Character Design – Playing With Plasticine (part 5)

This class was extremely therapeutic and entertaining – we were tasked with playing around with plasticine! Utilising everything we’ve learned so far throughout our adventures in character designing, we needed to come up with a head/face. It could be stylised or realistic, inspired from something or out of your own mind, as long as we kept to the basic understanding of how the things under the skin can manipulate the map of human features.

When we’d been told about this last week, I knew I wanted to do some kind of skull. I’d never actually modelled anything with plasticine before, even though we do have a lot in the house for crafting, so I thought this would be an interesting challenge. I think the only thing that put me off a little was the state of the plasticine… we were the last class to use it all and it felt like it had been through the wars!

I started with a fistful of plasticine, rolling it into a spherical shape. Marc and I brought in our modelling tools, since we weren’t sure if there would be any provided (there were), so I got to work with the small scoop on the eyes and nose. When I’d first started, I wasn’t too sure what kind of skull I would end up with, but it struck me quite quickly who he was shaping up to be:

Papyrus (from Undertale) is such a silly and simplistic character in terms of design, but I still think he has the silliest expressions for someone with just a skull. Immediately he was one of my favourite characters from the game and just became a reference source to replicate with the plasticine.


After a little over an hour, I managed to come up with a design that I think worked really well! I absolutely love his eyebrows, which seem very odd for a skeleton to have. I added in some eyes, rather than just having the eye holes, because it looked more aesthetically pleasing to me. However, the mouth was a right task. I added it on separately and then inserting the teeth individually, which was a silly idea. I should have just added the plasticine as a solid entity and then carved the teeth out.

Either way, I think I had a much easier time sculpting that I thought I would, although the design itself wasn’t overly complicated. However, this entire endeavour has given me many further ideas. The sculpting doesn’t just have to stop here; for example, we’re doing the high-poly project in our modelling class and I can definitely see how using plasticine¬†to conceptualise my treasure chest in a 3D environment would benefit me greatly. I also think it will be very interesting to looking into Mudbox and Zbrush after all this, so I can add finite detail to my 3D models using the same theories/techniques I’ve done with tangible plasticine.

Overall, I loved this task and it’s just further established how broad and varied concept art can actually be – it’s not all about putting pencil to paper!

Tony also had a few YouTube videos playing on the screen while we were modelling which I thought were inspirational and exceptional, so I’d like to keep them here for further reference. There are some extremely talented people out there, but watching their techniques and methods could very much help my way of thinking about 3D modelling.


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