The Big One 2016 Pt. 2

I’ve learned a lot from this project. One of the biggest lessons: There is no excuse. With an overwhelming amount of online tutorials and materials to make and do anything, it’s pretty difficult to use the word “can’t.”

I needed a plan. Diving straight in seemed a bit overwhelming, so everything got broken down into smaller more manageable chunks. A list of the processes involved: character design / sculpture / rubber mold making / poly-resin casting / sewing / screen printing / iron-on transfers / rub on decals / lettering / studio photography / art direction / 3D printing / woodworking / gilding.


Divide and Conquer

Character Sculpt

I started watching everything I could get my hands on. Especially the sculptors at Hot Toys (storydemo). I wasn’t planning on reaching that level of detail, but I needed to get a sense of tools and techniques. JC Cappelletti made hands look easy. I learned that Sculpy was great for detail but extremely malleable. I found out halfway into my head sculpt that I really should have used an internal armature. I used it with the antlers, and it substantially decreased deposits to the swear jar. The head and hands looked good, so it was time for a bake.

These sculpts came out so good I could have probably used them for the final art. But I didn’t want to risk breaking them. It would be better to dupe them in plastic.

Mixing chemicals to make plastic and rubber… needless to say, I was looking forward to this step. And again, the how-to’s are out there… MOLD & CAST an ACTION FIGURE And God bless the Brick In The Yard Mold Supply. Their tutorials and supplies made this process super easy. A couple, in particular, came in handy Silicone Mold MakingVenting, and 2 Piece moldUsing Legos to build a container was brilliant. You can make em to whatever size, break em down, reuse em, and build another one.

Casting the head? Perfect. Casting the bat and hands? Horrible. Through trial and error, I made something usable. Sanding, adding joints, attaching to a stock body and painting…

Final assembly. Not too bad.


At this point, the naked doll thing is kinda freakin’ me out. We need some clothing. This was going to be a whole new monster to tackle. Originally the plan was to make everything by hand. Hoodie, t-shirt, jeans, shoes. With the timeline quickly being eating up, the shoes and jeans were bought online. But the hoodie and shirt needed some particular customization. I sacrificed one of my favorite hoodies for the material and sewing pattern. Photographing all the pieces and scaling them down was the only solution I could think of.

I used a home screen printing kit for the design on the hoodie. Learning to use a sewing machine for something this small was quite torturous but Crafty Amy was my little ray of sunshine. The t-shirt followed a similar process, but I needed a particular blue to match the artwork. And I wouldn’t dare try to replicate a two-color design at this size with a screenprint. An iron-on transfer was my only solution. By matching the blues as closely as possible and cropping in tight with an x-acto blade, the iron-on worked perfectly. The jeans were customized by using a stencil a tiny paintbrush and white paint. The stencil is made by a printout, beefed up a few pieces of paper spray mounted together, and cropped out with an x-acto blade.


With the big stuff out of the way, I can get into the details and crank up the personality. The earring and wallet were fashioned from an old luggage tag and jewelry scraps from Michaels. I found a place called Cliff Digital in LA for the rub down transfers tattoos and lettering for the bat.

Lightbox Photography, Set Building

So the guy was done and ready for his close up. So I needed a set and lighting. The set is made from cold pressed illustration board, and white felt. Building a homemade lightbox worked pretty good.

Hand-Drawn Lettering/Log0

After developing this character, I felt like the typography should have some personality as well…


I knew that I was running out of time and there would be no way I’d be able to make the trophy myself. I needed help. I gathered a few references, hit some roadblocks, but eventually, I struck gold. RES 3D did an amazing job at rendering a 3D model. I mean they blew away all expectations. To Drew Swarts, I still owe you guys big time. And this gentleman, Andrew Bougie at Digitize Designs was a joy to work with in producing the 3D print. Bovey Trophies here in Anchorage, helped me produce a really slick, official name plate.

The baseboard was hand cut with a jigsaw, sanded and stained in my studio. The 3D print was sanded, primed and painted a few times to remove that printed texture and make it extra smooth. I also sculpted some hand-drawn letterforms for some extra pop. The letters and the earring were gilded in gold leaf. All the completed pieces went together pretty easy with screws, and a variety of adhesives.

I really loved how this turned out. And I really loved the process, even though it was riddled with tiny failures, frustrations and a prolific use of the f-word. Looking back, it’s still pretty close to the initial sketches, and I’m reminded of the creative phenomenon of bringing something into existence. I mean this thing existed in my mind, and with some time and attention, it’s brought into the physical realm. Pretty dope!

See the final in the work section.