Everything starts with a sketch


Through this blog I will give you some insights to my sketchbook and upcoming projects. 

Searching for Metstli (Part 2)

In Part 2 of the "Searching for Metstli" series,  I want to show how the characters of my Tree of Life were made. I started with what I thought would be the easiest working towards Pali, the main character and most complex one. 

I had first intended to make 6 characters: 

  • Metstli - The moon
  • The Coyote - young, fun and trouble maker 
  • The turtle - goddess of rivers
  • The wise lizard - old and full of knowledge
  • The Armadillo - Pali's friend 
  • Pali - your cactus spirit and main character!

But it was quickly obvious this was too ambitious - so in order to be sure I would finish this piece I decided to cut down the characters of the tree to 4. This turned out to be a smart move! 

The process

For all of the pieces I started with a wire frame, for the bigger bodies some aluminium foil filling and then Super Sculpey.

After the sculptures were finished and baked, I sanded the pieces and added a primer coat. They were painted with acrylics and finished off with a matte varnish. 




A Bumpy Ride

This process was not always smooth! I had problems with my little oven that didn't regulate temperature so well, and was too small sometimes. The most dramatic moment was when trying to attach Palis head and her body... She was burnt and one of her feet burnt! 



Success with foil package! 

Success with foil package! 

Had to take a break... and after allot of interent research I found a smart way to cook my pieces: with an aluminium foil bag. It's slower but much better!!! Sanding and filling made the pieces slik again. 



The Turtle

Goddess of rivers the turtle carriers the depths of water in her and supplies rivers and other water sources with this basic element for life. On one of her journeys she came across the Coyote, who was thirsty and tired. She told him to continue his path and he would find water, but being stubborn the coyote (without recognising who she was) decided instead to eat her. After being very sick and thirsty, he throws up and now understanding who she is, he sows all the pieces back together. This is why her shell is made up of pieces. 

A GIF showing some pictures of the process until the primer is added. 

A GIF showing some pictures of the process until the primer is added. 


The Coyote

Symbol of youth and adolescence, his decisions are not always the smartest ones. He is known in many legends as a joker and trickster- so he wanders the deserts looking for amusement. He has a close relationship with the moon, since he made his friend, the hare, jump so high he landed in the moon. 



Pali is our main character and hero of the story! She's a small cactus spirit that helps cacti buds grow and flowers bloom. She can do her job thanks to her magic poncho that channels the moonlight to increases her powers. She grew up with family of pigmy owls and therefore has allot of knowledge. Her home is a tall cactus, but she frequently visits her friend Armadillo who helps tak care of the cacti buds. 


The Moon

I don't have so many pictures of the moon as it was actually my final piece and I was freaking out slightly. On Metstli we can see the white hare, the image that Pali sets out to find in her adventure! Metstli comes out to play when the coyote howls to her. 


This was just the beginning...

Next post will be the building of the tree, painting and the finished piece!