Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Thanks to all who followed my blog as I meandered through the nutty world of vent figure building. I sure appreciate all of the good advice and compliments that came my way. I wish for you, your friends and family a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Peer at the ear

This is the first step in making an ear for my new full-size Mr. Winkle sculpture. I cut out the shape I wanted in Styrene. I drilled two holes in each Styrene ear so the Magic-Sculpt would poke through. Then I smoothed out the protruding Magic-Sculpt so it would anchor the Styrene. The Magic-Sculpt behind the Styrene ear is what attaches it to the head. 

After the Magic-Sculpt dries, I'll use Paperclay to sculpt the true shape of the ear. That'll be fun to do tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A grouch emerges

No ears yet. But that's next. I'll draw them out on a piece of Styrene plastic, then cut them out. I'll attach them with Magic-Sculpt. After that, I'll use Paperclay to sculpt the ears on top of the Styrene.

I have a Jackie jaw that I plan to cut down and place in the head so that it opens and closes freely. Then I will use more Paperclay to shape the jaw so it meets the upper lip area.

Then comes crack sealing, wrinkle gouging and light sanding to mellow and blend the features.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Diverse characters

A lovely note from Gary P. Green

"As a part of the Justice Institute of BC teaching faculty I use ventriloquism for role plays, storytelling, and sharing experiences from characters I've met over the years as a police officer. These characters come out as vent figures. Kenny has been fantastic to work with developing my characters. He delivers on time, always keeps you informed during the process, and producing professional figures. Here are the three characters that I will be using in my diversity in policing class - Yin Lee who came to BC to work on the railway and in the coal mines of Vancouver Island, Rasmus who came to Victoria in 1858 and was one of the first members of the Victoria Police, and Mazie who is from the street and is a recovered alcoholic and drug user. I look forward to bringing history alive with Kenny's figures."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Turn the other cheek

Over the Christmas holiday I made progress on my full-size Mr. Winkle sculpture. He has a left cheekbone. He'll get his right cheekbone and his left jowl today. Now he has bags under his eyes and crows' feet in the corners. His upper lip area has been filled in and I finished his forehead wrinkles. 

I plan to put wrinkles in his neck similar to the way I made them on my full-size Uncle Earl.   

What about the jaw, you say? Hmmm. Good point.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

'Tis the season

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Keen on mean

My full-size Mr. Winkle sculpture continues with some new facial features. As I anticipated, I added a bit more Paperclay to the end of his nose. Now it hooks down. I bordered his upper lip area with the beginning of his cheeks. He received another wrinkle in his forehead and a "chicken neck".

More fun around the corner.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Albino boy

I'm building a couple of figures for a client in Australia. One of his choices was a Jackie figure unpainted. He wants to try his hand at painting the little fella himself. As he said in a recent email, "Why should I (meaning me) have all the fun?"

Since my client is an excellent visual artist, I'm sure he'll do a superb job. I did apply a coat of primer on the head and hands so he'd have a head start.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

He's getting angrier

Day 3 and now Mr. Winkle is showing signs of annoyance. He has a couple of frown-influenced  forehead wrinkles with two more to come. He has nostrils now, but as I stated earlier, his nose will be further deviated to make him look even more... shall we say... uncooperative.

I'm enjoying this immensely.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A nose by any other name

Mr. Winkle now has a nose. Well... part of a nose. I still need to add nostrils. The nose may be altered further as other facial components are added. But here's a look at Day 2.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guess who

Just as I've made a full-size version of Uncle Earl, I've started a full-size version of Mr. Winkle. He's been one of my most popular characters in the 2T rendition, so I hope he continues to generate interest in a 40" model as well.

I'm using a full-size blank from Braylu Creations. The blank was based on my original Jackie sculpture, so the eye tray measurements will be similar.

