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Modeling: introduction

Now it's time for the actual clay modeling!

I hope you're still enjoying this, and don't think: "This isn't a clay modeling course, it goes on and on about wire frames and armatures and boring things like that. Where's the clay?".

But you'll realize that an armature is really important, it holds everything together. Nothing is more frustrating than putting hours and hours into creating a clay model of a fierce, horned dragon which, after you harden it in the oven and paint it, tends to lose most of it's horns and part of it's tail because every time you pick it up bits break off.

So, as I said, it's finally time to model!

Covering the armature

First, cover the armature with a thin layer of clay. To do this, clear a part of your workspace, cover it with draft paper or typewriter paper.

If you work with polymer clay like Fimo right on a painted table or plastic surface the Fimo may stick to it after a while and eventually eat trough it!

Now, take a small portion of clay, knead it, and flatten it out with your fingers or a round tool. Wrap the flattened piece of clay around a part of your armature and put it in position by flattening it further with a crochet-hook or similar tool.

Repeat this until your armature is completely covered with clay. If you're doing a figure, leave the top of the model where the head comes uncovered.

You should now have a figure or model that looks roughly like the end result, but quite a bit featureless.

Covering the armature is really important for protecting the armature itself, especially if you're using an armature material other than iron wire and tinfoil. It might shrink if it comes in contact with the hot air in the oven.

Refining the armature

If you notice that part of your model is too thin or oddly shaped, do not try to fill it up with clay. Fat pieces of clay are difficult to harden in the oven. Instead, you can clear the part of your model that's too thin of the clay already there, cut the tinfoil there, and stuff it up with rolled-up pieces of tinfoil. Then put the cut tinfoil back in place and cover it with clay again.