Monday, April 11, 2011

Demon head

Now that the rough layout work is done, I like to sculpt the faces next to get the proportion  of one figure to the other correct and so I have the character of the sculpture established. The character is important because it will dictate the adjustments I make to the poses as they progress. I find it is helpful to have the finished size of the head before I build the armature.
I start with a ball of clay which I will condition by kneading and rolling in my palms until it is soft and ready to apply to the skull.

 The clay ball is pressed into a pancake about 3/16" thick. The clay is properly conditioned if the sides of the pancake do not split as you are pressing the ball.
The clay is laid onto the forehead at the tops of the eyes.

 Another pancake of clay is added to each side of the face being careful not to cover the upper lip/nose area with too much clay. The extra clay is worked around the eyeball. Applying the clay in sheets like this will let your final face follow the topography of the underlying skull so you have less work to do to make it look natural.
 The clay is applied to the rest of the face. Notice how the covered face looks like the starting skull.
This critter is slightly on the larger side so I add a layer of clay around the outsides of the face. As we gain weight, the skull stays the same size but a layer of fat builds up under the skin on the extreme outsides and bottom of the face.

 The nose is applied and rough shaping starts on the entire face.
The final character of the face is starting to show as folds and bulky areas are stressed in the face. Keep in mind that folds in skin are rounded on all edges. Do not use a sharp tool and just cut "V" shaped notches in your clay for a fold.

 The mouth is opened slightly for his thumb. All rough sculpting is done now.

Final skin texture  for an old face is done by first adding crisscrossing fine lines over the entire surface of the finished face. These cross in a diamond pattern just like your own skin. Sorry, these are hard to see on this image.

The next step in skin texture is to stipple the skin with a stiff brush. The long fibers of the brush can get into all the nooks and crannies to add pores to the skin. Some areas get stippled harder than others such as the tip of the nose and the beard area for the face since you are dealing with both pores and hair follicles.

 The clay for the ears will need to have some more bend to it than my normal clay so I will use Sculpy Bake and Bend clay added to my ProSculpt. This will let the ears take a bit more abuse in shipping. The color match will be off slightly but since he will be stained with washes, I can adjust the final color just fine. I have used a mix of 15 parts white, 4 parts, yellow, and 1 part red. This is blended into a pinkish mix then mixed 1:1 with ProSculpt Baby clay. The mix will take repeated bending now.
The ears are roughed in before attaching to the head.
Ears are seamed into the head being sure that they are well attached.
Teeth are added using a 1:1 mix of white and translucent polymer clays.

The horns are just straight white Bake and Bend clay so they will not break in the future. They are shaped and detailed before securing into the head clay.
The finished head. You can see the crisscrossing and stippling in this image rather well. Also notice the slightly more pink coloring to the ears.
We will sculpt the child's head next time.
Have a great day!


  1. do you ever use the bake and bend clay to do fingers? I don't have time to work along right now but I am learning a lot...THANKS :)

  2. Thanks Mark, I didnt know about using the brush to get the pore follicle look that is a great tip!

  3. Details, details, details! You are such a great teacher, Mark. Did you know that you could use Sculpey Mold Maker as elastic clay? Years ago, i sent Sculpey a email asking if they were going to ever sell Elastic clay Sculpey in individual packages of colours instead of one large multi-pack of colours and a representative wrote me back that i could use the mold maker instead that it was the same clay. Great tips. Thank you again for doing this.


  4. meant to name the clay "Bake and Bend" clay is the same as "Mold Maker" both by Sculpey.


  5. Jl is correct, Mold maker can be used to add flex to your regular clay. However, my local shop does not carry it. It blends into ProSculpt very well and will keep your thin, small parts more flexible (even fingers). There is still a slight color shift but if you wanted to use this for fingers, I am sure you could get a close mix so the transition would not be so strong.

  6. Or perhaps add the Mold Maker to the entire prosculpt batch so you don't have to worry about color diferences?
    I'm learning so much about the older face Mark! Thank you!

  7. Now I know why I invested in a package of Mold Maker. I must have known it would come in handy for something someday! Thanks for a great tip! Mark, the demon face is amazing! I've made pores before but not using this exact method. Your method is easier! Thanks!

  8. Mark please tell me the secret to maintaining the head in its perfect state! With every addition of another feature, my head becomes so disfigured. If I let it stand, it becomes too hard to seem in another piece of clay and the more I work it it then becomes too warm and droops. I know you do not bake until the end but my fingers are pushing into other sides of the finished head and I spend so much time re-working, that the face no longer looks anything like I planned. And please would you explain more about detailing the face, in particular cutting the wrinkles/folds. Your time and expertise is so greatly appreciated. Thank you, Mark. Linda

  9. Linda, If you work on a cured skull and only apply clay to the front as you work, your hands never touch the clay as you hold the head to work.
    Another way is to stick the head on a tool or skewer so you are not holding the raw clay in your hot hand.