A Bowtruckle From Harry Potter!
Ok, as promised, This is The First Part of my Bowtruckle Tutorial!
You can click on the pictures to see bigger, better, high quality versions of them
For a long time I have wanted to try making creature sculptures, but I have found my previous excursions disappointing. So I did some research into what materials to use and I thought I would give Super Sculpy a try and see what happens.
What follows is my process of how I made my creature. It is entirely my trial and error process having never attempted this sort of thing before. I just wanted to try.
I have be re-reading the Harry Potter books before the final book is launched and the Bowtruckle jumped out at me as a creature that might be fun to create.
So here we go:
The thing I did was a bit of research on the Creature in question. I read the passages in the Harry Potter Books referring to them and the descriptions in the little Harry Potter related book ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to find them’.
There really isn’t a lot of detail about how they look, which is good because although there is a general idea I still have plenty of creative freedom. So I started with some rough sketches of what sprang to mind. Until I finished with a sketch of a Bowtruckle that I drew in full size (about 9 inches tall).
Here is that sketch:
Then I gathered some research objects. I wanted it to be a Bowtruckle from an Oak Tree (I like Oak Trees) and so I went and collected some leaves and twigs, bits of bark and acorns, to reference to throughout this process.
3: Getting Started/Armature
So… I had to start with an armature. Here is the picture:
There are a whole range of ways to do this but the arms and legs of my Bowtruckle were going to be quite thin so I needed and thin but strong steel wire, to help give them some strength against accidental knocks. So checking the frame size against my drawing (not too big there’s a lot to be built onto it) I built a simple skeleton to build my model on. The joints were silver soldered (circled red) because it’s flipping strong! But that sort of strength isn’t always necessary. It probably wasn’t necessary here. I then used a bit of scrap wood from a skip (a bit of old teak in this case) drilled two small holes, poked the two bits of wire at the bottom of the leg ins and glued it there with two part Areldite. (Available in most hardware stores and model Shops)
In order to save clay, and to give the clay something to grip to I bulked up the wire frame with Tin foil – simple crumpling it onto the frame is enough to make it stick.
4: Working With Clay/ Sculpting
Then I started stick very thin strips of clay onto the frame – a bit like paper mache’. (I am making the hands and head separately to get good detail on them, The head being a simple circle of wire with a bit for the neck with a ball of tin folio wrapped over it)
Now I can roughly see the position of the frame. Now is a good time to correct this without damaging any sculpture.
Then I put chunks of clay all over the frame to bulk out areas and thicken parts, giving shape – like biceps, pecks, jaw and chin, forehead, thighs, tummey. All the thick parts of the body – like strips of muscle.
Then the sculpting begins.
I don’t have any sculpting tools so I simply made some by curling over different thicknesses of wire into tiny loops. These seemed to serve their purpose well.
Rolled out some tiny balls of Super Sculpy and cooked them, I used these for eyes. You can cook super Sculpy many times. Details further down.
This mean that you can made delicate things like fingers teeth and ands separately and cook them and then attack them to the model and sculpt around them without damaging them. Which is exactly what I did. I made the hands and eyes separately then attached them.
When using Super Sculpy you can get little rough bits when you sculpt and carve. To smooth out the edges, the get rid of these blemishes you can use a soft brush dipped in something like turpentine and gently brush over your model. This method does not damage your sculpt but does slightly smooth it over giving you a lovely smooth finish, without any bits. It also makes it clear where there is mistakes and what eeds more work.
When I did the head I did all the basic detail, smoothed it out with turpentine and then built more detail onto what I already had. This seemed a good way to work. However should you use this method. Once you have brushed your sculpt I don’t recommend sculpting it for a good hour or so, because the turpentine leaves the very top surface very soft, and you could do some damage. Its better to leave it for an hour or so until the surface is firm again, then start your re-sculpt.
Once I had sculpted the head and attached it to the base, I used an old cheap little hairdryer to heat up the face for a while, this meant that the topmost layer of sculpt was slightly cooked, so I wouldn’t mess up the face as I attach the big leaves coming out of the head.
Once sculpted I cooked him.
130 degrees for 15 minutes for every 6 mm (thickness) of clay. - keep an eye out and try not to over cook or burn your work.
Then I worked on the base and cooked him again. You can keep cooking sculpy with no problems.
The finished model:
Now for painting! - - Update Soon!
Creating something like this take loads of time. So be prepared to be patient and go away and return to your project. Take time in the sculpt, and time in the designing process. A good design will help you sculpt. This sculpt took me about 12-15 hours.
This was my trial and error method only… there are probably much better and more effective ways of sculpting like this, In fact I am sure there are professional sculptors who would roll their eyes if they saw this. This tutorial has been an overview. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to ask.