Files For 3D Printing?

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Pixologic has lots of tutorials on different things concerning creating and 3D printing.


You may remember that in previous posts, sculptor Bridgette Mongeon talked about G-code. That is what a machine needs to be able to 3D print, or CNC, which stand for computer numerically controlled milling. 3D scanners also use G-code.

Just like when you work on a picture on the internet, there are many different types of files. For example, you can create a photo file as jpg, png. giff, pdf’s and more . There are also many kinds of files, depending on the software you are using and the software version. So it is with the case of 3D printed data. There are a couple of different types of files. To print your work correctly the files from your machine have to be able to translate that G-Code correctly.

Marc Eberle in New York and Bridgette in Houston were working on the file of Booker T. Washington’s book. They both work in a program called Zbrush. Bridgette also works in a program called Mudbox and wrote a book on that as well. Mark and Bridgette can send Zbrush files back and forth, but they have to be sure they are both working in the same version of Zbrush. The other option in sending a working software files is to send a 3D print files to someone in a recognizable format.  These are usually an STL or an OBJ. What is the difference? 3D printer Insider created an article that describes the differences between STL and OBJ’s. Pixologic also has a great article on how to prepare your files for 3D printing should you like to learn more.

Bridgette talks a lot about the pitfalls when 3D printing. She learns from her experience and shared a lot in her book 3D Technology and Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling. No need to go get the book, just keep watching this blog, she will be sharing a lot of that information here. In the next post, we will look at how to fix a file and what can be wrong with a file that might keep the file from printing. There are a few free programs that allow you to be able to check your files for 3D printing.

Teachers and Students

If you would like some free software to start working in 3D check out the following:

Sculptris -Pixologic, the makers of Zbrush, has Sculptris. It is free and an excellent way to begin creating in 3D. It is available for Mac and PC. You will have to download it.

Tinkercad  – works in a browser, so there is nothing to download

Vectary– works in a browser, so there is nothing to download

We will post some more for you later. Please let us know if you create anything with these programs. We would like to see it.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

Technology Comes Into the Art Again. Booker T. Washington’s Book.

booker t book_2Dr. Phillips wanted to switch out the papers in Booker T. Washington’s lap. Instead, it would be Booker T. Washington’s Book Character Building.  Originally, Dr. Phillips had a new version of the book.  After consideration, Bridgette decided to make it into an older version of the book.  After all, the modern paperback books would not be around until 1935.  Changing to a more original version was done for several reasons. The first is that the viewer might not see the book title if Booker T. Washington’s left hand is holding it open.  Instead of trying to sculpt such a tiny book with tiny text, Bridgette decided to do it digitally.

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Bridgette decides to create a separate design of the book one where the cover is connected so that the students at Booker T. Washington High School and others can 3D print it out and have their own tiny book used in this small sculpture of Booker T. Washington.

Mark Eberle in Western NewYork has helped Bridgette on several different projects, including education on 3D Technology in the Western New York area.  Once again he came through. Mark and Bridgette created the book in a digital sculpting program called Z Brush.  There is a free sculpting program that is offered by the same company. It is called Sculptris, should any students be interested in check it out. The other problem was that Bridgette was not sure how open the book would need to be. She could not really decide this until she worked on the design and the hands. So, to remedy this situation, Bridgette separated the cover.  That way, she can tip the cover to whatever angle she needs. Mark 3D printed the book on a Form Labs 3D print. If you remember, we discussed the different types of 3D printing. Form Labs is one of the best consumer 3D printers. It uses the stereolithograpy ( SLA) process of 3D printing.


  • To obtain STL FILES or OBJ’s for 3D printing follow this link.
  • If you would like to learn more about STL and OBJ files check out this article by 3D Insider.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

Booker T. Or “There You Are Peter “


DurScreen Shot 2020-03-15 at 9.23.18 PMing the process of sculpting, I always find there is a moment that reminds me of a scene in the 1991 movie “Hook.”  A little boy squishes up Peter Pan’s face and finally recognizes the little boy inside him. I have these moments when I’m pushing the clay around and “feel” I have the face of the subject. Sometimes I even say that line of the movie out loud. I’m definitely feeling comfortable about Booker T. Washington’s face. He is on a toothpick stuck inside of a block of clay.  I love to be able to turn him upside down and around.  I’m getting much closer. You can see some video of my Booker T. Washington sculpture in progress on this Feb 12th Instagram and this  Feb 14 Instagram post.

Teachers and Students
We learned about all of the cool math in the body, and about Leonardo Da Vinci’s obsession with proportions. I have sculpted many faces, and it always fascinates me about the proportions.  Sculpting and drawing are really about comparing one thing you have drawn or sculpted to another.  I used to teach Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and would talk about this all the time.  Here is a cool video on how you can check the proportions of your own face using string.

