Even though this illustration of a mosasaur had only about a six-day time window from start to finish, I spent the first two days making quick reference maquettes to help visualize the creatures in three dimensions. That investment of time made the final painting go much faster.
On the far left is an aluminum wire armature on a threaded bolt. The bolt is screwed into a pine base and bent to the side. The wire armature, loose as it is, fits within the measurements of the adjacent line drawing. It’s smeared with two-part quick-dry epoxy to hold it together.
To the right is the finished Sculpey maquette, painted with acrylic. The streams of water are represented by strips of flexible packaging foam hot glued to the fins.
I tried photographing the maquette in a variety of natural lighting conditions. Real outdoor light is almost always better than artificial illumination. The maquette is held in position on a C-stand, while I hold a white backdrop behind it. The digital SLR camera is mounted on a tripod, set for a small aperture to get maximum depth of field.
I also made a 2D-3D maquette of the Pteranodons, which made the foreshortening a lot easier to imagine. A little maquette like this, since it has bones made of aluminum wire, can be reused and repositioned many times for future illustrations.
Sea Monster, Part 2
Sea Monster, Part 1
2D to 3D Maquette on GJ