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Author Topic: Any feedback appreciated  (Read 5218 times)

Columbusrat

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Any feedback appreciated
« on: February 03, 2014, 10:31:37 PM »
Brief summary - I have very little artistic talent or craft ability, and dodgy shoulders mean I can't spend ages working on fine detail. I make my models just for fun, and know they're a bit rubbish really! Any feedback and hints for improvement are very welcome though. My inspiration comes from pictures on the internet - I'm not clever enough to design one from scratch!





OK, so it's not a donkey, it's a wonky!



This was supposed to be a rat, but it looks just like a Clanger to me.





A friend has an Ibezan hound who is very distinctive, and I'm a big fan of pointy dogs, so I made this:







She also has a small black crossbreed who was more of a challenge as she's not so distinctive, but it didn't seem right to make one and not the other, so I tried my best:




They are at least good enough that she could tell which was which, which is a start! ;) ;D

So, a couple of specific questions, if I may:

1) As you can tell from the black dog, I find it difficult to smooth out the joins (I'm planning to add a collar to hide the join on the neck). This Fimo had been open for a few months, though wrapped in clingfilm, and it didn't seem to want to soften so as well as the visible joins, there's a few cracks round the legs. My shoulders suffered from trying to soften the clay and making the model, and I can't work out how to smooth out the joins without pushing the model out of shape. Would I be better with a softer clay, like Fimo Soft? Or could you recommend other brands/ranges? Or would the models be more prone to collapse, like the wonkey, I mean donkey, above?

2) How on earth do you make clean, pristine white models? I scrub my hands clean, I model on a sheet of clean white paper, I keep the other colours out of the way, but my Ibezan hound still looks mud-splattered! Come to think of it, I have the same trouble with pastry.

Any other suggestions for improving my models are very welcome! I know I'm never going to come anywhere near to the standards I've seen from most members on this site, but I really am quite fond of my little critters!

 


Karolina.S

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2014, 11:26:02 PM »
I like them, i like the sheep and the fox/dog.

I'm writing on my pad thingie so it means that it would take me forever to write any advice :) But maybe to start with you could try to make them bigger so it is less fiddly for you.
And try to make the body and head in one piece?
I have other suggestions but that is for computer time :) but probably you will get much wiser advice from others before that.
Timrå in the north of Sweden. Always with my polymer clay eyes open.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77424684@N04/ http://www.facebook.com/Hobbyrian

monkey ann

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 11:49:58 PM »
Hi,  I use Fimo Classic and my wrists aren't as strong as they used to be.  When the clay is cold and too stiff (or am I describing me), I use a hot water bottle to give it a little help on it's way.  I fill it with tap hot water, with a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper over it and sliced clay on top.  If it feels too hot, I put some kitchen towel under the wax paper.
Or there is a product called 'quick mix' that softens hard clay, just need to use a tiny amount. 
Ann from Croydon, Surrey

jbarbacc

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 12:25:39 PM »
Columbusrat. For such small pieces they are filled with life.
Joseph Barbaccia
Polymer Clay Illustration

ejralph

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 11:52:13 PM »
I think they are adorable!

I don't have much advice on sculpting, because it isnt really my area of expertise.

But I will say this - they have presence and character and that is something I have seen lacking in some of the best sculpts and models out there at times. So don't be so quick to assume you are not creative or have no ability. Firstly, EVERYONE is creative in some way or other and secondly, creativity is something that has to be honed and practised like any other skill.

As you make more and more, you'll be surprised how quickly your skill sets will expand and each new model will teach you something you can apply to the next make. SO stick with it and keep doing what you are doing!

As for clay - Fimo Classic can be quite firm. But if the clay is too soft, you'll have problems with it maybe not holding its shape or sagging when you are trying to bake it, so its always a balancing act between a workable consistency and the firmness you need for practical reasons.

There are softer clays you can try though - I think Fimo Soft / Effect or Premo would be a good fit.  Cernit Number One range is another clay you could try - although it can be a bit odd in some ways. It is quite firm to get going, but can become quite soft with your hand heat. So that can be something that either works for you or doesn't. Clay choice is one of those areas where everyone has a different faveourite so its best to try out as many as you can and see what clicks

Emma
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Carrie

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 01:42:18 PM »
Trying to remember ....am l right in thinking Premo is easier to smooth the surface of than Fimo ?

alayne

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2014, 01:51:41 PM »
I think your animals are very cute, especially the pointy dog.

Regarding the white clay problem, I'm pretty new to claying but I've scrounged around for answers, and have found things that help me:
I wipe down my glass work surface with isopropyl alcohol, then scrape it with a clay blade. It's amazing how much tiny lint the blade picks up even when the surface seems totally clean.
I wipe my hands with a baby wipe, then let them air dry. Then i use a lint roller on my hands. You could try rolling some scrap white clay in your hands instead. I think the white clay I tried was too stiff to work well.
I keep my sleeves rolled up when I'm working, to keep sleeve lint away.
I repeat the blade scrape now and then while I'm working.

