Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tools down....

... paint brushes up.

This is Morgan and he is the portrait of a Shetland that lives not to far away from me. So I was able to get some nice clear photos of all his detail.  I think he has come out OK, I will be delivering him to his owner tomorrow, I hope she likes him :)

I have painted him up using Jaime Baker's YouTube video; Painting Model Horses - Roaning
There is a part two of the video as well.

And Jaime's Liver Chestnut DVD, which just happens to be on sale right now! BONUS!

I have a few more of the little guys to paint up, then it will be back to sculpting. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mr Mayagi say ...

Wax on ...

Wax off ...

 Wax on ...

Wax off ...

Wax on ...

By the time a pony gets towards the end of the CM work, he has had 5 or 6 coats of primer, but as you can see they get sanded back again. Each successive coat (often swapping between colours) highlights faults and flaws in Captain Obvious style. I do have to be very careful around details like eyes and wrinkles that they do not get lost under the coats of paint.

The little guy is to be pastelled when his sculpting is complete, and nothing grabs pastels like sanding marks, and grainy primer, he needs to be as smooth as a baby's behind. So there is going to be a whole lot more before I can call him done.

My lest favourite, it is a complete bummer that it is the longest, fiddliest, most time consuming, and the absolute critical part of CM'ing.

Raspberry*thumbs down.

Friday, November 18, 2011

An easy fix.

Okie dokie, a pony was dropped and an ear snapped off and into pieces. To be honest though this sort of thing happens to me more often then not, I am ridiculously clumsy. It is because of this that I have a tub of ears, already made up and cured, ready to plonk onto any unfortunate victim.

So a quick sort through and I have found a match in size. The ears are only roughly made and quite thick, this gives me plenty to work with in matching this ear to the existing one.


LOL, this happens more often then not too, I am actually surprised I was not still attached to the ear and horse as well
As you can see the ear is too big, and too clunky also the wrong shape.

Never fear, that is what sandpaper, and carbide scrapers are for :) It still needs Apoxie added to the base for correct shape and some liddle wrinkles and ear fluff.

So there we go easy fix.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dang it!

Note to self - Do not drop pony on his head, disaster ensues.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Long time, no post!

So sorry for the time span between posts, I was really hoping to keep the momentum going with Heartbreakers CM! My real job and finishing off a few more commissions pushed the CM work back.

I have been fiddling with him in fits and spurts, he has ears (Laura Skillern has the BEST tutorial on sculpting ears on her Blog, I highly recommend a visit to 'Don't eat the paint').

I make my ears and eyeballs up in bulk with any left over Apoxie I have no use for. I make them lots of different sizes from stablemate to traditional. They are very easy to sand down to fit any horse. This way I always have ears on hand, and there is no waiting around for Apoxie to dry :) Right now, I have about 20 little pairs made up.

Unfortunately I jumped ahead a little forgetting to take photos along the way :( not too far though :).

So onto his lower lip.
Another sausage, this one is rolled to the correct length, taking care to taper the ends off.

You want the ends to fit just underneath and slightly shorter the the top lip. I have coloured the sausage yellow. Underneath in purple, is a small ball of Apoxie that has simply been squished on for his chin. I have then smoothed the bottom lip and the chin with Aves safety solvent, then once dry, refined with sandpaper.

On most horses, you will find the bottom lip is wider then the top in front, but narrower at the back. Hence tucking the bottom lip sausage in under the top. Foals this young are also toothless (or only have their milk teeth), and can often be seen with their lips and chim compressed much more then an adult horse would be able to.

More sausages! First is the red sausage, it makes the bones of the lower jaw, I like to wait until this one is dry before moving onto the others. You can see in the above photo that it was done the same time as the bottom lip and chin.

I also like to do both side of the head at the same time. Unlike the body, which depending on the movement, has muscles doing different things on each side, a horses head is symmetrical.

Sausage number two is the blue, then a shorter fatter tapered sausage makes the green. Orange is made up by a little triangular blob that makes the stretch of skin between the mouth edge and the jaw.

