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Elvenwork Forum

This forum has been a way to provide a public exchange of questions and answers for polymer clay sculptors. But, as I said in my final post, there comes a time when all things must end. That doesn't mean the forum used as an archive has nothing to offer. Indeed it is still loaded with questions and answers that remain relevant and which are searchable! For that reason, I'm keeping it available, though no new posts can be added. If after searching the forum your question isn't addressed, Join me on to ask it. As always, you'll find me there as Katherine Dewey. Hope to see you there. --  Katherine

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raccoon or skunk sculpture tutorial

My father has decided that I should sculpt him a raccoon or skunk for their garden (in a very sheltered outdoor spot). It doesn't need to be VERY big, probably 6" long at most - but it would need to be "fairly" realistic, not cartoonish. I've only ever sculpted small things with a foil armature. Mostly from Kathy's book, or really cartoony (dinkov style) stuff. I'm at a loss where to start. I'm reading all sorts of stuff for armatures, but I don't know quite how to start planning this sculpt. Any tutorials out there? Or advice?

Re: raccoon or skunk sculpture tutorial

Hi Gillian,
If you look on page of 14 of Creating Life-like Animals, you'll find clues for creating animals of your own design. I used the example of a mouse, illustrating how simple shapes combine to create a more complex form. You can use these same techniques to create any animal. For resources, I recommend two books. In fact, you'll find them listed in the back of my book. They are:
'Drawing and Painting Animals' by Bill Tilton

'Drawing Animals' by Adams and Singer.

Yes, these are drawing books, but they will help you find the basic forms and texture patterns for a variety of small animals, including a racoon.

Study the form (sometimes called foundation) drawings in these books. Note the simple shapes and how similar they are to the patterns in my book. Create your own. With a little research and the right references, you can do this. Consider drawing your ideas on graph paper, creating the same kind of patterns I created. By counting the squares, you will be able to determine roughly how much clay to use for each body part. The foil cores in the animal book can be scaled up. The cores used in the rabbit or bear should suit you very well for head and body. A variation of the Fox's tail armature is ideal for a racoon or skunk's tail. His ear patterns are also suitable. If you're concerned about strength because the animal will be out of doors, consider skinning the foil and brass rods with epoxy putty. Prep it with white glue to make the clay adhere.
You can do this!