CREATURE KIDS - Sculpting, Detailing, Painting & Finishing a Monster Claw

Bruce D. Mitchell shares his art with two budding young artists, teaching them to turn an object from their imagination into something real!

Mar 21, 2013



Juan (11) and Lucas (9) visit Special Effects Fabricator and Fine Artist, Bruce D. Mitchell in the midst of Bruce’s lesson for the STAN WINSTON SCHOOL OF CHARACTER ARTS and the result is an impromptu lesson aimed at younger monster-makers interested in sculpting their own realistic monster tooth or claw.

To watch the complete video, click in the PLAYER ABOVE!

Pictured above: Bruce  with his young Monster Maker friends-- Juan & Lucas


First, Bruce takes the time to review Lucas’s sketchbook. Impressed with Lucas’s instinctive use of underframe shapes to layout his character drawings and his use of foreshortening and body proportion. Bruce gives some tips on how to layout proportions in a mask and tells the kids, “Don’t cross your stuff out. Just turn the page. You might get an idea that you can come back to.” Bruce suggests keeping the mistakes and abandoned drawings both in order to inform progress and to potentially salvage inspiration.

Pictured above: At a very early age, Lucas is already practicing the building block techniques that Bruce suggests and encourages.

When Bruce shares his own notebooks, he gives further tips, showing how he uses the pencil eraser as a tool for highlights and texture. His drawings captivate his audience with his methods and subjects.

Pictured above: Bruce does a mini guided tour of one of his sketchbooks so Lucas and Juan will trust that they're with a real artist. ;)

When Bruce gives the boys the opportunity to wear one of his intricate custom full-head masks, the wonder evident in Juan and Lucas is palpable.


Pictured above: The boys are entrusted with sporting one of Bruce's VERY valuable masks.


Bruce seizes on that sense of wonder, turning it to action when he brings out the Magic-Sculpt and shows the boys how to make their very own sculpture, from scratch.

The boys mix the material and shape it the way they want (Lucas makes a Raptor claw and Juan makes a Tiger tooth.)


Pictured above: Magic Sculpt, people. MAGIC SCULPT. One of Bruce's secret weapons. When you watch his soon-to-be-released MASK MAKING tutorial, you'll know why.

Once the clay hardens, Bruce shows the boys how to add sculptural detail and surface texture and gives them techniques for painting, sanding and weathering the final product into a very realistic sculptural piece.

Along the way Bruce covers basic safety around tools (gloves, goggles) and the proper use of simple tools from sculpting tools like the serrated metal kidney to sanding tools like the wire brush, and scouring pad to give character and polish to the finished piece.

Pictured above: Sanding and distressing is done. Bruce teaches a quick and easy, realistic paint job and the boys complete the project.

Pictured above: The Raptor Claw COMPLETE!


Patient, informative and engaging, Bruce D. Mitchell’s instruction and guidance gets Juan and Lucas to turn something that they only imagined into a physical reality and this lesson can do the same for your budding monster maker. As Bruce says, “If you can get them started at an early age and you’ve already got an interest, you can do incredible things later.”

So get your young creature creators and check out the first installment in what will be a continuing SWSCA series: Creature Kids!

Pictured above: Happy artists. Start them making art YOUNG. They'll thank you for it.

by David Sanger