As a kid growing up in West Virginia I was always drawing and sculpting out of whatever materials I could find. Pencils with the erasers completely rubbed off, busted crayons, or old, brown Play-Doh (brown because I always managed to get all the colors mixed up, resulting in that lovely baby poop brown color).
Throughout my school years I concentrated on doodling cartoony sports figures, goofy animals, and teacher caricatures and not on paying attention to classwork. I’m amazed I made it through high school.
I’m even more amazed I got into the design school at the University of Cincinnati and then into the toy business where I spent over 25 years designing and developing toys for a number of the biggest toy companies.
Two things happened over the course of that career. One, I continued to sketch my favorite subjects, usually during boring meetings. Yes, even the toy business has lots of boring meetings. Usually these were tiny thumb-nail sketches done in the margins of notebooks and meeting agendas. And two, I learned from the best designers, sculptors and model makers how to turn two dimensional concepts into three dimensional action figures and playsets.
Once I retired I began to look through all those old doodles and thumb-nail sketches and try to turn them into three dimensions. This had led to the work you see here. I’m getting to the point where I can create pieces that look just like what I see in my head and my drawings, even if those drawings are only a couple of inches big.
I begin by blowing up the sketch I think best captures the idea I'm going for to the size of the finished sculpture. This helps me stay as close the the original idea as possible even if the idea and sketch are really rough. Then I build a wire armature and support to work out the rough position and balance of the piece. Using clay I'll work out the shapes and volumes until I'm happy with the overall look and then finish off the details. Once the clay original is done I have to make some decisions on how best to mold the piece. This is where my experience in the toy industry pays off. That experience taught me how to cut the piece apart so it can molded in silicone rubber and casts can be made of each part that I can clean and assemble into a perfect copy of the original. I make sure every piece is assembled, finished, and mounted exactly the way I intended. As I add more pieces and this site grows I will include images and descriptions to show the work in progress.