I was wondering if you might have some time in the near future to do a quick 'grocery list' of the tools, paints, and supplies one would need when embarking on their first head sculpt. Most of the materials are mentioned in your tutorial but some are not. Thanks very much...you do extremely wonderful work!!!
Where you obtain the necessary materials depends obviously where you live.
Modelling Checklist :~
Fimo, dark flesh Classic.
Fimo , white, Classic or Soft .
Tools. One or two may be all you need .
Brushes for smoothing.
Sculpey Diluent or White Spirit.
Tiles to work on.
Painting Checklist :~
Stand to hold head
Brushes , from size 6 down to 00.
Liquitex : Taupe , Burnt Siena, Raw Siena .
Carmine and various browns and blacks for hair and eyes from any acrylic range.
W&N Matt Medium to thin the paint to create flesh tone.
In the UK , Fimo can be obtained from any Craft or Art Shop , or online from various suppliers. The same goes for the Liquitex paints, brushes etc.
I can't be any more specific than that ; you will just have to search for them , which is easy enough nowadays.
I do recommend Sculpey Diluent as the best and least offensive polishing agent, if you can get it. It's a non-volatile odourless clear oil , and a little goes a very long way. If you can't get it, white spirit will do , but it's stinky.
I realise that in the US , Sculpey is much more easily available than Fimo , and many sculptors prefer it.
Personally , I find it too soft for modelling heads, tho' I use it for other jobs all the time.
It's certainly much easier to work with to start with , but harder to get a fine finish at the end of the polishing process, because it tends to turn very fluid and sticky. It also tends to scorch in the oven unless you get the temperature exactly right , and is less strong when fired.
Modelling Tools : many Craft or Model shops now have suitable ones.
Tools are entirely a matter of choosing through experiment what suits you , from what you have to hand.
After all , you can push clay about with almost anything , including the back ends of paintbrushes , cocktail sticks or whatever .
Make your own , from metal scrap , screwdrivers , nails or whatever. They don't have to be hardened steel .Thirty minutes work with some files can make almost any shape you want , but do take the trouble to polish them very smooth before using them.
Tiles to work on can be got from any hardware supplier ; or pick them up for nothing from skips when people have their bathrooms rebuilt !
As usual when I respond to sculpting enquiries , I have to repeat the important bit :~
Just having the right tools does not make you a sculptor .
For that , you have to have some innate talent, and to work very hard .
So if you are new to sculpting , please don't expect results overnight . It takes a long period of training , in one form of art or another, to learn .
There are some very talented individuals who have the knack built in , but they are rare.
But whatever you want to do , at least try. You will not get anywhere by sitting around thinking about it ....
Thank you so very much for your 'grocery list' and your great words of wisdom.
I also want to thank you Tony for posting this tutorial. It is so well written, with beautiful illustrations and great advice! It has really inspired me!
We can become very talented at something by learning from our mistakes...Michael Jordan, for example, never made the cut for his high school basketball team...yet went on to become a Hall Of Fame player with the Chicago Bulls of the NBA.
If you do decide to start making heads , don't despair if what you first make seems hopeless.
When I started about eight years back , my first heads were pretty terrible.
I worked far too quickly, and just dreamt them up rather than looking closely at photos . I also didn't work out the correct dimensions.
When you finish your first one , you will think it's tremendous, and what a clever chap you are.
It's only about a month later that you realise what a mess it is…
HORROR PIC COMING UP
( supposed to be a Central Asian )..
Then you gradually realise that you have to practice, and take a lot more trouble . Study pics of the face , or at least the type of face, you want to make. Keep measuring the length to make sure it's going to come out the right size : they tend to get bigger as you model them.
Get a friend to look at it and be honest. Another pair of eyes will often tell you that the wholething is lopsided, which is one of my great faults. The cure is to measure with calipers, use a mirror, and turn it upside-down.
Above all , don't rush. If you have a strong urge to fire it. Leave it for some hours, and when you come back you will see a fault that needs correcting.
As you go from L to R in the pic above , you can see the improvement.
The right pair are made of a better mix of Fimo , rather than the Sculpey on the left, which has a dead texture.
They are still not good, but they do at least start to look human.
As you refine your technique , you learn , and can start to attempt expression , different ages and types :
Incidentally, here's one I'm working on right now. The two tools are the ones I use far than than anything else :
And now I have refined my real hair technique , along with the painting and sculpting.
Mark , I can only suggest that you look at some real ones carefully !
They are roughly the same length as the nose , and at the same height on the ovoid shape of the head .The interior whorls are generally more complex in reality than those shown on most 1/6th heads.
I form them from a flat oval , well supported behind , then work the interior shapes with the spatula.
When that's all good, I shave down the back to a more realistic thin-ness. It might be advantageous to fire them over thick , then carve down the back carefully.
Nobody looks much at the back of the ear, so you can get away with a few cut marks; or you can add a little and fire again.
As to fitting a hand made head to any commercial neck : not worth the agony. A polymer clay head cannot really be made to be a snap fit to anything .Think out of the box and adapt the body until your head fits.
Mohawk has done a really neat tutorial about fitting resin heads with a ball-and-socket joint inside, which I heartily recommend :~
If you don't want to go that far , it's easier to make a new neckpost , for which you will need to do some surgery to the neck area of the figure , and maybe make a new neckpost from either the clay or epoxie putty .
As I keep saying about handmade heads, rotation is going to be reduced , depending on how deep the neck is modelled .
If you have a short neck and a high collar , no problem. But if you have an open-neck collar and model the neck down to the breastbone , the rotation is going to be quite restricted before it starts to look weird. ... but so do HT type heads with the joint at the the base of the skull.
Neck articulation I regard as a rather pointless fetish ... I personally much prefer to have a realistic neck in a believable position , than a visibly jointed one that rotates like an owl.
But you can please yourself.
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