We like to model real animals rather than copy them from photographs. Real animals have their own personality and that helps us add those extra bits of magic such as Onion's cheeky grin or Diego's comical frown. We do, however, draw the line at wild tigers.
We've done cheeky & comical so decided to try something elegant. We love dogs thus a whippet seemed the most obvious thing to do next. Two friends, Deborah and Sarah, are the ever-so-proud owners of a 3 year old whippet called Archie so after a few missed phone-calls a date was made for Archie to visit our studio.
There's a lot to do in the sitting. We talk to the owners, get to know the dog, take photographs, make sketches & create the initial clay model. We thought we'd make a short film so that you get some idea of fun, energy and plain-old hard work that goes into making something like this. (I personally loved the idea of a film until I realised I'd be pulling our cameraman through the streets of Dalston in an old office wheelie-chair).
Deborah, Sarah & Archie arrived just after lunch. We gave Archie some time to get used to his surroundings and to us strangers carrying cameras, lights & large bits of paper but Archie proved to be a star and it wasn't long before he was sitting on his blanket in the middle of the studio.
No animal is going to stay in one position for more than a few moments so for the first 45 minutes or so we make lots of sketches and take lots of photographs to capture as many of Archie's aspects and idiosyncrasitys as possible. The sketching captures form and gives Myra, our artist, sufficient material to make the initial clay model. The photos capture detail to be used later when the clay model becomes wax.
Whilst Archie is still in the studio we start the clay model, it gives Myra a chance to put her first thoughts into the design and to go back and fill-in any gaps in her sketches.
We'll be working with the clay model for a few days until it reaches the pose, proportions and shape that we're looking for. Detail won't be important just yet. Clay models crack, show finger-marks and generally aren't that easy to finish so once we've got a nicely proportioned clay model we create another, this time in wax, which allows us to give Archie a sleek finish.
If you have any questions about Archie then do feel free to contact us
Updates can be found on our projects blog:
20/2/2011 - Nearly finished the clay model of Archie.
We've got some studio shots of Archie modelling for the dog lamp
Archie took a rest at the back of the studio after modelling. They're a bit dark but oddly classical so we've put them online too. See Archie resting after modelling for our dog table lamp