Friday, January 22, 2010

Gotta Hand It To 'Em

I've been working on hands lately; specifically, hand armatures for two 1/4-scale Marine figures in the Belleau Wood sculpture I've been crafting.

I had tried earlier to make them out of wire, twisting and cutting it until it was the basic size and shape of the human hand. But it was neither rigid nor pliable enough, and so I called Mike Fay, friend and prior Marine Combat Artist and sculptor, to ask him how he did hands, as I remembered him using a unique method to form them, and I needed to get his secret.

He suggested I look up a certain book by a graphic illustrator, in which he gives a template for drawing human hands, which served as a useful sculpture template for my wire hands. Also, and just as important--  he recommended I use wax also in making the hand armature, because the wax serves the dual purpose of holding the wire and mimicking the fleshy part of the hand. This was far superior a process to simply twisting wire together for fingers as I had first tried...

Here is the basic process I used--
I printed off the drawing template I found in the book, pasted it to a piece of cardstock. I also cut out just the fleshy part of the hand, which I used to cut out the corresponding wax "flesh":

I placed the cutout hand piece on the template, and used it to place the wires in the right spots, to acheive the proper length and angles. I then sealed them in place by brushing a little wax over the place where the wires met the wax:

Finally, I began the process of making "knuckles and joints" of the fingers, which I'll wax-flesh out to make the fingers, once I've bent the fingers into shape to hold the rifles.


It may not make a George Costanza model hand, but it'll do...

note: Have you ever wanted to find a decent use for all those little wire ties you find your child's Christmas toys tied to the box with? I knew I saved them for a good reason! They are perfect for finger wire, as they are small, yet strong and pliable enough to form and hold a pose.

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