Insect Sculpture | Mantis | Polymer Clay and Mixed Media | Stephanie Kilgast | Skillshare

Insect Sculpture | Mantis | Polymer Clay and Mixed Media

Stephanie Kilgast, Contemporary artist.

Insect Sculpture | Mantis | Polymer Clay and Mixed Media

Stephanie Kilgast, Contemporary artist.

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9 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials Needed

    • 3. Studies & Sketches

    • 4. Creating a Core

    • 5. Mantis Wings

    • 6. Sculpting the Body

    • 7. Sculpting the Head and Legs

    • 8. Finishing Touches

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class


In this class I'm going to guide you through the sculpting of a complex character.
I picked a mantis, but the class will help you to figure out how to sculpt an insect from the idea to the finish artwork.
It is not a difficult class and beginners can absolutely try it out, however it is a long sculpt to do and not something you can make in an hour, so patience is absolutely needed.

I hope this inspires you to tackle more complex sculpting project and just give it a go.
Don't worry too much about the outcome, to become a better sculptor you need to practice a lot.

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Class Summary

1. Introduction
2. Materials
3. Studies and Sketches
4. Creating a core
5. Wings
6. Sculpting the Body
7. Sculpting the Head and Legs
8. Finishing Touches
9. Conclusion

Tools I am using most.


Music by Amarante

Meet Your Teacher

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Stephanie Kilgast

Contemporary artist.


Inspired by natural forms, Stéphanie Kilgast’s artwork is an ode to nature and its current biodiversity. Plants, mushrooms, insects and other animals encounter in a vibrant swirl of colors under her brush or sculpting tools.

Since 2017, in her series “Discarded Objects”, she grows colorful organic sculptures on human-made objects, celebrating the beauty of nature in a dialogue with humanity, questioning the lost balance between human activities and nature.
Her work has a cheerful post apocalyptic feel to it, a reassuring reminder that nature has the capacity to grow back, if we only let it.

She built her reputation and her sculpting skills around hyperrealistic miniature food sculptures. Her wo... See full profile

