Introduction: Sculpt a Gargoyle From Clay
Runner Up in the
Clay Contest 2016
The most common belief is that Gargoyles are protectors that keep evil away from buildings and their occupants. Dress up your home or garden with a medieval monster ... better known as a Grotesque (due to it's use being strictly ornamental).
Step 1: MATERIALS NEEDED
- Plastic containers (to create form)
- Quality masking tape (I like to use Duck or Scotch brand)
- Plastic bag (to cover work area)
- Clay: AMACO Self-hardening clays are suitable for all hand methods of modeling. Moist form is ready to use. When dry, modeled objects are hard and durable without firing and accept any medium. Coat dry pieces with varnish for extra strength.
- Clay sculpting tools (or toothpicks and kitchen utensils - whatever you have)
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Animal Eyes ( hobbylobby.com)
- Paint: Rustoleum American Accents Stone spray paint. This unique formula's textured, multi-toned finish will transform ordinary objects into beautiful stonework.
- Black acrylic paint and paintbrush
- Clear Matte Polyurethane spray paint
Step 2: SKETCH IT OUT
Draw a rough sketch of the pose and expression you want to create.
Step 3: CREATE a FORM
Tape old milk jugs, 2-liter bottles or household cleaner containers together to create a structured base for your clay.
Step 4: ADD SHAPE*
Give your form more shape using newspaper and masking tape. You can wad newspaper into a ball (for the head) or twist it into a rope (for the arms and legs), etc. Attach your pieces to the form with masking tape.
*This is a very important step. The more you add to your form the better - Keep in mind that you will want to keep your clay layer as thin as possible to reduce weight and drying time).
Step 5: COVER WITH TAPE
Cover the entire form with good quality masking tape. You'll want to completely cover the form - do not leave any paper or plastic showing through. To maintain the shape of the form butt pieces of tape together at joints, tear and use small pieces around curves and be sure to push it into cracks and crevices - and don't forget the bottom!
Step 6: COVER WITH CLAY
Cover your work area with a plastic trash bag. Place your Grotesque form in the center and cover it with clay keep the layer uniform to prevent cracking (I try to cover with around 1/2" of clay).
Begin with larger sections- you want a foundation to work with! Then move on to smaller sections, carefully defining the shape of your Grotesque.
Once there is a layer of clay covering the entire sculpture you can begin to add in finer details. Then move and smooth larger pieces into their final shape and begin to carve out smaller details (angles in the face, hollow of the eyes, knuckles in the hand, etc.)
You can create texture by carving with tools, imprinting with items such as burlap or by smoothing on small pieces of wet clay.
Place the eyes in the head by pushing them into the clay (I had to cut a good portion of the screw back off to help them sit correctly in their sockets).
NOW LET IT DRY
You'll need to cure your sculpture to make it hard. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the clay you use.
To ensure an even dry out keep your sculpture wrapped in damp newspaper; if spots appear to be drying faster (such as the face, or tips of ears) spray them with water.
Step 7: FINISHING
Before you paint your sculpture you'll want to give it a quick wipe down with rubbing alcohol.
For the base color I used Rustoleum American Accents Stone spray paint. I covered it with two light coats. Be sure to turn it on its side between coats so you can paint the bottom and any spots that may have been missed.
Once the base coat has completely dried use your paintbrush with acrylic black paint to add shadows and definition to the sculpture.
Wait 4 hours, then apply the clear top coat for extra protection.
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