Monday, March 15, 2021

Character Maquettes

A maquette is a miniature or scale model of a building, creature, or character constructed as a reference tool to explore form and lighting.

I made a bust of the explorer Arthur Denison because I couldn’t find a real person with exactly the features I was looking for. 

I used polymer clay, a modeling compound which can be shaped like clay and then baked hard in the oven. 

With that maquette in front of me, I could explore a variety of different angles and lighting ideas, while remaining true to the character model.
On Amazon: 


Richard said...

So what is the scale of something like this? They look absolutely tiny. On that topic, how do you get the detail that you are looking for? I was painting faces the other day with a 0 brush and it still wasn't small enough. (they were about an inch in height.)

J. R. Stremikis said...


I'm not sure how to post small photos or screen snaps or animations, to illustrate a comment/feedback to your posting here.
I've been playing with "Deep fake" rephotography and animation, as a way to create character maquettes or add realism to my pencil sketches. To that end, I'd be interested to show you (and readership) some results of animating your maquettes images with the rephotography tools, for better or worse. I'd be especially interested in what you might have to say. Is it possible to post images as attachments? //john s

James Gurney said...

Thanks, J.R. You can email me the link or put the URL into a comment (or even use HTML code in your link.)

James Gurney said...

Richard, the head of this little maquette is only about three inches tall. But with sculpey you can get all the detail you need, at least for a reference maquette. I used my fingers, along with normal sculpting tools to shape it.

Damazzio said...

Excelente. Estoy interesada en comenzar a crear maquetas para mis dibujos, creí que debían ser más grandes, al ver estas me da gusto que puedan ser pequeñas y que sean igualmente útiles. Gracias.

Unknown said...

Could you tell me what the clay is called so that i could order it on sculpey website?
Also, can we bake the clay in the kitchen oven? And if yes, for how long.


James Gurney said...

For these I was using regular Sculpey, a polymer clay. It bakes in the kitchen oven for about 15 minutes at 275 degrees. You can also use Super Sculpey, which is a finer quality product in their line. With a large volume like a head, it's advisable to fill the center volume with a ball of crumpled aluminum foil.