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The Making of Arcanine by emilySculpts The Making of Arcanine by emilySculpts
The Making of Arcanine - An Overview of My Sculpting Process


1. Armature - I first build the wire skeleton, attaching it to the base with a thick support wire. It is essential that the weight of the sculpture be balanced equally to either side of the wire. Foil is used to keep the sculpture light weight; this prevents the sculpture from collapsing on itself. It's just like how a body without bones would just be a gooey lump of flesh and organs! (Ew!) For a full tutorial I wrote on armature building, go here.

2. Blocking - For most of my maquettes like this one, I use a 50/50 mix of Super Sculpey and Sculpey Firm. Sculpey is a non-toxic polymer clay that you can bake in your home oven. The initial shape is created with overlapping pieces of clay. This is called the "block out" phase of a sculpture. It is rough, but it gets the overall feeling of the pose, shapes, and anatomy. There's no point in worrying about details if the form isn't right. For a full tutorial I wrote on sculpture blocking and refining, go here.

3. Refining - The sculpture is next refined to get smoother shapes and a steamlined form. I do most of my smoothing with my hands, but also use some tools (seen in the tutorial listed in the last step). Once I get the sculpture how I like it, I use rubbing alcohol on the piece to smooth out small imperfections. It is important that you do not overuse rubbing alcohol as it will dry out the clay and make it crack. Once I am all done, in the oven it goes!

4. Sanding - You thought the smoothing was done? I don't think so!!! Sanding a sculpture is essential for a clean, smooth surface. I use 220 grit sandpaper, cut into small squares. Sanding is time consuming and hand cramping. It normally takes me 1-3 hours to sand a piece. I brush all the dust off with a soft, clean paint brush before applying 2-3 thin coats of primer to even out the surface. I use grey sandable primer by Plastikote; in my opinion, there is no other choice when it comes to primer.

5. Painting - Finally, it comes time to paint! I use Delta Ceramcoat craft acrylics for my painting. They are cheap, readily available, and come in a great variety of colors. I start with a base coat of the main color (orange in this case), applying about 4-5 layers to get a nice opaque color. Then, I move on to the secondary color (light yellow here) and do the same. I then add in the shading and details. For a full tutorial I wrote on painting a sculpture, go here.

I hope this is helpful for you or at least an interesting read!

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Want to learn to sculpt like I do?

Check out my new book, Creature Sculpt!

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