View Full Version : How do i build SCULPTURES/BUSTS?

04-29-2003, 06:46 PM

after seeing the W(ork)I(n)P(rogress) of that Savage Dragon Bust (http://www.savagedragon.com/) (>>ImageGallery>>TheMakingOfTheDragonBust) i really got interested in this medium --- dude that thing looks amazin'!:


beside that i think itīs a cool (but maybe not the cheapest) way to learn anatomy ;)

soooooo: is there anyone who has a few experiences with that stuff, that he/she would like to share --- and what kind of work utilities you need, what kind of material you haveta use and how it gets hard 'nd stuff like that ...
and of course it would rawk if you post your WIP too, hehe

hopin for some replies,

04-29-2003, 09:59 PM
I can't say if this is the exact process they do to build these sculptures, but this is what I used to do.

start with a few sketches of the design. most likely some front shot, side side, maybe something in perspective. then front, side, top and bottom blueprints of the final model may be made for more precise models.
For smaller models like these, the sculpters probably just go straight to clay. If it's big models, they will probably create a rough body frame with wire or wood, then apply clay over the body frame.
After sculpting is done, a mold is created with plaster. after the plaster mold is cured, it's just matter of pouring in plastic or fiberglass resin to reproduce the sculpture over and over.

04-30-2003, 11:47 AM
thanks E.J.! :)

so i just use simple clay? --- and do i have to constantly keep it wet because otherwise it "hardens", right?

what do you consider as a "big" model where i haveta use a rough wire-bodyframe for stabilization? above 10 inches or something? :confused:

04-30-2003, 08:39 PM
Well don't use playdo. :) Go to an art store and buy some clay that comes in those little boxes something like $8-$10. Unless its REALLY small you'll always need wire for a wire frame to support the clays weight. Also try to hollow out the the parts of the body and keep it then and light weight(I'm not talking paper thin but no just a hunk of clay, it causes weight issues and weight issues tend to mean falling body parts, I know this from my limited experience.) Make sure you use (warm preferibly) water of course to keep it soft. And when parts need to be put together make sure you "score" them together. Scoring means like a tic-tac-toe board with a few more lines(basically cross-sectioning) where you want things to go together.

Thats all I can think of at the moment. I'll try to help you but like the last thing I ever sculpted was The Joker when I was like 10... which remarkably looked pretty good for a 10 year old. I ought to get my hands back into it and try it out again. Its fun but tedious a lot of times...and clay costs a lot. S'pose you could go to an art warehouse type store and get those big arsed few pounds of clay but I never got around to it.

Let me know if you need help I'll try to help you. BTW check out http://www.bowendesigns.com/ Bowen's the shit. And actually back when I did that Joker sculpture I e-mailed him about it and amazingly he e-mailed me back(like any artist ever does that) I was supposed to send him a copy of the Joker but never got around to it. And of course any guy who's as popular as he is and can still answer an e-mail is an awesome guy in my book.

04-30-2003, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by saTHOMASo
so i just use simple clay? --- and do i have to constantly keep it wet because otherwise it "hardens", right?It's normally just called Modeling Clay. I don't really have the technical term for them. They are oil based, never harden, and reusable. I'm sure just about every art material stores carries them. They are usually kepted in a heater/oven to keep them soft.

one thing though, their smell never go away, so I would suggest you keep you clays away from your main living space and well ventilated. keep them in garage or something. hehe. ;)

what do you consider as a "big" model where i haveta use a rough wire-bodyframe for stabilization? above 10 inches or something? :confused: That really depends on the design. If you have long, thin pieces coming off the main body of the sculpture, I would definitely use wire frame or wood just to be save. These clay gets heavy, so consider the amount of weight that it needs to support its "limbs". It's always better to be safe than sorry.

btw, if you aren't looking to reproduce your sculpture, I would really look for other alternative clays. There are bunch of new products out there that are easier to handle and smell better. :)

04-30-2003, 11:59 PM
hm. I've never had the problem with it smelling. Maybe it's just your clay lol.

05-01-2003, 10:31 AM
astrocity20 and E.J. thanks a lot four your help! ;onei;

Originally posted by E.J.Su
It's always better to be safe than sorry.
wise words ;)

ohh and:

Originally posted by astrocity20
Scoring means like a tic-tac-toe board with a few more lines(basically cross-sectioning) where you want things to go together.
what is a "tic-tac-toe board" ... i couldnīt find that word in my dictionary :(


Devil Man 666
05-01-2003, 10:46 AM
I'm adding to what has been said already with a few opinions/facts.
Actually, you may be better off with polymer clays or epoxy putty.

Epoxy Putty:

Kneadatite "Green Stuff" (can be a bit pricy considering you such a small amount). Don't use the Plumbers Putty you see in hardware/automotive stores.

