But first, a flashback to our previous post! Here is a photo of previous guest's Sadie Rae's paw. Very basic observation here- the foot, viewed from the side, is largely oval in shape. Both of the top and the bottom of the paw have a curve to them. This is not a difficult concept, not in theory anyway. Shouldn't be too difficult to sculpt, right? (Cues theme from "Jaws"....)
Feat of Clay
I have two goals in mind here. One to make my own handpaw pattern. The second is to use this really cool technique furry how-to goddess Matrices describes in this tutorial, in which a small clay model is made, a pattern is taken from the model, and the pattern is enlarged to the proper size with an overhead projector. I have fantasies of selling said pattern as a download, and maybe any actual handpaws I make with it too. I have been told that the furry world could use another good feral handpaw pattern and that there's probably untapped market demand there. Charge!
For this first attempt I tried making a rough paw shaped chunk of clay and carving toebeans out of the bottom and knuckles and toes out of the top. This sculpt has a lot of problems but the worst in my mind is that the toebeans and palmar pad all wound up on the same plane, parallel to the wrist, making the paw look stiff and unnatural.
For this second attempt, I tried to make the angles of the toe bottoms more natural. Closer, but not there yet. The top of the foot also leaves a lot to be desired, looking like a featureless cube of clay, especially when viewed from the top.
Attempt number three, when viewed from the side, has a little more of that oval shape we're going for. The top of this foot also looks more shaped and natural than those in the previous two. However it also looks a little squished and disproportionate. When viewed from the top, the toes look too long and the back of the paw too short.
Attempt number four features... an armature! What a concept! Underneath the clay the armature looks like a little wire tree, with the trunk for the wrist and palm and four branches for the toes. The armature helps to hold the parts of the foot in place, keep them from getting squished out of shape, and maintain the correct proportions. The wire also makes it easier to bend the toes into the proper position without breaking them off. I'm happier with this foot, but I can't help but think the back of the paw looks a little swollen, like it was stung by a bee.
This group of photos shows a slightly earlier version of the last paw undergoing some last minute edits. The first photo shows the foot being checked against a favorite reference pic, and the second photo shows a tracing of this earlier version being checked against a superimposed tracing of the reference pic. (I especially love this tracing as it really shows how the two outer toes on a dog's foot are different sizes, with the "pointer" toe being larger than the "pinky" toe.) The third pic shows the finished foot, after all the edits have ben made.
Above, a turnaround of this last paw, looking a little worse for wear from the pattern making process. (More on that later!) This paw is also built on an armature, similar to that in attempt number four. Perhaps more improvements can be made on this foot but at this point I was thoroughly sick of clay feet and wanted to get on with it. Charge!
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