How to sculpt cute faces for your dolls? TUTORIAL
When I sculpt new faces for my plush dolls I always think about a character that I want to create. It's really fun to play with the face features and move away from a traditional human anatomy. In this article, I'll show you how I sculpt faces for these type of dolls and how different face features can change doll's personality.
Styrofoam - I’m using a fine grain styrofoam that florists use for flower arrangements for the base. Also, you can use a half of styrofoam ball or even tinfoil shaped into the form you need.
Modeling clay - I recommend using air dry clays like “Creative Paperclay“ or “La Doll”. These clays are easy to work with, extremely lightweight, suitable for really detailed and delicate dolls, sands to the almost shiny finish and are strong enough.
Various tools for sculpting and cutting - you don’t necessarily need a lot of sculpting tools if you don’t want to invest, use what you have around the house: blunt knife, chopsticks, brushes, spatulas and your fingers! Also, you’ll need an X-Acto knife.
Sanding paper - to achieve that smooth finish you’ll need to sand your sculpture.
PVA (“Elmers") glue - to coat styrofoam, before sculpting.
Form the styrofoam using the X-Acto knife into the shape you want. For my dolls, it's always a half of the ball. When you have a rough shape, sand it lightly to smooth the edges.
Coat the styrofoam with PVA glue to make it harder. It helps for clay to stick better as well! Leave the glue to dry completely before adding the first layer of clay.
Cover the styrofoam with a thin layer of clay and leave it to dry. I like to make a rough sketch efore sculpting the face features.
Using the X-Acto knife carve out the eye sockets and place two balls of clay inside. Eyes are very important for the character of the doll. We associate round eyes with charming cuteness and baby-like image.
To form an upper eyelid, add a little bit of clay above the apple of the eye and smooth out the edges. I like to use a damp brush for this because it's more gentle than the metal tools and spreads the clay evenly.
Repeat the same technique with a lower eyelid as well.
To remove harsh edges of the eye sockets I'm shaving off the excess clay around the nose bridge and adding more clay around the eyes.
To create a smooth transition between the eye and the forehead, I'm adding a little bit of clay that will resemble the brow bone.
Before sculpting the nose, I'm adding some clay to make the chubby cheeks. When creating adorable faces, try to avoid flat silhouette. Add cheeks, small curved nose, full lips, etc.
Add some clay to the nose area and smooth it out to the sides creating a nose bridge. While the clay is still wet, form the nostrils using a pointy tool.
When the nose is dry, start sculpting the upper lip. Add some clay right under the nose, smooth out the edges using the flat, slightly pointy tool and start forming the lip.
To make the lip fuller, I'm adding a little bit of clay under the Cupid's bow. To smooth out edges I'm using a damp brush.
Before sculpting the lower lip, wait for the upper lip to dry – it'll be easier to keep them separate while flattening the edges.
Don't forget to add the chin and inspect how the face looks from the profile. For more characteristic faces, I like to enhance the curves, creating a pointy nose, full upper lip and a round chin.
In the end, I've decided to add more clay to the cheeks. See what's missing from your sculpture, correct the features if needed and after the clay has dried completely sand it to the smooth finish. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments down bellow!