Dave brings Overwatch’s characters to life in sculpture
Though Overwatch isn’t even in beta yet, its vibrant art and lively character design has already charged the imaginations of plenty of artists. Artists like Dave, who’s already made sculptures of Hanzo, Tracer, and Widowmaker. You can find Dave’s work on DeviantArt or Tumblr, and you can support his sculpting work on Patreon, too.
We were fascinated by all the detail Dave managed to put into his latest Overwatch creation, Hanzo, and so we caught up with him to talk about just how he makes these miniature masterpieces.
What Blizzard games do you play, and as what?
I’ve never really been a WoW guy or a fanatic StarCraft player. But I do remember staying up all night with a friend in Skype the night Diablo 3 was released. The servers didn’t open until like 1am here in Sweden and I obviously couldn’t wait a couple of hours until the next day, so I played all night. When I arrived 5 hours late to school the next day my teacher just said “you’ve got a problem kid” and walked away, maybe I shouldn’t have told him WHY I was late. But I wasn’t even sorry!
Lately though I’ve been running a control Mage deck on Hearthstone, I’m still kind of a newb at the game but I just love how it makes me feel Better than other people when I win, and like the other player had an unfair advantage when I don’t.
And I’m of course really looking forward to sinking my teeth into Overwatch whenever I can get my hands on it!
How did you learn sculpting? How long have you been doing this kind of work?
I have been sculpting for about 1.5 years and I am completely self-taught. I’ve always sculpted for personal pleasure but I started to get seriouser… that’s not a word… More serious about it when I decided to do a big sculpture for a class. I had only done a number of small character portraits out of a toy clay called cernit earlier for fun but they were all kind of half-assed and… bad.
So I bought some real sculpture clay from an art supplies website and sculpted whenever I had time. I eventually finished that big sculpture and lived happily ever after! Or at least until finals. [Check out Dave’s finished Batman sculpture on DeviantArt.]
Have you done any Blizzard-centric art besides the Hanzo sculpture?
I have three older Blizzard sculptures on my DeviantArt Page; they’re not as good but they were valuable stepping stones for learning.
One is a Grommash portrait that I did after seeing that awesome Warlords of Draenor trailer way back when it came out. That sculpture was also my first encounter with Super Sculpey, the first “real” clay that I ever used. I mostly use Monster Clay now.
I sculpted Tracer and Widowmaker also out of Super Sculpey right after the Overwatch cinematic trailer came out. It just got me so pumped! The aesthetics were so clean! ANGRY GORILLA WITH GLASSES! WEIRD INFINITY GAUNTLET THING EXPLOSION! LAZY HEARTHSTONE PLAYING SECURITY GUARD!!! I think that summarizes everyone’s reaction pretty well.
What inspired you to sculpt Hanzo?
He looks badass and has sharp chiseled facial features that are practically begging to be sculpted. Overwatch has a generally pleasing aesthetic to work with as well as character design to die for.
Could you give us a step-by-step on what was involved in making Hanzo? How long did it take?
The first thing I do is to go online and find a bunch of pictures of the character to use as reference. Then I build an armature out of thick aluminum wire, which is basically the sculpture’s skeleton; I coat parts of the armature with clay and give it some time to cool down.
Then the sculpting begins. It’s hard for me to explain what I’m really doing during this part. My hands kind of just automatically know what to do, but I’ll try!
I use the reference pictures that I gathered earlier to get the dimensions of the head and the shape of the cranium right. I cut out a rough face using an X-Acto knife. The important features to get right at first are really the cheeks and the chin, when I’ve made sure they are the correct proportions and shapes, sculpting the rest is pretty much a cakewalk.
What the hell is a cakewalk anyway? Like do people walk on cakes? Do they walk and eat cakes at the same time? That doesn’t seem easy at all, and what flavor are they even? Stupid expression.
I always try to get all of the facial features and shapes correct before I add hair or beard. So after the face looks right I put on some clay to form the beard and the hair. [You can see Hanzo without his beard in the image above.] I texture it with a needle, a rake, and/or an X-Acto knife.
Finally, I use soft silicone tools to smooth the surfaces and fix tiny imperfections. It took a couple of days off and on but Hanzo got finished relatively smoothly compared to some of my other creations.
What was the most challenging part about making Hanzo?
Keeping the damn cat off my desk! Hanzo’s hair would be textured with actual freaking hair if she had her way!
What are you working on next?
So much stuff, man. I have three more finished sculptures that I plan on posting eventually or… Soon(TM). I have five semi-finished sculptures on the shelf that I’m going to try to finish — three of those are old Sly 2 villains that manifested out of pure nostalgia. The other two are from League of Legends.
When it comes to Blizzard stuff I, I’ve got Mercy planned. She’s another design that I’d really love to have on my shelf. I also really want to sculpt an orc again, probably Thrall — that big wooden pearl necklace should be fun.
I hope to do this professionally one day and just launched a Patreon campaign for people who want to support me and my career. If it’s successful I won’t have to sacrifice quite as many personal resources for my hobby and I can spend more time sculpting.
I also plan on selling resin copies of my non-copyrighted character sculptures on Etsy in the future. I think there would be some legal issues if I sold Blizzard characters, so I’ll hold off on that — for now I’m just happy to get my stuff out there!
That’s all for BlizzCrafts today — but check back next week for another selection of cool Blizzard-themed crafts! Have Blizzard arts and crafts of your own you’d like to see on Blizzard Watch? Send them our way! Submissions and suggestions should be sent to liz at blizzardwatch dot com.
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