First, I get as many pictures at different angles of the subject as I can find. This can also be of a pet. Take a picture or two and maybe enlarge them. Measure the head, length and width, then see how many heads(length) it takes to measure the body length, then the height. the head may be 1″, the body( 4 heads) or 4″ and the height (11/2 heads) or 1 1/2 “. Then decide how large you want your animal. Now you have your formula. So , say you want the head to be 7″ long. The body will be 28″ (7X4) and the height will be 1 1/2 X 7 or 10 1/2” tall.
Next, I use 1×2’s or 2×2’s unless I’m doing a small sculpture; then I might use styrafoam, balsa wood, tin can and mechanics wire. Visualize the animals “frame” or major bone structure. Cut wood to size(glue or use wire) if small. If large use metal plates to join the pieces together. Construct the frame. Visualize the shape of the head and neck and remember the purportions.Join with metal plates, wood screws and glue. Make the frame strong!
I use chicken wire (small holes) next. Then I cut a 1/2, 1 or 2 foot piece of wire with metal shears. Then I form it over the wooden structure and tie it with wire. Look at the structure of the picture to form the chicken wire. For a tail cut a chicken wire strip the length of the tail, 1 to 2″ wide and attach the sides to each other to make a “cilinder. Might want to use gloves as the ends of the chicken wire will “bite” ya. The feet, ears and horns, etc. can be made from chicken wire and attached with wire.
These two processes are time consuming but very important. The sturdiness of the frame and the shape of the chicken wire take time but are important to the final “look”,.so spend some time and get it “right”. As with anything , one gets faster and more accurate with time.
I use “Celluclay” a combination of clay and paper mache’ that I get at a hobby store. Mix with warm to hot water and mix with hands until “soft clay-like”. I get glass marbles or 1/2 glass marbles for the eyes. Begin putting the clay on the chicken wire ( top, let dry, then side,let dry, then bottom). Can use a blow dryer to speed up drying. Drying time also depends on the wettness of the clay. It can be shaped, cut and moulded while drying.
After it is completely dry, begin the process of painting with acrylic paint. After it is dry, I will spray a sealer on it.
After practice this becomes a joy and a challenge to create different animals and different sizes. Good luck and have fun. Leave a note if any questions
3 of my many animal sculptures
Gigi was a 7′ celluclay sculpture fashioned from 1×2’s and 2×2’s, chicken wire, celluclay and acrylic paint.
Tina, a 6′ long bengal tiger
Casey, the cougar was the first celluclay animal that I made.
I am presently making small animal sculptures that can be seen on http://RichardlynnArt.etsy.com