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1. Introduction: hello and welcome into my new skill share class today. I want to share with you home to sculpt a Mantis and insects. And I think it's a very interesting sculpture to you. It is fun, It is challenging and it really will help you to become a much better sculpture. I will guide you through the beginning from sketches and studies to the end where you will have a finished and polish sculpture. I'm going to give you tips and tricks along as I've been a sculptor for about nine years now and I know quite a lot of stuff. You can learn a lot from sculpting insects as they're very challenging and complex reaches to replicate and using the same principles, you can pretty much sculpt anything you want. I really hope you will take this, Klaus. And if you take it, enjoy its don't forget to share the project with the class. Once you're done, I always love to see what you come up with. I tried to be a sorrow as I can be during my explanations. So if you don't understand something, just ask and I will answer you. If you want to follow my work. You can do so on Instagram, Facebook and even on YouTube. You can find me everywhere on the Monica, but I hope I got too excited to make this class. It's really fun one. And now let's move on to this exciting new class. 2. Materials Needed: for this class, you're going to need some a medium foil, some wire. I used 22 gooch off breast wire, but any kind of why I will do some masking tape. Obviously, some problematically. This is the main material that we need. I like to use the Brent female and certain it's some sculpting tools and some blades for the sculpting tools, the only ones that you really need to have the bull and the tools. And usually you can always find a way to sculpts with other tools the same things that I do . I have a YouTube video about the tools I like to use best that I'm going to link down blue for the shading. I use pastels from similarly and shrinker, which are the best ones away bill. But usually any kind of good pastels will do and some cheap rushes that's used to apply the dry pastels directly onto the royal Paula McLain. I use cheap brushes because applying Drypers tell directly on polymer. Clay tends to destroy the brushes, so I don't want to invest too much money in them because I know they won't last as much. And then we will also need some acrylic panes. Any good brand will do and one good acrylic brush for the wings. We will also need some watercolor paper in 300 round some water color and the good watercolor brush. 3. Studies & Sketches: before you start to sculpt, it's important to gather references, and resource is one way. To understand the shape of what you'd like to sculpt is to make studies. It doesn't matter if you use watercolor or pencil, and it doesn't matter if your studies look good or not. Studies are there to help you understand the structure and shape off what you want to replicate. You can go back to studies at any given point off your process. For instance, I felt unsure about how to sculpt the Mantis head, so I went back to finding pictures and studying its shape way. It's really an important step in your process. So stone skip the studies. You really need them to be a better sculptor. 4. Creating a Core: for complex sculptures. I like to use a sketch to work with the painting or doodle needs to be the size off What you want your final sculpture to be. We are going to make a cool off aluminium foil and wire, which will wrap with painter's masking tape. We are forming the abdomen of the Mantis, shaping the aluminum foil into rounded wedge. Don't shape the head, but make sure that aluminum foil will reach into it for stability for the legs. I am using brust wire, but you can use any type off wire that you have at home. I use a girl's 22 I cut length. That is enough for two legs and a little more. I repeat the cut three times I trust in the middle, forming a loop Theun Using painter's masking tape, I wrapped the tape around the wire. This will help the clay stick better to the amateur. I cut the excess masking tape of the cutter, using my thumb and my forefinger. I twist the masking tape around the wire, and then I repeat this for all the legs. Now it's time to place the legs where they belong. On the abdomen. Attach the arms to the body, then shape them using your sketch or reference pictures. And then I wrap everything with painter's masking tape to ensure everything keeps in place . Shape the legs before touching them to the body. I used my sketches to bend them in the right place and angle you supplier. For better result. Just replicate the same angles off band for the four legs. Way with arms. Find the right spots for the legs, place them on to the body and attach them using masking tape. - Just readjust the shape and the bend of the legs until you're happy with the result. This is where it's very crucial to have reference pictures or sketches and studies to make the things how you want them to be. 5. Mantis Wings: for the wings. I decided to go with paper and watercolors as it is the perfect combination. To get a good result of thickness, sturdiness and also ease of making, I start to draw the wings with the watercolor pencil. Then I start adding the watercolor, starting with the teal that I watered down for the upside and a slightly more bluish teal for the button. When doing watercolors, you want to water down the colors quite a bit, adding layers up in layers while the wing is still wet. I m the magenta color details on top, so they blur into the teal I let dry, and then I varnish with some varnish for acrylic paints. Be careful when applying that varnish as too much will ruin your watercolor, and she wanted to go at it sparingly as it's best to apply two coats, I let dry again and then cut out the wing. Now for the other side. I simply put the first wing upside down onto the paper and rides off line, and then I replicate the same steps for the other wing watercolor, letting dry than varnishing. - Once everything is dry, I put the first wing upside down on the second and draw the outline. I cut along those lines. Then I glue both wings together, push them family and place them on the thick book to ensure they dry in the flat mono. 6. Sculpting the Body: Once you're happy with your amateur, it's time to cover it with clay. I first brush some liquid clay onto the whole body to ensure that the clay sticks nicely to it. Use dedicated brush for the liquid clay as its you're never going to be able to use it for anything else. There's no right or wrong way to do this. Just keep in mind that you want to add a layer that is thick enough so you can still sculpt it and thin enough so your sculpture doesn't look chubby. I like to go ahead and cover with strips of clay. Also, be careful much overlay the clay way thing , then smooth everything down with your finger. I personally don't mind fingerprints. I know that's something that people don't agree on, but I consider are to be handmade, and I like the texture. Fingerprints can leave. However, you can use latex gloves to avoid any kind of prince. Latex gloves might also be a good option if you have sensitive skin using a metallic embossing tool. I'm argue the abdomen segments, but you can also use a toothpick for that some medium benefit from fast working, some from patients sculpting belongs to the latter category. I feel I can never stressed this out enough, but take your time when sculpting. Unlike