I have seen companies load their catalog with free "test" sculpts and not pay out to any of their sculptors.

And those are some of the tips that I follow when I am sculpting.  If you have any questions about freelancing as a sculptor or even as an artist or writer, please ask.  I am always happy to answer questions.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Paintings By Fans

One question that I am often asked is if I like to see my figures painted up...the answer is a big YES!  I love to see what people have done with figures that I have sculpted and I will often go and check forums of companies I work for to see what the fans have come up with.  I have to say that while I enjoy painting, there are some artists out there who truly make my work breath.

Today, I wanted to take a moment and look at one of my favorite fan based pieces by Adam Huenecke.  He did an amazing job on my Kirai models for Wyrd Miniatures and created a diorama that is simply breathtaking.  Be sure to like his facebook page.

So here are some excellent shots of the pieces.

If you have any of my miniatures that you would love to share the photos of, please feel free to message me with your photos and also with how you want to be credited for them.  I would be happy to share them on my blog.

Friday, September 6, 2013

RAFM Call of Cthulhu Indiegogo

Just a quick post today to show off a figure that I did for the RAFM CoC Indiegogo. This was one of their personalities and it was a lot of fun to sculpt. I really like the feel of this concept and I don't get a lot of figures that need a Tommy Gun.

Anyway, here is the figure for you to see.  If you want to see more about their COC line, visit or go onto their Indiegogo campaign.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Beast

Wanted to start with one of my kids' favorite movies. I have seen The Sandlot dozens of times and I love the scene where The Beast is running after the one kid.  It always makes me smile because I share my office and home with my very own Beast.  I have a 2 year old English Mastiff and hope to bring home another English Mastiff, hopefully a male this time, in the future.

So why am I talking about my dog?  Well, thought I would give you a little look into my office.  I spend it every day with Daisy who loves to curl up under the desk and snore away.  I should point out that Daisy does not smell like a Daisy.  If you have ever been around an English Mastiff for any amount of time, you know that they can clear a room. Daisy has the ability to make a grown man cry and I have had to evacuate my office on more than one occasion until it was aired out.

But still, it is nice to have a companion during the long sculpting hours. Well, not much to say today, I will have a new figure to preview tomorrow and, of course, next week, I will have more WIP of the Hulk I am doing.  Signing off with a few pictures of my Beast.  Do you have any pets?  Feel free to share.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Sculpture WIP #2

After a very busy week, I thought it was about time I put up another post about this project.  It is coming along well and I have to say, I love working on the bigger stuff.  You can put so much detail into it and the end result is really impressive because of the scale.  The level of detail just isn't possible in the smaller scale...But, you aren't going to be able to see that today...insert evil laugh here.

Today, I am just posting up some photos of the next work in progress shots I took.  You guys are several steps behind me but in the next few days/weeks, you will finally start seeing what Eric and I have seen already.

This stage is the underpinning stage.  Because the Hulk is so large, I have to add a lot of bulk to it before I can start adding the top layers of detail.  I have added the major muscle groups.  This is just the first stage of the bulking process.  It allows me to measure proportion better and adjust as needed so he will actually get bigger than you see here...a lot bigger.

Again, the Wolverine figure that is in the pictures is a proxy that I am using for scale.  I will be sculpting a completely new Wolverine as well.

If you have any questions or comments, post away.