Art: New sculptor seeking advice.

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  1. #1
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    New sculptor seeking advice.

    Now I know this is my first post but.. I'm a senior in highschool and have been given an opportunity to sculpt one of my drawings. I have 9 weeks (the last quarter) to do this project and frankly.. I'm a little nervous. The thing I'm going to attempt to scult is a chair.. or throne if you will.. made out of skin and body parts. It's going to be approximatly 20 inches wide and about 30 inches tall at it's highest point. Big for a first sculpt I know.. my instructor is going to provide me with the clay but I am not so sure it's the right kind.. I think it's a pottery-type that will crack easily. I'm just wondering if anyone had any advice for a very new beginner to sculpting.. such as a specific clay to use.. or maybe a certain tool I need.

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  3. #2
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    Wow, that is pretty big. I'm sure there are several different methods you could do this in,
    so my first question is, what's your budget for supplies (i.e; the clay, tools, misc.)? It'll help
    also if you try and give a fairly specific amount for your overall budget instead of just saying
    "not much", or something very general like that.

    Troy

    http://www.themcdevittstudio.com
    --------------------------------------------------
    "It seems like once people grow up, they have no idea what's cool." - Calvin, Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons
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  4. #3
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    Well.. up to this point I've spent 40 bucks.. this includes a 8lb box of Sculpy.. a 1lb box of Super Sculpy.. some steel wire.. aluminum wire.. and epoxy putty. I figure I'll spend another 50 or so on supplies. I don't want this thing to break apart on me as I take it into college for my portfolio review.

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  5. #4
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    Then take back the Sculpey! Its brittle and chalky, and frankly, quite shit to work with. Also, thats a pretty damn huge skulpture youre doing, maybe you should look in to Plastiline? It wont set, so you can reuse the clay later. No 2 is usually good. Maybe you could post the drawing your basing it on? Otherwise its difficult to offer help.

    [url=http://galleryonefone.blogspot.com[/url] This would be my gallery in Sweden

    This would be my Pleine Air blog
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  6. #5
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    Well, timpaatkins isn't wrong that the original white Sculpey is less than desirable compared
    to the pink Super-Sculpey (and the even more superior Grey Super Sculpey Firm), but if you've already
    purchased it and you can't take it back, it's usable. I've done projects with similar specs to what
    you're doing and having tried alot of different methods, this is what I found worked best for me.
    Again, this is just me, so feel free to follow whatever tips or advice you're given that work best for
    you. First, your supply list (You don't neccesarily have to go to Sculpt.com to get these items, but
    it'll at least show you exactly which products I'm talking about):

    • Sculpt.com Online Catalog (link on the left) Wire Form (scroll down) - Choose one
    with "medium strength armature" properties. Get a roll, not the sheets.

    • Sculpt.com Online Catalog (link on the left) Magic Sculp & Magic Smooth (scroll down
    and click on the "Magic Smooth' link)

    • Sculpt.com Online Catalog (link on the left) Clay Index Polymer Clay Index
    Sculpey/Fimo Translucent Liquid Sculpey (for a project this size, you'll want to get the 8oz. container)

    http://www.skygeek.com/sheet-metal-tools.html (several of the cheaper one's listed here would work
    just fine. Doesn't have to be a hardcore pair)

    • Wood & Nails
    • Mixing Containers
    • Rubber Gloves
    • Small Spatulas or, preferably, tongue depressor-type craft sticks (for mixing and spreading)

    Directions:
    • First, you want to shape the wire mesh into the basic chair shape you're going to be working on.
    The best way to do this, on something this size, is to build a real simple understructure out of wood.
    Nothing fancy, just nail a couple boards and pieces of wood together to make a kind of skeleton
    that you'll be skinning first with the wire mesh, then later with the Magic Smooth. It's just something
    you'll be able to lay the wire over as you push and shape it.