I'm using PaperClay for the additive sculpture. Before I lay down the PaperClay, I smear Tacky glue over the area so the PaperClay will stick.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Sunday, December 16, 2012

New website graphic

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The right bite

I have a commission to build a full-size Uncle Earl with some alterations. My client wants him to resemble a well-known Australian comedian. So I've installed a set of "Austin Powers" upper teeth. I'll sculpt some teeth to fill the space on both sides of the choppers. I plan to use an altered Jackie jaw to create a severe overbite. I'll also narrow the eye sockets.

You might notice that I removed the wrinkles in the upper lip and changed the way the cheeks meet the upper lip area. Again I used Free Form Air. And again I'll emphasize that it's an exercise in "speed sculpting" because the stuff gets gnarly after about 10 minutes of manipulation. But because the result adds much less weight than Magic-Sculpt, I like using it whenever possible.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Under the tree

Sometimes I get such nice letters.

Hello Kenny,

Just a quick note to let you know how awesome my Uncle Earle is.
I would attach a pic, but unfortunately I only had time to get to know him for about 10 mins before my better half took him off me and said ‘That's for Christmas! Not for Now’. So he got repackaged and wrapped and is living under the Christmas Tree til Christmas.
I’ll send a photo as soon as he has escaped the trauma of being gift wrapped.

Best wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday season. - WH

Monday, December 10, 2012


I love projects that require lots of learning. Mazie certainly fits in that category. I managed to make a single winker, and if you've followed my blog for awhile, you KNOW how good I feel about that. Female characters require a different paint job, different costume and different wig. And red fingernails.

 I hope my client likes what he sees.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Boob job

I've spent so much time working on my floozie's head that I've only now assembled the body. Buzz James from Braylu Creations sent me the vacuum-formed styrene breasts several years ago so I could beta test them. Only now have I attempted a female character that requires a bosom. I wired them to the foam body pad across the top and used cord along the sides and bottom. I'll add some soft padding on the body's interior as well.

Oh yes... and arms. This is not a Venus de Milo.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

No kink in the wink

After much travail (the good kind), I have made "Mazie" wink. I still need to tweak here and there. Her eyelid needs a better paint job. My wife has informed me that I need to add a bit more roundness to the inside ends of the eyebrows before I paint them. I'm ready to install the rest of the mechanics with hopes that nothing bumps into anything else.

After working so hard inside the small head, I think I've learned enough to successfully add soft blinkers to one of my full-size characters (WAY more room inside). After much gnashing of teeth, now I understand the mechanics and have a design to move toward.

As they say... no pain, no gain.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Magic man cave

Last June, Oprah toured the home of actor Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka. Toward the end of the tour, the former "Doogie Howser" showed Oprah his "Magic Man Cave". As the camera entered the room, the figure I built for him (given to him as a gift from friends) is seen seated in a leather chair. The next shot showed a close-up of the mean old fella. After seeing Mr. Winkle, Oprah said, "A little too real for me!"

(Scroll to the end of the YouTube video to see the aforementioned scenes.)

Monday, December 03, 2012

New gadgets

Now that I've successfully mounted the winker's eyelid, I have to make the darn thing open and close. So I mounted a lever on the rod-and-tube pulley system I use for the raising eyebrows. I usually use a single brass tube, but because I had to add the lever, I used two brass tubes, one on each side of the lever. That way the eyebrows and winker will activate separately (I hope).

One end of the lever will attach to the control cord; the other will attach to a spring that holds the winker in the open position and returns it to the open position after it winks. I attached a small spring to a brass rod and installed it inside the head below the lever.

In theory, this should open and close the winker. If it does, you'll be the first to know. (If it doesn't, you'll probably know that, too).

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Unfurl Earl

Uncle Earl is a funny old guy. He might make a delightful Holiday gift for someone. 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Winker dinker

I'm feeling pretty confident right now. I am so grateful for the excellent advice that came from my readers. The suggestion of using Tacky glue instead of ZAP was particularly successful. The eyelid is a touch rough around the edge, but I plan to add an eyelash which will cover that. I'll also paint the winker.

I have my mechanics figured out. Don't be surprised if I blog about that next.