Model of Notre Dame Grotesque …

My first attempt at sculpting was a model of one of the Notre Dame Cathedral grotesques. I’d recently been to Paris and seen the cathedral with all the fantasic gargoyles and grotesques and really wanted to try to recreate one in minature. Never done anything like it really, other than some caricatures of family and friends from Fimo and sculpture for the course so did quite a bit of research to decide how to go about it.

Found a great article with all the information I needed …

First stage was to make the wire armature to build the model on to. Following the advice I used aluminium wire for the frame. The main bodywas braided with a drill from two pieces of 2.5mm wire and the same process but 1.5mm for the limbs. Milliput Standard (two part epoxy putty), was used to secure the joints and alolwed to dry before wrapping thin wire used for flower arrangement around the whole armature to allow the sculpting material to stick more easily. Then drilled a couple of holes into a piece of plywood to secure the armature.

I decided to use Super Sculpey and as suggested mixed it with ordinary black and white sculpey using a pasta making machine. Would probably just use the original Super Sculpey from now on though just for ease as I don’t think it’s essential to mix it. Just a personal preference. For larger models they suggest you can build up the bulk of the body with aluminium foil to lessen the amount of clay you’d need but as this one was only around 6 inches high I just built up strips of the clay in the general muscle groups to build up the body shape. Once I’d got the general shape I wanted I started to sculpt the basic details …

From here it’s just a matter of refining the details.  The Super Sculpey stays soft and pliable so you can just keep going back to it when you want to. The next pics are from the next more detailed stage.

This was the finished sculpt. I baked it at a really low temp and amount of time from instructions of the product while still attached to the board. The site suggests you use a fairly thick plywood that can easily withstand the low oven temp.

Once the model had been baked and cooled I was able to paint it. A lot of the photos of this particular grotesque were in sepia so it was tricky getting a clear idea of the colours I needed. Wanted a realistic look so decided on a sandstone colouring with the weathering and vegetation growth that would naturally occur. I used ordinary acrylics to paint him with lots of layers of various similar shades and a dry brush to pick out the details.

Turned out alright but will probably go back and add to it now and again.

If anyone has read the Dylan Dog comics you might be interested to know I was reading The Dylan Dog Case Files and was chuffed to bits to see something bearing a striking resemblance to my grotesque in the first story Dawn Of The Living Dead. See what you think …


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