Let's Sculpt a Whimsical Bird! | Suzette Hussey | Skillshare

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Let's Sculpt a Whimsical Bird!

teacher avatar Suzette Hussey, Artist, Skillshare Teacher

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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

14 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Supply List

    • 3. Lesson One: Building the Armature

    • 4. Lesson Two: Adding the Clay

    • 5. Lesson Three: Sanding the Sculpture

    • 6. Lesson Four: Attaching the Legs

    • 7. Lesson Five: Adding Gesso

    • 8. Lesson Six: Painting your Sculpture

    • 9. Lesson Seven: Adding your Eyes

    • 10. Lesson Eight: Attaching the Base

    • 11. Lesson Nine: The Finishing Touches

    • 12. Your Class Project

    • 13. Thank You!

    • 14. Supplement: Fixing Cracks

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About This Class

Let's Sculpt a Whimsical Bird is the first in a series of courses where you learn how to sculpt with air dry clay. Sculpting a whimsical bird is the perfect way to learn how to use air-dry clay. You don't have to worry about getting it perfect, it's whimsical! Who cares? 

In this course, you will learn how to sculpt a whimsical bird. We will cover:

1) the basic tools needed

2) forming a simple armature for your sculpture

3) adding air dry clay to your armature

4) smoothing your sculpture

5) adding a base and sanding your sculpture

6) painting and embellishing your sculpture

For your class project, I want you to make your own whimsical bird sculpture and share it in the project section of the course. Make as many as you like! You are welcome to upload at any stage of the process and I will happily give you feedback and help you along the way.


I have over ten years experience sculpting with air-dry clays making anything from a life-sized Scooby Doo to miniature mermaids and art dolls and I am a member of the Creative Paperclay Design Team. My clay of choice for this course is Creative Paperclay® simply because it is my favorite clay to work with. However, this course is no way affiliated with Creative Paperclay® Company.

In the Project and Resources Section, you will find a PDF of the supply list and a template you can print and use to help you shape the armature for your bird. The template is letter-sized.

Music Credits

Modern Jazz Samba

"Modern Jazz Samba" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Fig Leaf Times Two

"Fig Leaf Times Two" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Laid Back Guitars

