Monday, August 24, 2009

How to make Monsters

Hi Everyone,

I have to type instructions for my class on Wednesday so I thought I would show how I make my monsters.

1. Start with a plug of clay flattened to about 1/2 inch thick and about 2.5 inches tall with about 2 inches wide (these are guidelines, you can make it any size you want). You want enough to be able to see a head above the bottle, but you can stretch it while you're working on it so just about any size will do.

You can use scrap clay as is, or you can cover the clay with a thin veneer of colour or mokume gane or whatever you want.

Shape the head to whatever you would like. You can have horns, a cone head, a squat head like in the examples here, or tentacles.

2. Cut the shapes of the arms. This is an L-shape cut. I've found it easiest to start with a razor blade and simply press the blade into the clay about 1/4 inch in from each side, and then cutting again near where the feet are. See the photo since a picture is much easier to understand. I like using a tile to help push the blade into the clay. Turn the piece over and finish cutting if required, but usually a gentle pull will do.

3. Cut out the leg piece. I use part of a cookie cutter to do this. Try to centre it.

4. Shape the arms and body to give it a slightly rounded look. If you're working with something with a veneer, you can pinch the clay in to hide the scrap clay beneath.

5. Now you're ready for texturing if you want. A needle tool or toothpicks work well for fur. You can also use Philips screwdriver heads, Allen wrenches, or anything else that you like. Texture the front.

Before you turn the monster over for more texturing, take some time to press the bottle firmly into the monster's front. Important note, which I didn't figure out until too late, if you're going to put stuff in the bottle, make sure you give enough room between the head and the top of the bottle to be able to add the lid.

Once that's done, turn the monster over and texture the back, the sides, and under the arms. Gently run your fingers over the monster to remove the little scruffy bits that occur with toothpick or needle tool texturing.

6. If you want, you can apply PearlEx or whatever powders you like to work with. A little goes a long way. You can make them monochrome or multicoloured. If you apply the PearlEx before the texturing it can sometimes give a richer colour and better coverage.

7. Once texturing and powdering is complete, add the bottle back in and shape the arms to the bottle. You may need to re-texture parts of the arms depending on how easily the arms shape. Go gently to avoid tears.

8. Add something for the face. Several ideas have been posted. You may simply decide to add a big googly eye instead of a face and that's OK, too.

9. Add other bakeable embellishments if desired. Here's where you would add clay horns.

10. Bake according to your clay instructions for appropriate time. I bake mine standing up so that I know that they're balanced.

You may need to reposition the arms or fix some cracks after baking. These are common. Sometimes an additional embellishment is all that is needed (see the flower on the one monster).

11. Once the monster has cooled, apply a thin coat of finish to seal in the powder if you've used it.

12. After the finish has dried, you may need to glue the bottle back in place. Add googly eyes and other non-bakeable embellishments. Fill bottles with beads, flakes, and other things. Top with lids.

Tah Dah!

Enjoy. And if anyone wants to post or send me photos of their creations I'd be happy to post them here or refer to your blogs.

I will post photos after class on Wednesday night. There are going to be 10 of us so it should be fun.

And thanks to Diane Koss of Cutesey But Not Cutesey for the inspiration. Her creations and our interpretation will be making many kids at Toronto Sick Kids happy.



Vivi said...

excellent, I love those !!

Louise said...

Superb demo!
Like I told you I love them!!!