How to Paint Polymer Clay | Ashley Hills | Skillshare

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

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

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Primer

    • 4. Picking colors project

    • 5. Pastel blushing

    • 6. Darkening with Acrylic

    • 7. Pattern Painting

    • 8. Conclusion

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About This Class

In this lesson I share my process from primer to varnish! If you've struggled with painting on polymer clay, hopefully this will help get you started! I show how I use chalk pastel and acrylics to get a super realistic end result. I hope my tips, techniques, and work flow can help you establish your own style. And of course feel free to reach out with any questions. Thank you for watching! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Ashley Hills

Polymer clay sculptor and painter


Hello all you wonderful creative people!! I'm Ashley, you can also call me Ash. :) I've loved art my whole life, and have been sculpting nearly non-stop for 6 going on 7 years now. I'm so excited to be able to share some of my experience with you all!! I am a firm believer that every single person is artistic in some way, you just need to find what medium lets you express yourself the best. Let's see if clay/multimedia is your niche! 

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1. Intro: Hey, everyone, I'm super pleased to be back with another sculpture tutorial. I am going to be sharing with you guys my tips on how to paint polymer clay sculptures. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed this past year danger noodles were a huge hit and kind of dominated my feed. I got a lot of requests on how I make them. Now, if you're interested in the sculpting perch of polymer clay I've already done as closure tutorial on that, you can go check it out. This one is going to be focusing primarily on my techniques for painting Polymer Klay. Now, for this tutorial, I will be using a snake or a danger noodle. But of course the principles the techniques applied you whatever you want to paint on polymer cle. I also want to preface this lesson by acknowledging that there are loads of techniques and ways to do everything. Everything to do with Poma Clay and painting and life. Of course. Well, okay, got that out of the way. So it since there are so many different ways and techniques that work in different settings , I want to strongly encourage you that If an idea pops in your brain, try it. I mean, be safe, of course, but try it. Experimentation is the main way that I actually found some of my most favorite techniques. Now I will be sharing my favorite tips and techniques and workflow, but don't feel limited. If you think of something, try it and you can use this more as a basis, a starting point to build your own techniques, so let's get started. 2. Supplies: All right, let's talk about the supplies I'll be using for this video. I sculpted and baked this snake ahead of time just so I could focus purely on the painting aspect with this video. If you would like some tips on how to sculpt with polymer clay, you can check out my previous skill share videos. I have a couple that deal on the topic of working with polymer clay. I would personally suggest using white clay because it's much easier toe work with. However, I am starting with grade. Just in case you don't have access to white clay for one of her reason, then you're covered either way. So let's talk about paint. These are literally from the Dollar Store Super Jeep. You can also buy House Brand from Michael's have those rows and rows of this type of container. I find they work excellent. It's easier to get a smooth cope with them. They dry Matt, so there's no tackiness. I just personally have found these work excellently with polymer Klay. Now, if you don't want it met at the end, it's an easy fix by just using vanished. What I'm going to be using today is per Lex Verne ish. However, if you'd like to see what other options there are within using with polymer clay, you can check out blue bottle tree dot com. And they have tested extensively tested many different types of burnishes because some actually react with polymers. So you want to avoid those. Obviously, it'll costs. So yes. Blue bottle tree dot com If you'd like some more insight on different burnishes you can use , this is what I will be using today. Not for chalk pastels. Make sure it's chalk pastels, not oil pastel. If you don't have access to them or aren't interested in using track pastels, you can get the similar effect by just watering down this paint. Significantly, however, I really like the effect you can get with chalk pastels, so I will be showing my techniques with thes thes are super cheap again, artist's loft house brand from Michael's Brush tools. For the actual painting, I would suggest very fine tip. This is our tasas triple zero, and this is number one. I don't think that's right. And a very tiny, tiny brushes. You can get detailed brushes on Amazon from your local craft store really, You just need one. I'll be using having access to two of them today. This is a nail art dotting tool, thes air, also being commonly sold in sculpting kits as well. It's excellent for getting tiny tiny dot details. I use this often for painting eyes. I was like having one ready within grasp. Then I am using a number six dealer, Rony. It's a very plush, soft kind of blunt brush. This is what I will be using for applying the chalk pastels. So something very soft absorbent to pick up and place those pigments. And then also, I personally always have an Exacto knife on hand that I will be using this for cleaning up anything that I need to on the politically and also getting