Friday, April 26, 2013

Over There

Yesterday I worked on a sculpture of a WWI Marine, using some of the reference photos I'd taken of Marines in period dress on Tuesday.
I had a 1/4-size figure of a 1912 Marine already in process, and I decided to move him forward six years and equip him for France, 1918.  He's still a bit 'wooden' in the way the wrinkles and posture go, but he's developing nicely. Today I will begin crafting his pack, gas mask and all the other cartridge belt gear.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The Rifleman sculpture is continuing along, and I'm once again adding gear to him, after performing the "surgery" on the torso and body armor.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Remember Belleau Wood

Today was a great day, as we were able to set up a photo shoot at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, to create reference photos for an illustration I'm working on about Belleau Wood, June 1918.

Patrick Mooney of Visitor Services helped with all the logistics, and the Marines (Ohse and Andrews) from the Museum detachment played the part of Marines assaulting through the wheat at Belleau Wood and Hill 142.

That's a determined individual, there...

NO SMILING! That's supposed to be a grimace!

Let me see your WAR FACE!
"...many there looked no more upon the sun forever." --John W. Thomason, Fix Bayonets!
Stay tuned, as we continue the photo shoot later this week, and as the image begins to take shape on canvas in the days to come.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A New Wrinkle

Working on the Rifleman sculpture today, I put some detail on the body armor and the trousers, adding subtle wrinkles, some of the straps and belt loops, all of which make it come a little more to life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Today's work on the sculpture included more additions to the plate carrier, specifically the side plate sections, as well as the sleeves of the FROG suit blouse. Here are the photos of their roughing-in:

 Next step: to build the bulk a bit to show the interior plates, and adding the wrap-around side panels  and MOLLE System/PALS straps.

UPDATE 4/19/13
the slight bulking up and the plate wrap-around side panels, as mentioned above:


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrating the Military Child at NMMC

I had the privilege (and all around good time) of spending several hours last Saturday, drawing caricatures of children who'd come in to have fun and learn about the Marine Corps during NMMC's Family Day event, "Celebration of the Military Child."  My colleagues at the Museum and fellow artists Charlie Grow and Tony Espree, also drew their hearts out as the kids lined up to be caricatured.
Here I am, drawing a caricature of a young man who's just enjoyed a good face painting at another one of the booths! Drawing takes the Eye of the Tiger for sure...!
If you've ever sketched  peoples' faces and tried to get a likeness, then you know that portraiture on the spot can be difficult-- and that caricature can be even more challenging than portraiture! So it started out as an excruciating exercise, but it ended up a great training session via the art of caricature to sharpen the eyes, hone the hand/eye coordination, and interface with the public.

Click here for photos of the event.

Click here for photos of the artists plying their trade at the event.  

Mrs. Bonnie Amos, the First Lady of the Marine Corps, was at the event reading to the children, and afterward took time in her busy schedule to sit for her caricature (no pressure!).

Plate Carrier in Process

I've begun to put body armor on The Rifleman figure--specifically, the "plate carrier" type of body armor.

I first went to the IIF (Individual Issue Facility) to get a temporary issue of one of the plate carriers.
I had intended to simply ask them if I could look at one and measure it, but they were kind enough to issue one to me, considering it would be so much better a reference for the art (and I actually work right across the street from their warehouse, so it's not difficult to return it...).
 I then had to cast some thin panels using a 1/4 scale pattern for the separate parts of the plate carrier. Then I began roughing out the basic shapes, similar to how one would draw a picture of something, starting with basic geometric shapes of the right dimensions and adding detail and nuance to it once the basic form was achieved...
 I will have to add some bulk to the side SAPI areas, as the plates are pretty bulky and add to the girth around the midriff of the figure.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Animal Packer, Packed.

One necessary piece of gear for anyone traipsing about in the bush is a back pack. Marines have a couple different ones they wear, depending on the needs of the mission. Since the mule is there to assist in carrying all of the heavy gear and packs, the Marine Animal Packer usually wears only his small backpack, also known as his 3-day Pack or Assault Pack.

Here is the Marine Animal Packer's pack, freshly put on the Packer:


Why We Sketch

Here's a nice article on The Joe Bonham Project, by Sara Roffino of ArtInfo (click on art image for link):

It's a very important part of what combat artists and reportage artists do-- to record the injuries and rehabilitation of those we've sent to fight for us on foreign shores.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1912-- The Hundred Year Marine

Also in process here in the combat art studio is a sculpture figure honoring the Marines of a century ago-- The Marine of 1912.

He could have served in the Banana Wars, the Orient and many a "clime and place." 

It was a time of transition for the Corps, in uniform and in purpose. He's got the new 1903 Springfield rifle, but hasn't switched over to the new combat boots or the "Montana Peak" campaign cover-- he's too salty for that, yet... soon enough he'll be training for expedition to France, but now he's still using the old ways of the Marine rifleman.
Here is the original build up of the sculpture, seen from skeletal armature all the way through to its current near-finish state: 

The "Ecorche" figure, fully fleshed out:

Now for his clothing issue:

Bedroll added...

Here's the original maquette I made for the piece (it's about 8" tall):