Sculpting Creatures and Critters

Bringing Your Ideas to Life in Clay
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  • Lectures 53
  • Length 3 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 8/2014 English

Course Description

Have you ever wanted to bring your ideas to life in clay but weren’t sure where to start? This class will give you the skills needed to start creating your own original sculptures using Super Sculpey. We will start from the ground up, beginning with concept creation moving into armatures, building up clay, creating detail and texture, and finally, painting. At the end of the class, you will have a completed sculpture of your own.

Students will need to purchase materials in order to complete this class. Materials list and recommended buying locations will be provided.

Previous sculpting experience is not necessary. However, at least some working knowledge of art basics (form, shape, color theory, etc.) as well as basic drawing skills are highly recommended.

What are the requirements?

  • Highly Recommended : Basic working knowledge of form, anatomy, and color theory.
  • Helpful : Character design experience, basic drawing skills
  • Sculpting Materials

What am I going to get from this course?

  • To learn the basics of form as they pertain to sculpture.
  • To gain the ability to sculpt an original figure from scratch.
  • To obtain the knowledge of materials used in sculpting character maquettes.
  • To create your own ideas inspired by the practice of observation and the use of practical techniques.

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone interested in learning the process of creating an original sculpture.
  • Beginning sculptors looking to expand their artistic skill set.
  • Recommended for artists age 10 years and up.
  • Character designers with an interest of realizing their creations in three dimensions.
  • Animal and creature enthusiasts with an artistic flair.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Watch: Materials and Inspiration

Thank you for joining us! This is a quick introduction to who I am and what this class is all about.


Before getting started on your sculpture, we first need to go over the materials that you will need. Most items are readily available at your local art or craft store. If you have trouble finding any of the necessary items, refer to the shop suggestions list to get some help. Download the materials list for a handy reference to take with you while shopping.


Where do we get ideas? This video will discuss inspiration, making use of reference materials, and starting out with some basic concept art before moving on to sculpting.

Section 2: Sculpt: Time To Get Ready!
Gather Your References
Share Your References And Ideas!
Section 3: Watch: Armatures

This video will cover the necessary materials for creating your armature. We will then cover how to create a layout on paper that will help you keep accurate proportions when working with the wire.


This is the basic armature creation method. We will implement wire twisting and wrapping, which requires minimal tool use. It is a great method for quick and stable armatures.


If you have a larger sculpture that you want to create or one that is dynamically posed, you will want to create a stronger armature using this advanced method. Here, we will make use of heavy gauge armature wire for the main structure.


Dynamic poses make a sculpture interesting to look at. Learn how to get rid of boring poses and add interest through movement.


Mass can be added to your armature through the use of aluminum foil. Learn how to use this technique as well as how to reinforce dynamic poses with an amazing clay called Apoxie Sculpt.


Wire mesh can be used to create membranes for dragon wings, as will be demonstrated in this video. This technique can be used for other thin materials like capes and flowing fabric.

Section 4: Sculpt: Build Your Own Armature!
Pose and Reinforce!
Add Wings! (Optional)
Share Your Armature!
Section 5: Watch: Building Form with Clay

Let's start putting some clay onto the armature! In this video, we will quickly build up form to get a fully roughed in sculpture that shows basic proportion, anatomy, and posing.


This lesson will discuss additive and subtractive methods of sculpting as well as different ways to smooth out your blocked-out sculpture.


With a now smooth sculpture, it's time to start adding anatomical details. This video shows techniques for adding muscle definition and hints of skeletal structure. It also demonstrates how to create basic fingers and toes.


Some different techniques will be shown here including sculpting paw detail, working with guide lines, and adding major facial features.


Before getting into fine detail, we want to add in secondary forms. These are any large or prominent features that weren't included during the blocking out of the sculpture. In this demonstration, that will include the dragon's wing membranes as well as large chest scales.

Section 6: Sculpt: Let's Start Sculpting!
Block Out With Clay!
Smoothing and Anatomy!
Add Secondary Features!
Share Your Blocked Out Sculpture!
Section 7: Watch: Detailing and Texturing

Some different techniques will be shown here including sculpting the eyes, nose, and mouth.


This video will cover how to create horns by using pre-baked pieces of Sculpey. It will also cover various methods of creating realistic fur textures.


We will discuss adding pre-baked claws to the hands, adding tendon detail, and adding small accent scales.


We will now define the wing fingers, add some wrinkles to the wing membranes, and sculpt some light tattering along the edges of the wing.


This video tackles the complex bird wing by breaking it down into segments and demonstrating how to sculpt feathers.


Adding sculpted elements to the base of your sculpture can help tell a story about your character. In this video, I demonstrate how to quickly sculpt realistic rocks for the base of your sculpture.

Section 8: Sculpt: It's All About The Details!
Sculpt The Face!
Detail the Hands and Feet!
Add Texture!
Detail the Wings! (Optional)
Detail the Base! (Optional)
Share Your Detailed Sculpture!
Section 9: Watch: Smoothing and Finishing

This video will cover how to apply rubbing alcohol to your sculpture followed by tips for baking your piece. We will also cover various sanding techniques to get the best surface quality.


This video will discuss primer application as well as what to do in the event of accidental breakage.

Section 10: Sculpt: Finishing the Sculpture!
Section 11: Watch: Painting

This video will begin with a quick introduction to painting materials. We will then talk about the basics of mixing paint as well as how to apply a proper base color to your sculpture.


This video will show the application of secondary colors as well as large details.


Dry brush and wash are two special painting methods that will be discussed in this video. These methods will help add more depth or "shading" to your piece.


This video will discuss several detailing techniques as well as implementing the use of Pearl Ex and varnishes.


Thank you so much for joining in! I leave you with these parting words as well as a gallery of final images of the two sculptures I created during the production of this class.

Section 12: Sculpt: Let's Paint!
Base Coat!
Secondary Colors!
Detail and Finish!
Share Your Final Sculpture!

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Instructor Biography

Emily Coleman, Professional Sculptor

I have been sculpting animals and creatures since 2001. In my decade-plus of experience, I have worked with a variety of sculpting media including polymer clays, wax, oil based clay, epoxy clays, and foam. I am also well versed in molding and casting.

From 2006-2012, I taught fine art for the 3D animation program at Full Sail University. I specialized in sculpting, but also taught life drawing, color theory, and concept art. I was involved in curriculum development as well as lecturing, class critique, evaluation, and practical lab work.

In 2013, I self published my first book, Creature Sculpt. This is a 200 page fully illustrated book that teaches the beginning and novice sculptor how to get started with their own original clay creations. In September 2014, Creature Sculpt will be republished as Fantasy Creatures in Clay by Impact Books. This newly designed and edited book will be available from major book retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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