How to sculpt

Sculpting tutorials, lessons and instructions for the beginner

This piece began as clay!

Good demonstrations for sculpture aren't all that easy to find on the web, as I found out when I picked it up. Using the wrong clay and not knowing the basic preparation steps are pitfalls that you can avoid if you do some proper reading up. Problem is, these resources are scattered and difficult to locate. That is until now :)

Follow the links below to great tutorials posted by great sculptors to get an idea of where to start and what to do!

1: What is sculpting?

Sculpting is really just creation of a 3D piece of art with your hands. Contrary to popular belief, sculpture is NOT always done in stone. Sculpture in stone is just a sub specialty. Modern day sculpting is really behind-the-scenes work of the entertainment industry - monsters in movies begin as conceptual creature sculpts, toys and models are born from the hands of sculptors.

What these sculptors do is that they add material onto their models and gradually shape them into form. This is unlike the popular misconception that all sculpture is to do with chiselling and taking away.

2: Types of Materials

There are two main types of sculpting material that you can look for - polymer clays and epoxy sculpting compounds. Polymer clay has to be baked to harden, while epoxy sculpting compounds dry and harden in the air. So, unless you work fast, go for polymer clays if you're a newbie.

Here's a link for more information on brands available:
Polymer Clay Brands

3: Let's sculpt!

After sieving through about a hundred sites with sculpting tutorials and guidelines, these are the best and likely to be the most helpful to you:

Making an armature support
Simple human proportions to follow
Sculpting demonstration 1 - Sculpting a faun fiddler
Sculpting demonstration 2 - Sculpting a conceptual creature by Peter Konig

Here's a video by the Shifflett Brothers:

Cheers, fall in love with the art.

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Anonymous said...

I can't tell much of anything by the video. What kind of wire was that? What were the small strips that were wrapped around the figure before the foil was added. I'm not doing such detailed work as what you have done. I'd like to but for now I'm doing polymer clay houses and figures such as little old fairy ladies. Well, my grand daughter likes them. I would like to understand the basics though. I'd like to know what was used step by step and think that my figures will benefit by the information. I'd really appreciate the information broken down as I am a newbie. I have been to so many web sites looking for smoothing techniques and simple tips. I'm very happy to try out a few things that I've picked up here When ever I try putting foil onto my wire, it just falls off. Thanks, Janet

Anonymous said...

Hi, I left the comments under the name anonymous, March 20th 2014. If anyone can tell me what was used to wrap the armature before putting the foil on I'd appreciate it. I' going to try the alcohol smoothing technique. I was using a bit of oil.