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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.

Step One is probably the easiest step. All you need to do is take a piece of armature wire and bend a loop at the end. Since I am only working on the face at this stage I will expand enough wire to give me working room. The face on this sculpture is going to be around 3 to 4 inches long so I should have enough wire there to get me started. If I need more wire, all I have to do is unwrap it from the end.
Aluminum foil on the armature Step Two – bulking out the wire. In this step I want to bulk out the wire with aluminum foil to conserve clay. I keep wrapping the top of my armature with aluminum foil until I get the desired thickness. Keep in mind the size of the head that you plan to sculpt when you bulk out the armature with aluminum foil. You still need to be able to add enough clay to sculpt with. The worst thing that can happen at this stage is that you add too much aluminum foil and run into problems when you start sculpting (i.e try to carve into the clay and run into a wall of alumimun foil). Less (aluminum foil) is always more at this stage.
Adding clay to the armature Step Three – adding the clay. Ok, now it is time to throw some clay on this thing. I keep wrapping thin layers of clay until the aluminum foil is completely covered. The goal is to start defining the overall shape of the head.
blocking out the face Step Four – defining the eyes, nose and mouth. All I basically do here is roll out cylinders of clay and press them in the locations for the eyes, nose and mouth. The top horizontal bar will represent where my eyebrows will go (the eyes will be built out below this section), the nose is a small vertical cylinder of clay and the mouth (where the lips will go) is a small horizontal cylinder of clay.Nothing scientific here and it doesn’t have to be perfect, all I want to do is to start blocking out the different areas of the face. Once the individual parts are added for the eyes, nose and mouth I simply take one of my sculpting tools and pull the sides of the cylinders into the base of the clay (your fingers can also be used at this stage)
Defining the face Step Five – defining the face. From here it is just additive sculpting, I simply add little pieces of clay to define all the shapes such as the nose, cheeks and forhead. Again I am still just blocking out the shapes of the face but it is important at this stage to get a mirror and check to make sure you symmetry is correct on the face. You will need the mirror throughout the sculpting process so go ahead and start getting use to using one at this stage.* If you have no idea what I am talking about then visit my sculpting with a mirror tutorial for additional details.
Blocking out the eyes Step Six – bulking out the eyes. This step doesn’t look like we made much progress but actually it has taken a lot of work to get to this stage. I’m still defining the shapes of the cheeks and nose and this will continue until I am done with the face. I’ve added little balls of clay for the eyes and have pressed them into where the sockets use to be. It may not look like much yet but the face is really starting to come together. Once I’ve blocked everything out I can then spend time on pulling out all of the facial features.It is hard to explain without a video but you just want to keep adding little bits of clay to different areas until you get the shape you are looking for. Make sure you look at pictures of faces, in the shape or position that you are sculpting, to get an understanding on how the mouth, nose and eyes all fit together.

Next lesson Detailing the face

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One Response to “Fiddler blocking the face”

  1. kal says:

    A while back when I began using Sculpey I trhought I had read that all of the clays could be mixed together without a problem. Fimo, Primo sulpey Etc. Is that so? I don’t mean a whole lot but leftover etc. Love your tutorials. Best I have seen in all this time I have been using clay.

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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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