Create A Caricature In Clay Without A Studio | David Miller | Skillshare

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Create A Caricature In Clay Without A Studio

teacher avatar David Miller, Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Sketching Out The Caricatures

    • 3. Creating A Form

    • 4. Sculpting Pt 1

    • 5. Sculpting Pt 2

    • 6. Finalizing the piece + project

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About This Class

In this class, we'll create a ceramic mask in our own backyard with only your hands, air-dry clay and other household objects.  We'll also cover generating ideas and creating a reusable form.  These masks may not be meant for Halloween, but they are great for unique household decor and gifts!

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, My name is David Miller, and I'm a multimedia artist from Phoenix, Arizona. Today, we're gonna be talking about creating your own ceramic character out of clay. Now I love Mass since I was a kid Halloween comic book characters, tribal master, mother cultures, any kind of mask. When I was in college, I took ceramics, and though I wasn't proficient with the wheel or hand building structures really took to making ceramic masks. I love the permanence and real nous of clay, and I found it was a good antidote. When I got tired or frustrated doing art that involved computers, I began by interpreting characters from audio books. I was listening to such a brave new world of Dracula. Then I went on to pop culture faces, characters from Star Wars, Futurama, etcetera. It's making my own quirky characters and trying to tell their story in the hard face In this class will focus on designing our own characters, making them come to life with the kind of play that you won't need a killed or studio to finish it. So let's get started 2. Sketching Out The Caricatures: Now we're going to sketch out some ideas for our character, and I feel like this is an important part of the process. You certainly could sit down with your clay and create straight off the top of your head without having a plan by. I have done some comparison for myself, and when I sketch out the work, it looks a lot better. I'm giving myself a second chance to refine an idea on, Um, I also think it's cool to see how a drawing gets interpreted with materials into three dimensions. So first guy I'm doing, Ah, I gave him kind of a thug look, a widow's peak Allah, Dracula Because these air characters there's always gonna be some oversized bit, um, were not intending to do perfect proportions of people. Now I'm giving myself four options because usually improve when you do more than one thing . And, uh, it's good idea not to just go with the very, very, very first idea you have give your brain a chance to come up with more than one concept and think what I really want to do today. This third guy made him like a shy guy. I used to have something similar to his nose that hung off a bookshelf when I was a little kid and, uh, the eyeballs. I also gave a look similar to when my dog is big ing for food or he knows he's done something really bad. The fourth guy. I've done some kind of negative feelings my 1st 3 guys. So I wanted to go for something totally opposite, maybe like a hyperactive game show host. Yeah, So I'm going to give him some game show host hair. Maybe he's had too many energy drinks. Now I've got four choices to work with. 3. Creating A Form: So first thing to do is to shape a form that we will layer clay on top of I'm gonna use the Phoenix New Times. These are the free newspapers you get in whatever a major city you live in. And I'm going to start from the middle and rip out pages and ball them up. It's a lot easier to ball up individual pages than to take the entire newspaper and try and ball it up. But once also, um, the volume will be filled by the crinkly areas. When you roll up a paper and I start with the ball eventually, it's going to be an oval shape. As I pile on more paper, whether I'm doing a small form or something a little more close to a human sized face, I usually just use the entire paper and get me, um, nice shape that I pushed down on the bottom because it's only the top that needs toe, have a form. The bottom needs to conform to a table. That's it. Once I had my form, it's going to get taped up, and this is gonna help my form last several months. If I taped the entire thing up. Moisture is not going to get in when I put the clay on. And the form is gonna keep it's shape and it's not gonna get moldy. I'm gonna make sure you take the entire thing. Good packing tape, masking tape or scotch tape isn't really going to last. Don't forget the bottoms in the tops and you've got your form. 4. Sculpting Pt 1: Now we're going to finally put together our mask. I'm going to use air dry clay. This is something that you can pick up at any hobby store targets. I'll take two fistfuls worth of the stuff, and I'll need it now. My table is a plastic table, so wasn't able to slab it out really well in the way I like to do it. But if I had a sturdier table or it was doing this on the ground, I would slap it on there like pizza crust. And my clay happens to be a little older than what you're going to come up. My clay is a little older, so it had a lot of cracking to it. But the great thing about clay is if it's not all the way gone, uh, water is gonna make work Wonder. So I have a cup of water to the right of me, and once I place my slab on my form, I'm going to smooth out those wrinkles. If you have big gaps, it's a good idea to get some more material and fill it in that way, but I just want a nice, smooth surface, and it's a lot easier to fix it now than later. When I have noses and lips and teeth in the way so uneven ends air okay with me, I'm going to trim that later. In the process of shaping your face, you're gonna be pushing a lot of material around so and the start, you don't know what actually is going to be the end. And by the end, I mean the edge of the mask, take a normal pencil and sketch out where stuff goes. And the guy I chose to work on is actually my very first character, the one with the widow's peak hair and the buck teeth. So as long as I know where everything is, I can dig in and I'm gonna start