Tuesday, April 6, 2010

how to make a face using polymer clay (photos)

 So here it is, a how to, a tutorial... sort of.  The blog that will teach you... or rather show you how to sculpt a face in polymer clay step by step using the intuition method of just going for it.  All you need is some clay, a needle tool and some originality.  The blog is kind of long with quite a few pics... now when someone questions the validity of my sculptures, I will send them here.  I begin here with a ball of clay, for the body, and then put a oval-shaped piece of clay where I want the head to be.

The first step is to get some form to the formless face, in college they had us divide up the face into sections and draw all of these unnecessary lines... I say patut with it, just go with what you feel looks best, but still you need to get some contours on that flat face, plaster on a nice hunk of clay for the nose and then smooth it around the edges.  Then make a depression where the eye sockets would be (we are not sculpting eyes since I paint mine on).

Now we need a mouth, the mouth protrudes from our face so I put a little roll of clay where I want the mouth and smooth it in, so we have a "face" with a lump where the nose and mouth will be and depressions where you can draw the eyes in.

Here im just making a little definition for the jaw line

Here make a line with the needle or dental tool for the separation of the lips, to make the top lip, I simply push the clay up and into the shape of upper lips I want.

Okay, now please don't laugh, the sculptures all go through a sort of ugly ducking stage while things are getting worked out. Here the bottom lip is put on and smoothed on, then shaped, push it around until it is just right for you.

A bit of removal of jaw/chin to keep her feminine.
Now comes an important part of the entire piece, shaping the nose.  I decide on a upturned nose, and decide there is far too much to work with so just chop the end off.  I always add more clay in the beginning to the nose than I know I need since its easy to subtract later.

So I have been pushing the nose around, just pushing and pressing until it is pleasing to me. 
Now I notice the high cheekbones I want are nonexistent so I add some small balls of clay.  Smooth them out as per the nose and lips, it will be like little hills at first, but just press on them and they will go in. 

 You could stop at this point, but why?  Nostrils still need to be poked in and dragged to the sides to create nostrils; the face is asymmetrical and still needs shaping. After the basic elements are present, all you have to do is shape what you already have.

 Here I am subtracting clay from around the nose to make the nose stand out from the face and undo the smoothing we did in the beginning when putting the nose on, also giving it definition

This may seem totally unnecessary for some since I will just smooth it in later, but I add some clay here on the brow and chin (yes, the same chin that i subtracted), I am doing this because the heat of my hand warms up the clay and often makes it too soft, deforming it slightly just by being held... smooth it in!

Ok, now I need some forehead so I push the clay from behind up on top of the head and smooth out the brows a bit since they emasculate the figure.

Be sure you click the picture below to see the larger version.  It is really coming along at this point, but the only thing I have been doing to get it this way is press, press, pressing with my fingers and smush, smush, smushing with my hands to get the shape and size and symmetry I desire.

just keep pusing and subtracting clay from around the nose until its good for you.  You may obsess over a symmetrical face, or you can go for realism and say each and every person is different and unique, and for that reason leave it as is.

Now wasn't that easy?  This face became the white sculpture below:
It may not look much like the clay in the beginning of the blog, but rest assured, its all about pushing and pulling the clay into what you want it to look like... its easy and fun!

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