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Free Sculpting Tutorials

Archive for March, 2007

Fiddle Frame

Posted by goregt On March - 25 - 2007

Sculpting the fiddle – building the design

Ok, you are probably going to see me jump around a bit during these series. I don’t like to focus on only one area while I am sculpting, I like to move around a bit so that everything stays fresh. That being said, I have found for me that it is important to get a good base for the face before I begin to work on other parts of the sculpture. I have found that when I save sculpting the face towards the end I usually end up making mistakes that throw the rest of the sculpture off (for example the head is too big for the body). We have a pretty good start on our face, although it is not finished, so I think it is time to move on to a few more areas.

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Sculpting Eyes

Posted by goregt On March - 25 - 2007

Sculpting the eyes

There are a variety of different ways to sculpt eyes and the technique that should be used really depends on the type of eyes you are looking to create. I’ll probably paint this piece with a bronze like finish so I want a more classic feel to my eyes. For these types of pieces I like to sculpt a hole where the pupil and iris are located. The hole creates a neat illusion and is a really nice way to sculpt the eyes. Now if you wanted to paint your eyes then you will probably not want to sculpt a hole for the pupil (and or iris).

For me personally the eyes and the hands are the hardest things to sculpt. The eyes tell so much of the story in your sculpture so if they are off it can really mess up the entire piece. These steps may seem pretty simple but they can be a real challenge. I probably sculpted the eyes on this piece 4 or 5 times until I got it close to what I am looking for. Don’t get discouraged if you also struggle with the eyes, just keep practicing until you get it right.

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Sculpting Lips

Posted by goregt On March - 24 - 2007

Sculpting the lips – time to fix some errors!

Well, I have some good news and I have some bad news. The bad news is that I checked the proportions of my sculpture in the mirror and a lot of the facial features were off. The eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth just need a lot of work. This is a good example of why you should consistently check your sculpture in the mirror when you are sculpting. I started out by checking the symmetry in the mirror but I failed to continue to do so in the later stages. If you have no idea what I am talking about then read the “Why use a mirror when sculpting” lesson first.

The good news for you is that I have to sculpt the eyes and mouth all over again. So, this is a good opportunity to show you the individual stages of sculpting the different facial features. I’ll break the sculpture features up into different lessons.

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Sculpting hair

Posted by goregt On March - 24 - 2007

The following tutorial outlines the process that I use for sculpting hair on some of my polymer clay sculptures.  This is not the only method that you can use to sculpt hair however the tutorial should give you you a good idea on how to create a realistic design.  Now keep in mind that the example in this tutorial is a really a simple design, more complex designs can use the same process but require some additional planning to make everything flow correctly (we can cover that at a later time in another tutorial).

I did not completely finish off the detailing of the hair in this tutorial and I will explain why at the bottom of the page.

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Detailing the face

Posted by goregt On March - 21 - 2007

Detailing the face

1. Pupils – pupils are really easy to do. I just take a pointed sculpting tool and make little circles into the eyes. You want to build out the pupils before you add the eyelids to the eyes. I’m still not done with the eyes

2. Eyelids – roll very thin snakes and lay one on the top portion of the eye and the other snake on the bottom of the eye. Play with their placement until you get the look you are looking for. Using one of my sculpting tools I push or blend the edges of the eyelids into the face

3. Lips – The individual lips are created by drawing a horizontal line into the clay. Once I separate out the top and bottom of the lips I then bulk out the lips by adding small amounts of clay. I keep bulking out the lips until I get a shape that I am looking for (if you do too much bulking just take a little away – pretty simple step but takes some time to do). Once I get a shape I am happy with I then add little faint vertical lines to the upper and lower lips (look at your lips in the mirror to see the little lines they contain).

4. Ears – At this stage I have only added small lumps of clay to represent where my ears will be placed.

5. Horns – the horns are pretty easy. They are just large snakes or cylinders of clay that I have twisted into a shape that I like. The horns are still pretty rough at this stage so I will be building them more out in the future.

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Rolling snakes

Posted by goregt On March - 21 - 2007

Rolling snakes in the clay

In a few of the other tutorials on this site I have referenced rolling snakes or cylinders of clay. These thin round pieces of clay are useful for sculpting a variety of things like veins, hair, small horns and different features of the face. I’ve included a picture tutorial below to better explain what I am talking about.

