Creature Concept

Posted in Design, sculpting, Uncategorized, zbrush with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2019 by Jim St Ruth


A new creature concept from this morning, which I hope will next clay sculpt. The scales were a happy accident from clicking on the wrong brush in ZBrush without realising; the IMM Scales brush, subdivided without the smoothing option and then hit with one of the mallet brushes. If I do make it in clay, it will be around a half metre in height, maybe a little more depending on how imposing I decide to go with it.

I’ve been working on my areas of focus over the last week or so, ditching some projects so that I’m not spreading my energy too thinly. I’ve decided to stop making props (helmets and weaponry), to focus on my writing and to keep my sculpts organic rather than anything with a machined look. I’ve been getting to bogged down in technical problems with the ‘machined’ work, mostly around having a symmetrical base head to sculpt on. I might revisit this decision later on, but I enjoy the organic sculpts much more.

I’ve now only got one sculpting project on the go, and the relief is significant. ‘The Mother’ is coming along excellently, and most of her form is now blocked out in clay.

This first shot is a few weeks old, and shows the basic form of her head and the basic detail of her halo; this is detachable, and will be moulded and cast separately from the main bust. She’s almost a metre tall including the halo, which is extremely time consuming to detail… holes within holes within holes using a small, round-ended tool.


This second shot shows her as I’ve started refining the details, and she’s starting to feel much more real… as real as anything like this could be (mostly in my nightmares). So, to put this piece in suitable context, her eyes will eventually light up and she’ll be another nightlight sculpt. More nightmares!


There’s still a lot of work to be done before I consider moving onto the symmetry for her right hand side. Then comes the fine detailing, moulding and casting, before I finish off the halo. I’m going less for ‘old and wrinkled’, which was my original concept, to ‘old with stretched and hanging skin’.

The song ‘Isn’t she lovely?’ is my current ear worm.


Resin Helmet: Part One

Posted in 3D, casting, Design, General, Pictures, sculpting, zbrush with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2019 by Jim St Ruth

I needed some practice splitting a sculpt into several pieces, so that I can make sure I mould my Current Big Sculpt properly (The Mother in the post below)… so I decided to make a helmet!

I’ve included a shot of the ZBrush concept, which I’ve then built on a plaster cast of my own noggin. This cast was wrapped in cling film and then duct tape to protect any clay (as the plaster cast is getting old and flaky, and I’m fed up of picking bits out of the clay when I reuse it!). I then started building the helmet in Monster Clay medium, getting the basic shape down.

After that, I cut off the face plate, which I’ve refined and is now almost ready for moulding. I’ll mould it in silicone with an two-part Easyflo 120 resin mother mould, then cast it in the same resin.

The face plate will then be stuck to the front of the rear piece of the helmet, which will be sculpted, then the face plate removed so that the rear piece can be mould and cast too.

I’m planning on hohlding the two final cast pieces together with rare earth magnets, and it *may* have some lights. The two areas on the side of the head (on the rear piece) that are inset, I’ll cut out and place a dense wire mesh into. I’m *planning* on painting it as worn/ battle damaged, but it shouldn’t take too much work with some fine grit sandpaper to make it much smoother if I change my mind and want a more polished look.


Adding Eyes to a Sculpture

Posted in casting, Design, General, sculpting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2019 by Jim St Ruth

So this is a method for adding eyes to a sculpture; a sculpt that’s going to be moulded in silicone and hollow cast in resin. Someone else told me about this method, so I take no credit for it, but I thought it might be nice to share a simple pic of how to do it.

I needed this method because I wanted to insert light up eyes inside my finished busts, and was fed up of having to drill out excess resin, sanding down the edges eyelids, and all without damaging the sculpt around where I was drilling. It can be difficult to secure the bust adequately. With more than one cup of coffee in the morning, I just didn’t have a steady-enough hand (and wasn’t going to sacrifice my caffeine intake!).

