How to smooth oil based clay or the reason why i should do more and think less

Some time ago I asked myself how I could get a smooth surface of my object, done with oil based clay. Depending on the results you want in the end, it is important for you as an artist to have a smooth finish. If it’s a naturalistic doll you are doing,you will want her to have a flawless skin at the end.

Well, after searching for some information, i found out that people use petroleum jelly for that nice finish. I now read in my book from Hildegard Günzel (Creating Original Porcelain Dolls-Modeling, molding and painting) that she uses talcum powder at the end, to get rid of unevenness in her dolls. Another trick she uses: she dips her hands into warm water and then gently touches the surface to get it soft. This is something I wouldn’t have found out by myself, because i wouldn’t have thought that water could have an effect on oil based clay. But I’m sure i will soon try this out.

To complete the picture I will mention that some artists use alcohol for their oil based sculpture in the end, others use chemicals, but i will personally stick to the methods I mentioned above =)

Then you might ask yourself why it is so important to do this at the beginning, because some people concentrate on a smooth finish at the end of their work. Well, the idea is to get the prototype doll smooth now, so that later on when I cast the doll (meaning I will duplicate her, or CLONE her) i will not have much trouble getting a soft surface. The more I concentrate on a smooth finish at the beginning, the less trouble I will have in the end.

Funny enough, while updating my article on how to use oil based clay or plasticine clay, i am actually working with water based clay at the moment. This is the first clay i ever sculpted with and it has some qualities i don’t want to miss. In my area the plasticine always comes in small quantities, while the water based clay can be bought in  10 kilo bags. That would be the main reason why I suddenly decided to go for this material, as my 60-70 cm doll will need a lot of material.Sometimes I hate myself for this decision because water based clay will dry out fast, which will lead to cracks. But as every material comes with its own pros and cons, i will try only to focus on the reason why I love this material so much. Also it might help me to speed up my work a little bit,because i am way too slowly at the moment and way too perfectionist. That’s why i am writing in my blog instead of working on my doll, because I don’t have the positive drive at the moment. Maybe I should focus on “action sculpting” once more, meaning, I should try to DO MORE and THINK LESS.

I’m planning to use the oil clay that I have for sculpting faces and/or  for my molds (as backup), but as it doesn’t dry out i can reuse it for anything i like. And as you might have noticed, I keep on changing my mind during the process anyways, so just keep on visiting my blog to see what i will be doing next.

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