Elfquest Sculpting Odyssee

After being charged for two years by all the fabulous sculpts, images and characters on this forum, and with the release of Zbrush3, I’ve no more excuses: I want to make a complete character model myself!

I have no visual arts background or education, and I’ve never drawn anything worthwhile. Needless to say this sculpt feels like an daunting challenge. :cool: This forum is my best and only teacher on this subject. I really need your help to grow: crits, tips and advice are most welcome. Please give it to me straigh, I can take it. :smiley:

When I was younger I devoured the Elfquest comics by Wendy and Richard Pini. A month ago my love for it was rekindled. I want to make a full character model of the character Cutter. I’ve got much reference images, some anatomy books and experiment-friendly Zbrush3.

Here we go…


A big thanks if you read through all this, and more thanks yet if you decide to reply! :smiley:





Plakkie is just wonderful this thread you have started. I like very much your model.

:+1: Don’t tell anyone but, I really like the ElfQuest.
:large_orange_diamond: Nice Base sculpt!

Very cool models.

If I make one suggestion, it would be too add eyelids. Wendy and Richard didn’t emphasize eyelids, to the point of not drawing them very often, but they were there, and without them your characters will look extremely alien (not to mention be unable to blink).

I’m interested in seeing how this turns out.

Hah! I loved Elfquest too. Wow. Haven’t thought about that for years.

Looking forward to see where you go with it. :slight_smile:

I like this! Which one of Stumpfs materials did you use? (and can you post a link to it?).Thanks. J

Andreseloy, Sadicus, Avatarsw, Verygrimm: thanks! Nice to hear more people having enjoyed Elfquest in the past (or present). The story of the first 20 episodes is still very strong I think, and the characters well developed. It’s a bit fantasy, but in a good way. :smiley:

Context: You’re right, I want to make the eyelids next. Don’t know how I should handle that not having planned for it… I’ll make some experiments.

Avatarsw: this is the thread where I got the materials from. Post #98.

hey buddy!

Cool to see you started a model thread once more :+1:
I really don’t know elfquest, but by the references I can suggest some things:

  • The eyes could be futher apart from each other
  • The cheekbones shouldn’t go all the way to the chin
  • The lower lip’s in the comic scans is a more rectangular and thicker

That’s just my opinion :wink:

Hope to see more soon :+1:

Take care buddy

Great start Plakkie!

I kinda agree with Elarcano there plus his lips at rest seem
to turn down not up…the corners I mean…even in the ref pics you posted…they tend to curve down.

Keep going you are doing great so far!

Elarcano: thanks for the tips buddy! I am going to change them and see if it works. :smiley: Let’s see if this head will be better then the last one I made; won’t make a marine hat for this one. :wink:
One question: “the cheekbones shouldn’t go all the way to the chin”… I’m not sure I’m getting it; the cheeckbones on my model ain’t going to the chin are they? Can you draw or point out what you mean? The cheek’s and jawline are a big part of what defines Cutter I think, so this is important to me.

Aminuts: thanks for the encouragement and the lip-tip. I really couldn’t see it anymore, so now I can try and improve it again. :+1:

Improvements (I hope) are following!

Ok, here’s an update. It’s funny how much courage it takes to make radical changes.


  • put the eyes a bit further apart (they need a lot more work)
  • pulled the nose up a bit. I’m not happy with it yet. Too much Michael Jackson for my taste. :laughing:
  • pulled the mouthcorners down, he’s looking more serious now.
  • tried to put more meat on the bottom lip, and make it more square. It’s helping I feel, but I think I could push it a bit more. What do you think?
  • worked on chin and jaw. The chin feels like a step in the right direction, but is not quite there yet.


Overall these changes make him look less feminine, which is good, as this guy is a bold and fierce leader. (a bit of a hot-head too) I still can’t see much resemblance with the ‘real’ Cutter, but there is more similarity then before.

