Beginner Really!!!!

Discussion in 'Sculpture and Makeup Effects' started by Neotron, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. Neotron

    Neotron New Member

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    Ok, so I am a beginner at sculpting and I mean full blown on sculpting. All my past work has been on previous made masks, sculptures, statues, objects, and other stuff. I have never sat down and got a block of clay or what ever you guys use and started sculpting. I have carved on and chipped away and squashed or bonded every thing else other than an original peice.

    So I would like to know from everyone Where to start. I will also tell you where I am wanting to go with this too. i am wanting to learn sculpting the human head. I also want to go on to learning to do gel, latex, or silicon masks and props including casting from my own sculptures. Now I know this is allot many of these things I have already done, with someone else's work. I have never done my own. So to start off with.

    Clay what kind ?? which is good to mold on ??? I would like to be able to get allot at once and be able to reuse it but be a reasonable price. And I know everyone has there own opinion on this and there (you would just haft to see what works for you answer) but there has to be a common clay or moldable substance out there that everyone has used once or bought it because ether on a budget or they new it would no matter what they where doing and maybe the best they ever used.

    I like people saying try it out but hey as many of us are we and I am not made of money. So, if this is not to confusing and you understand what I am trying to say since I am NO expert on this throw a comment this way I will read every ones comment and if the money lets me ill try or buy it too.

    So next learning tools I love and work well with dvds sorry can't read and sculpt at the same time. Plus the books get dirty fast too.

    Tools what do you use and did you make them or buy them most of mine are well given to me and i could not tell you where they came from or what they are unless they are eating or cooking utensils.

    So ya Beginner!

    I could give you a run down on what I know and what I have done but you probably would think I am crazy and make no sense. No one ever taught me so I just learned from doing. So I am wanting to get in to making my own stuff (the right way) now and I need to start some where. So if you can help me out and direct me to something good to learn and do Great pour it on.

    Sorry this is so long.

    Thanks for you time.
    Neotron
    Clayton
     
  2. Alaneye

    Alaneye Well-Known Member

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    It's not rocket science. Work and learn. Get some sculpey, or one of the hard clays, make an armature, try sculpting a head. If it's full size you want to do you may need water based clay, or you can use an oil based clay. Point is, no one here is going to be able to tell you exactly what to do and how to do it. We all have our own preferences, clays we like and clays we don't, tools we use all the time and tools that are never touched. I look at a great sculpture and it turns out the artist uses a tooth pick and their finger tips and I wonder how the hell they can work that way. But it works for them. You need to find your own way.

    So choose a subject and make it. No matter how much you are told before you start that first one, your next one will be better. Just do what you do and enjoy it.

    There are no short cuts to experience.

    Al
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  3. Scuba Bob

    Scuba Bob Active Member

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    I personally like to use Monster Makers Premium Clay. It's a completely reusable oil/wax based clay that can be melted, softened etc with heat and when it is at room temperature is super hard and holds detail amazingly. Chevant is also fun to work with but you get more bang for buck with Monster Makers. The nice thing about Monster Makers (as with most oil-based clays) you dont have to release them prior to molding which means more clay is saved for your next project.

    DVDS...there are some amazing stuff out there. My personal favorites are Mark Alfrey's DVDS. For what you're looking to learn I'd recommend the following Mark Alfrey dvds...Sculpting the Human Head, Sculpting Movie Monsters, Basic Molds and Castings, And Learning Prosthetic Makup for Beginners.

    There is also an amazing book out there which I consider the FX artist's Bible. here is a link to amazon for it Amazon.com: Special Makeup Effects for Stage and Screen: Making and Applying Prosthetics (9780240809960): Todd Debreceni: Books

    In terms of tools, I recommend a basic sculpting kit with some rakes, wire tools, and some hooks and whatnot. I make a lot of my own now but i only discovered what I wanted by using the tools I had and saying to myself...gee i wish i had something that could do this. Incidentally if you want to make your own it couldnt be easier. Buy some 1/4" or 1/2" brass tubing and some different guages of wire and some scroll saw or band saw blades. You can then make different configurations depending on what you want to do on that. I just make whatever head I intend on using, place it in the pipe, crimp it with some vice grips and then inject some PL Premium glue in there for a little extra hold and voila, tools galore. I've made probably 20 tools off a single coil 10' of copper pipe and some odds and ends. Maybe spent 50 bucks total on the bunch.

    Another good site to learn sculpting and molding for what you're looking to do is The FX Lab

    Feel free to PM me with any questions that you may have. We all were beginners and had to rely on the expertise of others. It's a lot of just guess and test and learning the techniques that you like to use. You have a leg up from your previous work because you probably have a good idea of proportioning and scale. Good luck!
     
