Capturing realism in a miniature subject is the main focus of my work. The seasons will also influence my creativity depending on the nature that is around at a particular time. Due to the intricacy and intense concentration required for me to make a miniature sculpture I will often rotate the style and subject of my artworks and experiment with new techniques. This helps avoid too much repetition and creative burn out.
This page covers just a few of the stages and techniques that are involved in the hope of creating a simulacrum of miniature proportions.
Some miniature sculptures require more planning to make than others. In this instance they are designed on paper first for a visual reference, or whenever it is not possible to use a photo, especially when working on concept ideas including fantasy work. Facial expressions are a very important part of the sculpture's character. To make them appear life like, their eyes are set with glass or semi precious stone.
Fur & Feather Effects
Realistic fur coats and plumage are made from cruelty free fibers including naturally moulted feathers. I fix these on to the sculpture using high quality adhesives. The fibers can be cut to different lengths, dyed or hand painted using pigments that are mixed to match the real subject. For fur or feather effects on my work, I use the following:
Flocking & Ground Fiber
Flocking is a technique where fiber is cut into a sawdust - like consistency and adhered to a surface. It was originally invented to imitate elaborate velvet wall hangings in the 16th century but it's uses have grown since. Where flocking is used on my sculptures, I build up the fiber particles gradually with a small flat brush to control the direction of the fiber. Ground fiber is another method I use for making fur for miniatures. It's use was popular in the 19th century when it was added directly to paint as a pigment. I grind feathers and plant fiber to make finer fur.
Not all colours that are available commercially are suitable for bird plumage, so for these reasons colours sometimes have to be mixed to bear a closer resemblance to the real bird. The slideshow below demonstrates how a natural white feather is painted to resemble a real mallard feather using customised colours.
Real sized feathers have been used so that the process can be seen up close.