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Topic: Polymer Clay Book Cover Illustration  (Read 2817 times)
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DivaLea
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« on: November 11, 2007 05:03:30 PM »

Long time no post, Craftsters! (Mine is the Sticky in Purses for adding a slash pocket to a hobo bag.)

I haven't been crafty enough to post for a while. I lost everything in a house fire a little over a year ago. Funny how that takes over everything. I did learn a lot about building and patience from the experience, though!

On to the Craftiness!
I made this cover illustration as a donation to a project called "Can I Sit With You?" a collection of stories about tough school situations written by grown-ups for kids. The collection benefits the Special Education PTA of Redwood City, CA. It was stormed up by two wonderful women named Shan and Jen.

My notes on clay and building the set follow.

The cover itself:


Detail on the shoes of Nehal, the cafe au lait kid on the left, and they are all clay!:


Detail of Nehal's face, not quite finished:

Nehal's hair is wool roving, twisted and attached with hot glue. The face is painted with acrylics. The blush is red Prismacolor pencil scribbled on lightly, then burnished with my fingers.
Just before the final shoot, I added a little 'Ooomph" to Nehal's hair with a wash of red acrylic dabbed on with my fingers.

Detail of Perry:

You ever wanted to know just what fiber evidence the FBI would find on you? Work with light colored polymer clay. You will find colors of fiber not even in your room. There is absolutely no way to avoid fibers. That's what sanding is for. I love the porcelain smoothness of Perry's head.

There is an annotated version of the cover pic at my Flickr page that explain how many of the things in the picture were made.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/75076069@N00/1964299329/

A word about materials:
I used mainly Kato Polyclay, because it is, IMNSHO, the best PC out there. The colors barely change in curing, it's got some snap, but blends well and holds detail. I smoothed using acetone and alcohol, but a waterless hand cleaner like Gojo works MUCH better, and it's CHEAP. (Less than $2.00 for a tub that will last years!)
The armatures are wire wrapped with fusible fleece. (After baking and before dessing.) The head and hands were covered with Apoxie sculpt. While Apoxie isn't as light as foil, there's no chance of getting a trapped air bubble that will later crack clay, and Apoxie is ROCK HARD when it cures.
Except for the chains, leaves on the tree and the mini ornaments, everything in the illustration is made from materials I had on hand, both stash and recycled.

Feel free to ask questions, and thanks for looking!


« Last Edit: November 11, 2007 08:47:46 PM by DivaLea » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Lea
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2007 05:24:17 PM »

That's really awesome. I love how the angel wing graffiti lines up with Perry. Foreshadowing?
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radpants
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2007 05:36:06 PM »

amazing and touching
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PolymerJanna
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2007 06:54:19 PM »

that is absolutely AMAZING!
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enchantedwhimsies
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2007 06:57:17 PM »

Fantastic job! I love the overall effect of the whole cover.

Just a few tips/tricks for future reference...

Apoxie Sculpt is known to slump in the oven which can cause cracks. Magic Sculpt will not slump and is the popular choice for use on armatures.

Avoiding fibers on light colored clay is not difficult: Keep your clay covered, cover your sculpt when not working on it, don't wear clothes with dark fibers or that sheds like a sweater, don't work with your cat around, use an air filter, sculpt wearing "scrubs" or a beautician's jacket on over your clothes. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of not-sanding!! (says the gal that just refuses to sand her sculpts!!)

You may like Prosculpt (my fave),  Jack Johnston's clay, it's amazing for sculpting figures and comes in a few different  skin tones. Also, you can use sculpey's softener for smoothing or alot of folks use baby oil (i've heard mixed things) or hand saitizer gel. The gel is really just alcohol but not drippy. i don't use a smoothing agent usually but i know people that do it like to let the sculpt sit over night after smoothing before curing.

Anyway, great job, i'd love to see the finished project Smiley
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HippieKender
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2007 07:44:53 PM »

Wow!  Just amazing.  I also like the position of the wings Cheesy
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DivaLea
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2007 08:09:22 PM »

Fantastic job! I love the overall effect of the whole cover.

Just a few tips/tricks for future reference...

Apoxie Sculpt is known to slump in the oven which can cause cracks. Magic Sculpt will not slump and is the popular choice for use on armatures.

Thanks for the advice. I've never had that problem. Also, Aves, the sellers of Apoxie Sculpt, give fantastic phone support.

Quote
Avoiding fibers on light colored clay is not difficult: Keep your clay covered, cover your sculpt when not working on it, don't wear clothes with dark fibers or that sheds like a sweater, don't work with your cat around, use an air filter, sculpt wearing "scrubs" or a beautician's jacket on over your clothes.

The beautician's jacket is a great idea. I keep a pet hair roller and roll my clothes and desk often (hello, airborne fibers). I also sculpt in men's white t-shirts and cover my chair, which is  covered in a dark fabric.
Of course I cover my clay, and of course the cats are not allowed on my tables.

Quote
Also, you can use sculpey's softener for smoothing or alot of folks use baby oil (i've heard mixed things) or hand saitizer gel. The gel is really just alcohol but not drippy.
The Sculpey softener I just don't like the feel of, but it does do the job it's supposed to with older clay. I've tried them all, and Gojo is the one that worked the best.

Quote
Anyway, great job, i'd love to see the finished project Smiley
Thanks. The first picture is the finished project.
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Lea
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2007 08:12:38 PM »

That's really awesome. I love how the angel wing graffiti lines up with Perry. Foreshadowing?

The truth is 1) I love angel wings and 2) there is a story in the book about a girl who found solace in her beliefs and 3) I love angel wings.  ^_^
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Lea
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2007 08:13:50 PM »

amazing and touching

Thank you so much.
Read the book, the cover was very much inspired by the stories.
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Lea
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2007 08:14:22 PM »

that is absolutely AMAZING!

Thank you!
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Lea
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