Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sculpting A Basic Head Shape

Having problems shaping your clay into the correct human head shape before you add the details? Here is a drawing tutorial that my help you visualize those basic shapes and then mark the placement of the hairline, eyes, and nose on the clay:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How To Sculpt Hands

This photo tutorial is a step by step demo for creating small scale polymer clay hands:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Proportion Calculator

This calculator has you enter the sex, general age (newborn to elderly) and height (in centimeters) of the doll you want to make; then it calculates all the dimensions of the doll's body parts for you.
For doll makers here in the US, you need to convert the doll's height from inches to centimeters first.
Here is a inch to centimeter conversion table:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Don't Know Where Shadow & Highlights Go?

This video is demonstrating the use of opaque artist's oil paint on a metal miniature (do not use oil paint or mineral spirits on polymer clay). However, if you are not familiar with painting you may find this tutorial informative. The explanation of where to place shadows and highlights is very clear. Doll makers use transparent washes of color on polymer clay (using either acrylic or heat-set oil paints) so the color would be very subtle but the concept is the same. Hope you find this helpful!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

2-Part Mold Making

If you ever want to make mold of something, there are several easy-to-use materials that are commercially available: 
  • Sculpey Mold Maker is a product that is baked in an oven and when cured, will remain somewhat flexible. Use corn starch as a release agent.
  • Another product is Amazing Mold Putty that air-drys in about 5 minutes. You must work fast because of the short set-up time when using this product. The release is Vaseline.
The suggestion we have is to add 'keys' to your mold; keys are used to line-up the two halves when pressing polymer clay in the mold. To do that, you simply place a small wood or metal bead in each corner, and follow the directions above.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Whats Blushing?

Blushing is the process of adding shadow and highlights to make a doll's features and other details stand out; it is what gives cured polymer clay a more realistic appearance. Whether using acrylic or heat-set oil paints, the process is basically the same.

You must thin down your paint color to make it flow on (washes) and quickly remove some of the color to leave a light layer with no hard edges (feathering). In folds and creases, paint the color wash in and then dry brush to feather the color out. On larger areas, pounce on (and off) with a mop type brush, cloth, paper or soft cosmetic sponge. This can be done several times to achieve the depth of color you desire.

Some flesh shadows are a pale pinkish color and some are red-toned brown. For example, a pretty fairy and a rugged cowboy would have very different applications of shadow color. What paint color you choose depends on the effect you want to achieve with your doll art.

Once you finish the shadow, you apply thin washes to add color where human skin is naturally reddish in tone (think make-up shades). You can add accent colors around the eyes, and for men, a darkish 5 o'clock shadow.

Most new doll makers are timid when applying color to their finished dolls or their paint is too thick. The best advice is to play around with color washes to learn how to use them, and how they look, on polymer clay.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How To Make A Shoe Pattern

If you are not sculpting a shoe on your doll's foot but want to make a shoe from thin leather or fabric, here is a photo tutorial that shows you how to make a pattern to fit any size doll:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Understanding Anatomy

I showed you my favorite proportion charts and now I want to share my favorite site about anatomy. This information will help you with your sculpts. There are 7 parts; be sure to check them all out:

How To Apply Thin Layers Of Heat-Set Paints

These YouTube videos show several ways of applying heat-set paints. Both demonstrate a pouncing technique. The dolls in the video are much larger vinyl dolls than our small scale polymer clay dolls so remember to scale down your brushes and sponges for the size of your sculpt.

To make transparent paint for polymer clay dolls, premix heat-set paints to get the color of your choice; make it dark because you will be adding the paint to a medium. Then, add a tiny amount of your color to Genesis Thick Medium until you achieve the level of color with the transparency you desire. If you want to use Thinning Medium, be sure to follow the recommended ratio of 60:40 paint to medium (to ensure that it will dry).

Tools: The glass dish in these videos is a candle plate; find them for $1 at a Dollar Tree store. Tiny watercolor mop/wash brushes work well but for really tiny heads, I use a cosmetic sponge cut into pieces. Look for the smallest flexible palette knife in the shape shown in the video.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Problem: Paint Flaking or Fading?

The paint you select today will determine how your polymer clay doll may look in the future. In the Guild's opinion, heat-set paints are best for polymer clay sculpts because the paints are stable and permanent and form a bond with polymer clay. Some polymer clay doll makers report that air-dry paint colors tend to fade out over time, change when exposed to sunlight, or even flake off; this includes both acrylic and oil based paint. Heat-set paint resists fading because it has a UV blocker in it. However, other doll makers prefer air-dry paints and use them all the time.

Be sure you understand the properties of the paints you choose in order to get the best from them. Click on the topic Painting in the Blog Index to bring up all the posts about painting with both air-dry and heat-set paints.