This method is easy and, once the parts have been created, they can be re-used indefinitely.


  1. Take the intended shape of your eye and add a key in clay. I use a 5cm acrylic hemisphere, with an oblong of clay sculpted onto the front. Be careful to make the key fairly narrow, but sizable enough for it to stably sit inside the final mould (more on that further down), and bare in mind that you might want the eye lids on the sculpture narrowed – don’t let the shape of the key limit the eye lid pose.
  2. Cast this ‘eye shape plus clay key’ in silicone.
  3. Produce two solid resin copies, one for each eye.
  4. Spray some non-silicone release agent into the eye mould, and produce two silicone casts; the non-silicone release agent will stop the silicone cast sticking to the silicone mould.
  5. Use your resin copies on your sculpt, sculpting around in clay as you want.
  6. Mould your completed bust in silicone as is best, and demould.
  7. Insert the silicone casts of your eyes into place inside the mould, and hollow cast the whole piece in resin. The keys you created should sit snuggly inside the main mould.
  8. Whether you’re slush casting, roto-casting or applying the resin inside your mould with a brush, what you should be left with is your complete cast, with a thin shell of resin around the silicone eye-plug. When you demould, the eye plug can eye pop out inside the cast bust… worst case scenario is that you’ll need to get a craft knife and cut through the resin at the back of the eye forms.
  9. Sand to perfection!

This saved me a whole lot of time, effort and pain. Hope you find it useful!


The Mother: Sculpt WIP

Posted in Design, Fantasy, General, Horror, Pictures, science fiction, scifi, sculpting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2019 by Jim St Ruth

This is my latest full-sized creature bust project which, as always will end up being mould and then cast in resin, painted and set up with glowing eyes. I’m really excited about this sculpt, and it’s coming together very nicely.

The concept was done in a couple of hours in ZBrush, which was then rendered in the front, side and rear views, sized up in Illustrator and then printed out for scale, and taped to a shelf at the rear of my work area so that I could work with full-sized references.


I then started work with a polystyrene foam base, and a core column made from the same material to provide stability and support, with the base in mind to use as a convenient surface to mould on when it’s ready. I knew this was going to get pretty heavy as I worked on it, so picking it up and shifting it around isn’t something that I want to do. For convenience sake, the base was set up a lazy Susan.

The bust sculpt was then built up in Monster Clay medium-grade, turning as I added clay, and then leaving to cool; building up a lot of Monster Clay in one go can sag when it’s still warm. After getting the general silhouette right (checked by shifting the lazy Susan in front of each of the printed references), I cut the end off a broom handle and set it into the top of the skull. This would be the mount for the halo crown.

I then took down the reference images, to allow myself the freedom to develop the piece without being tied down to the original concept. Some of the details changed; replacing the shoulder ‘tentacles’ with the masses pictured below at the front and back around the base of the neck.

After completing the overall forms, and doing some of the detailing, I tried out some skin textures, before moving onto the crown – the detail of the symmetry will come later on.

As this is going to have to be moulded in several distinct pieces, it was time to think about how the moulding would occur. The mould will be a two-part silicone mould, covering the left and right halves, with a two part resin mother mould for stability over the top. This means that the crown will have to be sculpted and moulded separately, in addition to the skull ‘tentacles’, two of which are set behind either ear hole. When the pieces are cast, I need to fit them all together and for the seams to be hidden in a natural manner… so that’s why I’ve started on the crown.

A sized template was printed and cut, then traced onto 5cm polystyrene foam. It was then cut out with a foam cutter, a hole cut into the center, and one end of the sawn-off broom handle slotted into place. The first pic shows the test fit, which is positioned higher than in the concept. She’s now 71cm high (!), the largest piece that I’ve worked on, and extremely imposing on the desk!

The halo was then removed, covered in clay, and I’ve started to lay out the forms. Again, I’ve changed the design into something that I think feels better. The final two shots are of the unfinished halo fitted into place so I can check the size, developing silhouette and overall feel.

