This is the third and last part of the polymer clay basics tutorial. I will be covering the different tools I use, blending clay, and doing some real time demonstrations. Because so much of this part is visual I won't be transcribing it to a post.
This is part two of the polymer clay basics tutorial. See Part I here.
My first tip is to use a sturdy bulked out armature that's a attached or can be easily attached to some sort of base. You do not want to try sculpting anything complex without an armature because you'll never find a place to grip it without ruining a different part.
For a figure you can run the main wires through the base of a piece of wood like this.
And on the top and bottom I used a special 2 part epoxy clay to secure it, more on that in a bit.
This is an extension of Polymer Clay Basics - Part I.
First & Second Test
I initially did a few rough experiments myself though with different substances. I only thought of a few things I had on hand (not baby oil), then I redid part of the test with the baby oil but I didn't bake it exactly the same (the first test you see in the pictures was slightly overcooked). So it was a bit of a mess but it told me that in a pinch you could use just about anything. At normal cooking temperatures there was very little difference in coloration. There were some differences in flexibility but Fimo is so flexible no piece broke from the bending.
The links were in the last post but I put them here again: The first set of instructions I'd found on Will Kemp's blog in reply to him and the ones I found later on Golden's site on a page about testing surfaces in general.
Above is the scanned pieces of tape, right click > open image in new tab, to see them in full size.
The adhesion test video is in the next post.
This was the chart I kept for the drying tests. Temperatures were around 12 C for those days like I mentioned in the video. Probably around 20 C inside, maybe less (heater is off at night).
Regarding the "watercolors" I know I called them a watercolor substitute, but it's more like they've substituted watercolors for me specifically because they're slower drying, portable, and won't crack. But they're more like something between gouache and oils and yet they have a distinct sticky feel (like warm honey). They're more opaque then watercolors, but they stay wet longer, and yet they have that tendency to stay in that sticky watercolor stage on paper. My mix is about 1:1, more and they flow too much, less and they'd dry in the box because it's not airtight (if the box were airtight I could use less).
I also like them because I can paint at the consistency they're at without accidently over diluting them with water like I usually do watercolors. For example, for a sky, I'll outline the object, then I'll go back on the paper and spread the color around with a water-brush there.
One thing I forgot to mention is that you should use professional grade acrylics for them if you want them to keep their opacity. Additionally if you like gouache you can mix in a bit of titanium white with all your colors to make the even more opaque.
I will do a video with them in the future.
I did a lot of research several tests before trying the techniques I tried here. And the painting seems to be stable for now, but I can’t guarantee anything, please do your own tests with your own materials and draw your own conclusions. Usually if there are problems it tends to happen within the first few days. As of now (two weeks), the painting is stable enough. The paint has not cracked or peeled (not even from purposely trying to peel it with tape), and the plastic (it’s HIPS plastic) is in great condition (the medium heat from the blow dryer did not bend it out of shape). Update: I did do a swab test (softly rubbing a wet cotton swab on the surface) at two weeks and I did get some very minor lifting in the background, but still nothing with the tape and nothing where I then painted the light in with gray over that red background. So I don’t think it’s something to worry about as long as I add an isolation layer of pure medium over everything. Whatever lose pigments remain from the under-bound paint look like they’re easily contained by another proper layer of paint. Overall it satisfies me. I’ll report back further once I add this layer.The only thing is I painted all the way to the edge and the paint is kind of ragged there, liable to being accidentally peeled from handling roughly. Before I didn’t paint to the edges because I used the edges to handle the canvas paper. I kept doing that for a while even though I started to secure my pages because they were already marked for it. But for this I thought there was no point, well now I realize it’s probably better to continue that habit.
Also all the water made the plastic stick to the paper I was using to hang it from. I managed to unstick it and rub it off with just some water, but some of the gesso came off. I repainted it, and it’s all fine. Not really the fault of the plastic (just the sheer amount of water would have ruined a painting in canvas paper), but more bad planning on my part.
Sorry for the lateness I had a lot of trouble uploading because it was so long. There might be some audio gap/jumps because I had to split the video into parts to upload and the youtube editor is horrible for stitching them back together.
Springy Sketching Pen (Coming Soon)
Torso Tutorial (Planned)
Their are way more limited palettes then what I covered. These are just the ones I wanted to try. Technically their are as many combinations of three colors as you could think of although only a couple dozen are very useful and common. You could even use a two color palette to great effect. James Gourney has some great examples of two palette paintings, this one I think is one of the most striking. The Zorn palette is technically two color, but I see it more as a three color palette because the black serves as a substitute blue.
I also want to mention if you didn’t see the annotation I made, that it’s often much cheaper to buy a set if you can.
There’s also a lot of small sets to choose from, but for example with Golden, the small ones are around $0.16 per ml, while the big sets are only $0.11 per ml. Prices calculated from Amazon/Dick Blick.
There’s also different series/pigment prices to consider but the video was long enough. I’ll make a note to do a video on deciphering paint tubes.