Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trying Something New

I'm an equine artist, but I sometimes want a change of pace and do something different.  ("Tolte" isn't finished, but will be worked on at Equine Affaire - I'm saving some of the work for then.  More pictures after that!)

A friend of mine (Holly McCullough, makes those baby dolls that look like real babies.  The process of doing this - painting the delicate skin tones, the veins beneath the skin's surface, rooting mohair for the baby's hair, etc. - is what Holly does.  She buys the sculpts to "reborn."  She asked me if I'd ever considered sculpting dolls.  Well, no, but I am interested in figurative sculpting, so I decided to give it a try. 

There are various ways to make the doll heads.  You can buy a sculpting form from to which you add full round eyes (as opposed to flat-back eyes) and polymer clay like Super Sculpy (which is what I used for this one).  They have an instructional DVD which I found very helpful, but as I worked, I decided  they must have left out some information.  They say to put two layers of clay on the form and just push that around to get the features you want.  But their form isn't shaped like a baby's head, IMO.  The back is too flat and the forehead slopes too much.  I had to add four layers of clay to bring the forehead up to the rounded look I love in babies.  I also had to put four layers of clay on the cheeks to get them pudgy at all.

I think the chin is too far forward too - a baby's face, as I recall and as my research so far shows me, kind of falls away there, with the chin being farther back than the nose more than my doll's is here.  The ear looks big, but it fits the size of what they had on the sculpt as the ear locator.  

I'm not that happy with his face.  Sculpting squinchy eyes is hard for me - I'm used to doing big, open, soft eyes but little babies eyes aren't like that.  I  may have too much depth in his eye sockets, I'm not sure.  He's CLOSE to done, but even if he is and I bake him this way (well, after I finish smoothing him), I'm not satisfied with him.  I think the sculpting form restricted me too much.  The next doll I do will be done on a styrofoam form that has no details, just a kind of shelf where the eyes go and then a pudgy place below that.  It's small enough that I'll have to add a lot of clay to it, I think, before it will be big enough.  But in those layers of clay, I will have the freedom to build the face and head the way I see them.  Hopefully then I'll like the resulting baby better.  When that kind of sculpting form is baked, it shrinks to a nugget inside the head.  I got those from owned by Stephanie Sullivan. She has everything you need to make doll sculpts or do reborning, and she's local, so I had a lovely time talking to her!  If you get the Secrist DVD, you'll see one of her sculpts near the very end.  I'll post pics of the new baby when I get it done.

I know these babies will look a LOT different after Holly "reborns" them - I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out!

The best thing is - this has been quite a challenge for me and has tested my sculpting skills in ways they haven't been in years.  That's FUN for me!!