We used two different clays for our sculptures, Laguna WED clay (we went through maybe 150 lbs using it to sculpt the body suit, and using it for all the clay walls) and also Chavant Le Beau Touche (for the gloves, feet, cowl and dreads).
Let me just say, I despise sculpting. I was always so stressed to put in every little detail that was in the statue, but I knew it wasn’t possible with the time we had and the skill I had, and it made me so critical. I just didn’t enjoy sculpting at all.
Things that are important to have for sculpting for prosthetics:
A base for your sculpture. If you’re using hands or feet like we did, have a base for them to stand upright on. If you made the resin hands like we suggested (you will notice our hands are stone in all of the glove pictures; we didn’t have time to make the resin hands beforehand but we don’t suggest waiting until after like we did) then you’ll have rods sticking out the back, these can be stuck into wood for a stand.
The correct sculpting tools. This isn’t our final count; we had to go out and get several other smaller loop tools, some scraper tools and rake tools for details. Monster Makers has some nice sculpting tools.
Patience, lots and lots of patience.
A ton of reference pictures. If you’re working on an old age makeup, study how old faces look, how the skin sits, where the wrinkles are. If you’re basing of an existing character, get as many shots of as many angles of the character as you can. We had an entire binder full of shots of the statue- Steve Wang is amazing and posted progress shots of the Kerrigan statue, so that was extremely helpful reference for us.
I’m not posting steps on how to sculpt, because honestly, I’m not a sculptor, I’m certain that the sculpting I did was pure luck, and so all I can give are tips. The book I’ve referenced and recommended over and over has amazing tips and techniques for sculpting; there are also DVDs you can get on sculpting alone for prosthetic makeup. Just take your time.
For the dreads, I drew out guides on a paper, measured them and made sure they were the right width. I based the widths on a picture of Kerrigan’s head with the dreads coming down, there were some super skinny ones in front, then a few larger ones behind those, then even larger ones behind those… all in all, I think I decided there were five sizes, and so I drew out five sizes of dreads.
If you’re working with WED clay, please make sure to keep your sculpture moist, and cover it when you aren’t working on it. We used a garbage bag at the feet of the body sculpture, and a few plastic tarps wrapped around it, and also made sure to water it every day when I wasn’t working on it, so that it wouldn’t dry out and ruin it.
My biggest trial, I think, were the ears- I struggled with them for a while, then I found this tutorial, and I finally understood how to sculpt the ears. If you’re having issues, check it out.
Make sure your sculpture for a prosthetic, if on top of a base like a hand or head, is minimum 1/8 inch thick everywhere. If it is any thinner, you run the risk of your appliance being too thin and tearing. The only spot it can be thinner is on edges where it will be blended on to your skin, then it should be tapered out to be as thin as possible so it blends well with your skin.
Another word of advice, if you are doing a cowl, like we did, and you are going to have a large mass under the cowl, like we did, then sculpt the forehead lower than it needs to be, because it will stretch and be much higher than it should be in the end.
Practice, practice, practice. Take your time, read some books on sculpting, and practice. It will make a huge difference.
That’s really all I have on sculpting, if there are any specific questions on it, feel free to ask. I’ll be a bit more specific on sculpting for the cowl in the next tutorial.