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My daughter is showing interest in sculpting.


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So the other day my daughter decided she wanted to make her own Shopkins minis and had her mommy buy some air dry clay with her own money she has saved up.  She got it Friday and went to town.  I remembered that I had some sculpting tools I bought for using the green stuff on our minis that needed  gaps filled and gave them to her.  She made a few things but has no clue really how to do anything and I have zero experience.  

 

Are there any resources that may be good for a 7 year old to get some idea on the basics?  She is ready to paint the couple of things she made and have already dried.

 

Pic attached for the "AWWWW" factor. :)

 

 

post-12234-0-07220200-1487468793_thumb.jpg

 

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AWWWWW! I have been following Tom Mason's sculpting series on youtube, but that is more focused on fantasy minis. But I'm sure there will be lots of things on youtube ... probably even lots of shopkins-specific stuff. Someone remind me, how did we learn new skills before youtube?

 

Also, put her to work making bases for you :)

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Have her do some animals or masks of some of her favorite cartoon characters. Maybe start easier and ask her to do a small clay pot. You could help encourage her by paying for her sculpts so she can buy more materials, or candy, whatever, she'll learn her work gets her something in return besides the enjoyment of it. Maybe you could set up challenges for her, sculpt a fish, sculpt a mask, clay finger puppets of classic fantasy heroes, a pretty little tree. I bet she'd have more fun sculpting things she is interested in so whatever that is, encourage it. As for how to do it, there's lots of youtube vids about it she could watch while she sculpts. Is there a Bob Ross of sculpting out there?

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Search terms that I'd use would be "Chibi sculpting tutorial", "Kawaii sculpting tutorial", and, of course, "Shopkins sculpting tutorial".

 

Her stance looks good - probably from watching you paint.  It might help to put the sculpt on a large bottle cap (think Gatorade) to keep fingerprints off.  Either way some kind of green scratchpad like you use to scour dishes might come in handy to remove fingerprints and other smudges before painting.  I'd also normally have some kind of pattern in front of me - picture of what I'm sculpting or an actual 3-d object.

 

If I were going to make some Shopkins from scratch I'd probably use polymer clay because it's easier to work with and more durable when you're done.  The word that most improved my sculpting when I started out was "armature", which is trickier with the air-dry stuff.  Plus polyclay can be painted the same day.  "FIMO soft" or "FIMO kids" are both available in cheap 42 gram packages and squishy enough for children to work.  There's lots of misinformation online about the dangers of polymer clay so I'll leave this here (Hi, Pingo!).

 

http://www.dick-blick.com/msds/DBH_33671XXXX.pdf

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That's awesome to see. You'll find some tutorial on Youtube. Look for subject like; How to Get Started with Basic Sculpting, Sculpting in clay, or Basic sculpting tutorial.

 

Will go through some with her.  She got the idea to do this from some girl she watches all the time who does box opening of toys and many other things.  I guess she mentioned designing her own stuff so now we want to try it. This is awesome because she is a very creative little girl and has loved painting minis with me since she was 4.

 

 

Also, put her to work making bases for you :)

 

She already bases everything she paints. Lately she paints more than i do.  when we sit down I may get a base coat on something but spend time helping her out with things or just watching.

 

 

Have her do some animals or masks of some of her favorite cartoon characters. Maybe start easier and ask her to do a small clay pot. You could help encourage her by paying for her sculpts so she can buy more materials, or candy, whatever, she'll learn her work gets her something in return besides the enjoyment of it. Maybe you could set up challenges for her, sculpt a fish, sculpt a mask, clay finger puppets of classic fantasy heroes, a pretty little tree. I bet she'd have more fun sculpting things she is interested in so whatever that is, encourage it. As for how to do it, there's lots of youtube vids about it she could watch while she sculpts. Is there a Bob Ross of sculpting out there?

 

 

Love this and will see if I can come with with something she likes.  Usually when being creative she has something in mind and any suggestions may get through. :)

 

 

 

Her stance looks good - probably from watching you paint.  It might help to put the sculpt on a large bottle cap (think Gatorade) to keep fingerprints off.  Either way some kind of green scratchpad like you use to scour dishes might come in handy to remove fingerprints and other smudges before painting.  I'd also normally have some kind of pattern in front of me - picture of what I'm sculpting or an actual 3-d object.

 

If I were going to make some Shopkins from scratch I'd probably use polymer clay because it's easier to work with and more durable when you're done.  The word that most improved my sculpting when I started out was "armature", which is trickier with the air-dry stuff.  Plus polyclay can be painted the same day.  "FIMO soft" or "FIMO kids" are both available in cheap 42 gram packages and squishy enough for children to work.  There's lots of misinformation online about the dangers of polymer clay so I'll leave this here (Hi, Pingo!).

 

 

Yeah she may have picked some stuff up from me while we painted but she also had her first class last year at Reapercon and the instructor did a great job in telling her things I have tried to tell her but never could get her to quite follow.  I guess having an teacher tell you something is better than your dad. :)

 

I will mention the FIMO to her and may go look for some this week if she wants to try it too and then she can decide which she prefers to use.

