From Sketch to Statue 1: How Radical Publishing’s “HERCULES” went from Jim Steranko’s sketch to solid bronze sculpture

BACKGROUND:  After the unveiling of the bronze sculpture, I was asked repeatedly by a lot of artists and collectors to compile a step-by-step of the process required to create Radical Publishing’s “HERCULES ©” statue. So I’ve gathered up the photos of the various stages and will walk you through everything.

Below is STEP 1 … Click HERE to go to STEP 2
Please note that I’ll leave as many reference links at the bottom of each entry as I can locate. If you see something that you need more information about, please use the CONTACT link to reach out to me directly.

STEP 1: Jim Steranko Sketch & Escalated Sculpting Timeline

Comic book hall of fame all-star Jim Steranko originated the Hercules figure that graces the first issue of Radical Publishing’s graphic novel release. This was the graphic that was used for the cover and the sculpture. We had to get this piece ready for Comic Con 2010 and so with that kind of limited time decided to keep the statue under 24″ tall. Although a sculpture like this typically takes upwards of 3 – 6months, the first bronze figure was delivered in roughly 250 man hours. With that stated, I could just about confirm that this piece was “co-sponsored” by Rock Star energy drink (blue can). Perhaps I’ll ask for a Rock Star patch to wear on my “sculpting jersey” as they do in NASCAR racing.

WIRE FRAME, GALVANIZED PIPE, & WOOD BASE: Before I could begin applying the Chavant Oil Clay I had to get the rough size of the piece by working with sculpting wire and then securing it in place by means of some pipe and a plain wood base. You’ll see these items appearing in later photos, but write me if you have any questions.

STUDIO SET UP & CLAY: I’ve worked in many types of sculpting media, and prefer the harder Chavant Oil-based clay (NSP: Non-Drying Sulphur-Free Plasteline;  Medium hardness) when working with human figures. I keep many ‘bricks’ of this clay nearby in a deep, metal cooking sheet with a portable air heating unit (I’ve got a couple of small Lasko heaters) with adjustable speeds pointed toward the clay. I’ll go into more detail about WHEN to use the clay while its in a softer, almost liquid state and when to use it at room temperature. Other advantages of using the Chavant is that the clay never dries out (as with water-based products), it is easy to re-position whole parts of the figure, and its great for retaining details when making a mold. If you think I might be missing something by not using another product though, please write to me as I’m always open to learning about what works for other sculptors.

Below you’ll see one of the first phases of the figure next to the sketch. In this photo, I’ve held the sketch closer to the camera so it more or less aligns with the sculpted figure. In reality the sketch is much smaller.

Reference Links:

Above is STEP 1 … Click HERE to go to STEP 2

© Keep in mind that all of the information referencing this particular HERCULES is copyright-protected by Radical Publishing and can not be re-distributed or re-printed in any form without proper consent of the owner. By reviewing these pages you have agreed to these terms.