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Fiddler blocking the face

Posted by goregt On March - 20 - 2007

The Fiddler Stage One – Blocking out the Face

A couple of key points before we begin. The polymer clay that I use is called Super Sculpey but you can use just about any polymer clay to do these lessons (however regular Sculpey would probably present itself as a challenge). I’m a huge fan of Super Sculpey and it is predominantly the main clay that I use. Super Sculpey is just one of those clays that I feel comfortable with.

Second of all don’t judge a book by its cover. This sculpture will probably look like a third grader made it for awhile. As the lessons progress you should be able to see the sculpture advance. Everyone’s skill level is at different stages so put forth your best effort when you start sculpting and with time you should be able to knock out some really impressive art.

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Sculpting Skin

Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

Creating Skin With Polymer Clay

Adding the right details to a sculpture can take an average work of art and turn it into a masterpiece. I have seen a lot work-in-progress sculptures that I thought were OK at best turn into amazing looking works of art once the details were added. Now I am not advocating that one should only focus on details versus the fundamentals in sculpting, it is still important that you understand the anatomy and symmetry of your subject that you are sculpting. A detailed well crafted sculpture will still present itself better then a well detailed poorly sculpted work of art any day.

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Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

Why use a mirror when sculpting?

One of the key sculpting tips that I have found beneficial for improving the way my sculptures look is using a mirror to check the symmetry of the sculpture. Symmetry by definition, source www.dictionary.com, is the “the proper or due proportion of the parts of a body or whole to one another with regard to size and form; excellence of proportion”. So in essence the right hand should mirror the left, the left side of the face should mirror the right and so on and so on.

Usually when you create a sculpture, especially of the human form, it can be difficult to realize flaws in the symmetry. Sometimes things may appear to be a little off but it isn’t always obvious to the naked eye. There may be times when you overlook that the left eye is at a different angle then the right or tad lower then the right. There are several different tools and tips to help an artist improve symmetry but the one that I use the most, and will discuss in this article, is using a mirror to check to symmetrical flaws.

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Posted by goregt On March - 18 - 2007

How to make a sword with Polymer Clay

Making swords and other weaponry can be an easy process and there are tons of different methods and materials that can be used for their creation. This tutorial focuses on one option that can be used to make a sword out of clay but it is by far not the only option that you have available to you. I personally find this method the easiest for me. The information below is designed to give you step-by-step instructions on how to easily make a sword out of polymer clay.

Tools Needed

  • Polymer Clay (Super Sculpey in my example)
  • Dremel
  • 91% Rubbing Alcohol
  • Aluminum foil

Making a sword tutorial

** This sculpture is created with Super Sculpey

The first step is to roll out your clay to the length that you want yours sword’s blade. Note: You will want to leave some thickness to the clay. Do no roll it out till it is paper thin.
Cutout the outline of your sword using a knife of some other type of tool
I cut a little notch at the end of my sword so that I have something to insert into the handleI then bake my sword’s blade in the oven for 15 minutes at 250 degrees. Let the clay cool for 30 minutes to an hour before moving onto the next step
Using a Dremel I sanded down the edges of my sword and rounded it off to get a basic look. The next step is to roll out individual pieces of clay that I will use to make the sword’s handle (in this example a cylinder, ball and small snake-like cylinder).
I attach all the individual pieces and rollout two more cylinders for the top of the handle
Blend the pieces together
I put a thin layer of Vaseline on the blade of the sword since it has already been baked. This will help the new clay stick to the baked clay.
I play with a few designs until I find something that I like and bulk up the blade of the sword.
After I get the basic design of my sword down I then use rubbing alcohol and a paint brush to smooth out the clay (a Q-tip could have also been used at this stage)
I want to add texture to my sword’s handle so I use wadded up aluminum foil to add to my design (similar example as in the rocky seascape tutorial)
And there is my finished sword ready to be baked again. Remember that the design needs to be added to both sides of the sword.

The entire process of making a sword with polymer clay is relatively easy and I used a very simple design for this example. The key is to take the steps I’ve shown above and expand on them. With a little practice, time and effort a really impressive sword could be created using the techniques above.


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About Me

Nothing special, just a self-taught sculptor having fun with my art and showing all of you the tips and tricks I use to create my own artwork



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