by gouging out some eye sockets. I have thick enough clay that I can make a pretty deep gouge. I don't want to go all the way through because the next step is to roll some eyeballs. Okay. When I have a nice ball, I'm gonna cut it in half with the card. Now, if you've ever done ceramics in a studio, you know that all air pockets should be gone or exposed, so When you put the clay and the killing, it doesn't explode. It doesn't heat up the air inside your piece and blow up and shattered. Not only your piece, but possibly other pieces as well. Um, this is air dry clay. So if there's little air pockets underneath where I placed the eyeball, it's OK. I used the battery to put indentations in the eyeballs, and I'll probably do it again and later in the process. Just because the clay that makes up the eyeballs was pretty wet and the battery didn't put exactly the indentation I wanted. I'm folding up a chin, and if I was doing a larger mask, I don't do the same thing to the forehead. Um, you could pile more material on to make a chin, but I feel like it's a waste of material. Plus, you're putting a lot of weight on the bottom of your mask. And if this is something you're gonna mount on a wall, you don't want a one a lot of weight on the bottom where the wire isn't at. It's gonna pull your mask right off the wall or, at the very least, pull on the wire and make it longer. So with a wet hand, A made an indentation in the bottom of the chin. And I'm just pushing it out slowly. If my hands not what? I'm gonna shatter this, Clay. I'm just gonna break it right off. And, uh, now we have the basic shape of the face. I'm gonna make some indentations on the cheek areas you can already see. You've got a little bit underneath the cheekbones and on to step two. 5. Sculpting Pt 2: Okay, Now that we have our basic form, it's time to ad material to it. So think of all the protrusions on a human face, the hair, the eyebrows, the lips. These are things that I'm going to have to add material. And when you add material to clay, um, you need to do something called scoring and Slipping, which is basically scratching on the surface and adding wet material that will interface with those scratches. If you ever read a tutorial or watch another artists, they talk about scoring and slipping. This is the process, so scoring I accomplished with my regular pencil and slipping. I dunked my clay in the water, made sure had some witness to it, have the nose first and use my thumbs to create the nostrils. Eyebrows are roughly the size of caterpillars. When I roll them can see me twisting and rolling in my hand. Here, dunk it in water, place it on, use pressure to make sure that it fuses. We'll come back to this later and add a the hair texture to our eyebrows. I'd like to do all my textures at once so I can sort of keep track on what with what tool I used. Now we're doing the teeth. My character had an overbite, so he has a large upper lip and Cem upper teeth protruding like buck teeth because the teeth are more rectangular forms. I'm gonna use this Pokemon car, cut him up, dip it in water, fuse them on and then the lip on top. If you have another kind of character that doesn't have an overbite, I would recommend you give your character a big bottom lip that's just taking some clay and rolling in your hands to make caterpillar or a small snake and layering it on. My only tools besides my own hands in this process are a pencil in a Pokemon card. If used the upper lip on on an average person, the proportion of lip two eyes is the middle of your eyes equals the width of your lips. But because I'm doing caricatures, I really don't care if anything's in proportion. In fact, I prefer it not to be, Um, I make thes ceramic guys because a I want to do some self expression be I want to have something imaginative and quirky on my walls and see I want to sell artwork, and I will be honest. I have not found a huge market for realistic looking masks unless you're doing some kind of Greek or Ah Michelangelo style sculpture, and you have a very wealthy buyer. So I'm rolling hair here, my character as drawn Hades believe, four on one side, four on the other. But I remember adhere to my drawings fully. I don't think reality really plays a big part in this. My drawings were just an inspiration and a road map, so I have a place to go when you're replacing hair. If you're just putting on the forehead like I was, then you're probably going to need some kind of substrate because while the clay is wet, it's heavy and it will bend backwards and look like your character is permanently wind blown. So I do have a little bit of a support structure, and they're just little coils of clay underneath the hair that protrudes. At this point, When I'm doing my final touches, I'm going. Teoh put the lines around his nostrils that lead to his mouth. I think they're called Black Lines, and I'm going to use my pencil and my Pokemon card to give some texture and definition to areas. So I drew lines for his hair for his eyebrows and poking holes just to give him some five oclock shadow. Give him some kind of texture in the sort of the areas I thought were kind of boring. And I also used the pencil or Pokemon card too deep in the grooves around. The eyeballs make it look like it's separate and not exactly part of the rest of his skin, which is what happened. As time went on hands, I was adding more water. So now we've got our defined mask. Now I live in Arizona, which is a very dry place, so it probably takes a day or two for this to dry. If you live in other parts of the country or other parts of the world where it's more humid , it might take a few extra days, maybe even up to a week. Um, I'm drilling some holes on the side so I can hang a wire, but for now, he's complete, and I'll put him aside 6. Finalizing the piece + project: and we have our mask. When it's totally dry, I'll add clear nail polish to the eyes and teeth for gloss, and either paint or stain the rest of him. Your project now is to sketch out your own mask and using air, dry clay, a pencil, a card, newspaper and tape. Create your own designs, form and mask. Post your process to the skill share project page. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments. Thanks for watching.