Sculpting a Dog in Air Dry Clay

See how to sculpt and model a sculpture of a boxer dog, using air clay in white and terracotta colors.

2 hour, 33 min. video

Techniques for using colored clays together are explored, including adding graphite powder to the air dry clay to darken it.

Hear about the specifics of working with air dry clay, including how to deal with the limited time for modeling as the clay dries. Explained is sculpting with your hands and a range of sculpture tools.

Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Video Walkthrough

  • Cutting up a piece of styrofoam for the inside of the sculpture is a way to not have to make the sculpture entirely out of clay, and is therefore more cost effective.
  • Any wooden board will work, plywood is more affordable than other woods.
  • Many air dry clays are typically sticky and lack body; Sculpey Air-Dry™ has a substantial body to it and isn’t sticky at all.
  • Sculpey Air-Dry™ can be sprayed with water before wrapping in plastic to keep it hydrated.
  • Acrylic paints and pigments all can be mixed into air dry clays to change the color.
  • The air dry clay stayed fresh for about 90 min, by the time 2 hours and 30 min. had past the surface of the clay had started to set up.
  • Air dry clay is a great option if you don’t have access to a ceramic kiln.
  • When sculpting in 3D, it’s important to keep turning your sculpture around to different views.
  • Avoid sculpting from one view for too long, as the form can look entirely different from another view.
  • Shooting reference photos for a 3D sculpture is entirely different from shooting photos for say a 2D drawing.
  • When shooting reference photos for 3D, you to to shoot photos from above, and all around the sounds to get every view, including detail shots of various parts.
  • Sculpting from reference photos is not ideal, but often necessary in the case of an animal who is not going to stay still!
  • The sculpture process is largely sculpting with your hands at the beginning, while tools can help you get into the smaller nooks and crannies.
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Prof Lieu’s Tips

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To me there is no such thing as a supply that is inherently good or bad, which is ridiculous if you think about it.

Air Dry Clay Sculpture, Figure Modeling, Dog, for Self-Taught Artists

Also depends on the context, I know that in academia people would definitely see anything with colored pencil as a lower art form. 🙄

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