As a portrait sculptor, I have studied many different aspects of the face. One of my favorite things is the facial action coding system by Psychologist Paul Eckman. Paul has studied emotion in the face and can tell when people are lying just by watching their face. I have a very freaky story to tell you about my experience with that research, but it is too long to go into here.

Creating real expressions in animation is hard. Animators have been using Facial Action Coding to create realistic faces.  This video from the University of London talks about Animation and the Facial Action Coding.

Animation studios also use something called Motion capture or mo-cap.  They have actors wear optical markers that capture the motions in the face and body.  Disney created the movie A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in this way. With a head-mounted camera, the animators can capture the expression and transfer it to their animations. I wonder how hard it must be for an actor to act in these costumes and without the visual props.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

Moving Along

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It’s a long process.


I’m working diligently on getting the small Booker T. Washington ready for the school to approve. We may hold off on casting him because there is an event, and I will need to have something for guests to see at the event. I can bring the clay if I’m careful. Casting a small sculpture like this can take a little while. Remember, this is a limited edition, and you can have one. You can even pre-order one. Buying a small Booker T. Washington can help with the cost of the monumental sculpture. We will get a price on that soon. Contact Dr. Phillips at Booker T Washington High School if you are interested.

Before I can add his jacket, I have to sculpt the folds int he waistcoat. Much of it we will not see, but I can see it. I hate that the hands are these wire stubs, and I can’t wait to move onto the shoes, but for now, he is coming along.
I have to do it. To sculpt the face, I’m going to have to cut off his head.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

What Does Harriet Tubman Have To Do With Booker T. Washington?

February is black history month, and as I always do, I am immersing myself into everything about my subject.  With the Harriet Tubman movie, we have been hearing a lot about her as well.  I also am a hiker, and they have been having some Harriet Tubman hikes in the Texas State Parks. So, I could not help but wonder. Did Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington know each other?

Harriet was born in 1822 and died in 1913. She was 90-91.  Booker T. Washington was born 34 years after Tubman, in 1856 and died in 1915. A lot of things happened in 34 years.  As reference, the emancipation proclamation happened in 1863.

I’m sure Harriett had influenced Booker T.  Washington. After all, she was recognize around the world for her accomplishment. Even the queen of England awarded her a medal and gave her a shawl.  My curiosity got the best of me, and I had to stop sculpting and do some research.  How interesting it was to find that Booker T. Washington delivered the oration at the Tubman memorial service. 

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon


Proclamations and Other Things


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Off with his head! This helps me a great deal. I can turn the image upside down and easily see all sides. The most difficult part is the aging in the photographs of Booker T. Washington.

It is crazy busy in the studio these last two months.

I took a trip to Florida to Tampa to be with the All American Girls Professional Baseball League AAGPBL. If you don’t know the story about this league, check out the movie A League of Their Own. I hung out with many of the original women in the league. Many of these women are in their 90’s The AAGPBLis an incredible part of history. One of the reasons I was there is because the AAGPBL commissioned me to do a sculpture of Penny Marshall. Penny Marshall was the director of the movie A League Of Their Own. She made a difference in the lives of many through making this movie. 

Latin Jazz.
One of the subjects that I have sculpted was honored in the Mayor’s office. She is getting her own day and is one of the first Latin American sculptures in the city of Houston. So, I was able to go to the courthouse and present part of the sculpture- A bronze dog named Kippy. I love this little dog. Then, later on, there was the unveiling of a sculpture of Norma Zenteno. She is a musician who died of cancer, she is loved by many. Her family has been in the entertainment industry for years and really played a part in Latin music in the city of Houston.  They created a movie about the family and presented at the unveiling. Unfortunately Norma won’t be installed for a while, but she is done.

There was a radio interview on KPFT. I also  had a 13-foot tall sculpture install in the North Part of Houston in Generation Park. No dedication set at this time. It is a sculpture of Eve.

It has been a busy two month, and in between all of that I have been working on the small sculpture of Booker T. Washington. Now that all of these are off my plate I can turn my focus onto Booker T. As you can see. I had to cut off his head.

Sculptor/Writer Bridgette Mongeon

A Famous Teapot Tells the History of Technology.


Bridgette poses with the clay of the Mad Hatter and a very famous teapot.


Bridgette has worked both traditionally and digitally for a long time. She has said time and again.

In my studio, Alice and her friends have gotten bigger and smaller, not with elixirs and mushrooms but with digital technology.

As an artist, she has had a foot in the digital world and another foot in the fine art field, and created a niche for herself. Her book on 3D tech in fine art was the culmination of a lot of trial and error on her part. In an interview with Women in 3D printing, she said, if she can’t get it out of the computer, it is useless to her. That is where CNC milling and 3D printing come into her studio.

