Sculpting a Face

As strange as this may sound, one of my favorite things to do within art is create a face. I feel like every artist has their thing. Some love drawing dogs over and over or working with flowers or extreme lines or bright colors. My thing is faces.

There’s just something I love about creating a human face. It’s just so indescribably exciting.

I find myself at any given time, staring at people and gathering in the idea of them. Their eyes, mouth and nose, lips, freckles, cheekbones, skin tone, the ears or neck or jawline. Every face is so fascinating. And while I don’t often use references in print (as in photos) for my work I do find myself referencing the people I’ve seen, from memory. Of course, these are generally exaggerated references and stylized artistically, which has become apparent throughout my work.

I find it so exciting when I first see this new person peaking though, when all those dabs of paint or scratched in lines start to come alive. It’s probably the most exciting thing about painting and why I have a hard time branching out into other subjects, like plants or scenery. I get so thrilled when I see the sparkle in their eye and they become real to me.

Sculpting a face garners a similar reaction. When I choose to sculpt a face instead of a flowerpot or cookie jar I find myself unable to stop working until they are completed. I will keep working and working until I see the nose and eyes poking through that wad of clay. The hours melt away. Next thing I know I’m looking at the clock and four hours have past and I look back at my hand and I’m holding a person I could only see in my head.

Below is a sculpture I worked on this Saturday. She is a character from a children’s book I’ve been working on. I guess it might be harder for others to see, because I can envision her in full color (she’ll be painted soon) and I can see her cuteness and spunk shining through and she feels almost real to me now, a way she hadn’t exactly felt before. I’ll be making more characters as soon as I can.

I’m not sure if other artists feel this way but it’s one of the things that ­keeps me creating. To an extent, it feels like another way of creating life.

I guess it is.

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Until next time!

damian alexander

LAIKA/house Creative Challenge – September 2012

This is my entry for the September 2012 LAIKA/house (the people who made ParaNorman and Coraline) Creative Challenge.

The challenge was to create a character “Missing from ParaNorman” and so I decided to create the mentioned (but never shown and nameless) character of Mitch’s boyfriend. If you haven;t seen ParaNorman,it is a stop-motion animated zombie comedy for kids that is defiantly more than the trailers let on. [trailer] Mitch is a big jock and at the end of the film it was revealed that he has a boyfriend in the line “my boyfriend is a chickflick nut!” this actually lead to a bit of controversy from hateful, repressive parental units.

Meet Trent. He is a lanky, awkward teenager who spends a little too much time watching movies, reading and playing video games. He likes to watch “chick-flicks” because they give him a good cry as he’s mildly emotionally tormented. The simple mind of his boyfriend helps straighten out his stress and sadness. He likes Elvis, cartoons and says “Dude,” a lot. He was cut because he wasn’t necessary to the initial plot of the story and might have caused a bit more controversy then any one animation company could handle just now. He was also busy at a comic convention in New York City.

I decided to have Trent over Mitch’s shoulder because of the way he does this with his little brother during the film. (Also, I did not win the contest).