This is going to cost a couple of hundred pounds to mould and cast, so I need to make sure that everything’s as perfect for moulding as it can be. When the sculpting is done, I’ll take my time with the mould, so I don’t waste the money. I need to get it right first time. Eventually, I’ll stick The Mother on Etsy as casts for sale, after my own cast is painted and wired up with her glowing eyes. I might add some more LEDs in the holes around the neck too, if the tests look good.

She’s beautiful and scary and, like the other ‘night light’ busts I’ve done, will look really creepy in our hallway. The sculpting work should be basically done this month, and I’ll mould and cast the crown, the two pairs of skull ‘tentacles’ too. Then I’ll fit these into the main bust and finish the sculpting there to get the seams right, before removing the cast pieces, moulding and casting the main body… though that might have to wait until June; so I can afford to mould such a large piece, and to give me time to check my thinking on how the moulding for the main part of the bust will actually pan out.

Thanks for looking!


Acrylic Pour

Posted in Uncategorized on February 18, 2019 by Jim St Ruth

Really love this one. I prefer the wider canvases too. They allow your eyes to move more, and follow the details of the piece. It will dry matt and, as the water evaporates, the texture of the canvass will then be evident. I’ll spray it with a matt varnish to protect the colours from UV exposure too.

The reds are far deeper than in the picture.

At some point I need a better camera 🙂


Reptoid Bob: Finished!

Posted in Design, General, Pictures, sculpting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 9, 2019 by Jim St Ruth

I finished working on Reptoid Bob today, so here are some pics of him with his eyes fitted, and a shot of my very basic wiring set up. He’s pictured next to Grey Bob. All my sculpts are called Bob, because Black Adder was onto something 😉

I’m really proud of this work, and really excited to share him!

Reptoid Bob: Cast and Painted

Posted in Design, General, Pictures, scifi, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2019 by Jim St Ruth

I managed to finish moulding and casting my reptoid bust a few months ago, but it’s taken me a while to get a paint job that I like. ‘Reptoid Bob’ is a full sized, hollow resin cast bust at 41cm high x 21cm wide x 33cm deep (around 18x12x16ins), originally sculpted in Monster Clay, then glove moulded in Platsil Gel 25 with a two part Easyflo 120 resin mother mould/ mould support jacket. He was then cast in Easyflo 120, cleaned up with some dish soap, then primed with a general purpose white priming spray.

Here are some shots of his casting, with all of the flashing cleaned off.

His eyes are acrylic hemispheres, the sculpt and mould set up so that I could easily clean out the eye sockets without damaging the thin structure of the eye lids, and the hemispheres just easily slot into place without any glue.

I first sprayed him a light blue colour, planning to darken areas and add detail, but it just wasn’t working out for me. So, I then sprayed him cherry red, which gives the base colour that you can still predominantly see around the horns, spines and scales.

Other colours were then added by air brush in several layers, making sure that there was variation between each part of the piece: a brilliant orange, then light grey, dark grey and a deep indigo around the shaded areas, thicker, fleshier sections and where his skin rises up around the horns, spines and scales. The lower sections of each scale were lightly sprayed with the same indigo.

To finish off, I added a deep green all over, making sure that the other colours were still visible in some areas, adding a light garden green, with some white highlights on the skin, scales and on the tips of the horns.

He’s done, painting wise, now. He just needs spraying with a matt varnish, and the next major and final step is already underway.

I’ve filled the acrylic hemispheres with some untinted Platsil Gel 10, which cures a semi-transparent milky white. The hemispheres come in male-female pairs, so the female sections will be sprayed a matt black, with a hole in the back of each to allow an LED to be hot glued into place.

Then, with some wiring, a resistor and a 4xAA battery back wired up to a switch (which I’ll need to drill into the cast to fit), he’ll finally be done. He’ll have light-up eyes, either in white or red, and he’s going to look stunning!