fine shavings off the chalk pastels so I could just pick it up with the brush and lay it on easily. And then, of course, clean water palette or plate whatever you want to use and paper towel for cleaning your brushes in between. And lastly, reference picks. I would highly suggest you even if you're painting your own noodle to take a few really good photos for reference is because we know they're Wigley folk and it's very helpful. Toe have still shots out suggest getting at least three. I usually have more because it's hard to get all the details, but one looking down shot so that all the top and then one of each side of the snake, um and then as you need more, if there's parts parts of the pattern that isn't showing stuff like that, just get as many reference picks as possible, cause they're gonna be useful, and then you can always sort through them and delete whichever ones you don't meet. 3. Primer: so I'm gonna paint just a plain white base primer on this before we start the rial coloring process. You can skip this if you're using white clay. I'm going to be using thin coats of white as a nice, neutral base, and I suggest during between 1 to 3 thin coats for smooth coverage, you wanted to dry completely in between coats. It could be 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how water down your painters, etcetera and coverage. If you are painting over all of it, it doesn't matter so much. You could probably get by with one or two coats. If you're leaving the belly plain white, though, you might want three coats on the back of it. You'll just have to see how well your paint covers over the color of polymer clay that you're using. Engage it for yourself. You kind of get a feel for it. Um, as as you do it more. I always like to add a few droplets of water because that hopes the coats going nice and smooth. Mix it up and off we go 4. Picking colors project: So here I'm choosing colors for my reference, such as this beautiful pill orangish tan, the dark, brownish black on top. From the pattern I'm choosing this bright yellow, more pale yellow, slightly different tone between the top and bottom of that alien head pattern. And then, of course, the white belly that we can see here peeking through and all login, you can take a moment and do this with yours, too. 5. Pastel blushing: so I will personally be using pastels, and I'll be showing my techniques and workflow with using pastels as a base color. However, you can get a similar technique. Similar effect by simply watering down acrylic paint significantly until it's almost translucent. Similar to a water color. You can do a thin coat and then clean your brush with clean water and carefully, gently while it's damp. With said clean water. Go along the edge and that will get softening Grady int effect. But I'm gonna show you how to do that in pastels today. Also something else that you can experiment with on your own time, if you like, is chalk pastels work amazing With Rock Lee, it makes the color even more potent, more vibrant. The only thing is, you do have to be careful, of course, when walking, working with rock clay, it's easier to squish details to sponge things, get things where you don't want it to be. So the stage with which you would I would suggest you put Chuck past Ella is after you have sculpted it. But before you bake it and just kind of gently carefully using a paintbrush to get it kind of where you want it ish. So with chalk pastels, I use a similar principle toe watercolors. I start with the lightest color and then work darker. I find it's easier to cover the light colors than the dark. If you know you go where you aren't supposed to. With the light colored, it's easy to cover it over with the dark afterwards. What you see me doing here is just mixing up the custom colors that I want, even though I have a bunch of colors. As you can see, I still person like to make it custom to fit exactly what I'm trying to. And as you can see here, I'm like using my Exacto knife to make a fine powder of shavings to use with my paintbrush . Now for a few tips of actually using chalk pastel. It is messy, so I always like to grab a piece of paper to put the chalk pastel on and kind of work over . Make sure it's not near surface that can get stained and just take your time. I like picking up, as you can see with my brush and kind of gently rubbing it into the clay and you can get a feel for it. Sometimes certain pigments are more potent than others, so you won't need Teoh. Rub it on as much. And it depends on what you're looking for. If you want a more translucent effect, of course than you can try and put less amount. Or you can even add white chalk pastel to make it a more Oh, I don't know pastel effect. Another tip is once chalk pastel is on your piece. Be mindful about your handling, as you can see. Now, the snake is laying flat on my hand because the sides have already gotten color. So, yeah, just be aware, as you're handling it, I generally try to handle it as little as possible from the stage forward just to avoid smudging the pastel or getting it needlessly everywhere else. I'd love to see how your project is looking at this pastel stage if you want to share it, and also it's probably a good time to go and clean up 6. Darkening with Acrylic: So all I'm doing here is darkening the back dorsal stripe with water down acrylic paints using brown and black, I decided the chalk pastel that I had used was not quite potent enough going off my reference pick. So I basically just went right over it with acrylic paints, which is no problem at all. It's a breezy to do. I like to start with pastels as a base, even if I think it might not be dark enough because at least you have a foundation of where you're gonna want the color patterns and things. Um, but yeah, In this case, as you can see, I am going over it with acrylic paint like I mentioned water down. And this is showing the technique, actually it of taking clean water and blending the edges. Now the overall dorsal stripe is much more potent of paint that I would suggest if you were trying to get the pastel effect, you would just want a water that color down a lot more. But the blending effect to soften the edges is the exact same. So if you want to see that a bit better a bit more clear, feel free to just slow down the video. I have it on eight times speed from here on out. So if you'd like to be able to see in a bet, bit better detail how I blend the edges with clean water, you can just slow it down and have a good look at it. I hope that this is helpful. 