Shaping the Dog’s Face
Now that we have built a good foundation for our dog portrait, it is time to start adding the details that will bring our sculpture to life. The detailing stage may be the most time consuming stage in the game but really is the most rewarding stage in the entire sculpting process. It is nice to see a chuck of clay shaped like a dog turn into an actual dog portrait.
The key is to take your time and not rush through this stage. Flying through this step will show in the end results to go ahead and already plan on investing a lot of hours to get the detailing done right. The final details will not be completed in this tutorial. The goal for now is to build out the dog’s face, with wrinkles and all, and add the polishing touches a little later down the road.
- Polymer Clay (Super Sculpey in this example)
- Sculpting tools
- Reference material (pictures of your subject matter or the subject matter itself)
- Lots of patience
* This sculpture is created with Super Sculpey.
|Sometimes I like to pre-bake my eyes before I add them to a sculpture. Two round balls will work perfectly for eyes on this piece since I will not be carving a hole for the iris and pupil like I have done on my other tutorials. Pre-baked pieces are nice because they give you the freedom to work on a piece without messing them up.* The eyes were created simply by rolling two round balls of clay in my hands.|
|I’ve added the pre-baked eyes to the sculpture. The key is to insert them into the eye sockets where they look natural (not too sunken in are protruding too far out). It is probably hard to view them a “natural” looking with no eyelids but with a little practice you will get the feel for how far the eyes should stick out.|
|I’ve added a few snakes of clay to start building out the upper and lower eyelids.|
|Ok, this is the most tedious process and the only really good way to show all the steps would be via a video. I do not have a video of this piece so I’ll breakdown everything as best as I can. I believe that the key to getting the sculpture down was in the previous less when I went over how to block out the dog’s face. Blocking out gives us a sense of how long and wide the snout is, where the ears and eyes are located and how the cheeks are shaped.
The next step is to add details to the foundation. Basically all I have done is carefully studied my subject matter, wife’s new puppy in the example, and added wrinkles here and folds of skin there. Wrinkles and folds of skin are easily accomplished by adding little snakes of clay here and there. You can also create a similar effect by carving little lines into the clay and smoothing out the edges. Most of my sculpting time is spent at this stage.
If you built a good foundation by blocking out the dogs face then this stage really is not that difficult. The key ingredient here is to make sure that your resources are good (either the subject matter is available to study or you have pictures from various angles). As you can see in the photograph I’m have completed the dog’s face yet. The nose is not shaped well and there are a few other areas that need a lot of attention.
Next lesson – Sculpting a unique base for the dog portrait.
Previous Lesson – Blocking out the pet portrait