Sculpting My Polymer Clay Reference Face

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MagicByLeah - Sculpting The Polymer Clay Reference FaceBefore starting the first project in my journey through Fairies, gnomes & trolls, I wanted to do a simple sculpt to give myself a reference of where I currently stand, so that I can tackle this project again during my journey and compare the results.

Quite conveniently, Maureen has some ‘pre-project’ tips from sculpting hands, feet, boots and toes. She also devoted an entire 2-page spread to sculpting and antiquing a face, my perfect pre-project.

If you haven’t grabbed your copy of the book yet, CLICK HERE to purchase on Amazon through my affiliate link, then turn to page 22 and sculpt the face with me.

I chose to start with this ‘pre-project’ as a reference point for two reasons

  1. The face outlined on page 22 is flat, allowing me to focus on just facial features and not the entire head.
  2. The face is large, which gives me a chance to focus on details which I may normally skip on tiny faces.

My intention is to compare this face to the faces that I will sculpt later on in this journey. I hope to be able to compare the results and find areas to improve. Who knows, I may sculpt a few more of this guy, just for fun.

This face happens to be somewhat advanced as compared to the beginner projects in my chosen book. This is why I am not too worried about the outcome. It’s not about how this face turns out, but rather how much better the later faces will be.

Quick Overview Of My Facial Sculpting Process

polymer clay reference face sketchI started with a quick drawing of the shape of the face so that I can create a foil core and work of off this. The drawing provided me with a size reference in keeping with the final face depicted in the book. This will allow me to compare my features at the end without having to scale.

I created a flat egg-shaped foil core and then covered it with super sculpey polymer clay. I chose super sculpey because it is soft, very easy to maneuver and very forgiving for an amateur like myself. Once I was comfortable with the shape, I etched the facial features into the clay so I have an idea where I am going to sculpt my eyes, nose and mouth.

polymer clay reference face foil corepolymer clay reference face covering foilpolymer clay reference face adding claypolymer clay reference face basic facepolymer clay reference face drawn facial featurespolymer clay reference face face taking shape

Using the directions in the book as a guideline I first created the rough versions of the upper and lower lips, nose, and forehead, and added them to the face piece by piece.

polymer clay eyeballsI had an old pair of eyes and lazily went with it. But they just looked too small giving my goblin a scary beady look. I prefer to use larger eyes for my magical sculptures. I find that large eyes have that magical childish curiosity, making the sculptures more exciting.

I conditioned, rolled, and baked a number of white balls of clay, then chose the one that looked best with my goblin face. I cut the white ball in half resulting in 2 similar sized domed eyes. I prefer a flat bottom as it fits into an armature easier than a full ball with a rounded bottom.

polymer clay reference face basic features addedpolymer clay reference face small eyeballspolymer clay reference face with larger eyeballs

With the eyes and eyelids in place I began to work on refining the facial features. This is where it gets a little rough because I’m not very good at face-sculpting. I just kept adding and molding the clay until it sort of kind resembled the goblin that I was trying to sculpt. The upper lip and ears are the  two features that always give me trouble. That said, I think these turned out ok for now.

polymer clay reference face refining the featurespolymer clay reference face preparing ears

My goal in praciticing the face is two-fold

  1. Refine my process so that I know what to do and how to approach this quickly
  2. Refine my skill in sculpting anatomically correct features and placement.

As I mentioned above, I’m not stressing this one since it’s just a reference sculpture. And now he’s ready to go into the oven.

polymer clay reference face forming the ears polymer clay reference face

Another skill that I need to work on is the painting and staining of the face. I will tackle and photograph the process in my next post. For now, my goblin is set aside and waiting for the oven. Since my goal is to improve I would greatly appreciate your feedback and critiques in the comment section below this post.

Click HERE to see him baked and painted

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