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About Traditional Art / Professional Trevor Grove31/Male/United States Recent Activity
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TrevorGrove
Trevor Grove
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art
United States
Thanks for visiting. I'm a sculptor by trade, and I hope you enjoy the work!
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:iconcadavercrafts:
CadaverCrafts Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Hopefully you don't mind me asking: i tried to get into sculpting with wax a while ago but i really struggle with it because the wax is either way too hard or way too soft for me to build up any basic shapes. How on earth do you get the wax to be a good consistency? I have a Tim Bruckner book where they sculpt every single piece in clay and then make a mold for the wax (so they basically just sculpt the details in wax) but i really hope that's not the sollution :'D
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:icontrevorgrove:
TrevorGrove Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
Hey, no worries, I'm happy to try to help.
Wax has a learning curve, for sure, but you definitely don't have to make a waste mold like Tim Bruckner's book illustrates. That's a great method too, but I typically don't do that if I'm making something small.
I mostly use hard wax made by an artist Ralph Cordero: studiorgc.yolasite.com/
It's terrific quality wax that polishes up beautifully and can be detailed nicely. When I build something from scratch, I use an alcohol torch: i.ebayimg.com/images/g/5OkAAOS…
You can fill these with denatured alcohol and they burn a nice clean flame so your tools don't get dirty. The bottle can be squeezed and you can direct the flame where needed.
I will typically take a little brick of wax, and squeeze the alcohol torch to create a little pool or molten wax (VERY hot stuff. Be careful!). Then I scoop that up with metal tools and start building a piece (when it's a small sculpture). It's very difficult to explain, but it's not really complicated to do. I use the torch and heat my tool and continue building up the wax and shaping whatever it is I'm sculpting.
The cooled hard wax can be sculpted then with tools you heat up over an alcohol torch. I use a variety of little dental tools and little metal loop tools. Anything you can find that works. When hovered over the flame, they can carve into the wax easily, and as it cools, how you carve changes...You can even heat up small bits of wax on the tools and drip them onto the sculpture to shape an area.
There is also a device called a wax pen that you can use with wax sculpting. This is a great way to add wax, and also a great tool for sculpting hair.
For soft wax options, I recommend Castilene Medium or Soft. It's a wax that can be warmed in the microwave. When it's warm, you can shape it much like clay. Once it's cool, it's fairly hard and can be controlled more like a hard wax.
I've even mixed the two before, where I bulk a sculpture out with castilene, and then drip harder wax onto it for anything I need to have more detail (usually a portrait).
Wax is an odd medium to discuss and describe, but in practice, it just takes a little getting used to. The appeal is the amount of control it gives you. You can polish the hard wax up to a nice finish by using a variety of sanding sponges. These can even be heated over the alcohol torch for your initial sanding to start refining your shapes in the early stages.
You can also use lighter fluid to brush into detailed areas that need to be softened...like ear canals or eyes/nostrils/mouth. You can just brush a little bit on the surface and it will soften up the harsh details.
I hope this is helpful....I love working in wax, but I know some people don't care for it. If you have any other questions, let me know.

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:iconcadavercrafts:
CadaverCrafts Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Oh wow you're amazing, thank you for that huge chunk of information there, i'm going to screenshot it for refence. Im trying to move from clay to wax or at least learn how to sculpt in wax as an alternative because of the benefits you described. I had the chance to mush a little around with a bit of sculptor's wax and i love that you can actually properly carve it unlike sculpey which tends to push around a lot and feels less precise. Just about yesterday i sculpted an ear and got so annoyed with how wobbly the sculpey was despite being in the freezer before... but wax is a really intimidating medium. Really glad to hear that there's wax you can heat in the microwave because i'm not quite sure if i would want to work with an alcohol torch considering im EXTREMELY OVERTLY clumsy :') Instead of a nice sculpture i would probably create a house fire instead, at least at the moment. I will try to get my hands on some different kinds of wax and experiment around to see if i can get the hang of it, i could always get a torch or a wax pen later. That you can actually polish the wax with certain sponges is completly new to me, that sounds crazy useful.
Do you usually use wire armatures for sculpting with wax?

Thank you a lot for the help!
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:icontrevorgrove:
TrevorGrove Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
Happy to help! It's something that I was so grateful for in my earliest days sculpting, when artists would be so generous with their experience and knowledge.

I think you'd do terrific in wax. That's the same reason I wanted to try it, the soft mediums like polymer would drive me crazy with anything that needed detail. Don't be intimidated by wax, it's probably just that what you've tried is too far in the extremes in either direction. (soft/hard). I think Castilene is the ideal medium to try first to get used to it, because it's so much like clay....except you can hold it in your hand without damaging details.
Haha! You may want the wax pen, then, as opposed to the alcohol torch. Most people prefer it to using the torch. That way you can still drip molten wax onto areas to build them up. I've never worked in wax without the heat from the alcohol torch, but if there's anything I've learned, it's that everyone has very unique ways of achieving a result...Whatever you prefer is the way to go! There is no right way.
Sanding sponges are wonderful. They are sold here in hardware stores. I cut out tiny little squares and use them to sand and polish.
I do not use any wire in most of my sculptures. That's another thing I love about wax. I hate making any kind of armature, because I always guess wrong. I'll sometimes have to embed a wire or a metal peg to hold some things together after cutting for molding, but that's all.
I think you'd really enjoy the control you'll get. The only bummer with wax is that to get a permanent version in the end, you need to make molds and cast into  something like resin.....You could primer and paint a wax sculpture, but it will be permanently fragile....I suppose not more fragile than a sculpey/polymer finale piece, though.
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:iconzavellart:
Zavellart Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2018  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the love! No one ever notices me >_>
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