Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maquette Building

Sculpted one of the Crogan brothers from Crogan's Loyalty as a demo in maquette-building for one of my character design classes.

maquette, how to build maquettes, character design, pre-production

Teaching the students how to build maquettes is not something on which an inordinate amount of time should be spent; it's helpful to wrap one's head about the three dimensionality of a design, and representational sculpting will DEFINITELY improve your drawing, just by making you address how one part influences another.  But I've known a few people who have fallen into the cyclical pit of feeling like they need to make a maquette for every character that they do, and never get any pages done.  So what's even the point?  We're not maquettists, guys, we're storytellers. 

I spend a LOT of time on preproduction, but it's a means to an end.  Never, ever, ever let it be the end.  It's self-indulgent, and benefits you nothing.  ALWAYS make sure your concept work is leading to stories.  Otherwise you're just playing with yourself.


Christopher Lane said...

I'm one of those people!

Christopher Lane said...

I'm one of those people!

Eric said...

Any chance you could share a few tips with those of us not in your class (with the acknowledgment that I'm not paying tuition to receive said tips?). Do you have a final design on paper before maquetting, or a general idea? Do you keep the maquette in a form that's malleable for posing (i.e. do you use Sculpy?), or do you cure it?

Chris Schweizer said...


I have a final design for the character, but not for the pose. As is the case when I draw, I have a general impression of the pose I want a character to have (in the case of the maquette, I don't draw this ahead of time) and let it take its own shape as I'm going. I learned a long time ago that in my own work I'll get really frustrated if I try to envision the final piece in my head and then transcribe it, as my interpretation is always off AND I've neglected to let the drawing (or sculpt) take advantage of itself, if that makes any sense. I'll try to articulate that better at a future date.

I use an aluminum armature wire, aluminum foil, and super-sculpy, which I then cook to hardness. I'm not worried about being able to pose it - even with the most articulate toy, I don't feel one can ever get the degree of flexibility one can find in the human body, and certainly not as much as I usually employ with my cartoony gestures, so trying to repose it for shots would be a pain for me. It'd basically, I guess, serve as reference for things like which side of the body his canteen rests on, what does his head look like from nearly the side, etc.

In reality, I really don't use them for much. I made a really rough unpainted head sculpt of D'or back when I was doing Vengeance, and used it to draw him for probably a half-dozen pages, and that was really helpful, but otherwise I don't think I've used any of these models for anything but teaching. I may make the other brother, to have them at my table when promoting Loyalty. But they're kind of fragile, and I don't know if I want to risk breaking pieces off of them.

Eric said...

Thanks! That's useful stuff to know.

Shane Houghton said...

Super cool stuff, Chris! Here's hoping for a full family tree of Crogan action figures!

Unknown said...

he looks amazing! Great maquette.