Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Figure Sculpting with Creative Paperclay (part 1 of 3)

1/9 scale female figure cardstock armature
1:9 scale female armature
1/9 scale male figure cardstock armature
1:9 scale male armature

In our last article we looked at sculpting animals using a paper craft armature.  In this series, we are going to take it one step further by sculpting human figures based on a simplified paper craft armature.

I have drawn out a male and a female model that you can download, print on card stock, cut out and assemble to make a very basic 3D armature.

The figures are about eight inches tall, making them approximately 1:9 scale.  Feel free to print them larger or smaller to fit the scale in which you want to work.

8 inch figurine sculpting armature
female armature cut out and taped

You can use glue to assemble them, but to save time, I just use bits of masking tape.

As you can see, the figures are not complete and have gaps between different parts, but they will suit our purpose, which is to show proper scale and location of details.

We will fill in the gaps later with paper clay once we decide on a pose.

8 inch figurine sculpting armature
male armature cut and asembled

In traditional sculpting, it is more common to use a wire armature, but I find that by using a card stock armature, I can draw on any details I want to include.

If you would prefer to use a wire sculpture, David Neat, a British artist, has an excellent article with downloadable drawings here. 

strengthen armatures with Paverpol
love is everywhere...
the figure on right has
been coated with glue

The next step is to reinforce the armature so it is solid enough to add clay.  The easiest way I have found is to coat all sides with Paverpol or wood glue, which when it dries, becomes quite firm.

Once the glue is dry, you can add a thin layer of clay.  This first layer is just to give the armature more strength and depth.

Don't worry about how you will position your figure yet.  After the first layer of clay is dry, it will be much firmer.

When dry, you can decide how you want to position your figure.  This is a fun part, because you can try all sorts of ideas.

Even after you settle on one, remember it is easy to change your mind, even after the clay is dry.

female figure after first layer of paper clay
female figure after first
layer of paper clay
In the next part, we will add the second layer of paper clay, which will bring together all of the elements of our figure and make it look more human and less cartoonish.

This first part was making the armature and preparing it for sculpting.  The next step gives you total freedom on how you want to express your view of the human condition through your art.

Click here to go to part 2.

link to kevin whitham saatchi art online

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