sketching or watercolors, which often look better when they are little, rushed sculptures usually need time. You want to go back and forth, adding and removing clay, pushing and smoothing it in just the way you think looks coherence. You can better your sculpture a lot just by taking the time to do it properly. Think of polymer clay sculptures like oil paintings. You have the luxury of time on your side. Nothing needs to be rushed, and you can. We work everything before you bake it off Course. This doesn't mean you should never finish the sculpture because it's never quite perfect enough. Quantity over quality applies in art, and it's through quantity that you'll eventually achieve quality. Once I'm happy with the shape of the body I shaded with some dry pastels and brush. Adding Drypers tales before baking makes them stick to the claymore permanently than after . Just be careful with your brushes, because brushes, especially the synthetic ones, tend to get down much lots in the contact with polymer clay with raw politically I personally only uses very low key and cheap Russia's for these applications. - I also prepare the spot for the wings we made previously. I sliced line open on the abdomens back check of the wings, fits and pushed them into the clay. You'll be able to glue the wings at the end the once everything is baked and finished way. I also prepared the eyes, two balls of clay that are slightly elongated and take everything together. 7. Sculpting the Head and Legs: once the body is baked and cooled off, we are starting with the Mantis head start, adding clay and shaping it into rough triangle for the eye sockets usable and the tools to create them. I didn't study the head enough, so I went back to painting just to have a better understanding of the head. Basically, what you need to make is a triangle shaped head from front and an elongated head from the side. I readjusted the oval shape of the head. If you ever stuck on your sculpture because you're not absolutely sure how you're supposed to sculpt something, always go back to studying the object that you are sculpting and added the previously made and baked eyes into the sockets the man has faced. Usually it's quite structured, so I replicated, said structure on treeless culture. The face structure very much depends on which Mentees PC decide to replicate or get inspired by. Some are very structured. Some us by he and some are a lot more simple. I would suggest to pick a face you like and stick to it. That way you ensure that the result looks logical. However, if you want to have fun. Please go ahead. There are no mistakes, and arts just steps. Here I am structuring Thea other Mantis had, and I think the footage is live with more clearer. So don't mind the antennas. I will explain how to add them later. You. Now we are adding the mouth are simplifying it to the mandibles. I simply added to three on each side. Depending on the size off your mend his sculpture, you could add a lot more, A lot less details. So that is really up to you for that tennis at the two tiny balls off clay on top of the head, then cut to pieces off black colored wire and push them into the bold. Readjust the clay around the antennas, making sure there is no gap. - No , it's time for some coloring. I always like to color the clay with some driver steles, even when I intend to paint it afterwards. Dry pastels give you the ability to shade sculpture in a very supple away, which often looks very natural. - Four legs cut strips off play and wrapped them around the paper wrapped wire. You want to smooth down the clay with your finger or tool to get the right shape. Best work from your studies are reference pictures. When sculpting, there's always a lot off readjusting. Never hesitate to add or remove bits of clay too much. You studies or reference pictures. Imagine it like drawing and in a razor. If something looks off, just rework it. Remove the piece you don't like at clay. Shape it. That being said, don't get too much of a perfectionist either, as you might fall into the category off artist that never finish the artworks and thus never get better, embrace the stage You aren't, do you best, but don't drive yourself nuts. I know it sounds easier than it's done, but if it's any consolation, I'm not always happy with my own sculpts. And sometimes I'm I know I'm not happy with them, although I'm not finished with them. But I also know that I will not be able to rework us to rework the sculpture completely. So I just accept it and thing while next time it will be better and that's OK. We all need to work to get better, and so sometimes we need to fail to understand how to make things better. the next time. So I had probably two hours worth off sculpting records, however, that it's really long to look out, so I always tended to speed things up. However, I try to put a pace that is working, and that is understandable. So if you feel like it's too fast or something like that, let me know and I will readjust next time. I don't want my videos on my classes to be three or four hours long, which they could easily be if I would really record in real time, probably even more. As these sculptures are fairly complex and unlike painting, you cannot do them in just half for an hour or one hour. So I'm kind of always playing around with the speed so you don't get bored but still can see what I am doing. That being said, if you have any questions, please let me know and I will try to answer them and help you out. If you're stuck with the own sculpt Now, I added what I'd like to call the shoulders. I'm not sure you can actually call them like that one Insects. I simply add a piece of clay and smooth it down. We working it until I'm happy with the result. Again, it's a good time to look at your studies and reference pictures to understand quite what I'm meaning with this on. And then I added some shades with brush and the driver cells. - Since I am working on a sculpture with two mentis is I make sure they would bake right and readjusted the poses so they would bake in the right angle and then bake. 8. Finishing Touches: no to finish the Mantis, we will painted the eyes. Insect eyes look like grid pattern. Now, to replicate the illusion of a grid, I decided to do some pointillism on each eye. For this, I use some acrylic paint in shades that fit the mint green I chose for the mentis. I went with white, ultra marine, blue, turquoise and, of course, black for the thing that looks like a pupil. Then, using a dry synthetic brush, I applied dots of paint onto the eyes. If you are unsure of your gesture, you can test try on a piece off paper on your tile or Pillette first. If you make a mistake like adding too much paint, you can remove it by scratching the polemic laser face with a sharp tool like a blade. I would also suggest to varnish the whole piece to ensure that everything it's sealed and finally, you can glue the wing to the body. 9. Conclusion: Thank you so much for taking this class. I really hope you enjoyed it and that he learned a ton of it. I'm doing skill shit classes about once or twice per month. So be sure to subscribe and follow me here in skill share. So you want missing any future classes? I would also love to see your Mandy sculpture. So please share it with the class to seem off my artwork and what I'm up to. You can follow me on social media. I always use the same Monica, which is particular. I hope it was fun for you. And I hope to see in my next class. Bye.