The Art Project: Animal Sculpture


This art project is based on Horace Pippin's Holy Mountain III, we will try to do a sculpture of an animal using clay or flour dough.

MATERIALS NEEDED: Clay or dough, newspaper, paper towels, cup with water, wooden stick (or similar object) for adding texture and detail, and toy animal or picture to model after.

Step 1
Kneed clay until it’s soft and easy to mold. If it’s too hard or dry, you can add a drop of water at a time, until it’s not too dry but not too much that it’s sticky.

Step 2
When you are ready to begin, do the basic outer shape of the animal you are trying to do. You can add more clay to areas that need it by wetting you finger with water and going over the area where you are adding more clay and smoothing it out.

Do not separate clay into parts and then later try to put them back together or these parts will fall apart when the clay dries.

For example: Do not make a leg 
by itself and then attach it to the rest of the body. Work as though the animal was already inside of your lump of clay and you are only taking away the clay that is not needed.

Step 3
Try to keep it in proportion by checking your work as you go. For instance, is the head half the size in relationship to the body or smaller?

Step 4
Once you have the basic shape and you are happy with it, smooth any areas that may have cracks by wetting your finger with water and going over them. Do not make very thin parts as they tend to break easily.

Step 5
You can now start to shape the features of the animal. The eyes, ears, paws, tail etc. Use your wooden stick and add texture too.

Step 6
Let it dry. If you used dough, you can bake it at low temperature and then use white glue as a varnish to protect it. If you used clay let it dry for 7 days before firing it, but if you are not firing it, then for 10 days and use white glue as a varnish as well.

Note: If you are painting your sculpture, do so before you cover it with glue. 

Read more about Horace Pippin here.

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