Magic sculp: a better deal and you can delay the drying time if you want to it air dries). It's available in 5-10 lb increments. Check out their site.

Polymer clays:

Easy to work with and can be baked , heat gunned, boiled etc.

Sculpey I: The original and cheapest (for an entire box) . Not as good as the others below.
I suggest you go straigtht to Sculpey II (super sculpey), sculpey III, Premo! Sculpey or Sculpey Super Flex. Mixing these will strengthen the final sculpture as opposed to sculpting with only one version.

Super sculpey is widely used by sculptors and other artists world wide. You can buy a large box of this and sculpey I (8 lbs. as opposed to the 1lb. that you get in regular art supply/craft stores although sculpey I has an "classroom sized" box available at michael's arts and crafts).

Premo! sculpey like Super sculpey is used by lots of toy makers/doll makers as well. It's usually only sold in small individual blocks like sculpey III (most of the time).

Premo! and sculpey III have special sets such as rubber stamps and other special mixture (earth tones, etc.).

Castilene: A somewhat newer compound used by toy sculptors such as The Four Horsemen and artists at Mattel, McFarlane Toys, etc. A waxy type material that must be kept warm in order to work. You get email or call them for a sample, I just got mine and haven't used it yet. They are a bit pricy though. I believe it's $21.00 for 1lb, don't quote me on that though. It is expensive, though.

Try sculpey products to start. You can rebake as you add (although sculpey superflex can only be baked a few times). You can make texture stamps with sculpey clays as well.
Superflex becomes flexible after baking hence the name and like all of the sculpeys can be used to make molds. Superflex also gets a little warm easier than the other sculpey versions when you're working on it after a short time. They are available in various colors. Take a look at the links below. You may want to double check that kneadatite site.

Even small scale pieces should have an armature unless you're doing a custom actio figure or something.

Have fun!! :cool:


Devil Man 666
05-01-2003, 10:49 AM
Some of the putty's can be used to strengthen armatures then cover it wit roughened up aluminum foil (the heavy duty type). It has to be roughened up real good so that there is some grip for the clay (or modelling material of your choice) to latch onto without slipping off. ;pencil;

05-01-2003, 03:31 PM
Originally posted by saTHOMASo
astrocity20 and E.J. thanks a lot four your help! ;onei;

ohh and:

what is a "tic-tac-toe board" ... i couldnīt find that word in my dictionary :(


I one-upped you. I said it was cross-sectioning :)

05-03-2003, 10:02 PM
I've got some experience with this subject.

Use Super Sculpy. You don't need water and won't harden until it's baked.

Use a wire armature and then wrap foil around it enough to fill up the bulk of the model so when it's time to bake you won't get hairline fractures. After it's baked you can sandpaper the imperfections.

Use a silicon rubber for molds and resin for casting. It's really a hands on learning process.

Theres some great magazines out there like Amazing Figure Modeler and Modelers Resource that cover the subject.

Here's some links that will help you out.



This guy covers everything from beginning to finished project.

Devil Man 666
05-07-2003, 09:02 AM
Actually, a little water helps but no it's not water based thank goodness. I played around with some DAS Pronto for the first time yesterday to make Smurfs via a smurf mold/modeling clay set that i won on eBay. I had to buy the clay since the clay that came with it was used as was the paint that came with it, so I basically bought the mold, accessories and empty paint bottles. lol. This stuff air dries and leaves taht annoying dry residue like traditional clay and it dries from the outside first not unlike Crayola Model Magic only it's not as overly soft when/after you cast it.

P.S. I fixed the kneadatite link above.

05-07-2003, 09:35 AM
Thanks guys! :)

Devil Man 666
05-08-2003, 11:45 AM
Also, you may want to check out Wayne "The Dane" Hansen's video series specifically for sculpting with super sculpy. You can go to his website, check yahoo acutions for people selling them (i found three for a low price that way) or try ebay, Wayne's username is siegaard. I will be receiving his Sculpting the Female Body video from ebay. ;cap; :cool:

Devil Man 666
06-05-2003, 07:14 PM
I found some more interesting links:



Awesome B. Rockinsocks
06-08-2003, 02:42 AM
I use roma plasticina from sculpture house
It comes in 4 different consistencies based on what type of project your working on.
martin carbone's hand workable epoxy or gapoxio is a nice epoxy to work with.
I never had much luck with polymer clays, though, that's just my personal opinion. Many proffesionals use sculpey 3 concoctions.

Devil Man 666
06-11-2003, 11:55 AM
Hah!! I just won a pound of Gapoxio on eBay coincidentally. :cool:

06-27-2003, 01:05 PM
Here is a link to a very informative sight on Sculpting figures etc.