    Shylaah likes this.
  4. Jumpergal

    Jumpergal Member

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    As Scuba Bob mentions, a few basic tools will help you get a sense of what works and what doesn't - I don't know where you're based, but when I was starting I hit up a Michaels for some basic tools and went to an art supply store for a block of clay. Total investment was probably thirty five bucks. Now I tend to work in Sculpy, but having heard Scuba Bob's recommendation on Monster Makers, I think maybe I'll give that a shot.

    Thing is, I know everyone says 'just do it' but there's just no other way to say it! Get a block of something malleable and make it into a shape you like. Your armature doesn't have to be a thing of beauty (my first one was a garage sale Johnny Storm, beheaded and wired onto a block of wood), it's just something to hold up the material you work. If you don't like how it's going, rip it apart and start again. Just get your hands dirty, the rest of it will follow.
     
  5. Starship Mayhem

    Starship Mayhem New Member

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    As a beginner to sculpting myself I have found that sculpy is a great place to start. From there I have found that some projects need harder clay and some need softer clay for my purposes. I have not jumped into actual tools yet, just my fingers and a exacto knife but the props I've been working on haven't needed much detailing.

    I am a completely self taught artist and come from the world of independent film, a.k.a zero budget for things, when I found out that I was going to have to learn sculpting I went for cutting things out of foam core/styrofoam as the base and pressing clay over that to get more detail. I found that helped me see what kind of give the clay had before cutting a huge chunk and starting from that.
     
  6. MMCD

    MMCD New Member

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    I'm glad I came across this thread, I was about to go hunting for info' on this very subject.

    If I might ask Scuba Bob a question about monster clay... I am finding it really difficult to work with I was at monsterpaloosa and chatted to the guys about my issues with their clay and was told the secret was a crock pot...
    Once I got home my first purchase was.. you guessed it a crock pot but even on the recommended "warm" setting the clay turns to soup.
    Any suggestions or tips you wouldn't mind passing on.
     
  7. Scuba Bob

    Scuba Bob Active Member

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    I usually just throw my monster clay in the microwave. If i have a block of 5lbs i usually throw it in on high for 2 1/2 mins and it's a good consistency. Sometimes i get a little bit of liquid in the core but i just use the pieces that arent liquid to start and by the time i need it the core has solidified. When it gets too hard to work with i throw it in the microwave again for 30 secs to a min and it's good to go again.

    When it's on the sculpture and i need to soften it up to work with i'll hit it with a heat gun. When I'm smoothing I like to use a mix of 2/3 99% isopropynol and 1/3 mineral spirits. Arnold (the owner of monster makers) is a great guy and has some amazing tips on his website for working with his clay. He also sells a product called isopropyl mystrate that is great to work with the Monster Clay.

    I don't particularly like the croc pot idea for working with clay because I find it does exactly what you say, melts it. You can build a hot box by taking a bankers box or copy paper box, lining it with tinfoil and cutting a hole in the lid for a lamp. Any high wattage bulb or even a mild heat lamp will work well to keep the clay workable.

    I've experimented with sculpey, chevant, klean klay, form-it, monster clay and all kinds of water and WED clays and Monster has stood above all of them. I keep about 10 lbs of form-it clay around for dividing walls on molds though but i have about 20 lbs of monster clay that i regularly use. I'll probably be buying another 10lbs or so soon its so cheap. Its low density also means you get more clay in a 5lb pack vs other brands that give you 5lbs.
     
  8. MMCD

    MMCD New Member

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    I think it was Arnold I was talking to. I'm guessing the cheap crock pot I picked up isn't as temperature controllable as the one on the Monster Makers booth.

    Thanks for the info' on how you use it super helpful! I think I'll turn the crock pot on and when the clay becomes soup pour it into manageable sized chunks for future microwaving.
     
  9. Scuba Bob

    Scuba Bob Active Member

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    to be honest i microwave mine in the tub it comes in lol the container is oven and microwave safe (minus the lid of course). A lot of guys do the chunk routine but i just soften it up in the microwave as a big block. When i'm done a sculpt, i'll melt it down and re-pour into the container for future use.
     
  10. MMCD

    MMCD New Member

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    Cool, I still have the containers... I didn't think they would handle the heat so that's good to know.
     
  11. Scuba Bob

    Scuba Bob Active Member

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    Just make sure you bought the monster makers premium grade. I dont know if the standard grade cases are microwaveable. When in doubt...ask Arnold. He has amazing customer service.
     
  12. MMCD

    MMCD New Member

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    Yup, got the premium clay... But thanks for the heads up!
     
  13. Wes R

    Wes R Legendary Member

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    I learned on sculpty in college and no matter why i keep going back to it even with 10lbs of oil clay here.
     
