The Rake - Part 1

February 1, 2023

Latest Post Figuary 2023 by Owen Soule

There has been a massive uptick in Roblox play here at the Soule Designs workshop, Will has taken to the platform with obsessive delight. Roblox games range from obstacle courses, driving, first person shooting, pretty much anything you can image, but Will seems drawn to the "survival" games. In these games, 3D model versions of monsters chase the players around and everyone tries to outrun them for a period of time. If you survive you get some in game credit which lets you buy upgrades. I know, what the heck does this have to do with a rake? I'm almost there.

Many of these monster survival games share the same monster 3D models, and many of the monsters I have to lookup because I've never heard of them before. One such monster is The Rake. It is a pale, emaciated, humanoid cryptid with long fingers that lurks in the woods.

"It lives... out in those woods, in the dark..."
This image appears all over the web, I'd give attribution but I have no clue who made it!

A while back, Will requested that we make a clay sculpture of The Rake and we agreed to do it as a family project. To kick off the project, I drew a front and side view of the beast using the above image as reference and a hunched pose that Will demonstrated.

My concept drawing of the rake for a our sculpture

We bought some Sculpey oven bake clay from the local craft store for the sculpt. Since The Rake is pretty lanky, we had to make an armature to hold the clay. I found a wire coat hanger, Laura provided some plant wire, and we went to town with the needle-nose pliers and a pair of wire dykes. After much bending and gouging of fingers we had a hunched over The Rake armature.

The wire armature front view
The wire armature side view

With the armature in place and my fingers sufficiently bleeding, I handed the project over to Laura and Will to sculpt this wretched creature. This involved forming the torso in a big block, rolling out tubes for arms and legs, and Laura crafting mini-armatures for the hands and fingers along with covering them in Sculpey.

Various bit coming together: hand armatures mostly covered in clay, some feet, a torso, etc.
Will working on The Rakes head, never mind that pile of lego on the floor behind him, you saw nothing!

Finally, after much fiddling we placed The Rake into the oven for an hour and out popped this monster!

Baked Rake front view
Baked Rake side view

Actually, he popped out with his bottom jaw broken off but we super glued that sucker back on. Will was tickled shitless with the result, but I was a bit underwhelmed. I have to admit, I was tasked with refining this sculpt before it went into the oven and I didn't quite match the sinewy musculature of my drawing.

Maybe oven baked Sculpey is a pain in the ass to shape, maybe I was under intense pressure to get The Rake into the oven, but most likely I'm just not skilled at real world sculpting due to lack of experience. Luckily, something I am skilled at is DIGITAL  sculpting!

So as a way of procrastinating from my Diode Reflex comic, or just a desire to make a more sketch accurate sculpt, Part 2 of this series will delve into making a ZBrush version of The Rake! We'll see how I fare at digital sculpting after a number of years away...

The Rake attacks a snowman! Terror on the tundra!
Owen Soule

Published February 1, 2023