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A Pungent Character

Getting Grit into Imaginary Faces with David Meng

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In this lecture, David Meng shares his thoughts on how he creates personality and expression in a character bust. á He will discuss his thought process behind doing an unconventional take on a traditional creature.á The practical aspects of working with plastalina and building armatures will also be discussed.á á Viewers will get to look, from start to finish, at how David creates a physical clay design maquette for the film industry.

  • Trying to design "sideways"
  • Materials and Tools
  • Armature building
  • Practical techniques and tips for sculpting in plastaline
  • Creating the major sweep and flow in the forms, establishing attitude from the very beginning
  • Making aá strong design statement with silhouette
  • Balancing extremes and subtleties in design
  • Using pose to establish attitude and personality
  • Using the lines defined by the edges of forms to affect how the viewer "reads" a character, thus givingá it "punch"
  • Methods to keep a fresh eye for your work
  • Refining sculpture for the purposes of a quick concept maquette
  • Finding inspiration in unexpected and/or forgotten sources
  1. Introduction
  2. Reference
  3. Tools
  4. Harpie Blocking Part 1
  5. Harpie Blocking Part 2
  6. Harpie Blocking Part 3
  7. Harpie Sculpt
  8. Harpie Finishing
  9. Colonial Finishing
  • Product Code: DME01
  • ISBN: 1-59762-773-9
  • UPC: 805366017910
  • Duration: 187 minutes
  • Formats: DVD-ROM, Digital Download, Online Subscription

DVD-ROM Requirements:

  • 1GHz or faster processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 64 MB Video RAM
  • DVD-ROM Drive
  • 5 GB of hard disk space
  • 1280 x 1024 display

DVD-ROM and Digital Download Requirements:

Minimum Operating System:

  • Microsoft« Windows« Vista«
  • Microsoft« Windows« XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Apple« Mac« OS X 10.2


  • QuickTime Movie Player (Version 7.0 or higher)
  • Acrobat Reader (Version 5.0 or higher)

For more information on DVD and Digital Download policies click here here.

David Meng

Creature Designer and Sculptor, Weta

David Meng graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2000, with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art, and took Dick Smith's Advanced Professional Make-up Course shortly after. Interested in bizarre, funny and grotesque things from a young age, David had a natural leaning towards working as a creature/character designer in the film industry. David started his career working as a designer/sculptor for various effects houses in LA. In 2004 he was invited to join Weta Workshop in New Zealand, just in time to work on King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia. He spent the next few years working on many of Weta's other projects, most notably District 9. On District 9, David served as Lead Creature Designer for the movie's Prawns. Other films David has worked on include: Alien Vs. Predator, Black Sheep, Under The Mountain, and The Hobbit. Most recently David worked as part of the concept team that designed the Kaijus for Pacific Rim. His main contribution to the film was the design of the Leatherback Kaiju. David's work has been published in various art-of books and been exhibited at both CoproGallery and The Hive, as well as the Dowse gallery in New Zealand, and also in Shanghai. His work has been included in the internationally renowned publication Spectrum five times (including this year's upcoming edition), and has so far won two Silver awards and one Gold.

Watch this tutorial now with an Online Training Subscription.

"We have been very fortunate to work with a large number of extraordinary creatives in our career here at Weta Workshop. David Meng is one such person possessing of extraordinary creative talent, conceptual thinking ability and superb draughtsmanship - although at his heart David is a fine art sculptor, inventing unique and dark original characters from his ever abundant mind."

- Richard Taylor
Co-founder and Creative Director of Weta Workshop

"Don't let David Meng's youthful appearance fool you - I watched him sculpt for two months in NZ and was blown away by his brilliance. Whether it's his flawless technique, his boundless imagination or his commitment to professionalism, this man will teach you everything and more about sculpting. What you hold in your hand is the product of a Master."

- Wayne Barlowe
Concept Artist

"In this industry where it can become easy to borrow from other artists, Dave Meng has the capacity for genuine original concepts and unique designs. áI would recommend his tutorials to anyone who wants to learn a fresh take on the craft."

- Jamie Beswarick
Lead Designer/Sculptor, Weta Workshop

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