  14. Jessica

    Jessica Well-Known Member

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    I love monster clay but have tried sculpey, super sculpey, oil based clay and sculpey firm. I usually work in 1:6 scale or smaller, but for apes I love the monster clay. I usually use a blow dryer to soften it up enough. I'm sure the microwave would be perfect but i work slow. My tools are the cheap $7 pack of hardwood from Micheal's....my favorite one looks like a sharp butterknife. The reason why I love the hardwood tools is because it's light to hold and you can always sharpen up the cutting edge with sandpaper. I sometimes use turpenoid on a paintbrush to smooth out my 1:6 scale sculpts and soften up some of the hard lines to make it more natural...to smooth out my General Ursus helmet I used a blowdryer to soften up the clay and then it's just a matter of pressing the knife and applying the correct pressure at an angle. Once it's smooth enough I then rub the surface with steel wool dipped in turpenoid and finish it up with applied pressure from my bare hands. Actually I think I may need more monster clay...
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  15. Neotron

    Neotron New Member

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    See this is what I love about asking questions most people give good resources or ideals. I like that people reply with what they use and in seeing the things they built on here too shows me that the medium they use could work for me. I hope to her more form others too. I think the more we know about what others use the more we can find the right clay, tools and technique for our self's.

    There should be a thread out there that has information like what kind of clay or medium you use, tools, technique, and where you learned them from. This would help out allot for people like me just starting out in sculpting my own stuff. We could read this form and decide what is right for us. And the direction to go in to.

    I have done many search's on line for this same subject and there is so much information out there that it is over whelming. Being able to chat to people that are doing the same thing you are wanting to do is nice to have. and becomes a good source of real hands on information.

    Hope more people responds.

    Thanks
    Scuba Bob
    Jumpergal
    Starship Mayhem
    MMCD
    Wes R
    Jessica
    Hey guy's thank you for these replies this is great to know. I have already been looking in to the medium mentioned sculpey looks great not allot for the money but looks great for small projects. Monster Makers Premium Clay looks pretty good and is a reasonable price from other types of clay I am going to save up to buy about 20lbs.


    I have some green oil base clay right now but it does not seem to sculpt well. I also have some light brown clay that from what i was told it is the same stuff that kids make cups, vases, pencil holders, and mugs out of at school, very runny and wet.

    So thanks again I will be checking back to see if any one else has posted and thing.

    Also Scube Bob the book you mention i have on a wait list at my library and if it is all you say it is ill be buying a copy. Thanks for that info
     
  16. Scuba Bob

    Scuba Bob Active Member

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    The wet clay you were mentioning is water based clay which will dry out if left in the air for too long. It's fun to work with for quick jobs but doesn't hold detail as well as oil based clays and isn't easily reusable (technically you could reuse it but it's a huge pain in the bum).

    You'll love the book, it's an A-Z guide to effects. Happy sculpting.
     
  17. MMCD

    MMCD New Member

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    I've been working on my first sculpt, i decided to sculpt with WED. It's great stuff!...
    Super soft, very easy to manipulate. Another nice thing is the price its way cheap.

    If your a noob like myself it's very easy to mold and form and first time trying to sculpt something. I'm sure the monster clay is fantastic once your used to using it but for quick rewarding results without fighting the medium WED is awesome.
     
  18. Alaneye

    Alaneye Well-Known Member

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    I've previously used pottery clay for full sized masks, Fimo and sculpey for smaller stuff and I've ordered 10lb of Monster Clay with the idea of melting it and pouring it my T1 mould as a basis for sculpting a different T1 bust. I don't know how hard/soft it is compared to sculpey, but I hope I can get on with it.
     
  19. Jumpergal

    Jumpergal Member

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    I agree, Super Sculpy is a chunk of $$ for what you get, but I work it over an armature of wire and compressed aluminum foil. It does tend to crack when baked if it's too thick, and the foam won't work as bulking material with anything that has to go in the oven. My Sculpy layer on a figure usually ends up between a quarter and a half inch thick - the basic shape is made with crunched foil and the sculpy applied over it. Works for me. And I agree, Jessica, the wood tools are nice. In a pinch I've even carved a tongue depressor for a specific type of line.
    I like the Super Sculpy because it warms in my hands.
     
  20. Neotron

    Neotron New Member

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    So this might not be the best to start off with but I have to heads that where given to me. Tell me what you think.


    [​IMG]
     
  21. Scuba Bob

    Scuba Bob Active Member

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    As I said on my PM i wouldnt use the one on the left at all but the one on the right would work as a basic core for some sculpts. Bear in mind that this head (which looks like a hairdressing mannequin head) is going to be much smaller than the average head. For the time being a good set of calipers might be a good investment (under $20) to help you with scaling. When I'm sculpting a human head I will always break out the calipers and use my own head as a reference of where things should be and how wide things should be.
     

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