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Sculpting with Polymer Clay

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Step 3: Starting with Basic Shapes

Have you ever seen the early stages of a cartoon being drawn, how the artist will begin by creating vague shapes to block out the body of the character? They go in afterwards and add the details to the shapes and eventually a noticeable character emerges from the bubbles. The same process works equally well for sculpting, but instead of planning with lines you sketch with 3d shapes.

For example, the cheeseburger for this Pusheen the Cat sculpture was made almost entirely by rolling up balls of clay and smashing them flat with the palm of my hand. Instead of meticulously sculpting every single dimple on the meat of the cheeseburger, it was far easier to roll out a small snake of clay, cut it into sections, and roll the sections into balls that could be squished up against the hamburger. After the hamburger was made solid via baking, the bumps were smoothed out by smearing clay into the voids.

To create the lettuce and the cheese, two more balls of clay were flattened out on the table. Then I used a knife to cut out the square, cheese shape and the curvy lettuce. The pieces were then lifted off of the paper and draped over the hamburger like they were the real thing.

As you've probably guessed by now, the tomatoes were also made from squished clay spheres.

The top bun is more of a half squished ball, I rolled my finger along the top of the bun to smooth the surface and get the curve right.  This particular cheeseburger needs to have a bite taken out of, something that would be very difficult to sculpt by hand. Instead of even trying to do that, I went to the kitchen drawer, found a drinking straw and used it to cut the bite marks out of the bun.
 
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