"Laid Back Guitars" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Soda Pop

Credit: Music:https://www.purple-planet.com

Get Happy

Credit: Music:https://www.purple-planet.com

Outcast - Purple Planet

Credit: Music:https://www.purple-planet.com





Meet Your Teacher

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Suzette Hussey

Artist, Skillshare Teacher


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1. Welcome!: you know im Suzette and welcome to sculpt in whimsical animals. Part one. Through this series of courses, I am going to show you how to sculpt with air dry, clean, you will learn armature building how to apply clay, smooth in fixing cracks, sanding and painting your sculpture. You'll even learn how simple embellishments at so much character to the finish sculpture. My clay of choice is created paper. Klay and I have had the honor of being on their design team for the last few years. The supplies you need are very limited. I will go through supplies. The supply with you and I have also attached a pdf for you to down, though for the class project, I would like you to make your own whimsical bird sculpture. I would love if you could share this with me in the my project section. At any time you want throat your sculpture, I will happily give you feedback. Now it's time for you to gather your supplies and get started sculpting your phone. Whimsical bird sculpture 2. Supply List: The first thing you're gonna need to make your sculpture is some aluminum foil. I use the foil sheets simply because their pre cut and they're easier to use. You can use a regular boil on the role. That's that's fine. You'll also need creative paper clay. They come in 16 ounce packs as well as eight ounce packs. You can get them at Michael's can get them a Joan's. You can check your local craft store there. Also available online at dick blick dot com. Onda on their website. Creative people clean dot com. When you're sculptures dry, you may have to send your sculpture. I recommend using to 20 sandpaper. Paperclip is very soft, so you don't want to use anything too harsh because it will just rip through and you go right back down to your aluminium foil when sanding paper clay. I also recommend you use some form of dust mask. This is more a surgical type one, but it just happened to be the one I have on hand. Any dust mask will do. It produces a very fine powder when you're sand in, and I wouldn't recommend inhaling it, especially if you have allergies asthma except through. Once the sculpture sanded, the next step will be to apply the Jess. Oh, any Jessel is fine. I just happened to have liquid techs. Just so basically prevents the pain from being absorbed into the sculpture so you don't have to do layers and layers and layers and paper. Clay being with a paper base will definitely absorb the paint, so I recommend using any form of Jessel clear black white, whichever one you have. Whichever brand to cover the sculpture before you begin painting for the legs and base of the sculpture. No, I use chopsticks. I cut them. Don't tow whatever length you want for your bird. I don't recommend cutting them down until you're sure what length the legs will be on for the base. You could use a wooden plaque, or I just chose to use a slice of, Ah Christmas tree trunk that we saved from our Christmas tree. Now you will need a drill. Any form of rotary drill. It's fine. Dremel, Whichever one you have on a drill bit that's slightly smaller than the width of the chopstick. You'll need this to drill a bit a hole in the base of your bird, where you're gonna put the legs on also into the base where your bird will stand. Posca pen is great for painting the eyes. You don't need this, but it is a lot easier. Any acrylic marker is fine. It's a lot easier than using a fine paintbrush, especially if you don't have a steady hand or you're not used to paint in details. You'll need fabric. If you're adding a scarf to your bird, that's up to you. And, of course, with the fabric you'll need a good Paris is a so you can get a clean cook. The piece of fabric I used for my bird was probably about one foot long. That's 12 inches by inch and 1/2 for your sculpture to dry. I recommend using a full block. This is just regular floral form that you'd use for a floor for, um, flower arrangement on. It's great because your bird can stand because he's just stand right up in it. So when you put your sculpture on there, it will stand and dry in terms of other tools you might need, Um, definitely sculpting tools helps with little you know more detailed errors that your finger can't get to. If you don't have sculpting tools, find stuff around the house like, um, a plastic knife or the back of a tea spoon is great for smoothing or even a foot stick. And then, of course, you'll need paint brushes to paint your sculpture. Any acrylic paint brushes air fine on dumb for that little dot in the eye that adds The highlight you can use like this is a knitting needle. That's my paint tool. More than anything else on, you can use a skewer also. 3. Lesson One: Building the Armature: here we have a basic sketch of what the armature is going to look like. You can use it as a guide when forming your armature. Let me show you how to make that. You will need your foil sheets. Start by crushing the foil into a ball informant into the shape of the armature. It doesn't have to be exact. - Here , you can see it's starting to take shape. Keep adding the foil on four minutes into the armature shape. - That's looking really good. Now we just need to add the tail. Take one more sheet of foil and wrap around the entire arm richer, keeping the head in. Police on the body in police. Now pinch the ends together to form the tail. Now just step off the excess. You. Here we go. A basic birdie armature. 4. Lesson Two: Adding the Clay: Now it's time to add the clay to your armature. You're gonna break off small pieces of the Klay and press on your arm richer, smoothing with your fingers as you go along. Working in small areas at a time helps to ensure that the clay sticks properly to the armature on that no air bubbles air trapped When you're working with air dry Klay, keep the clean a Ziploc bag or airtight storage box. It can dry out pretty quickly. Continue to add the clay until your arm richer is fully covered. If you find that your fingers need some help with the smoothing, grab your clay tools to help. If you have no clay tools, the back of a teaspoon smooth play nicely. I do recommend getting a set, though, as they come in handy when working in small, hard to reach areas. - Dipping your fingers are tools in a bit of water also helps to smooth. Be careful not to add too much water, though, as this causes the clay to crack when it's drying. If you're clay does crack, don't panic. It's an easy fix. - Use a small piece of clay to form a beak. Shape and added to your sculpture. Use a small sculpting tool to carefully blend the seams. Now you're armature is completely covered. Leave it to dry overnight, I find put it in front of a fan helps to speed up the drying process. 