Those things make a big difference, but they're not perfect, so I keep a little needle to hand. When I see a black thread in the clay surface, I use the needle to carefully pry it up. I've baked and glued a little clay bulb to the eye end of the needle, to make it easy to pick up.

I think I'm a little too obsessed with keeping my white clay clean!

Finally, when I'm desperate, I wear thin latex gloves, which helps loads, but they're not that comfortable.

Karolina.S

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2014, 05:29:43 PM »
To smooth out a hard to reach seem it can be helpful to bake one part and the attach the other one that is unbaked with a little but not to much of liquid clay. That way you can run your finger over the seem as hard as you like without worring about destroynig the work that you already done. But keep in mind that if you take so much liquid clay it will ouze out and making an invisable seem is then almost impossibel. 

I bake the head first without a neck or shoulders of my bride and it is after baking impossibel to see the seem.



Cake topper by Karolina Söderberg, on Flickr

as for white clay you have already got some really good advice.
You always hear and read that you should start with the light colours and finish with the darker but i do the other way around so the dark colours can pick up the dust anf then i just wipe with a baby wipe. And when your hands and surface are dust free you should never ever answer your phone go to the toilet or pick up any tools that been laying around for a while or you for sure whill ruin your white project.
I keep all tools in boxes with lids so they will not get dust on them.
If you do get dust on the surface then you can pick it up as said with a needle knife but also with tape and that will not leave any marks. And last after baking take your craft knife and very gently scrape the surface where you can see dust. This you sould practice on scrap first and can only bee done if the dust is on the surface.

But most important DO NOT answer your phone or touch anything when you are clean. ;)

I do agree with everybody that your dogs are nice and keep on trying! :)
Timrå in the north of Sweden. Always with my polymer clay eyes open.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77424684@N04/ http://www.facebook.com/Hobbyrian

Columbusrat

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2014, 08:54:27 PM »
Thank you for the feedback folks, and for the tips :) I think I'll try some softer clay... and maybe stick to dark colours until my workload eases off so I have enough time to prepare for using white clay!

The next project I plan is a hare... I can see that the ears might pose a problem with softer clay.

Making my models is a bit like giving birth - I have an idea in mind of what I'd like to produce, what pops out can end up completely different and looks a little odd, but I still fall in love with it ;D

Jess R

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2014, 04:10:20 PM »
Your sculptures are absolutely charming :) So full of character!

Your dogs and your fox are gorgeous, really well proportioned for being so small! And dont worry about using pictures for inspiration, i've always done that! lol.

I used to use fimo for sculpting but since ive tried premo i never went back, its really easy to condition and smooth with your fingers as it is not sticky like fimo. But it isn't too soft either, it holds up fantastically for sculpting!

Cant wait to see your hare! If you are worried about the ears being too floppy, why not stick a little bit of wire in the bottom of them (cut some off of a paper clip maybe?) and bake them first, so when you make the hares body you can just stick them straight in the top of his head :)

Columbusrat

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 09:37:05 PM »
Thank you Jess - I've just been admiring your dragons, they are stunning!

I sort of ran out of steam with the hare - I always imagine the image I have in my mind (or even in the picture I'm copying  ;)) will simply travel through my hands into the clay, and then it doesn't happen. So when the legs didn't go right and I was getting tired, I just bodged it. But now I've baked it and looked at it anew, it does have its own charm [pops out to find camera....]

Apologies for the awful photos but my workload is silly at the moment and I haven't the energy to try & get better ones. Typical that the dust shows up better than the hare ;D





I had intended the ears to hang back like that, but if I wanted sticky-up ones I think I'll have to try the wire like you suggest.

Just need to plan my next project now...

ejralph

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2014, 11:52:55 PM »
I love him!

Emma
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Gilladian

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2014, 01:20:31 PM »
I know it has been a few days, but here's a bit more advice; find a tool like a knitting needle to do some of the smoothing for you. Dip it into Sculpey clay softener (used to be called diluent) and rub the seams. You'll figure out you only need a tiny bit of the liquid to really help with the smoothing. Too much makes a mess.

To add support to fine, thin pieces like ears, try cutting a shape out of cardstock and sandwiching it between VERY thin layers of clay for support. Ears will become much stronger that way. Also, you can make armatures out of wire, aluminum foil, epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt is one sold here in the US - a 2-part self-curing epoxy resin), etc... to add strength to even tiny miniatures.

If you want to add texture to help hide joins, try using a needle tool, or two needles side by side in a clay handle to make a double line. You can get really good at fur this way, though it does take time. If you have trouble holding your miniatures up, try mounting them on a small tile (4" square bathroom tile from home improvement store costs almost nothing over here). You can turn it easily to see all sides but rest it on the table, or set it up on top of a can or something to raise it closer to eye level.

Columbusrat

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2014, 12:18:24 PM »
Thanks Gilladian, that's really useful :)

Tails

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Re: Any feedback appreciated
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2014, 09:33:10 AM »
That hare would look so cute as a raggedy toy rabbit!!! Just add stitch marks to where his limbs join and voila!

Like the patches on this bear for eg

http://karenwalkerdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/20120817-194844.jpg