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Here's a terrific tutorial that's sure to encourage many of you to attempt to sculpt! First time contributor Patty shows you how to sculpt a face! and here's her introduction...

"I found the best way to learn how to sculpt a face was to tell myself I was making 10 faces and after each face was done, I was going to squash it up and start again until I completed my 10 faces. After I finished my 10 faces, I could make one to keep. This tends to make it easier to learn the basics without being a perfectionist on each face. After all, it's going to get squashed! Try it! You'll become better, faster, and before you know it, every face will be perfect." — Patty

The tools used for this head sculpt are clay shapers size zero - cup round and taper point; a wooden tool with pointed cupped ends; a paint brush, polymer clay; 91% alcohol; water.

To start, roll a ball out of clay. Size should be relative to the size head you want to sculpt. This ball is about the size of a small marble. Next, roll a small log about as long as your ball is tall. Don't worry about being exact.

Put the log of clay on the ball. Position it as shown in the picture, in the area of the jaw.

Blend the log into the ball. Blend at the top, bottom, and sides. This can be done with either your fingers or the taper point clay pusher.

Turn the head towards you and shape the chin area with your fingers, making it a little narrower. Don't worry about precise as it can always be adjusted later. Using the cup round clay shaper, press indents for the eyes.

Make a little ball of clay and position it as shown. If making a female, use a smaller ball of clay.

Use the taper point clay shaper to blend the top, sides, and bottom of the nose into the head. Push nostrils into the nose using the point of the taper clay shaper.

Use the taper point clay shaper to shape the eyes into more of an oval shape. Don't spend a lot of time on this, it will be refined a little later. You just want to get the general shape. Using the same clay shaper, define the outside of the nose just a bit by running the clay shaper along the edge of the nose right against the face.

Take a look at the eyes compared to the previous picture. See how they are more of an oval shape? Now, on to the mouth! Take a small ball of clay and flatten it into a half circle. Place it just below the nose with the straight edge at the bottom. Blend the curved edge into the face. Flatten just the top of it to define the upper lip. Look at the picture to see how the lip is defined.

See how the half circle has been turned into an upper lip? Leaving just the bottom of the half circle raised gives a good impression. Take you taper point clay shaper and lightly indent a vertical line from the nose down towards the lip. The face loos a little rough at this point. Don't let it worry you. It will be refined later.

Take a small ball of clay and roll it into a snake about the length of the mouth. Yes, this will be the world's smallest snake! Blend the bottom and sides of the lip into face.

Push the corners of the mouth into the face just a bit. Next, roll a small ball of clay and place it directly under the mouth. Blend it into the face.

Roll two small snakes and place where the cheek bones are. Blend these into the face.

Define the brow. Sometimes I add a little clay to define the brow, but in this case I am using the taper point clay shaper to define it. After shaping the area, use your fingers or the clay shaper to smooth out the area above the brow.

I decided he needs a little more flesh under his cheeks so I added two more snakes and will blend them in. This is the time to give your face a little personality. If you look at the first picture you will see two faces I sculpted. Each one has different areas built up and this was done by adding a little more clay for chubbier cheeks or a bigger chin, etc. Don't be afraid to experiment. The clay can always be removed if you decide you don't like it.

I took a little time here to smooth out the areas and blend them in a little better. I went over the eyes again. It's not perfect yet but it's looking better!

I am using my eye tool. This was purchased from Philippe Faraut and it is only available on that site. I use it mainly for sculpting larger scale eyes instead of using a cup shaper like I did on this face .It is too large for this face to do the entire eye but here I am using it to define the eyelids. After the eyelids are defined, I will use the taper point clay shaper to push in where the iris is. Skip the last step if painting the eye.

Here I am using the wooden eye tool to push the upper lip up just the slightest bit. I also used the taper point clay shaper to bring the right side of the nose down just a bit because it was uneven.

Take a break! Seriously! That's one of the ways to see where your face needs fixing. It is hard to see what;s wrong when you work on it too long, so if you take a break and come back you'll see it in a new light. The other two ways to easily see what needs to be worked on is to look at your sculpt in a mirror or take a picture and look at the picture.

When you are happy with your face, use the paint brush and the 99% alcohol to brush it down. Use a light touch. This will soften some of the details as well as remove any fingerprints. After brushing it down with the alcohol, brush it down right afterwards with water.

Here is the finished face. After looking at my pictures (see previous advice!) I see that one eye isn't quite symmetrical. I would also refine the nose just a little more. I made this as a male but I could easily refine the face a little and have a female instead. Also, the hair you give it will make a huge difference in how it looks. (see below)

I borrowed some hair I had on another sculpt to give this guy some personality. If I give him some pointy ears, he would make a fine mischievous male fairy. But alas, his hair is going back to its owner and he's going back into my scrap pile of clay. Good thing he doesn't have any ears yet to hear me say that!

I hope you enjoyed this little process and was able to learn something from it. Just remember the most important lesson of all... make it FUN! Don't get tied up in making it perfect. Especially when you are learning. The clay is very forgiving. Look at it fro a few days and if you decide you don't like the nose, pop it off and put on a new one! Nothing is set in stone until you bake it. And really, not even then!

Happy sculpting!

By Patty Lynn
© 2006 Text and Photos

We want to thank Patty for sharing this excellent tutorial with Polymer Clay Central! If you have a lesson or tutorial, or something you would like to share with PCC, please email Leigh or Stephen and we will help you prepare your project for the PCC Website!

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