sculpture question

Good morning all, I am very new to this so looking for a little advice.
I am working on a sculpture, just starting it. I recently purchased the DVD  Sculpture Techniques, textures and forms by Don Lanning. Its an awesome video on the techniques. Mr. Lanning uses and recommends WED Clay for the sculpture. My question is, will this clay work for a finished sculpture and air dry? This will be  sculpted and painted when finished and not used to make a mold of, so I wanted to make sure the WED clay would work or if you all had any thoughts of something else I should use? This is a fairly large sculpture ( head and bust with an armature of wire and foam for the base of the sculpture) so it would not be able to be put in an oven to dry. ) I really appreciate your thoughts, like I said I am new to all of this and learning. Have a great day, I look forward to hearing from you.

Answers

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Hi Cliff,

    I love Don's sculpting lessons, he's really helped me up my sculpting game to something almost passable!

    As WED clay is a water based clay (with a bit of glycerin added to slow drying) it will eventually dry out on you.  When it dries out it shrinks and starts to crack, so your sculpt will become brittle and start to fall apart on you.

    If you want to sculpt something that will be the final display piece (without molding and casting) I would suggest something like super sculpey, which you can see Csey Love use in this lesson:  https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/tutorials/creature-design-digital-to-practical

    Happy sculpting!

    /Chris
  • Chris,
    Thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it. I will give it a try. Have  great day
    Cliff
  • John BannisterJohn Bannister New Zealand
    Hey Cliff!

    I started out using Super Sculpy  as Chris mentioned and have had great results. However a couple of tips for you ...

    With Sculpy, the curing process is based on Heat X Time. using a home oven is fine, but don't rely on the thermostat. Depending on how old your stove is, this could be out by quite a few degrees. If you have access to a good quality, hand held thermo, I would defiantly go of that. If you don't have access to one, keep a close eye on your piece as it cures in the oven.

    Also, if your sculpt has some thin areas, I used to protect these with tinfoil as they had a habit of turning brown, this is mainly due to the heat curing then scorching the thinner spots before the bulk of the pieces has cured. if your going to paint your sculpt it may not be an issue for you, just a heads up!

    Good luck mate and be sure to let us know how you get on.

    JB
  • Thanks guys. like I said all is new to me so I love any advice i can get. A couple of questions…. since my sculpt is full size, shoulders and head, might be a little tight in the oven? and since I did my armature out of wire and foam, would I have to worry about the foam in the oven? Has any one ever tried magic sculpt? I have heard good things about it.
    Thanks again, its nice to finally get some advice on this :)
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Good points John!  I've definitely browned my share of Sculpy pieces from over cooking, or as you mentioned, thin areas browning before the rest gets to bake.

    /Chris
  • Cliff, you can use magic sculpt, which would give you a hard epoxy like finished piece. The biggest draw back is that if you're inexperienced at sculpting, you will be fighting time!! Magic sculpt is a two part epoxy dough that you mix equal halves and start sculpting. Larger mass starts to set quicker... You basically have about 2 hours working time with a batch, once you mix the halves... It will stick to itself, so you could sculpt in small sections and keep adding to it... Any mistakes you can grind off with a dremel and resculpt... A full head and shoulders will take a lot of material and it's not cheap... It's also different that sculpting in clay. It has a different consistency and may not do things that Don demonstrates in his video...

    For a full head and shoulders piece and a beginning sculptor, I wouldn't suggest going this route.
    I really would suggest using an oil based clay like Chavant or Monster Clay, because it'll give you the most time to work on and refine your sculpt, without the time constraints or cost issues of Magic Sculpt. Unfortunately, you would need to mold and cast to have a finished durable piece to paint... Unless it's just to photograph... In that case, prime and paint the clay sculpture!

    If you chose to go the Magic Sculpt route, I suggest getting block foam (the carving kind, not styrofoam) and carve/create the armature as close to the finished size and shape of your sculpt as possible... Then use Magic Sculpt to create the surface and details of the piece. It will minimize the amount of material you'll need (saving money) and make it not weigh a ton, due to all the excess Magic Sculpt!
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Magic Sculpt is great stuff, but as Mike mentioned it's a bit expensive, so bulking up your armature to save on material is a great idea.

    I'm working with Magic Sculpt on a makeup appliance (for "metal" spikes through the character's eyes) and I really love working with it.  They suggest you use gloves while working with it, which I find a bit frustrating (but it's better to be safe!).  The challenge there is getting wrinkly glove texture all over the piece if you need to handle it.  In my case I'm sculpting two smaller pieces that require a lot of handling during the sculpting process, so I find myself chasing wrinkly glove texture around.

    Thankfully you can smooth the surface with water, which works amazingly.  And once it cures it sands like a dream.


    If you are curious about working with Magic Sculpt I have to recommend  Bruce D Mitchell's 2 part mask making lesson, which helped me a lot.
    /Chris
  • Mike and Chris,
    Thank you both so much for the advice, I really appreciate it! So many things to learn, lol! I do have most of the sculpture blocked out in foam, when I get a little further ( which might take awhile) I will keep you updated  and maybe take some pictures as I go… unless of course, I don't like the way things are turning out and I just start over, but it will be a learning experience!
    Thanks again,
    Have a great day.
    Cliff
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