I blob these on roughly, squish then smooth, smooth, smooth.

Study these parts carefully on your horse, as each is different, some have more detail, some have less. Some show much more tendon, some don't. Older Arabians that have 'dried out' and super fit lean TB's can have some of the best definition, study photos and anatomy charts, learn what is under the skin.

More soon!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


As a portrait artist, faces are my 'thing', I enjoy creating them more then any other part of the horse, and have usually finished the face in the very early stages.
On this guy I am only re-sculpting the bottom half of his face, as the eyes he already has are fine, they will get eyelashes, but that is it.

So let's begin :)
First assemble all the players. Pony, Apoxie Sculpt, for face work like this I use the Aves safety solvent for smoothing (it stays wetter for longer then the metho, and does not make the clay sticky like water) a soft cheapo brush. My sculpting tools are an orange (cuticle) stick, a sanded and shaped wooden skewer and a toothpick.

Pony is ready, his face is already roughed up from where I dremeled his features off.

Following my reference photos, I add to his profile, giving him more forehead, continuing right down and including the squishy bit between his nostrils. Once I think I have it 'about' right, I use my finger in the solvent to smooth and feather the edges.

 Next I roll out a little sausage and create a top lip, just plop it on.

Then I have smoothed it out using the brush dipped in the solvent. I am not concerned with shape so much, as the clay will take a few hours to cure, there is plenty of work time. 

Starting to take shape

Next comes the outer nostril. I start with a vague leaf shape, not too thin, maybe a millimetre thick. It is easier to shape and sand down excess then it is to add more onto detailed parts like faces.

 I then roll it onto my shaped wooden skewer. This has to be done gently, or the clay will not want to come off the skewer, which can be quite frustrating!

Here I have just placed the nostril on the face, it is just sitting there. I think I lose about three nostrils on the floor for every one I manage to keep on a face.

 This is the bit that anchors the nostril down, and creates the correct shape. I am using a blade to make a simple cut and trim the excess clay.

Next is the inner section of the nostril. Once again, same as the lips, a little sausage is rolled. 

I place one end inside, then using my skewer and toothpick, I bend the sausage at a right angle down towards his top lip. Smooth, smooth, smooth :)

Ta da! Character.

More soon...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

All finished.

The big fulla is done, and up for sale!
I have chosen to list him on eBay, something different, and not sure if I am terribly comfortable with it just yet. Not that I have anything against eBay, I don't, I think it is a safe way to sell and buy, but the anticipation literally kills me, I am a nervous wreck till the last minute.

Lots more photos on his Auction site.

Painting finished ...back to sculpting, YAY!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Painting ...

... is not my favourite part of customising unfortunately. I love watching the horse come to life, I love the end result, I love scouring the Internet looking for the perfect colour, but when it actually comes to applying the pastels, procrastination becomes my greatest talent.

This time however I am using Jaime Baker's DVD's to paint.
I have learnt that in most ways, I was doing it sorta right, but those few extra tips and tricks from an experienced artist have really made a huge difference to my style and technique. I feel that I am in control of my pastels, but not micro managing them as I used to.

I have been able to loosen up and look at the horse as a whole, not just a little section at a time.
I am also looking at my reference photos with new eyes, they have made me think about what technique I can use to get a certain effect.

But best of all, my motivation and confidence to paint and create a realistic end result has increased 100%.
Bloody brilliant :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

The big Fulla ...

And I am in no way kidding, there is so much work on this fellow that he weighs in at 720gms.

So very close to being finished, in these pics all he is lacking are his eyelashes and veins. When he is done, he will be painted a warm soft dapple grey suitable to his age.
With his stallion bulk and the movement of dressage he is performing, I am thinking he is about 10 to 12 years old.

Silly begger got sick of waiting for me to edit his photos, so laid down and had a roll, lol. he really does have a face only a mother could love.

And a reminder of where he began ....

Photo credit to Melissa Williams, Identify my Breyer