Thursday, April 28, 2011

More About Methods

On the 21st, I received the book Pop Sculpture by Tim Bruckner, et al. I have been busy doing a lot of reading in that book. I cannot help but compare the stages of creating pop sculpture followed by Tim Bruckner, to Martha's Method of making a ball-jointed doll, and also to Ryo Yoshida's excellent guide to making a BJD.

First of all, this is Tim Bruckner's method of making pop sculpture. Pop sculpture is not a ball-jointed doll, but may be articulated, though not tensioned with elastic or springs.

The Stages of Creating Pop Sculpture (page 15)

Here is how the sculpting process usually flows once you have
your design and art references. We've noted the points at which
you need client (Art Director) approval.

1. Receive control art, review manufacturing methods
2. Build an armature and create a rough clay sculpture of the figure - AD Approval Needed
3. Determine where to cut the sculpture into parts for reproduction and cut into those parts
4. Create RTV waste molds of the clay parts
5. Cast the parts in wax
6. Refine and finsh master wax - AD Approval Needed
7. Create new RTV molds from the wax parts
8. Cast the parts in resin
9. Refine and finish the resin parts
10. Prime and paint all parts
11. Assemble painted parts into final figure - AD Approval Needed
12. Photograph finished sculpture

Steps 1 to 6 are very similar to Martha Armstrong-Hand's method of making a BJD, except that the RTV waste molds in step 4 are plaster rough shell molds in Martha's method. Once the wax parts have been refined, Martha makes porcelain slip casting molds, then casts porcelain into those molds (steps 7 and 8). The greenware porcelain doll parts are then refined, bisque fired, and china painted (steps 9 and 10). Then she assembles the porcelain BJD with spring tensioning (step 11). Martha then proceeds to make wigs, clothing, shoes and accessories for her BJD, and finally displays and or photographs the finished doll (step 12).

After carefully drawing concept and working drawings of the doll, Ryo Yoshida makes his OOAK BJD over a styrofoam core which is covered with a skin of air-dry clay, and allowed to dry. He further models and refines the air-dry clay. He does not make molds. After removing the core, he has hollow doll parts which he can test string with elastic. After refining the doll parts, he assembles the doll, then paints it, makes a wig, stockings, and shoes. Finally, he photographs his finished BJD.

These three methods are each very good in their own way. Ryo Yoshida's method can be used to design and model a BJD all the way up to finishing master doll parts for mold making, if that is desired. The air-dry clay would have to be sealed before molding, but his tutorial will certainly get you up to that point, successfully. If you do not have a copy of Yoshida Style, then the free, online Aimi-Doll tutorial is very close to the Yoshida method.

Martha's method is outlined in her book, Learning To Be A Doll Artist, which is currently out-of-print, and unavailable. However, the same information that is in her book can be followed at the Martha Armstrong-Hand's Method thread at the Woodland Earth Studio forum. The genius of Martha's book is that it collects all the information about making a porcelain BJD in one place. The thread at WES attempts to do the same thing.

Finally, Pop Sculpture gives almost all the information needed to cast a BJD in resin, from silicone rubber mold making, to using a pressure pot, to pouring resin and pressurizing the resin to obtain bubble-free castings. It does not cover making ball-and-socket joints, per se, but that information can be found in Therese "twigling" Olsen's book, Zen & The Art of Articulating Dolls By Using Balljoints. A good tutorial overview of making a hollow resin casting can be found here.

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