Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sculpting hands

As an artist I know how difficult it can be to draw and paint hands. It's one of the things that lots of artists struggle with. I know I have and still do from time to time. Get it even slightly wrong and it can ruin an otherwise good image. So I was full of trepidation when I started to sculpt the hands. But what a revelation!! Instead of struggling I really, really enjoyed it. Perhaps it was because working in 3 dimensions removes the worry about foreshortening, I don't know, but I had a blast doing the first hand.

Of course, when things are going well something always happens to balance it somewhat. It was raining all day while I was working. This shouldn't really be a problem - nice cosy room to work in, as much coffee as I can drink, but.. a rainy day means bored cats who won't go out in the wet, which leads to this kind of thing -

After much sniffing of jars and pliers, and an attempt to bite a troll ear he turned his attention to the feet, got a troll foot hair up his nose and promptly sneezed. Lovely, I get sprayed with cat bogeys...
But if that was the price I had to pay, it was a small one, I think, to end up with a pair of gnarly old troll hands that worked out much better than I'd expected.

(the hand on the right is mine by the way - just in case you were wondering ;)  )


  1. These look great.I really struggle with fingers and can never get the modelling clay (whatever I use) to stay in place as I work on it. I would love to see more photos so how you built these up from the armature. Did you do multiple layers and cookings? All tips welcomed :)

  2. Unfortunately I didn't take any more pictures during the process. I get a bit carried away and keep forgetting that I'm supposed to be photographing it as I go X-|

    I think the layer of fimo helped a lot. I started with a thin-ish layer of sculpey over the Fimo then just kept adding little bits to build up the knuckles and lengthen the fingers. I did them all in one go - no seperate cooked layers - again because I got so into it that I just kept going. As I'm starting to learn, having had to re-attach a finger that broke off after baking, this is not the best way to work. I need to slow down and plan more so I can build a piece up in baked layers and make it stronger.

    I think what probably made it easier to keep the fingers in place is that they're not completely individual now that all the clay is on so they support each other. The palms and underside of the fingers aren't finished in any detail because they'll never be seen. I added the nails as separate pieces after marking out the nail bed with a needle and the veins on the backs of the hands were very thinnly rolled pieces that I just kept smoothing down until they blended

    One thing I did find very useful was one of those wooden satay/kebab sticks. The one I chose had a little splinter missing running the full length of the stick (which I guess you could created by scoring it too) and the rest of it was quite uneven. I found that by rolling it lightly over the surface of the fingers it created those horizonal lines over the knuckles especially.