5. Lesson Three: Sanding the Sculpture : Now it's time to send the sculpture. I am using a fine grit, sanding, sponge and gently rubbing. The sculpture typically is very soft and easy to send, so you do not have to rub too hard. You can also use a nail buffer sand block. All nail files are great for sending people. Klay. As you can see, a very fine dust is produced When sand paper clean. I would advise you to be safe on where dust must avoid breathing in any of these tiny particles. 6. Lesson Four: Attaching the Legs: way. Paint our bird. We will attach the legs. This gives us something to hold onto while we're working. Grab your chopsticks or dolls. A pencil. So would blue and a drill with a small drill bit. Break your chopsticks apart and work out where you want the legs to be. Bird legs are usually at the rear of the bird near the tail area. Way notice. Even though I start the whole street, I moved the drill so the whole is made at an angle. This is because I want the legs at an angle. You, of course, can do them straight if you like. It really just depends on the look you're going for now . You have worked out the angle of the legs. It's time to trim them. When you're finished this place and wood glue in each hole and stick the legs in place. Leave those to dry before moving on way. Holes are too big. Use um, Clay to fill the gaps. - Way 7. Lesson Five: Adding Gesso: it's time for you to give your bird a coat of Jessel. Applying Jessa is just like painting. People always ask, Why are we using Jess? Oh, well, it's simple. Jessel seals the clear so that your first layer of paint isn't absorbed by the sculpture. This saves on both time on paint. When you're finished, set aside to dry. A block of floral foam is great for standing to sculpture in while it dries. 8. Lesson Six: Painting your Sculpture: way are now ready to paint our sculpture. You will need your paint and a soft brush. Begin by painting the underneath of your sculpture in all those hard to reach areas, I am using Tamir metallic paint as that is what I had on hand. You can use most pains to paint. Typically, I have had great success with Kraft Pains from folk art and apple barrel acrylics. Americana PB Oh, Martha Stewart sat in acrylics and deco art multi surface acrylics. Depending on the paint you're using, you may need to apply more than one coat. If this is a case, be sure to allow the paint to dry thoroughly between each coat. - Inevitably , you'll get paint on the legs. If this happens, just give them another court of Jessel and allow to dry before paint in the legs. - I chose to paint the legs and the beat gold as it formed a nice contrast with the red body. Once you have painted the legs and beak, set your sculpture aside to dry 9. Lesson Seven: Adding your Eyes: Now it's time to add the eyes. It's a great idea to use a pencil to first mark where you want the I and then go over it with a marker or paint. Posca paint markers worked great. They are in a critic marker that come in various colors with various size tips. You have to push down on the tip a bit to get the pain flowing. Now carefully call of the eyes. Checking for symmetry as you work now allow to dry. 10. Lesson Eight: Attaching the Base: grab your wooden base, your drill, a pencil and your bird. I am trimming the legs here as I thought they were a bit too long. - At this point, the angle of the whole determines how the bird will stand. He could be leaning forward or he could be straight up. It's up to you. Determine where you want to attach the bird. A mark with your pencil. - Once you have checked to make sure the legs fit well filled the hole with you and attach the bird, wipe off any excess to and leave to dry. 11. Lesson Nine: The Finishing Touches: Now it's time to add sparkle to those eyes. We will use a skewer or a knitting needle. Dip it in white paint and carefully at a doctor to the I. If you don't get it right the first time, simply wipe it off with a damp cloth or a baby ripe and try again. This is a great will to bring your sculpture to life. Next will varnish the base. You may not have to do this step depending on what you used as this is a slice of a branch . I have to varnish it to prevent bugs from moving in. I am using a poly critic water based varnish. Once the boats is fully varnished, set it aside to drive. The final step would be to add a scarf for the strip of fabric entire around the neck just as needed, and trim the ends 12. Your Class Project: for your class project. I want you to make your own whimsical bird. Make as many as you like. Share them with us, upload into the my project section. I will happen to give you feedback at any stage of the sculpture. 13. Thank You!: Congratulations on making your first whimsical animal sculpture. I do hope you enjoyed my course insurance. Upload your class project at any stage you like if you need feedback. Ascoli. I am more than happy to help. Don't forget to subscribe to my channel So you don't miss out on any future courses. If you have a minute, please Labour review. 14. Supplement: Fixing Cracks: as with all air dry Cleese, sometimes you get cracks when it dries. This can be from adding too much water. It can also be just trying to fast because of the weather. Don't panic. They can easily be fixed. You'll need your PVA glue, some water and some more creative people clean. Thats a very tiny amount. Dilute your PVA glue with a little water. You might want to dedicate a paint brush for this because you don't want to ruin your good brushes, and you just kind of paint over that air, trying to force some glue into those cracks. You get the tiny bits of clay fill in those areas and smoothing out. That's all it takes. I'll show you once again with this big crack right there, a small bit of clay that in those areas smooth with your finger When it dries, you'll never know that there was a crack there. Sometimes, also, when you're Sandon, you might find that a little bit of the foil shows. A little bit of the armature comes through same kind of thing. Add the glue, fill the spot, blend those addresses and your old on