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I've done a lot of design in 3D and I thought it would be fun to actually try my hands on a bit of sculpting. It's the best part of being creative, you can do whatever you want ;-) This is my first time at sculpting since primary school so bare with me and maybe I can at least show you the ups and downs I ran in to.

Another big hobby of mine is making music and these kind of things go hand in hand I think. Lot's of 80's bands always had great artwork and one of those iconic bands is Iron Maiden. I know. This is probably not your 'cup of tea' but you can ofcourse sculpt whatever you want ;-)

I came across this picture of the band's mascotte called "Eddie". He's in all the coverart of the band and he's a real icon. There's this certain kind of bust you can buy of him which I really liked and I thought I could at least try to make something like this just for the fun of it!

If you liked this instructable, please vote for me over at the Clay contest! Really appreciated!

Step 1: Preparations

This is really important: plan ahead! I've seen a lot of tutorials and for some reason I didn't do this ;-) Which is why my sculpt is a bit wonky and not that symmetrical. You can avoid these things by preparing everything and gather all the tools and material you need and also keep a sharp eye on a good reference photo.

Aluminium foil and a bit of tape

This will be used to make the bulk of the bust. Making it just out of clay will give in most cases problems. It's also easier to wrap the foil around the wire and create a bit of a mockup. The can be helpful for keeping it together. I use regular masking tape. This wil be covered with clay and can be safely baked in your kitchen oven.

Metal wire and/or floral wire(not sure about the thickness but bendable)

As said, the metal is needed to provide a solid base for the whole structure. Although Super Sculpey Firm is pretty sturdy stuff, it's still a clay. Especially tiny or thin, long pieces you attach may break because of the baking process of just plain gravity ;-) Metal wire is the backbone here.

Super Sculpey

I've used the Firm and Original versions of Super Sculpey. The pink/fleshtone Original Super Sculpey is much softer and great for details. The Super Sculpey Firm is the same but more..well, firm ;-) In retrospect I would rather use the firm because of it's 'stiffness'. When you are using your hands and fingers you will use a lot pressure sometimes and with the Firm clay it will not tend to bend or deform that much. Use at your own convenience.

Paint & Brushes

For the finishing touch I've used Royal Talens 'Amsterdam' series acrylic paint. I didn't prime the sculpt. I used the paint directly on the sculpt. I did do several layers of them to create some desired effect but more of that later. Also for the Egyptian headdress I used acrylic metallic paint by Maya Gold. Great stuff! It gives a real shine to it.

Step 2: Creating the Armature

Start by creating a armature with the metalwire, aluminium foil and tape. At this stage I was just going for the head and later on I moved on (very impulsive I may add :P ) to creating a bust. As you can see in this stage on the pictures, I had thick metal wire sticking upwards and decided to have it formed into a circle at the bottom so it would stay upright. Bad move here; after a lot of clay the piece got heavier and almost slided downwards the metal wire. You don't need to go into detail with the wire or foil but you do need to make sure that the wire can't punch through the foil due to weight. You can avoid this by shaping the wire and have it bend at the end. It will have foil and tape around it anyway so at this stage it doesn't matter that much how it but it's definitely important to try and follow some shape of whatever you are making. Especially if you're doing thing with arms and legs, keep things proportional.

The 'thing' or 'beard' on it's chin sticking out was made out of one piece of clay and I stuck a metal wire in it. This way I could attach it to it's chin. Again: plan ahead because I had to jam this into the clay chin and the underlying foil layer with tape ;-) I used some pressure for this and yes, the pink-ish Super Sculpey deformed. So this took me a while to get it right!. Make sure to compress the clay with a nice tool to the clay layer that is the chin. At baking-time the polymers will bond together due to the heat, this will help to firmly attach it.

The headdress it self was a bit tricky to do but I used a nice piece of clay and rolled it with a pinroller to a nice thickness. I then folded it so I would get a nice round side to it and I cut away the excess clay that I didn't need. Looking back, I would do this all with the Scuper Sculpey Firm because of it's stiffness and you need some pressure to attach the whole thing. Practice makes perfect!