Again, any thoughts about this model are most welcome, the first few posts have already had impact! :+1:



Plakkie- Pretty sweet, I enjoy comics and the sort and saw some elf quest back in the day but didn’t really follow it. You got a nice start, though think the nose septum between the nostrils is thin and the nostril holes bit too high. Maybe throw your sculpt inside a imagecube might help. Zproject Cutter ref on imagecube two sides when done.jpg

Hey AngelJ! Thanks for the remarks, you’re right about the -checks post- “nose septum” (I’m learning new words! :D), I’ll broaden it.
The high nostrils are what makes him a bit like Michael J. I guess. Problem is: the tip of Cutter’s nose seems to point a bit upward. When applying this to my model, the nostrils went up as well… I’ll have to find out if I can get low nostrils and a high nosetip at the same time. :confused:

I started my base model with a method like you are showing (I did it with two image planes). Problem is: the two images are not coherent. The eyes are on different hights, etc. If I made it to look like the front image, it didn’t fit with the side view and visa versa. Looking through the albums some drawings show differences between them. Cutter’s face also evolves over the different albums. I’m aiming for the looks he got in the scans I posted before.

One more update before bed: I gave him a nosejob. The ‘septum’ is broader now, and I lowered the nostrils. I hope no-one minds me posting images of these tiny changes; it’s fun making them. :lol:


Plakkie- much improved look on the nose. Looks better and better with each passing refinement.
:+1: :+1:

AngelJ: thanks! I really need the tips to improve, some things I just don’t see until someone makes a remark about it.

I made some eyelids. A bit hard if you didn’t plan for it, but ZBrush’ progressive subdivision levels got me there eventually. The eye corners need more work: I just found a picture in a anatomy drawing book that might help me with it.


Next stop: the nose. It doesn’t look right yet. Wendy Pini just drew a few lines and there is a nose. In 3D you have to examine every curve and angle…



Cutter_color3- define plane example.jpg

Plakkie- Good job, your hard efforts are showing in each pass. I’m sure you’ll continue to fill out the face to help his masculine features. Forgive my poor markup but its for a basic example only of what I mean. The hard edges are to help define the contour as it would help the form giving him more man like roughness. The dark image plane on the eyes is to illustrate an area you could put in to define where his thick lashes would go without giving him individual lashes. Also helps give the eye the angular shape he tends to have.

Thans a lot AngelJ! That contour sketching gives a very good idea of the global contour! I’ll try to make one myself to see how my model is in comparison with your masculine lines. :+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:

I really like where this is going Plakkie… I always like to see the more stylized stuff here. Zbrush can make scaly/wrinkly monsters better than anything else, but there’s so much more to it. You’ve taken on a completely different kind of challenge here in representing a character that is defined in such geometrically ambiguous terms. Great job so far!

The one bit of advice that I'd give would be to thicken the nose up a bit. It's looking good along the x axis, but if you look at the reference images, it's thicker on y than you have it. I've been finding the transpose tools in conjunction with some creative masking invaluable for this kind of adjustment. (It happens quickly, and if you don't like it, ctrl+z. I love being a digital artist.) As you update this WIP, I'd like to see what uses you find for the Topology tools... I've been devouring your topology lab thread since it started, gleaning what techniques I could for a labor of love of my own. This is really exciting stuff.

Thanks Huan! :+1: I haven’t made wrinkly monsters yet… maybe I should have tried that first. :wink:
Glad you enjoyed the topology thread. I’ve learned much from it so far, and have used topology on this model already: I made the basic shape with ZSpheres, setting up a quick nose, eyesockets, and ears. After some sculpting I retopologized the whole thing which resulted in the base mesh I used for making the first post model. It really helps to have the polygons flowing in the right direction while sculpting. I already made so many changes that I plan to retopologize again when the headshape is as good as I can get it.

I’ve changed the nose again:


Keep bombing me with crits if you have any!