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How do you carve “Snow White” ‘s Hag and Evil Queen out of clay?

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How do you carve “Snow White” ‘s Hag and Evil Queen out of clay?

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David Kracov remembers the night that he decided to quit working in animation.

“A bunch of my friends took me out to Astroburger. And while we were eating, Brad Bird tried to talk me out of quitting. Brad said that he wanted me to come work with him on this new movie he wanted to make. Which was about this dysfunctional family of superheroes,” Kracov laughed. “And I told him that that was the worst idea I ever heard for an animated feature. That no one would ever want to go see a movie like that.”

Okay. So maybe David was wrong about “The Incredibles.” But as for his decision to step away from feature animation (During which time, Kracov worked on films like “The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” “A Troll in Central Park,” “Cool World,” “Thumbelina” and “The Swan Princess ”) so that he could then concentrate on becoming a full-time sculptor turned out to be a very smart move.

David Kracov surrounded by his sculptures
David Kracov and some of the character sculptures that he's
created over the past 20 years

I mean, how many former animators have been commissioned by the National Holocaust Museum to create artwork that honors the memory of all of those children who were lost in the Holocaust? Or – for that matter – can say that they’re the exclusive licensed sculptor of all Warner Bros. Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride characters?

“The funniest part of all this is – of all the art degrees that I’ve got – none of them is in sculpture,” David explained. “I’m entirely self-taught.”

Which perhaps explains why Kracov's pieces look so different. Have a spirit and an artistic sensibility that makes them markedly different than most of the other character sculptures that are currently on the market.

The drawing that preceded David Kracov's Hag sculpture
Image courtesy of eFX Inc. All Rights Reserved

“That may be because I refuse to work off of model sheets,” David said. “When I’ve been hired to sculpt a specific character, I first watch the film that this character appears in all the way through. I then go back and rewatch just the scenes that this character was in as I sketch. Once that’s done, I then break out my polymer clay and get to work.”

And when it came to the hand-painted Evil Queen & Hag sculptures that Kracov created to compliment eFX Inc.s’ Heart Box, David didn't just watch “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” over & over. He also went old school. Literally.

“Just like Disney's animators did back in the 1930s when they were originally working on "Snow White," I broke out a mirror and got all hunched over. I put on a cloak, held a basket and then moved around. I tried to recreate the Hag’s exact look from this film in that mirror so that I’d then be able to translate that shape to clay,” David continued.

A wax model of David Kracov's Hag sculpture
Image courtesy of eFX Inc. All Rights Reserved

Mind you, Kracov doesn’t first build up a wire armature which he can then drape with clay. No, David likes to work just with this special type of polymer clay that he had created. Which allows this artist to build up a new figure layer by layer. More importantly, to adjust a character’s pose very late in the game if he so chooses.

“The clay that I work with remains pliable. It doesn’t air-dry. And since there’s no wire armature inside, I can adjust the pose of my character sculptures right until they’re cured,” Kracov stated.

Which then allows David to take advantage of his animation training and really push the pose for some of these character sculptures. Give these Disney or Warner Bros. characters just as much life & personality as they had when they originally appeared on the big screen.

A Warner Brother's characters chess set crafted by sculpter David Kracov
Copyright Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved

“That’s how I got my favorite compliment of all time. I was doing this set of sculptures for Warner Bros. And they were supposed to be the classic Warner Bros. characters as Bob Clampett had designed & animated them,” Kracov recalled. “So I really pushed the poses on these sculptures. Made them look as much like the Warner Bros. characters when Bob did them as I possibly could. Which is why Ruth Clampett – Bob’s daughter – was absolutely thrilled when she saw these pieces. Ruth said that – by sculpting these Warner Bros. characters just as her father had drawn & animated them – I had honored Bob Clampett’s memory. And when you’re an animation fan ... Well, you can’t do much better than that.”

Getting back to EFX Inc.’s new collectible now … Given that the sculptures that accompany the Evil Queen's Heart Box mark David Kracov’s return to working with Disney’s characters after a twelve year absence, these hand-painted pieces are sure to quickly become highly sought-after collectibles.

And if you’re a D23 member … Well, you can get a jump on the rest of the Disneyana collecting world by placing your pre-order for eFX Inc’s Heart Box today starting at 9 a.m. PT. Whereas “Snow White” enthusiasts who don’t belong to the Official Community of Disney Fans will have to wait ‘til tomorrow before they can then place their pre-order for this collectible.

The Evil Queen's Heart Box and accompanying David Kracov pieces
Image courtesy of eFX Inc. All Rights Reserved

Now for the fine print: While D23 members will be able to get their Evil Queen’s Heart Box and its accompanying David Kracov pieces for just $724 plus shipping & handling (versus the $799 suggested manufacturer’s retail price that the general public will be paying for this collectible) a $200 non-refundable deposit is required when you place your pre-order. More to the point, you’ll then be expected to pay the balance -- plus all applicable sales tax & shipping -- when the Heart Box that you ordered is actually in stock and ready to be shipped.

If you’d prefer to spread those payments out, eFX Inc. is offering a four-part payment plan on the Evil Queen’s Heart Box. And once you make the final payment (as well as paying all applicable sales tax and shipping fees), this highly-detailed collectible & its accompanying statues will be sent off to you ASAP.

For further information on this amazing recreation of an iconic prop from Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” please head on over the eFX Inc. website. If you’d like to learn more about the sorts of pop culture pieces that David Kracov creates, you can do so by clicking on this link. And if you’d like the latest info on the sort of perks & discounts that a D23 membership will get you, you can learn more about the Official Community of Disney Fans here.

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