Step 3: Sculpt Away!

After the head was more or less done. I did a fast bake in the oven (15 minutes). This way the head wouldn't get in the way and I could use more pressure while attaching more clay. I didn't have any Super Sculpey Original left so therefore I used only the Firm version. I decided I wanted to try to make a bust of it and the headdress needed shoulders to rest on. I added more foil and tape to create the form of shoulders and cover this in nice thin pieces of clay.

The way to smooth this clay is by gently but fast, rubbing off on the clay with you finger or thumb. It warms up the clay and you can really smooth things out, works for me at least! You can also use acetone and use a smooth rag or earbud to rub away irregularities.

After all this I did a fast bake again to hold it's form. You can bake it numerous of times this way if your sure about the form and want to preserve it.

Step 4: More Refining...

After the second bake, I decided the whole thing need more body. Also I wanted the headdress to be really smooth and nice looking just like in the reference photo. So using the Firm Super Sculpey, I would roll out other thin pieces of clay, fold it and lay it over the existing headdress. I cut away the clay I didn't need and smoothed out the clay onto the existing baked clay.

After that, it was time for the shouldpieces and the pieces of headdress draped over the shoulders. I decided to once again fill in the bulk of it with foil and tape and shaped it to what I needed. I would dress the foil with nice thin and smooth pieces of clay thus creating a nice form.

Forming it more and more and adding more claying I would eventually attach it to the existing headdress and create a sharp angle having it look like it's draped over it's shoulders. I also fill in the back of the head and make a more rounded form there.

Step 5: Finishing and Painting

At this stage I decided that for a nice bust, it must have a nice base. I thought making it nice and rectangle-shaped but take more clay and I would need to fill in a lot of foil. Also I wasn't sure I could get it perfectly straight at this point (so much for planning ahead!). I thought about creating a sort of rectangle mould to keep it's shape but for time sake I went with a round, small base. Using previous techniques I made an almost decent base ;-)

Painting the headdress

The whole piece existed out of the 2 colors: blue and yellow. Easy enough! Yellow Ocre and Light Blue it is. This would be my main base color. I did 2 layers on the headdress with this and I thought giving the yellow ocre some golden look with the Maya Gold paint. You can even mix it with the regular paint and thin it a bit if you want less shimmer on it. Contrasting it with the matte light blue looks really cool in my opinion, gives a really Egyptian feel or style to it with these colors.

Painting the face, neck and base

I used the Yellow Ocre here mainly, a couple of layers just to get rid of the clay color and look. Make sure to let it all dry well between painting layers! I created a bit of wood or marble effect on the face and base with mixing the yellow ocre with a little bit of dark brown. This way it shows up more subtle. Just go over the piece quickly only going up and down, this will create some strokes that will show up when it's all dry.

Painting the text

I could've done this much better if only I would've had a airbrush! You can just freehand the whole thing, use a color and draw whatever you want. Ofcourse, you must be a real pro doing that, I'm not ;-)

I did make a stencil though, just look up a nice font, measure up the height of the base and use all this data in your favorite 2D graphics software. Print it out a couple a times just to have a backup and cut out the text. I taped the stencil to the base where I wanted it to be and used a Posca-marker (lightblue) to paint it in. This is a tricky process and works much better if you have sticky stencil paper that airbrush folks use ;-) Once I had the text in place I went over it again with a bit of Maya Gold, blue metallic paint and a very small brush (and a steady hand!) and after that I would tighten the whole text by adding a white stroke around it using a small white Posca-marker I had lying around (love Posca markers!). Anyway, doing it this way I knew the spacing and alignment of the text would be okay, it's more of a timesaver.

Hope this instructable was useful to you! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

<p>Thanks everyone for the appreciation so far! ;-)</p>
<p>Soooo cool! Iron Maiden rocks!</p>
<p>Looks pretty nice!</p>
I don't want to die, I'm a god, why can't I live on?

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Bio: I am a 2D/3D Graphics generalist and artist. I Like to create models for 3D Printing and experiment with new technology. I also draw ... More »
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