When she was creating the monumental sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea party for Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire, Texas, she wanted to pay tribute to the man who started the technology. After all, it all started with a teapot. She wanted an homage to the man. It had to be at her famous tea party.

You may not know that she hid 150 things in the bronze scene of “Move One Place On.”that is at Evelyn’s park. She did this to encourage literacy. You have to know where they are in the story, as well as in the sculpture. She also hoped to encourage curiosity. Many people have begged her to release the list of 150. She is only doing this through riddle and rhyme on her social media pages. One of the 150 hidden things that she put in the sculpture was in honor of the technology she uses. Do you see it?

Teachers and Students

Here is the riddle

Tech marries clay in Wonderland,
The Hatter steps in and lends a hand.
Not from Texas, but Utah it came.
Not victorian but rather plain.
Because Sandra and Martin liked their tea,
an homage to a man you now do see.

If you don’t know, watch this video. You will learn all about the famous teapot.


Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

A Man On A Cup

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A very rough start.

Though I have a tiny chair, it is easier for me to sculpt this little figure while being able to see all around him. I have to stop and search around the studio. Do you know I have three bins in my studio that are titled “Things that hold other things up.” We refer to that bin often, but instead, I find a teacup that I purchased, thinking I would need it for my large Alice sculpture. It is just about the right size. Now it is a seat for my little Booker T. Washington. My laptop is next to me and can use the photographs of Dr. Phillips in my Google drive, along with those I have in Pinterest to see folds and create his clothes, hands, and shoes. Dr. Phillips could not cross his legs in this same position, and the cut of the clothes from this period are different, so I have to go back and forth between past and present to get precisely what I am after.

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

A Small Booker T. Washington- The Beginning


I must first create a wire armature similar to the ones in the picture. But what size?


With many of my small sculptures, I start with a simple metal armature.  I will put clay on top of this wire armature.  Eventually, you will see that I’ll be reverting to my Alice In Wonderland sculpting days, and it will be “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!”  It is just easier to work on a head that is not attached.  I’ll also cut off the hands and the feet.  But first, how big should we make the wire armature? There are lots of proportions that I need to take into consideration.  First, we have the photographs of Dr. Phillips in the chair.  I know the sculpture will be approximately 10 inches tall. I’m very visual. So, I xeroxed down a photograph of Dr. Phillips at 10 inches tall.  I have to be careful here. The image must be taken perpendicular to the subject, or it will change everything. Once there, I used string to see approximately how tall a man would be that is just 10 inches tall when he is seated.  I ran the string from his head through his shoulders. Then I went down to his hips up a leg and down to his feet. Once I had a measurement, I found images of a standing Booker T. Washington. Thank God for the Internet. It makes my job so much easier.

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Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon searched the internet for standing images of Booker T. Washington. She would use these to be able to get the proportions for a small sculpture.

Even though these images are of a Booker T. Washington at different ages, it still helps. I lined them up next to each other. I wanted his navel, head, and feet to align. This would help me with the general proportions of the man.  I also use Pinterest on my projects.  I created a Booker T. Washington  Pinterest page with the images that I found of Booker T.  I will refer to it often. Sometimes so much that I have to cover my lap top with something so clay does not get in the keyboard. You will also notice there are images on my Pinterest that are not of my subject. Sometimes, I’m just looking for clothing, or a fold or something of that nature, and it gets pinned to my Booker T. Pinterest page. I am chomping at the bit to get started. While I’m finishing up other jobs I instruct my assistant to put clay on the wire armature. Now the magic begins!

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Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon begins a Pinterest Page so she can have reference. She uses this along with a Google Drive folder that holds the pictures of the principal.


Proportion is just one thing that Artist Bridgette Mongeon uses in her art that are STEAM related.  There are many types of math in a traditional artist’s studio. Here are some to explore.

What is the Golden Ratio? How have artists used it in their art? has some information on Golden Ratio.


A sample page of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Books. With highlights from sculptor Bridgette Mongeon.

If you want to get really excited, look at the Fibonacci number in nature. When you are looking at these things, it is interesting to know there is something called Sacred Geometry? What does that mean? Where does this term originate?

Do you know other artists who worked with math, proportion in their artwork?
Check out the math in Escher’s work. Here is a video lecture from Gresham College  And another from Oxford Mathematics  on the work of Escher.

Leonardo DaVinci was not only a great artist, but he loved to document things like proportions and science.  Someone took his notebooks and translated them. You can see his original drawings in his notebooks here. You can also see the translations and images in the book called The Notebooks of Leanardo Da Vinci Volume 1 and 2. 

Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon