Saturday, September 28, 2013

Where to find eyes for maquettes

It's important to put some care into the eyes on your maquette because that's what people look at and that's what makes them look real. Where do you get the eyes for maquettes?

There's a range of available options, depending on the quality you want:

1. Making eyes out of Sculpey or Fimo (oven hardening modeling material). The simplest solution is to model spheres of Sculpey and fire them in advance. That way they're hard, and they won't get distorted when you work them into the sculpt. Sculpey is available on Amazon.. Tip: you can also model and fire the teeth first, so they don't get all soft and distorted when you're building the mouth.

2. Plastic stuffed animal eyes (back row, left). These are available at craft stores, and they come in a range of sizes. I haven't had a problem yet with the plastic melting, though it's a risk, as the curing temperature of the Sculpey at 275 degrees Fahrenheit begins to approach the melting point of the plastic. Animal Eyes 30mm on Amazon

2. Doll eyes. (back row, center) For humans, the plastic doll eyes are flat-backed, and come in brown and blue and are very inexpensive at craft stores. It's a good idea to test these in the oven at curing temperatures to make sure they would survive. There are sources for higher quality glass doll eyes available from the online doll supply market. Good sources include: CR Crafts

3. Solid black plastic eyes. (back row, right) These are solid black, but surprising realistic for a lot of creatures. 12mm solid eyes on Amazon

4. Glass taxidermy eyes. (all the ones in the foreground). Glass eyes used by taxidermists are extremely realistic. You can get the ones intended for birds, reptiles, rodents, or large mammals, so you can imagine the range of sizes and colors. A good source is Van Dycke Taxidermy Supply.

Please let me know what sources you've discovered.
There are lots of other practical behind-the-scenes insights about maquettes in my new instructional art documentary (watch the trailer on YouTube) about the making of the Australian dinosaur stamps. 
The video download is available at at: Gumroad (for credit card payments). or: Sellfy (for Paypal payments).


Rondodog said...

Another nice thing about Van Dyke's is that they can custom-design eyes (for very reasonable prices). They do a lot of work for the special effects industry, so if you need alien eyes or gryphon eyes Van Dyke's can create eyes to your specifications. They are nice folks, too.

krystal said...

Thanks! Much appreciated!! :) Keep 'em coming! Was talking to a friend about working out a painting (ie lighting, particularly for a reflective ground surface against a nude figure) to work out a painting on a small scale, to scale up to a larger painting. The maquette advice/tips are very helpful!

Unknown said...

I bake my Sculpey at around 250 degrees and leave it in the oven until it completely cools (often over night)without opening the oven door. It cures perfectly every time and no darkening of the thinner areas due to the sometimes occasional burning at 275.

Eric Wilkerson said...

I've found that assorted glass craft beads also work well for creature sculpts and alien heads. The wild patterns on the beads taken out of context and added to an alien face can look really cool. For anyone who wants to make there own eyes, I recommend clear enamel nail polish as a glossy finish for the eyes. When inset into the maquette it gives the sense of a wet eye when properly lit.

Purbrookian said... produce everything you would ever require in North Wales.

Kessie said...

Ahh, we used to order truckloads of Van Dyke's glass eyes for use in sculptures in the art class where I used to work. The kids love putting in the eyes and seeing their creatures come to life.

Erika Baird said...

Tohickon also has a pretty good selection of glass eyes. I use the flat back bird ones frequently, and they have a pretty wide range of colors for them.

Historian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Historian said...

i've had decent success casting eyes in fiberglass epoxy resin for various puppets i've been building. I also found some clear rubber bouncy balls at the 99cent store that i cut in half for some eyes that needed to transmit light from within. The clear rubber half spheres have a great lensing effect. For a larger translucent eye i ended up sinking half a bouncy ball into some fiberglass resin. You can see the lensing effect in this test video (the eye is internally illuminated, but you can see the unlit eye briefly toward the end of the video)

I'm not sure if these would survive baking, but that can be worked around.