"To hell with circumstances;
I create opportunities."
Bruce Lee embodies the true warrior spirit. Through martial arts he was showcasing superhuman skills, telling us that nothing is impossible.
This spirit was the inspiration of the following bust. The quote encapsulates the core of the warrior mentality. Simply brave with circumstances; don't wait for thing to happen, make them happen. I wanted to have this inspiration on my table, that's why I started to sculpt this exciting project.
About The Process
I had no concrete idea of how the final sculpt will be. The only thing I knew is that I want to have his portrait on my table with the quote on it. I couldn't wait to start working on it, and I guess I was excited to find out the details on the way.
Having good reference is really important. There is some truth in the saying that: "An artist as good as his/her references." In this case I was able to find very descriptive pictures; not just from movies, but of sculptures from other artists. Interestingly even those artworks pictured the same person; when I looked at them closely, everyone had their own interpretation of Bruce's face. I had to find my own.
I quickly blocked out the head, starting from a sphere. By using masking and very basic brushes I was forming the skull and establishing the facial landmarks. In a few minutes I had the base of the head. After this is all about studying the references by observing the forms though ratios, shadows, and silhouettes.
Bruce has got the double eye lid folds and strong cheek bone, particular to oriental faces. Although his chin, and jaw is uncommonly strong. His hair is very fluffy, adding a lot of mass to head.
On the final sculpt I went for a touch of caricature, just to convey his features well even in small size.
Below you can see dome footage about the head develpoment
I love hands. I find working on them very amusing. It's full of structure, with the ballet of bones and soft tissues. For the arms I built a mannequin from loosely formed spheres and boxes. Then with Transpose Master I formed them around the stone base. With the dragon I actually had to cheat a bit to fit the body int the composition.
The dragons body was made in three stages. I started with "CurveTube". Then I created a UV and applied a texture on it. I made this texture so it'll be transferred to mask selection and finally used to push the surface out.
Between the dragon the the bust there are the clouds. As references I used traditional Chinese sculptures. It was important to make the clouds authentically stylized.
You can turn around the final sculpture in the window below.
I used allegories to express certain thought. Bruce Lee was the dragon. He broke free from what we thought possible in this earth. As he died became eternal in the sky. He was "like water"; fluid and strong. There you have it; the four elements: earth, fire, air, and water. Maybe a too philosophical, but that's how I like it, and hopefully you appreciate it too.
Finally 3D Printed
And finally I got the 3D printed Bruce Lee in my hands. I was super delighted. It looks pretty sweet on my desk. Although now I would do a few things different with the printing. I would try another material with more capability for details. Adding some colours would be an interesting experiment as well.