I still have some work to do on my Minotaur’s head, body, etc but I wanted to go ahead an attach him to a base to get an overall idea on how the sculpture is going to look. Adding the base is a pretty easy task with wax since there really is no need for a support system (armature) for it to be able to hold up the sculpture. Also, another huge advantage for using wax is that I was able to create wax cast from some of my other skull sculptures. This allowed me to add a few of my already previously sculpted skulls to the base verse having to spend a lot of time sculpting each individual piece. I have so many projects going on right now shortcuts like the wax cast really help me move the piece along. I’m also able to sculpt the pieces together in a way in which they look unique, so the sculpture is not “cheapened” by this process. Read the rest of this entry »
Sculpting a unique base for the dog portrait.
I’m only sculpting the dog’s head for this particular piece so I want to do something that gives the sculpture a little more pizzazz. Usually when I do pet portraits I like to add a unique rock formation base to the sculpture. The rocky base basically helps create a uniqueness with the piece and also gives a little more height to the sculpture.
Over the past few years I’ve gravitated from creating what I would consider more conceptual to functional based art. I still enjoy sculpting statues and figurines, that will always be a part of me, but I have to admit that creating a unique functional piece of artwork has a strong appeal to me. Not only is the artwork fun to look at, it’s also a great way to create an engaging conversation piece.
I started my functi0nal art journey a few years back making cigar related tools and as of late have spent a great number of hours creating art for the wine enthusiast. What’s intriguing about creating this type of art it that it really stimiluates my own creativity. I look at the world with a different view in that any and every item I interact with has an opportunity to also because an artistic centerpiece. Napkin holders, coasters, light switches, etc and etc offer endless opportunities to create something that is functional yet an attraction for its design and beauty.
If you have never created a functional piece of art then I highly recommend you give it a try. Push yourself with the design, make the challenge something that you have to give your very best effort. In the end no matter what you make, or how the design ends up, I truley believe you will grow as an artist. After all I’ve never grown much from my easy projects, it’s the ones I wanted to throw in the trash that really developed my skills. For me sculpting wine stoppers pushes the envelops of my creativity. I have to sculpt smaller than I prefer and on top of that I’m tasked with trying to create an appealing design that will rest on top of a wine bottle.
Go out and find your niche and try something new. Struggle with the project, push yourself, don’t give up and in the end I’m confident you will be a better artist for it.
If you would like to check out my latest endeavors you can view them at my
All the best,
We know how difficult it is to come up with new and yet inexpensive ideas for classroom art projects. Our staff is always on the alert for great new ideas (if you have any, let us know! We are always adding to our library of free downloadable lesson plans). Our art lesson plans are either in PDF format or PowerPoint presentations, and they can be downloaded absolutely free. For elementary school students there are easy-to-follow explanations of lithography; portrait sculpture in clay; dinosaur bone clay relief sculpture; polymer clay bead making; prehistoric cave art; and even making clay skulls to celebrate Mexico’s Day of the Dead. For high school students there are more advanced art projects such as multi-color printing; sculpting insects with polymer clay; relief sculpture; making reproductions of Chinese vessels in bronze; sculpting life sized heads and ceramic self-portraits. There is also an Introduction to Glass in the Classroom; making fused and slumped warm glass objects d’art; glass casting; and glass jewelry making. Read the rest of this entry »
The next phase in this project is to start fixing some minor issues that I had with the original belly. Basically the main issue is that in some parts the torso was too flat and needed to be pulled out more. I’ve already sculpted my belly button so I want to be careful that I do not mess up any of the details in that area.
I’ve broken down my steps below.
- Draw a line outlining the location of the sternum and the center line for the belly.
- Add small balls of clay to bulk out the areas that need to be pulled out more. In this case I need to pull out the skin over the sternum, the portion of the belly above the belly button and the sides of my figure.
- Blend the balls of clay into the base of the belly
- Smooth out with my finger Read the rest of this entry »
One of my favorite sculpting videos of all time is Mark Alfrey’s Sculpting the Human Head. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mark Alfrey, he is both a sculptor and special makeup effects artist for the television and movie industries. Mark’s resume includes popular movies and TV shows like Men in Black I and II, 300, X Files, Ghostbusters II and much more.
Mark is not only an extremely talented sculptor but is also a great teacher as well. I have two of Mark’s videos and both videos are consistent in their teaching methods. Mark uses time-lapsed photography in his tutorials and narrates as you watch a lump of clay transform into a sculpture before your eyes.
In the Sculpting the Human Head video you learn how to create the different shapes in the face, how to create wrinkles, skin textures and much more. He really covers in detail on how you approach the different features in the face such as the shape of the eyes, the skin folds around the nose and the placement of the ears. Read the rest of this entry »
What is Polymer Clay
Polymer clay is a material you can sculpt. It is based on polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material. It usually contains no clay minerals and is only called “clay” because its texture and properties resemble mineral clay. Polymer clay is sold in craft, art and hobby stores. It is used by artists, hobbyists and children.
All polymer clay brands include PVC and one or more liquid plastic. Pigments may be added to the base to create colors along with small amounts of kaolin or white china clay. Mica may also be added to make a metallic looking clay.
From time to time I plan to write a post highlighting the artists that have had a positive influence on my own artwork. As I have stated many times before I for the most part am a self-taught sculptor. I’ve never taken a formal sculpting class and most of the techniques that I have learned up to now have been through a lot of trial and error (in some cases mostly error) and various forums and tutorials from other websites on the web. I still believe that I have a long ways to go before I become the skilled artist that I want to be, however I have progressed a lot over the past few years. I owe that progress to a lot of tutorials from a handful of sculptors that are out there today.
When I first started sculpting in November of 2003 the only clay that I was familiar with or even knew existed at that time was the water based clays. I had never even heard of polymer clay and naturally when I started my sculpting journey I picked right up from where I left off during my high school art experience. I did a brief two to three week sculpting project back in high school so I was already familiar with some of the basics for sculpting with water based clays (i.e. How to remove the air bubbles, making the sculpture hollow, firing the sculpture in a kiln but nothing on how to sculpt different forms, etc). Read the rest of this entry »
There are several different ways that I could approach sculpting the scars on my sculpture and no one way is really better than the other. Since I’m working with polymer clay, Super Sculpey to be specific, the easiest approach in my opinion is to roll out snakes of clay and remove the unwanted pieces. If I was working with wax I may take a different approach such as adding small balls of wax one at a time but I would have to experiment first before confirming.
* Note: I’ve blocked out parts of the sculpture in case anyone is sensitive to nudity. Once I’m finished I’ll add a link to an uncensored picture of the sculpture for anyone that wants to see the complete design. This will be done at the end of the tutorial and for now I’ll just censor the pics as needed. Read the rest of this entry »
When I first started sculpting with polymer clay I basically only had around six weeks of sculpting experience. Up to that time the only clay that I even knew existed was a water based clay. For those of you that still sculpt with water based clays my condolences. To say that they are a challenge to work with is an understatement (unless you are using them for pottery or something along those lines).
I’ve always been one to push myself to the limits with my art and my first polymer clay sculpture was no exception to that rule. I wanted to create a sculpture that was both dynamic and unlike anything that I had ever seen before. I personally have always liked artwork that depicted angels so for my first piece I decided to create a piece that was my own version of how I think an angel would look like.
Read the rest of this entry »