Sculpting Basics

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The basics of sculpting

by Olivier Nkweti
Equipment needed, some items can be substituted for others, and you can change the medium and wire size to suit your tastes once you have mastered the basics.
0.5 MM wire
DURO & Fimo
Balsa & Cork
dentist tools
colour shapers
big needles
1.     Study the concept art. Thinking about the molding lines & multi parts questions. At this stage talk with the commissioner and make sure that you are clear on how you want the piece to come out. Also clarify what textures are going to be involved in the piece.
2.     Bending the wire to create the armature
 Most humanoids are made with the same joints, proportions may vary but you have the main wire bent at the level of the head.
It makes the legs, the back & head.
A second wire is added for the arms. In pic ONE it was glued with DURO (cemented)
 to be sure the arms would be strong enought to resist the vigors of sculpting the rest of the model.
I use 0,5 mm wire for humans, a few years ago I prefered to use 0,7mm, stronger hence more durability.
3     Coating with DURO
To ensure Fimo sticks to the wires you need to coat them with a thin duro layer.
You need some fresh Duro, as soft as possible.You can encrease the yellow proportion for that.
4    Modelling the main mass 
Here comes the artistic part: adding bits of fimo here and there, modeling the body & limbs roughly, it is important to know the anatomy
or/and to have reference pictures.
The tools used are dentist tools, colour shapers, needles, bits of woods.
5   Detailing 
When the main mass is right you can start the detailing. Pushing fimo adding smaller bits, sculpting with sharp tools & needles until you have the fine details that bring the sculpt to life..
6   Post baking work 
This is mostly done with duro. To fill the holes for better casting or to fix defaults like on the peasant girl's right eye.
7. base bar is glued and the model is ready for casting. Now some mediums mean that you wont be able to cast straight in metal and you'll have to have a resin cast made first.