The Green Man Facial Experiments in Polymer Clay

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Practicing Polymer clay Faces cutting forhead of green man winterIt’s amazing that despite growing up around human beings, I still find myself unable to properly place anatomical features on a simple sculpted face. I look in the mirror every morning, I look at other people while talking to them, yet I still have trouble figuring out where to place the eyes, nose, how to shape the mouth and more.

Which is why I am especially excited about the Green Man Project as I continue my polymer clay journey through fairies gnomes and trolls.

As with the other projects, I added some significant modifications. Instead of sculpting these faces a few inches tall I chose to stick with a 1-2 inch height. The size is larger than the faces of my fantasy critters and so gives me more opportunity to focus on the details.

The project on Page 43 suggests starting with spring, and following up with the other seasons. I opted for 3 faces hoping to see improvements with each iteration.

Face #1 – Practice Face Starting Point

The first is a simple reference face to get a feel for the placement of facial features. I used Super Sculpey right from the box preferring to experiment with a soft and easy to manipulate face.

Practicing Polymer clay Faces scrap clay base Practicing Polymer clay Faces covering face with clay

I started with a simple flattened foil core, on top of scrap clay to keep the armature from skidding on my work surface.

After covering the core with clay I marked the different regions for eyes, mouth, nose and chin. I added rough shapes for the features and blended them together.

Practicing Polymer clay Faces mapping facial features Practicing Polymer clay Faces placement of facial features

I’d love to read your critiques for Face #1 in the comments below this post

Here is what I notice so far: Eyes are too high in the head, there’s something missing with the nose and mouth, musculature and just the general bumps and curves that should occur on the face.

Old Man Summer

This project is intended to be surrounded in a halo of green leaves and vines, but I stuck to just sculpting the face by combining Dark Flesh Living Doll with Super Sculpey Beige

Practicing Polymer Clay Faces summer armature Practicing Polymer Clay Faces covering summer face 2 Practicing Polymer clay Faces marking face and placing eyes Practicing Polymer clay Faces mapping and adding features

I thought I learned my lesson about the eyes, but no, still too high. Especially when I decided he has no chin and added more clay to the bottom.

Practicing Polymer clay Faces refining and blending features     Practicing Polymer clay Faces face 2Practicing Polymer Clay Faces summer completePracticing Polymer clay Faces finished second face 

Overall I am more pleased with these results. I think the facial features have improved especially the nose and mouth, 2 areas always giving me trouble.

I’d love to read your critiques for Face #2 in the comments below this post

Face #3 Old Man Winter

Color created by combining leftovers from Face #2 with green scrap Premo Polymer Clay

I considered following the ‘eyes in the middle of the face’ rule for old man winter, but I think his demeanor and expression requires the eyes closer to the forehead. He’s an old guy, wrinkled and frozen… reminding me of days snuggled under blankets with lots of hot chocolate, counting the days till spring.

Practicing Polymer Clay Faces  colors for green man winterPracticing Polymer clay Faces marking features for green man winter

My focus here was to continue improving the look of the mouth, nose, and cheeks.

Practicing Polymer Clay Faces  building up eyes for green man winterPracticing Polymer clay Faces cutting forhead of green man winter

With his features built up I decided his forehead was still too high, and chopped off a decent portion of the visible clay. After smoothing the features I used a rough brush to create his frost-bitten lined skin.

Practicing Polymer clay Faces refining features for green man winter Practicing Polymer clay Faces green man winter complete 

I’d love to read your critiques for Face #3 in the comments below this post

Overall I think I have a long way to go, but this project definitely helps me see certain features in better perspective. I’m excited to work on the remaining projects in the Fairies Gnomes and Trolls Book so perhaps I’ll bounce back and forth between practicing faces and completing projects. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try a self portrait.

Now for the challenge. I sculpted these faces for practice but can’t figure out what to do with them, so I didn’t bake them yet. What do you do with your practice faces? And what do you think I can do with these faces? Let me know in the comments below

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  1. Ann Marir says

    Leah, I applause your determination in conquering the face. I haven’t tried to make such small ones. Usually mine are larger. However, I’m going to try. I think they came out well and as for the eyes, yes too high. But not a bad thing. Varies and gnomes are what we perceive them to be
    Great experiment and thanks for the insight

    • MagicByLeah says

      Thank you so much for the feedback. Yes my faces are of gnomes, trolls and such and I will continue to practice. My next one (rock troll in progress) has lower eyes. Stay tuned 😉

  2. Johanna Jimenez says

    You could texture the areas around the face, bake it up, then add clay leaves and other little adornments and WALLAH! You have a GreenMan. .. or woman. Hang them up and use them as muses, or inspiration later. Either way, keep going with it.

    • MagicByLeah says

      Thanks Johanna,
      I’m still debating, not so much what to turn it into as much as… what to do with it all
      My house will soon be overrun by my clay creations 🙂

      • Johanna Jimenez says

        Jewelry, Muses, Gifts, Things to sell—-you could do ALL KINDS of things with that kind of energy, lol. Good luck! 🙂

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