Starting the Blue Footed Booby, Balancing on Two Feet

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Starting the Blue Footed Booby Sculpture…

Click here to download my free PDF pattern for a Blue-Footed Booby.

In this video you can see how I’m using a simple inner pattern to create the basic shapes of the Blue-Footed Booby. Then I filled out her rounded forms with crumpled paper and some foil, and I added a ‘sling’ to help her stand on two feet. I’ll finish her in the next video.

A bird sculpture can be challenging because there’s a lot of mass balancing on two small feet. Sometimes it’s possible to use the tail as an extra ‘leg,’ which turns the base into a very solid tripod.

But I decided that I’ll eventually have two boobies courting each other, with the dancing booby firmly attached to a base. In my search for photos, all courting boobies have their tails pointing straight up, whether they’re the dancing partner or not. (Yes, both sexes show off their pretty blue feet in a dance.)

With the tail straight up, the two feet have to balance the bird, and that’s going to be possible because of the sling-thingy that I made for the feet.

And yes, I did say in a previous post that I would try to make a dancing booby that didn’t need a base, but that turned out to be a silly idea. I have those sometimes… 🙂

Links to stuff I mentioned in the video:

Be sure to watch for the next post, when the booby will get her feathers and air dry clay. I’ll also sculpt her beak with some Magic Sculpt that I happen to have on hand.

Their beaks have a lot of unusual details, and the eyes seem to be part of the beak ‘structure.’ Be sure to look up photos of blue-footed boobies and use them for your model when you sculpt your own booby’s beak.

11 thoughts on “Starting the Blue Footed Booby, Balancing on Two Feet”

  1. Super tip on the use of the cradle! I have never used a continuous cradle but rather a Y sort of cradle that lies on the bottom of the bird. I like the continuous better!
    When I do bird feet that will be on a wooden base,, I make the leg separate from the feet. I cut the leg wire to be about 1 inch longer than I want it, attach the feet where they should go using tape and wire. That leaves a 1 inch bit of wire sticking out the bottom. I then drill a hole into the wood to put that wire in and use gorilla glue or epoxy to adhere the feet to the wood and into the hole. It is very sturdy. I use a junk piece of wood with the hole drilled into it to hold it while sculpting the rest of the piece to ensure it still will balance. Does that make any sense to you? I wonder if you might do the same for your dancing partner who will be on one foot.
    I have never seen a blue footed booby, where do they live? Why did you pick it to sculpt?

    • That’s a great idea for the dancing booby’s foot – I’ll try it. And yes, it made total sense. 🙂 Now I just have to find a piece of wood to use for the base. You know how YouTube recommends videos based on ones you watched in the past? For some reason, YT thinks I want to learn more about weird or rare birds, and a video about the blue-footed booby popped up in my feed. They live on the western coasts of Central and South America, and on the Galápagos Islands. Of course I’ve never actually seen one.

      • Oh, that’s too funny about the YouTube feed…guess what? It worked, you watched the video about the booby!
        You could use a piece of flagstone as well if you have any lying about. They aren’t too hard to drill into as long as you keep it wet. It is heavier than wood though and you would have to put felt underneath so you don’t scratch the furniture. I just thought of rock as there is so much of it on the Galapagos Islands. Just an alternative.
        Do you have many local craft shows? I found a wood turning guy at a craft show who is more than happy to make bases for me. He barely charges anything and he has all these pieces of wood in his workshop that are already seasoned and dried. Maybe find someone to do this on Craigs List or better yet, ask your readers if anyone could make a base for you? I can’t stand working on the bases. It usually takes as long as the sculpture itself. You won’t find the thickness you need in any craft shop.

        • Eileen, when you mentioned the flagstone I remembered how much fun it was to make the rocks for my mountain goats. And almost all boobies are photographed on rocks. I may have to make some. But I’d still need a wooden base for the rocks, and our craft show is next month. I’ll figure something out. They probably have a nice piece of wood down at the local lumber store that would work if I sand and stain it. I don’t have any flagstone. 🙂

          • Eileen, I have another question for you. You use the air dry clay a lot more than I do, and I know that Rex always puts on a layer of the original paper mache clay before he adds the detail layer of air dry clay. Do you think I could get away with just the one layer of air dry clay instead?

  2. I love all your videos. I’m currently working on the horse. Looking forward to this as my next project. Thank you again.

  3. Really great video and a super-helpful way of supporting the body with the ‘cradle’. She already has so much character with the slight bend in the neck and head, what a difference that makes!
    Love watching your videos Jonni. Thank you

  4. This video comes right in time Jonni.
    Just this afternoon I started to make a pattern off a goose standing on one leg and your video helps a lot.
    Looking forward to the next video.
    Thank you, this little fellow already puts a smile on my face.


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