Saturday, February 18, 2012

Using Maquettes

MAQUETTES ARE MODELS artists use in order to more fully realize a character. Maquettes are especially useful when the character reappears in an on-going series. I had known about maquettes for years. But it wasn't until I read the book Imaginative Realism that I fully understood their purpose. The comic illustrated below was the first project where I used maquettes.

In the story The Bureau d'Echange de Maux (see link below) there are basically two characters. I needed to keep these characters on-model, that is, looking like themselves no matter what the lighting or angle. The story would not work if any ambiguity was introduced. Plus I wanted to maintain a higher level of reality than in my previous comics. To keep things simple I used plasticine clay and modeled the two main characters in busts about the size of my fist.

The story was quite short but the two characters appeared in nearly every scene and to keep the narrative from getting visually boring I needed to show them in a variety of poses. The maquettes allowed me show that variety and keep my characters on-model. The technique was so effective I adopted it in The Subterranean making maquettes of all the characters in white sculpey. Since The Subterranean takes place in an even more realistic world, using maquettes has been an invaluable aid in maintaining the realism desired and keeping a complex cast of characters on-model.

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