Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rivers, Rapids and Rushing Streams

I'm liking that title hope to use it on the booklet I've been asked to do.

Wanted to post some more on water creation and a few pictures.

Once you determine what type of water you want to model the steps are straight forward:

  • Cut out stream or river bed

  • make stream bed and banks - Plaster cloth or sculpt-a-mold work well

  • Paint stream bed, use 2-3 colors, blend light to dark getting darker towards middle. Depending on the depth you plan (darker = deeper). Streams and rivers are rarely blue, recommend using tan, raw umber, green, and payens grey or charcoal

  • Seal stream bed with white or carpenters glue (I use red top tite-bond in the gallon bottle for about everything to do with scenery. Seal with full strength, not diluted. Let dry 24 hrs.

  • Prepare banks with dirt, stone, or whatever your choice of material is. Again let dry.

  • Add rocks using either glue or clear Chalk. Let dry.

  • Add any details like tree trunks that will disappear into depth of water.

  • Now use clear Chalk (I use DAP bathroom in squeezeable tube)to form rapids. You will probably due this a few times, so you will have opportunity to improve look as you add layers. Remember water piles up on the surface it hits then trails to sides and forms a trail behind the rock as ti goes downstream. Use end of artist paint brush or any pointed object to spread chalk. Will dry clear, highlighting in later stages will determine look and flow. Let dry.

  • Prepare whatever you plan to use for water. Lot's of brands out there, any work. My preference is Envirotex. (I have also used Woodland Scenics water but find it stays a little soft on top making harder to keep clean, this can be overcome by going ovr top with another covering like gloss or matte gel). A gallon goes a long way. Mix up only what you can use for a single pour no thicker that 1/8". Don't worry about adding color in first pour.

  • Making sure stream bed is clean and dry, begin to pour a tiny bit of water material. Use a clean pointed object (toothpick is good or a skewer) and drag about edges to make sure you get a fill. If there is any holes, the water material will leak out and you will have a mess (don't ask how I know). Keep layer 1/8" or less.

  • use a paper tube (a cardboard roll from paper towel works well, as does 1/2" pvc) to exhale gently on surface of water material, this causes any bubble to come to surface and pop.

  • Let sit for 24 hours, do not do anymore work as any dust will land on your water.

Second Pour
So you've waited (I hope as I tend to rush and it never turns out well) 24 hours and are ready to look over your work. Evaluate depth, use clean toothpick to verify water material hard. Check any rapids or dams you created with chalk to verify if they are high enough for another layer, if not add them now and let dry.

Ready to proceed:

  • Make up another batch of water material, once made add a tiny amount of the tint color you want to use. I have tried several types and find simple craft paint to work best. Use just a little, adding if needed. What I do is use a clean popsicle stick to dip just enough to cover a 1/4 to 1/2" of the popsicle stick and then mix into water material. Important, check color on white paper to verify it is still see through and not too dark.

  • Once mixed and you verified color, begin pouring a tiny bit on top of your previous pour. Use toothpick or skewer to drag so it covers stream bed.

  • Let dry as above, making sure no dust is introduced.

Congratulations you are well on your way to a nice looking stream.

The next steps I'll add in a day or so with more pictures, these will include additional pours, more coloring, finishing rapids, adding flow to water surface, adding highlighting to rapids, and adding that little sparkle back to make the water look alive.

Hope you enjoyed.

Thanks Cameron

PS - have many high-re pictures if you need them with more detail on steps.

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