The Birth of Woodmini

Like many an artist before me, I recently became obsessed with the lack of posability in posable artist’s manikins. I’m talking about the minimally styled wooden figures artists use for practicing figure sketching — or actually, for desk decoration since they’re barely posable at all due to the way they’re constructed.

But they look so great, I love them regardless. Plus I had inspiration:

Chris Beatrice’s wonderful blog Illustration Fixation, and his 2011 post on altering the (roughly) 1:6 scale manikin, with excellent results. Mr. Beatrice is a man after my own

Figure 2: Lovers, paper over plastic skeleton. It Glows!

heart apparently, as he also blogged about altering a plastic toy-sized skeleton for greater articulation, something I’ve been known to muck about with some, too.

I recommend his highly informative blog. Great stuff.

And of course there’s one of my great spiritual mentors, Man Ray, and his exuberant 1947 Mr. and Mrs. Woodman series (NSFW if your boss has too much, or not enough, imagination).

Since I am in the market especially for posable 1:12 scale figures for an upcoming project I have in mind, I decided to buy some of the mini manikins, which aren’t even meant to be really functional anyway, and see how I could alter them.


Woodmini Prototype A:

… What? He’s watching the Presidential debate with us.

He still needs some work. The hinge joint construction is a little elaborate, the elbows need finessing, and I need to figure out how to make my trademark exposed knots and workings look better.

But overall, I’m pleased with his functionality. It took a couple of weeks of redesign and tweaking to get him to this state, including reshaping some parts and repurposing or repositioning others – all told, more than 10 experimental surgeries, and boy, did the mini-Frankenstein wisecracks ever fly around the family kitchen table. Supportive, yeah.

The result is, I think, the most natural-looking figure of the size (about 5.5 inches tall) I could have hoped for.

Please enjoy the following comparison photos of Mr. Woodmini Before and After, in the studio and taking his ease. Stay tuned for further adventures.



About Mura

Mura Muravyets is the screen-name of Jen Fries, surrealist artist, book artist, hope-to-be writer.
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