Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Inside Story ~~ A Visual PeekTutorial on Making Soft Sculpture Dolls

Since I designed my tribute piece to Bob Keeshan as CLARABELL, I've had several inquiries about how the "sculpting" process is done.  I'll show you some pictures of different stages of making Clarabell, the meercat clowns, Rudy and Kazooty, and Alistair the Shy Clown. 

Rudy and Kazooty - Meercat Clown brothers

Clarabell the Clown

We'll start with Clarabell.  First I used a man's work sock in tan color.  The toe of the sock is stuffed pretty firmly with batting and tied off at where the neck of the doll should be.  I then pull forward the bridge of the nose and bring in a threaded needle from the back of the doll's head to the left side of the nose and take a stitch.  Then I stitch under the nose bridge to the right side of the nose and take a stitch.  Stitches are made back and forth down both sides of the nose until I come to the top of the nostril area.  A stitch is made from the bridge of the nose at the nostril area down through the nostril and another locking stitch is made in the nostril and back up to the top of the nostril at the side of the nose.  The nostril will then start taking shape.  After that side is done, I repeat on the other side of the nose and make the other nostril. 

As you are pulling the nostrils into shape, you will notice that a slight ridge is forming just below the nostril where a laugh line might be on a real face.  The needle is run under the laugh line, bringing the needle and thread up under the laugh line where the corner of the mouth would be and a stitch is taken here.  Next the thread is run in a single line across the top of the fabric in the mouth area to the other side of the mouth and a stitch is taken where the other side of the mouth would be, under the potential laugh line.

I then draw the threads up the face, under the fabric from one corner of the mouth to the inside corner of where the eye would be, along side of the nose.  The face will begin taking shape and it can be as detailed as you wish.  The pictures below show how the Clarabell face looks when completed with sculpting and before painting.  The meercats are done in a similar way but I used white flannel as the face/head fabric and just pulled the threads in the same way but in a much simplier and less detailed way since these guys are so little and don't need so much detail.  Alistair's head was done with a child's sock.

Faces were painted and then sealed (so paint will be permanent).  This is a very simplified tutorial but I will write a more detailed one at a later date.  The more practice you put in, the easier it will be for you to form the details you want.  Often, I have been surprised at the end result of my work when I started out to do something completely different.  That is how the little meercats developed. 

Have fun and play with the magic!

Clarabell in early stages of soft sculpture
Kazooty after face painting

Alistair wip

No comments:

Post a Comment