    • Once you've got your mesh wire chair all ready to go, mix up some of the Magic Smooth and begin
    laying it over the wire mesh. Two things to note here. One, don't mix up too much at once. You should
    have plenty of time to work with it but you don't want to get caught with material that's hardening
    up in your mix container. You can always mix up more as you move along and just keep adding. Lay
    it as evenly as possible across the entire surface and make sure there's plenty around the base
    since this will bear the weight of the entire structure. You can smooth Magic-Smooth with water
    as it begins to set, but I don't recommend doing it too much, as a rougher surface gives the Sculpey
    something to hold onto. Another word of warning though. Push down any little spikes that are sticking
    up in the Magic Smooth as it's setting. Once this stuff hardens, it's as hard as solid rock and any little
    spires sticking up become little needles that WILL GET YOU!! Trust me, I felt like a bad accupuncture
    victim my first time.

    • Let it set overnight, and in the morning, you'll find a structure that's lightweight and virtually
    indestructible. I'm tellin' you, it's tough. You could probably sit on this little chair without damaging
    it at this point.

    • Now begin painting on the Liquid Sculpey (not to heavy, but don't miss any spots) and begin adding
    your Sculpey on top of that. The liquid Sculpey acts just like glue that permanently bonds the
    regular clay Sculpey to the surface of the Magic Smooth. You don't HAVE to add the liquid Sculpey,
    and some people even use Vaseline as a bonding agent, I'm just letting you know what's worked best for me.

    Now, just keep adding your clay and start sculpting. Once you reach this point, if you need more
    help on the sculpting portion, just post some pics of your progress and I, and I'm sure plenty of
    other folks around here, would be more than willing to assist. Good luck dude.

    Last edited by troyboy; April 2nd, 2007 at 05:33 PM.
    Troy

    http://www.themcdevittstudio.com
    --------------------------------------------------
    "It seems like once people grow up, they have no idea what's cool." - Calvin, Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons
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  7. #6
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    I wouldnt exactly say sculpey is "shit" to use, I think everyone has their own personal preference as to what they use its all about experimenting to find what you yourself prefer working with, I myself work with quite a few different modelling materials such as traditional stoneware clays, crank, etc, you just need to try your hand at whatever your can until you find something that your most comfortable with using once you've found that the possibilities are more or less limitless.

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  8. #7
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    Well, you still can use the regular Scupley for bulking up. You can use almost anything that can withstand 230 degrees baking to add bulk to your form-- foil, plaster, etc. That way you don't have to use so much of the expensive Scupley stuff.

    For large sculptures, my method is to make a wire armature, then put foil, cardboard, duck tape or whatever I need on it...and then i bulk it up with regular scupley and skin it with Super scupley. Of course, everybody has their own method....


    (edit) I went back and noticed how big your sculpture is supposed to be.....how the heck will you get this into the oven????

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  9. #8
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    Thank you for all of that troyboy. It helps a ton. And Shadowwing the kiln I have at school is that size. So I figure I'll use up all the space I can in order to get as much detail into the sculpture as I can.. this is going to be the centerpiece of my art portfolio for college.

    Here is a scan of the original chair sketch.. it was on the top of a very large paper so that's why it's cutoff.

    New sculptor seeking advice.

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  10. #9
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    Update 4/4/07 -

    Well.. I've started to do the frame.. I went the cheap way and started doing it out of steel wire. It's smaller then I originally planned but still big. I'm going to hopefully start with the foil bulking later today and maybe have a chair structure by this weekend. I have one wuestion though and that is can I put original sculpey on it and then add Super Sculpey onto that or should I mix the two?

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  11. #10
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    Update please.

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  12. #11
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    Before you cure , bake or whatever you do take lots and lots of pictures .even pros that use kilns lose work quite often . When I showed my portfolio or anyone I know showed there's nobody ever needed to see sculpture in person ? just make sure you document it all the way .

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  13. #12
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    Well. To close this out I finished the metal frame and gave it to my teacher. With the size of the piece it wouldv'e taken massive amounts of clay to make it stable and the detail I wanted. Oh well.. any ideas for my next project?

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