This is a repost of an older posting. Here's why I'm re-posting old stuff. I'll be posting new articles here now and then, but in the meantime, find me on my Facebook page where I'm chatting about all my creative endeavours.
While I was making Crumpet Grimstone I snapped pics as I sculpted, partly because people have been asking me how I sculpt them, and partly for my own record so that in a couple of years when I'm trying to remember what I did, I can use this as a reference.
I sculpt the heads out of plasticine, then put a thin layer of papier mache over the plasticine, and after it's dried, I slice the head in two and remove the plasticine. I'm then left with a thin, flexible shell for the face. I made it strong by lining it with car bog, which I also use to bond the two halves back together. I paper over the join, then paint the face.
As this head is for Crumpet Grimstone, he needs to look like a nine month old baby. I don't use many tools as I do most of it with my fingers. The plasticine is a cheap packet from the $2 shop, which came in rainbow colours. I mixed it until it was an even brown colour, as marble effect can make it hard to see the effect of the face properly. I use a rounded end of a paintbrush, a rolling pin and a clay sculptor's knife, but an ordinary kitchen knife will do. I also use a life-size drawing of the head as a guide to get the size right if it matters.
Next I roll a ball of plasticine, approximately the desired size of the head. I add another ball and smooth it on to create a cone shape - this is the chin. With my knife I score the centre line of the face, and lines to mark where the eyes, nose and mouth are to go. Next I gauge out a hollow for each eye socket.
I always put on the mouth before the nose, as otherwise it's impossible to smooth the top lip. The top lip starts as a short roll of plasticine, which I smooth upwards into the nose and cheeks. I then use my thumbs and the rounded paintbrush end to shape the contours of the lip. Once I'm happy with the top lip, I add another roll for the bottom lip, and smooth it down and out.
To make the nose, I roll a ball of plasticine, then roll the ball into a cone shape. Before I attach it to the fact I shape nostrils out of the fat end of the cone. Then I sit it in position. It should look quite large at this stage because the smoothing will make it smaller. It can take a couple of attempts to get the right size.
For the eyes, I break off to equal sized pieces of plasticine and roll them into balls. I squash them into my palm and shape them so they are slightly oval. I place these in the middle of the eye sockets.
I noticed that the cheeks looked a bit hollow - for a baby the face looks too mature. I added small lumps to the cheeks and smoothed them. Looking at the head in profile, I can also see that the forehead needs building up. I add a large, flattened roll to the forehead, and smooth it on. I had to remove the eyes, smooth down the forehead, and then replace the eyes.
For the hair, I roll another cone shaped piece of plasticine, and curl it slightly at the top. I smooth it into place as the top of the head, slightly off-centre.
Voila! Crumpet is finished. I actually fiddled with him a little more before I was happy. I skimmed a bit off his nose to make it smaller, and added lumps which I smoothed over his skull to make a nice rounded head. I put him in the fridge until I cover his head with papier mache. The cold helps the plasticine go hard.