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.
<p>Many thanks for the information - very useful.</p>
<p>Awesome! You've packed a lot of good information into your tutorial. Thank you so much.</p>
What were the cats whiskers made out of I didn't really get that part
<p>i know you were not talking to me, but i <em>think</em> it may be wire.</p>
<p>It says that he cut the wire of a paperclip to the desired length, bent to shape and painted them black. </p>
<p>Hi, you get a very good step by step tutorial.<br> Allow you to showcase your work?<br> http://world-of-jewelry.ru/shop/</p>
<p>OMG this is so cute! xx Natalie </p>
<p>do You not use coloured clay?</p>
Hi there thanks for this article! Ive learned so much in less than 10 mins! But I have a quick question! You had said you make different sections and put them together. Here you baked off the burger first and then made the cat. How did you attach the cat after? Or did you rebake it? Thanks!
<p>I love this article! You are very good at sculpting. I was wondering if other paints worked with polymer clay... I don't have any acrylic paint at the moment. Thanks! :)</p>
<p>A very informative Instructable on how to work with clay! Nice job!</p>
It's so adorable! You did an amazing job! :)
<p>Thanks for the tip about the alcohol!</p>
So cute! It looks great:)
<p>I'm so glad I saw your instructable before venturing into clay crafts. I learned some very helpful tips and also have been inspired by your texture techniques. Thanks!</p>
It's like totally adorable
Thanks for the great tips!:)
This is a very useful instructable. <br> <br>But I totally lack artisticness, where do you can buy it?
You can buy polymer clay in craft stores. I use Hobby Lobby and Michaels. If you're starting out they have variety color packs and large single-color (usually white or peach) bricks. If you are looking into buying the small colored bricks instead of painting the final pieces, try to catch a day where all packs of polymer clay are on sale. I consider a 'good' price ~$1 per block.
Thanks Tomdf, polcipalma and GryphonixXIII.
Practice, practice, practice is the best way. Also, who is to say what art is anyway, if people don't like your artwork they probably just have bad taste ;)
En La Plata, en Polibol: 44 2 y 3, y en Batik de calle 7. 26$ los 50gr. Saludos!
26 $ argentinos. Marca comercial: FIMO de Staedtler.
Oh baby! This is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing. I would love to try this, but I'd end up making YOUR sculpture over and over because I just don't have the vision to come up with my own stuff. Unless ... uh oh. I am now off to google idea books.
Well, hey, it's not like that was an original design. The cat, Pusheen, is from a popular webcomic, and the other sculptures are from video games and magic the gathering cards. I don't think there is anything wrong working off of someone else's design as long as you give credit, aren't trying to make money off it, and you have fun doing it. <br> <br>And, if that philosophy doesn't work for ya, copy nature (she doesn't copyright or patent anything.) Sculpt a bear, a pig, a bumble bee, a shark, whatever; sculpting is a lot of fun, you really should try it!
Thanks Tomdf - I did go to a craft store today but their Sculpey was crazy-expensive compared to Amazon.com, so I'm gonna order it. I just need to remember that it's okay to start with a shark if I can't immediately create Rodin's ballerina sculpture!
Very Nice work and the tutorial was very well put together with tons of useful information. Thanks so much!
Ty for the kind words, happy you liked it!
love Pusheen :3
One of the best articles written about polymer clay EVER, informative and cute sculpture. Awesome.
Ty, I really like your use of mica powders btw. I'll be using your instructable to learn how to use them soon.
Thank you so much.
Wonderful and extremely useful. Great i'ble!
That cat is the cutest clay cat every!
&lt;3 Pusheen
To nice! Thanks!
cool website and awesome kitty <br>

About This Instructable




Bio: When I was young I took all of my toys apart just to see inside. Eventually I learned how to put them back together.
More by Tomdf:Star Trek Doorbell Hack Sculpting with Polymer Clay Gear Set for 3D Printing 
Add instructable to: