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Beginners Guide to Clay Sculpting

by theartinvogue on 03/12/2021

Three-dimensional art definitely comes across as a challenge as sculpting clay even though seems fun but is a bit tricky. But at the same time, it can ignite your creativity to a great extent. But when you’re new to the whole thing you might not know where to begin. Clay Sculpting is vast as you have to understand all the basic as well as advanced techniques to make it a good artist.

Here are some tips that can help you with clay sculpting.

Although you’ll have to understand deeply the knowledge of sculpting  and only experience will teach you that, these are some tips that you’ll definitely find helpful.


1. Envision the final piece

If you have a good idea of what you actually want the end result to look like you’re more likely to make it look that way. And it’s always for the best if you have a clear idea of the sculpture before even starting. How you can do this is, you can start with making sketches of various imagined viewpoints and projections. Take the dimensions of the main shapes and ratios between lengths into consideration.

If you’re starting a 3D sculpture for your home and you’re a beginner you’d want to think about what direction it will mostly be viewed from. Then even if your attempt isn’t the best on all the other sides, at least the most commonly viewed part can be good.

You can even try your hands on a relief sculpture. This process involves adding forms onto a flat slab of clay. The final product is something that won’t be viewed from all sides. This is also something which can relieve you about weight and balance.

2. Test clay for wetness

Now that you’re well aware of the form that your sculpture is about to take you can pick your clay up. However, before you start you’ll need to check if the clay is wet enough as dried clay is not very easy to work with.
However, this is just a test so it’s indeed easy to pull off. You can pull off a small piece of clay and roll it in your hand until it forms a cylinder that is about 1 cm in diameter and 10 cm long. Bend the cylinder double and if that bends smoothly it is usable and it that cracks add more water. Adding too much water can also spoil the clay.

3. Build forms cleverly

If you’re not using a potter’s wheel there are still some steps that are simple of building up forms that you can follow. A good way is coils of clay to build up the slides of a hollow shape, laying the clay down in a spiral will prevent it from collapsing easily. Recesses can also be created by pinching the clay by digging out with your forefinger and thumb.

4. Avoid protruding shapes

The most frequently asked question about sculptures is how can one make a clay figure. There are a lot of advanced sculptors we’ve seen doing this. There are chances that you’ll see these artists having used armatures – long, metal skeleton structures that support the weight of the clay.

It is easier to practise clay sculpting at home with more contained shapes but you can use brass rods, aluminium wire and other stronger materials. And once you get the hang of this it’s then you can add armatures into your repertoire.

5. Look out for a local studio

You can always learn some art skills by observing and practising but the more advanced aspects of clay sculpture are tricky and you’ll need expert guidance. You can look out for local studios to learn sculpting and sign up to know more about it.

This will give you the chance to try and tire your finished works to mark them permanent and will ultimately help you improve your clay sculpting skills. As though you can gain knowledge by reading about it you can only learn this art by practising it.

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