 

 

Thanks a bunch for all the info so far!  Hopefully we can find some good basic videos to help her with a few simple things when working with whatever she decides to use. Feel free to keep adding any other tidbits of info that could possibly help me steer her in the right direction for making her things look good.

 

 
 
EDITed for quoting issues.
Edited by hungerfan
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There are tons of videos about sculpting on YouTube, the problem is most of them are aimed at adults, in fact I don't think I've ever seen a "proper" sculpting video for children her age. Most tutorial videos are going to be rather long and boring for her - she's only 7 after all. The best I can suggest is finding a few videos on YouTube about specific sculpting themes such as fairies and dolls.

 

Air-dry clay is excellent for working on larger pieces; it's sort of like a super-fine papier maché but it's easy to smooth with water and it can be carved and sanded when dry. If your daughter is sculpting something the size of a grapefruit, I would definitely stick with the air-dry clay, but I agree with Kitchen Wolf about the merits of polymer clay - that stuff is fantastic, not only can you sculpt with it, you can colorize with it too. 

 

Here's a speed-sculpt by a lady making a kitty-cat face; she paints with the Fimo:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XBpFxoAPgo

 

And this is how you can make your own polymer clay paints:

 

 

You'll also need to know how to knead polymer clay. It's no problem if you're only using tiny amounts, but a popular method of kneading polymer clay is to first grate it up (as shown in the video) and/or put it through a cheap pasta machine to roll it; much easier than just kneading by hand if you've got a lot of it to do. Polymer clay comes in hard little bricks and needs a lot of kneading before it becomes soft.

 

Here is a flower fairy being sculpted, also in polymer clay (I like this one):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3WHH0ME4TE

 

 

Unless she is amazingly gifted, she won't get these kind of results overnight, most people have to spend years and years getting good at sculpting in exactly the same way as musicians have to spend years and years practicing. That's something you will have to explain to her if she gets frustrated.

 

Incidentally, polymer clay will hold extreme fine detail which is why it is popular as a medium for sculpting miniatures.

Edited by Speak_Centurion
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 One thing you can do, on a slight tangent, is find tutorials for kids on how to draw things like cartoon characters and such - it's not directly about sculpting, but they will teach her basic art stuff like proportion and perspective... Which is one of the major stumbling blocks of new sculptors, the fact that they have no real art background, or experience with any other sort of medium.

(if you read about any of the famous sculptors of history, they all spent time making stacks of sketches of whatever they were sculpting...)

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 One thing you can do, on a slight tangent, is find tutorials for kids on how to draw things like cartoon characters and such - it's not directly about sculpting, but they will teach her basic art stuff like proportion and perspective... Which is one of the major stumbling blocks of new sculptors, the fact that they have no real art background, or experience with any other sort of medium.

(if you read about any of the famous sculptors of history, they all spent time making stacks of sketches of whatever they were sculpting...)

 

Thanks for that input.  I do have some old books i used as a child.  Those "How to draw <insert stuff here>" books.  Need to dig them up I guess and hand them over to her. :)  She has her own sketch book and uses it plus paper that is sitting around.  She even drew up her own Shopkins figures before she got the clay.

 

She also wants to take a class a Reapercon 2017. I told her that as far as I knew there was nothing she would be able to take for sculpting until she is a bit older.

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If she's looking for classes, there are probably classes aimed at kids somewhere in your area. I know the schools here often have art classes after school that include anything from landscape painting to comic book sketching and clay. Less waiting and more age-appropriate instruction sounds like a win-win to me! ^_^

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One thing you can do, on a slight tangent, is find tutorials for kids on how to draw things like cartoon characters and such - it's not directly about sculpting, but they will teach her basic art stuff like proportion and perspective... Which is one of the major stumbling blocks of new sculptors, the fact that they have no real art background, or experience with any other sort of medium.

(if you read about any of the famous sculptors of history, they all spent time making stacks of sketches of whatever they were sculpting...)

Thanks for that input. I do have some old books i used as a child. Those "How to draw <insert stuff here>" books. Need to dig them up I guess and hand them over to her. :) She has her own sketch book and uses it plus paper that is sitting around. She even drew up her own Shopkins figures before she got the clay.

 

She also wants to take a class a Reapercon 2017. I told her that as far as I knew there was nothing she would be able to take for sculpting until she is a bit older.

Pretty sure any of the sculptors at ReaperCon would be pleased as punch to sit and give pointers to her, one on one. Maybe suggest a beginning sculpting class for kids in the RCon topics? I think there's normally a beginning sculpting class of some sort.

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If she's looking for classes, there are probably classes aimed at kids somewhere in your area. I know the schools here often have art classes after school that include anything from landscape painting to comic book sketching and clay. Less waiting and more age-appropriate instruction sounds like a win-win to me! ^_^

 

Open house is coming up so I will need to find her art teacher and ask if he knows of anything.  When we met him at some art show they did he was very impressed with what she had done and the piece she had on display was from the first project they did.  He will be happy to hear she has another interest in the arts. :)

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