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Topic: A Doll Head Sculpting Tutorial!  (Read 22464 times)
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« on: December 11, 2006 07:51:04 PM »

A couple of people wanted to know how I sculpted the head for my Howl's Moving Castle Doll (https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=135501.0). I decided to give it another go, this time, basing the face on one of my paintings:

I'll do the best I can to describe how I did this. Unfortunately, my camera flash obscured several of the in-process photos I took, so some steps aren't illustrated. Please let me know if you need more clarification.

I also warn you--your sculpture will go through stages of looking alien and kinda hideous. And a lot of these directions just sound sick and wrong, but that's just how it goes.

1. First, you get your tools together.
  I used:
   -aluminum foil
   -Sculpey III
   -a decorative nail (it had some kind of coating on it)
   -a fat needle
   -the end of a paintbrush
   -an exacto knife
   -a personal misting bottle
   You'll also want to trim your fingernails as short as you can stand...

2. Make an egg shaped wedge out of aluminum foil. You'll want to compress it somewhat, but not too much, in case you need to press down parts of it later. With your thumbs, create eye sockets by pressing down hard with your thumbs into the foil.
2. 3.

3. Make a very thin pancake of clay. Spread it over your foil wedge, collecting it roughly at the back.

4. Create a nose by either pinching a bit of clay at the appropriate location or creating a wedge of clay and blending it in or both. Don't worry about making the size too perfect--you can always build it up a bit later or whittle it down. Also, save the nostrils for later.

5. Make your eyeballs. You could use glass doll eyes, or you can make your own. I used white sculpey and made mine like flat buttons. You could also make them like spheres or like half spheres. BAKE your eyeballs--maybe five minutes in the toaster oven.

6. Carefully position your eyeballs. To create the lids, roll Sculpey into a thin tube, slightly narrower on the ends.first position the lower lid, then the upper. make sure the edges are precisely where you want them, then flatten the roll of clay.

7. To make the mouth, first use a needle to draw the mouth into the clay. Make two small balls of clay, shape them to be slightly triangular. flatten them slightly, then position them upon the upper and lower halves of the line of the mouth. flatten them more, starting from the chin area and from below the nose, stopping when the lips are as small as you'd like. you can shape the lips more by using one of your tools to spread them back, somewhat like spreading butter with a knife.

8. Continue to build up parts of the face by adding rolls of clay to define the features. The trick is to continually be blending the parts and smoothing them. Examine the head from different angles and different lights to make sure you've caught any unwanted indentions or irregular bumps. 8.9.

9. The neck is sculpted by wrapping the foil base with a long, thick strip of clay. Again, blend it in and build it up. Make a slab of clay to act as the breastplate/shoulders. Fold this loosly over one of your fingers and then press it against the neck, building up the clay as necessary to attach the shoulders to the neck.

10. Now, smooth the clay more, evening out any indentions and bumps. Refine the features using a pointed tool, carving the edges of the lids and the tearducts. The nostrils can be created by poking the needle up the nose and moving it about in a circular motion. If you carefully press the needle along the outside of your "nose", the sides will flare out similar to a nostril. use the eye end of the needle to carve the divet in the nose and other features.

11. To make the ears, make two balls of clay of the same size. flatten them with your finger from the inner edge, leaving the outter edge rounded still. keep pressing  on the opposite side until it is completely flattened. Position your ears carefully so that they are symmetrical, angled similarly on both sides of the head before securing them. I've not gotten ears quite right yet--you just have to sort of twist, poke and pull them as best you can.

12. to make neck muscles--more rolls of clay! I consulted grey's anatomy to get the position more accurate, but flattened and blended them so they're almost unnoticable.

13. perfecting the clavicle--again, more rolls of clay, flattened and blended on the lower side.

14. Before baking, go over your head one more time. Mist the piece with water and go over areas again--you'll find the water acts as a bit of a lubricant and a barrier, so sharper tools can be used for more delicate work. Crazy. Just try it and you'll see what I mean.

15. Place your final scuplted head in a glass baking dish. I made a ring of foil to support the head and keep the neck at an appropriate angle and place a roll of foil inside the shoulder area to keep its shape during the baking process.

Baked and painted. (all right, it looked better before I painted it)...

waiting for the next step...
can't wait to shell out way too much money to buy her a wig.

Hope this was helpful. Let me know if there are certain steps that need a more clear explanation.

I think what is best to keep in mind is to try to keep the face as symmatrical as possible and to keep the surface of the clay as smooth and free of imperfections as possible. Don't refine the features or the details until you're almost finished, as handling the head as you continue to sculpt it will only bang up the details.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012 02:43:06 PM by jungrrl - Reason: changed non-working image(s) to link(s) » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2006 08:24:33 PM »

wow!  What a great lesson!  I can't wait for class to be done for the semester so I can try it!

xoxo - April
mama and missus :: as of 7/19 and 8/15

i have a wist
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2006 09:05:34 PM »

man...you are awesome! Seriously.
I must try that now
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2006 12:58:11 AM »

Thanks for the tutulidge. I loved your Howl, but loved him from a far. Maybe I can make my own Calcifer or whatever his japanese name is. Thanks for the easy to understand, precise instuctions!

"Are you taking orders, or are you taking over?" -The Clash
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2006 09:44:30 AM »

Holy crap that was amazing. Your tutorial makes it look really easy, but I guarantee that mine would never look as good as yours! Thanks for sharing. Smiley

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Diane B.
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2006 12:54:16 PM »

Very good tutorial!  You should put it online somewhere too  Grin

Diane B.

few of my photos
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2006 04:27:01 PM »

beautiful!  Is the painting from your head or based off of anybody?

Procrastination is one of few arts in which I excel.
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2006 08:29:50 PM »

That's beautiful! It's very clear and makes it look like a piece of cake (which I'm sure its not).

craftsters do it better.
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2006 07:02:01 AM »

beautiful!  Is the painting from your head or based off of anybody?

No, that painting's from my head, though I was going for a Mark Ryden look. I learned some of the flaws to the painting while trying to interpret it as a sculpture--but I think the gross inaccuracies are what give it that nicely creepy factor.

I'm glad you folks think the tutorial's clear. I'm very curious to see someone give it a try. and I'd love to know what else might work as far as head/doll scuplting goes.

Thanks for yer feedback!
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2006 07:12:34 AM »

wow, excellent, thank you! if i ever get the time to make one ill post it!

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