Drawing Outside Your Comfortzone – Working With Sculpey

Sculpey Tools For Project WeekendThis weekend I decided to do something I have not done for over fifteen years, I stepped completely out of my comfortzone and picked up sculpey (and tools) to undertake a sculpt of my main Cuddly Defenders character Tristan the Teddy Bear. Project Weekend had begun.

Project Weekend main goal is to take an idea and spend the weekend concentrating on that goal, to create something that takes me out of my creative comfort-zone, and I end up with an artistic creation, be it 2D art or 3D, that I would not normally create. Indeed that is the purpose of Drawing Outside Your Comfortzone. With Project Weekend I would be attempting to sculpt again, how hard will it be?

It Is All About The Shapes

The secret with creating in any medium is not about drawing the object, but drawing the shapes it makes up, this carries across to sculpting too, it is all about shapes. Which in the case of Tristan the Teddy Bear is a ball (head), egg (body) and cylinders (arms & legs).

Teddy Bear Sculpey Figure In Pieces

I used sculpey as my medium to build Project Weekend, the material stays malleable and will retain the form you give it, until you bake it for 20 – 25 minutes in Kitchen oven. The material is also fine enough to make fine details and you can use standard clay tools in working the material. In the first two hours of working on this project the body of the Teddy Bear was formed. The head, arms and legs were attached to the body using armature wire.

Adding Detail

Tristan The Teddy Bear In ActionWith the body built, cooked and allowed to harden I could work on the details. Tristan is not a complex character to create, but he has several details that make him, well him; sleeping hat, tabard, scarf, shield are his main signatures. For part two of Project Weekend I would create these details out of sculpey, using the body as a mannequin to shape them, then bake and glue them direct to the Teddy Bear. The plan mostly worked – a word of advice if you spread sculpey too thin it will break, shattering like china during the cooling processif you handle it too soon (as I found out).

Part two took longer than building Tristan’s body – working the fine details of this character was still an exercise in shapes, just the detail is finer. Again the malleabliness of sculpey allowed me the time to work on these details without having to race an air drying clock, which was good, because it took me four – five hours to complete the details you can see below.

Time For Paint

Fun Fact My Citadel Colour Paints Are Older Than My Kids

Fun Fact – My Citadel Colour Paints Are Older Than My Kids

After working so far outside my comfortzone, it was good to return to medium I am much more comfortable working in. I’ve painted miniatures for most of my life, honing my skills on 25 to 28 miniatures – although I’ve not painted a toy soldier for a long time’ I was confident that this part of Project Weekend wasn’t going to be as daunting as sculpting Tristan.

To make this part of the process easier I removed the head to make manipulating the sculpt a little easier, a couple of pieces also removed themselves during the head separation, but nothing superglue would not fix after the sculpture was painted.

Teddy Bear Painting Pieces

I am not going to go into great detail on how I painted Tristan. The sculptures undercoat of Skull White was hand painted (Maryland humidity screws with spray paint application). After that I applied my standard painting techniques of base color, shading color and then using the base color for highlighting. I paid a lot more attention to lining and keeping the paint scheme clean, which at this scale is much more important than fancy shading techniques.

The shield, eyes and nose were given an extra glossy look using Sculpey glaze, and I glued everything together using Superglue Gel (never use superglue liquid on anything this large). As I used armature wire to hold the limbs together it allowed to me adjust the legs to compensate for the sculptures weight and Project Weekend was complete.

The entire project took a total of fifteen hours and I fitted this project in with the rest of my usual weekend tasks of house project, errands, dog walking, chasing cats, making sure my house doesn’t flood from the epic rainstorm this weekend, catching up on my reading and drinking the required cups of tea to keep me English. To sum up, this was a great weekend project and I got to use skills I’ve not touched for a very long time, with the end results I have a creation that will help me visualize a new future for our Cuddly Defenders.

So… Next we sculpt the bunny? Now y’all go draw outside your comfortzone.

Tristan The Teddy Bear - Hand Sculpted With Sculpey And Painted With Citadel Colour Paints

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?

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