Thinking of sculpting cartoon character with air dry clay? yayy... you must be excited :)
What character do you want to sculpt? what size? what style? What type of dry clay you want to use? Oops...don't feel interrogated please. These are just few questions you shall know the answers before starting your project.
Good preparation is better than feeling devastating because of fail project, right?
Honestly sculpting cartoon character looks easy but it's not. But, don't worry! Let me share my experience and steps with you.
Step 1: Choose the style
The style here is how you want your cartoon character look? Most of the time, people prefer to make cartoon character as close as to the real character.
But, some people make simplify version with doll face, bear face, kitty face, etc and then adding clothing, pose, color to the character they make.
For me, I prefer to mimic real cartoon character in my clay creation as you can see below.
Figurine at the left is store-bought Luigi, character from Mario Bros. Figurine at right side is created with air dry clay - soft clay.
Step 2: The size of your cartoon character
Decide the size of your cartoon character before you start. Because it will affect the way you build the sculpture.
For big sculpture (above 2 inches) you need something to support your sculpture so it can stand by itself. In fact you can build an armature to make bigger sculpture.
Few support options:
Step 3: Type of air dry clay
There are 3 types of air dry clay you can use for sculpting: air dry hardening modelling clay, soft clay and paper clay or paper mache clay.
Air dry hardening modelling clay will shrink and depending on how you use the clay, it may crack during drying process. You can't avoid it if the clay crack. Just patch it up with fresh clay.
Sculpting cartoon character with this clay is enjoyable because the clay behaves like traditional clay used for pottery but no kiln or baking needed
Soft clay is easy to handle, suitable for making small sculpture/ figurine. It will dry hard too but it feels a little bit rubbery when it's dry. Some will bounce on the floor like rubber. It won't break.
I like to use store-bought soft clay for my small cartoon characters.
Another type of air dry clay which is widely used for big sculpture is paper based clay like papermache clay. It's favorable because it doesn't shrink much or crack.
I have tutorial for some of my favorite characters in this website. Please feel free to visit my pages.
FYI, I will periodically adding new tutorial for carton character. Please visit this page often to see the update.