Well hello out there, Im sorry for the time lapse between the prelude blog and this one (a week!), but it will have been worth the wait, especially for those who are interested in the miniature sculpting process, as well as those who want to sculpt and learn how to sculpt their own miniature figurines.
My latest piece is a pregnant figure, she sits 3.5” so is about as large as I make them. She began with an idea to have a brown-skinned woman in a peaceful state meditating on her impending pregnancy. I also wanted to spend extra time and care on her hands as hands have always been my weak point in my opinion. Smaller figures I let slide because they are so minute, but the bigger the figure, the more important her hands become. I will be using the coil method from now on with my larger figures hands… and perhaps in some of the smaller ones.
She begins as any other polymer clay as sheer potential, all polymer clays need to be kneaded or wedged or just worked in your hands to make it soft and pliable, after this is done, I make a head shape and begin sculpting, in this case, balls are put in for eyes, and a strip of clay for the nose, also a piece for the bottom lip, I usually make the top lip simply by cutting a line and pushing the clay outward instead of adding. She is not symmetrical yet, but clay is a forgiving medium and you can always alter it.
Press and shape until you get the symmetry you desire, I smushed those bug eyes in and moved the lines around to make them more even, this is an excellent way to make one of a kind dolls that are just like people, no person has a perfectly symmetrical face. I had made her lips too pouty before, and even though I’ve done many pieces this way, I wanted her to have a longer grin which is a bit more realistic
I was never especially good with ears and sometimes when the butterfly people have a lot of hair, I skip it altogether, but alas, sometimes you miss a spot and wish ears were there to save your fairy with a bald spot and obvious lack of ears. So what I do is just put a half-circle of clay, blend it in, and push in the hole where the ear opens, and slightly carve in the other lines, I don’t put much detail into my ears, just be sure the ears are in propotion with the face and begin at the eye brow and end at the corners of the mouth; you can see mine has oversized ears, but so do I :-p
Next, its time for hands, don’t be afraid of hands, they (like math) were once my enemy, but when you go full force to face them, they are not so scary, and also not so complicated. I still make the easy hands which is make a mitten, press in three lines, and your done, but these hands, though much more effort, are very intriguing.
First you need to measure her face, make the hand about from her chin to her eye brows, then make five fingers in the form of coils, look at your own hands to get the proportions right and to see which fingers are longer than the others. My hands are kind of big and im also a male, so my figures often have oversized hands, I like this and am obviously aware of it as hands are very expressive. Blend the clay of the fingers together to make what looks like hands, after you have done this, fatten up those hands by putting a piece of clay in the middle and smoothing it over those bones! Be sure to get that fat, meaty part of the hand where the thumb attaches. You can scrape in lines as I attempted to do, but in small polymer clay figures, it probably isn’t best as it makes the figures look old.
Here I have attached the hands to the figures torso I made, her arms look oversized, but I am actually going to make this butterfly person in proportion (or at least more so than most of my others), my other pieces are usually not in proportion, they have very short legs for various reasons including they have to fit in cases often, and also because they are butterfly people, not human beings.
Here shes earned her legs and toes have been sculpted, they are pretty easy, just press in the lines and if you want, also press in toe nails.
I have positioned the hands in the desired position here, I know its traditional (the norm) to have her holding her belly, but the work I put into the hands was not about to go unseen! HA! Plus shes meditating as I said before so she is allowing universal energy to flow through her palms, into the top of her head, and out through her root.
I finally put hair on her, its minimal compared to the headdresses I usually implore on my pieces, but again, instead of hair being the focus, I want people to see her hands. The hair also makes her race ambiguous so she can appeal to a wider range of people, she could be native, Indian, black, Hispanic, and various others.
My first pregnant Butterfly Person.