Sculpting Hands (FTBH Excerpt)

datetime July 18, 2013 11:29 AM

This is the cleanest example I’ve published for how to sculpt an open hand. It is excerpted from Free Time Black Hole, Episode 109. The actual examples of hands I produce here aren’t going to rock anyone’s socks, but the basic method is the best I’ve found to date.

The basic hand form worked pretty well in the initial forming stage (though I made it a bit big), and mostly only fell apart once I transplanted it, as I was peeling it off the blister while it was soft. So, I decided to try a modification of that method: still sculpt it on a blister, but wait for it to completely dry and only then attach it.

I solved the scale problem by printing more copies of my scale skeleton and putting them inside the blister; now I’d be guaranteed hands in scale with the skeleton my succubus was wired against.

Using the skeleton as a guide, I laid out a mitten of putty.

I used a knife to cut the end of the mitten in half, then each side in half again. I kept the fingers thin, cut off any excess, and formed basic hand creases into the palm.

Once I had the basic form, I posed the hand by lifting the fingers off the blister with a sharp knife. I’ll be doing more cleanup later, so I didn’t worry about nice smooth surfaces for now; I just wanted the basic forms that I could use as a structural support.

Rinse and repeat for all four hands.

Each is in a different post. The left is open, but clenching the last joint of each finger. The right is pointing.

On the other side, there’s one that’s wide open and another with a more clenched gripping pose.

Satisfied with my new hand shapes, I hack off the first try.


By this time the hands had dried. I did what I could to clean them up (it was hard, though, because they were too tiny to grip properly), then started attaching.

So much cleanup still to do…

I initially tried to sculpt the back-of-hand detail at this point, but it was just too hard with the putty currently being structural support in addition to external detail, so I resolved to trim it once it was dry and re-do the smooth hand surfacing later.

I really like the basic shapes, though. I’m impressed with how nice the “blister transfer” method looks (so far at least; hopefully the cleanup won’t make the fingers fatter!)

And here’s where I am today. Like I said earlier, I know it doesn’t look like I did much work this week, but I swear that this took several jam-packed days!


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