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Sculpting Humpback Whale with custom-painted job

A sample of the process can be seen here as Todd creates a wonderful sculpture of a Humpback Whale

Artist Todd Guevara, aka: “The Fish Man” is often asked how his pieces are created. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. The intricate process that is undertaken to create each sculpture is complicated, time-consuming and meticulous. The following is an outline of the numerous steps it takes to make just one of over 60 different original, signed and numbered, limited edition pieces.

First, a rough draft is made of foam. Numerous hours are spent shaping and
streamlining to perfect the exact proportions of the species. Often, underwater video footage and still photographs are used as reference material.

Once perfected, the foam is sealed with a fiberglass resin, thus creating a hard object from which to work

Extreme attention to detail is spent shaping, sanding and filling in the original to
produce a flawless sculpture. Approximately three to six coats of primer filler are used to create a smooth seamless finish. Wet sanding is done until Todd’s critical eye is satisfied.

Finally, mold release is applied with a brush and a mold is then built around the original sculpted piece.

The mold is then pried apart by hand (in pieces) using high pressure air blowers to release the original, which is often destroyed. Once the mold is taken apart and the original sculpture is released, the mold is then prepped (cleaned of debris) to create a reproduction of the original piece in fiberglass. The inside of each mold piece is then gel-coated, matted and “fiberglassed”. These pieces are then “bolted” together creating several flanges, or seams, and left to dry for several hours. Once the bolts are released (taken apart), we are left with a 100% fiberglass reproduction of the original. The piece is now 75% lighter in weight, about 200% stronger than the original, and much easier to paint.

PRE-PAINTING (Detail Work)
Before painting, all the flanges from the seams must be ground down, sanded, filled in and smoothed out to an even surface, thus eliminating any signs of the seams. Gel coat is then sanded to remove any releaser in order for the paint to bond. The teeth, eyes, and some fins are made separately and then installed on the piece.

In general, 3-5 pieces are painted at one time over the course of 3 or 4 days. About 3-6 coats of filler primer are shot with a high power paint gun to fill in any flaws. The surface is sanded again until smooth. Finally, the base color is applied, followed by the tack coat, which is basically a light clear coat. The flame pattern is then shaped with fine pin-striping tape. The negative, or outside, of the flame is then filled in with paper and tape. Next, an opaque white is sprayed over the base flame for true color clarity of the three flame colors which are then applied and blended. The tape is removed and the edges are sanded before being clear coated to create a shiny, “wet” look. Each coat is wet-sanded and buffed to achieve a flawless finish. In all, each sculpture is
meticulously layered with up to 60 coats of pearls, candies and clears.

Hanging brackets are installed and now, after hundreds of hours of work, the sculpture is ready to be proudly displayed.

NOTE: Custom detail work, such as pinstriping, can be added for a small fee.

The Sculptures range in price from $300 to $2400. Larger, commercial-sized pieces range in price from $1400 to $20,000 and are available in various sizes, colors and species. Todd’swork can be seen featured in numerous galleries, trade shows, fairs, magazines, casinos, restaurants and private homes throughout the world.

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Contact Todd

(949) 472-TODD


Prices of humpback whales and other sculptures Check out the processes of making the humpback whale Pinstripes can be done on any sculptures Home of Humpback whales and other sculptures