7. Pattern Painting: so we are getting ready to tackle the pattern. I find it helpful to you. Go back to the reference pick and circle the most identifiable markings that sets your noodle or reference pick out against anything else. So with this snack, it's dorsal stripe patterns have a bunch of funkiness, which is cool. I'm focusing on that. They're the alien head pattern on the side, and there's a couple little things that I want to pick up. So I chose those. It can be super easy to lose your place with painting, especially, especially complicated patterns. So I would suggest you having your reference pick and using a pencil or a piece of paper to kind of mark your progress down the line. Also, another suggestion I have is starting at the face and also the tail do both ends and then kind of makes sense of the middle because it's very easy to lose space. For all the pattern, you can't generally fit every little piece of pattern onto the snake, so that's what I did at the beginning to get used to, um, to get used to it. That's what I did at the beginning to get used to it, Um, just filling in the head, the tail, and then the in between. So right now, what I'm doing is filling in the background darkness before moving to the yellow. I'm just speeding up this part because the yellow part I find a bit more interesting. Hopefully you guys will agree. If you do want to see the dark patterning. Of course, you can slow this down again to see it, but it fairly repetitive. Another technique you can do is kind of the opposite of what I've done. You can color the background color, what will be the pattern color. So, in this case, bright yellow and a more pale yellow and then used the dark brown to kind of carve out the pattern and fill in the patches. But I'm just doing it this way because I find it a bit easier to paint the pattern rather than paint around the pattern. Hopefully, that makes sense to you. But try both ways. Find what works best for you, of course. And if you slow down the video, you can see again the blending technique with adding clear water, clean water to your brush. Um, just one little reminder. Try not to scrub with your brush because there are layers of colors underneath that you could effect if you are too rough. So again, gentle, gentle touch with a blending techniques with water, and you don't need very much water at all. If you use too much, it can spread out over a larger section of the peace than you mean to, which can cause the paint to bleed where you don't want it to. So air on the side of caution with gentleness and also tiny amount of. So not much more to talk about here. While I'm just going through and painting the different layers and colors and shapes that I need to like I said before, you can slow this down if you want to watch it in real time. These are four times speed, so you can you can slow down to whatever you want. Technically, if you want to see every painful stroke, so I'm going to be quiet for a little bit while we're just kind of grinding away the painting and I'll pop back in when I'm gonna comment on something. Here is where I am putting the final coat of paint. It's the lighter part of the bottom of the alien head pattern on the side. That's not complicated at all. Anyways, I already did a coat of color on the eyes, and the very last thing L do is put pupils on and varnish it. - We reached the end. Now it's time for some Zen varnishing. I personally generally like to furnish the top part so it can lay flat without getting any unsightly ridges from the furnish you know, settling down onto something flat as opposed to drawing on the curves of the snake. Hopefully, that makes sense. Anyway. You'll see from this video, I'm painting all the top part that wouldn't touch the desk. A tall I let that dry, and then I flipped it over and painted the belly. I did this twice. You could do 2 to 3 coats of varnish just to make sure you get good coverage and make sure it dries completely in between the coats, Of course. And yeah, that's pretty much it. I hope that this tutorial was helpful to you guys. I hope you enjoyed watching my process, and I hope that you enjoyed creating something with it. 8. Conclusion: that's rap or a noodle. I think I'm gonna go make some food now. Anyways. Okay. So I hope you had fun with this tutorial. I hope it kind of caught you on fire with some ideas. Maybe get those juices flowing. I would love to see what you created After what? To Mr Tutorial. If you painted a total. If you painted anything, all settle for everything. Please show me in class project. I would love to see what the end result was. I'd love to see if you tried any new techniques, experiments and how how it worked out for you. If you're pleased with the effect I want to see it show may showing. And that's it for today's tutorial. Thank you so much again for all your continued support and interest in my process as an artist. And I hope it helps you continue to grow as an artist as well. See you next time