In recent years, I have been studying in the field of air-drying clay handicrafts, making my own style, and reading about air-drying clay on the internet. After observing for a long time, I found that there are not many answers about air-drying clay, and the content of video tutorials on the internet is limited. I've started to accumulate some text so that I can share with you the problems I've seen in the process of making clay, and sort out the ideas of making air-drying clay figures based on the experience I've accumulated. I hope this will help those who are interested in clay handicrafts.
The development of this form of handicraft with air-drying clay is not very long, mainly due to the continuous brainstorming and love of life of many handicraft people.
How to use air-drying clay to bring the production of handicrafts this issue, I think the first thing you should understand is the air-drying clay material, because each clay characteristics and advantages and disadvantages, will affect the choice of tools, the use of skills, but also affect the production of ideas. (Clay handicraft production also involves resin clay, soft pottery and many other materials, not in this discussion.)
Air-drying clay is a branch of paper clay. The main ingredients are miniature foam balls, binder, pigments and a little borax or something like that. Normally, it is a clay with moisture. It can be shaped freely by hand or with tools to make many shapes. Air-drying clay is available in 12 to 36 colors, and can be mixed and matched with the three primary colors principle. After shaping, it usually dries naturally without drying.
A good air-drying clay generally takes 12 to 36 hours to dry completely according to the shape and volume of the work and natural air-drying, and after it is completely dry, it has a certain elasticity and toughness. However, some production processes need to be in the air-drying clay semi-dry state (surface drying modeling stable, but the internal is still not completely dry.) Under the operation, such as the doll production process needs to be the legs of the character leg stakes, air-drying clay semi-dry production is most appropriate.

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How to make a figure with air-drying clay? 15

Because it can dry naturally, so the requirements for the creation of the environment is relatively low, at home, in the dormitory and other accommodation can be created. The clay comes with its own color, so there is no need to paint it for regular production; the surface is flat after drying, so there is no need to polish and sand, and there is less environmental pollution. (Soft clay shaping requires ovens and other tools for high-temperature baking. Fine carving oil clay and other materials need to be inverted mold in order to be stable and preserved; stone powder clay is also air-drying material, but the finished product processing needs to be polished several times, and there is a certain amount of dust. American clay and other advanced materials are also natural air-drying, is a professional handicraft materials, but in addition to the need for better shaping art base, its price is also relatively unfriendly. (In addition, like stone powder clay and American clay is extremely suitable for making plain white mold, after which you also need to connect the spray paint coating link). Because it is originally for children's products, most brands of air-drying clay, are non-toxic and harmless. The color value is stable and easy to start. Very suitable for ordinary people to carry out a variety of creative and DIY clay handicrafts.

The emergence of air-drying clay handicrafts, making the original extremely professional handicraft production, into a common enthusiasts can also be exposed to an experience. It also makes the creation of handicrafts appear to have some simplicity and freedom qualities. Although air-drying clay simplifies the process of handicraft production, but if you want to play the delicate and stylish, still rely on the production techniques, art knowledge and appropriate tool use.

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Female Characters

Many newcomers in the process of just learning, often in the major forums to see such a sentence spit: “a look will be, once you start to do not know how to do.” Because there are many seniors on Youtube and other video platforms who post various production videos, many netizens often post this tirade in the pop-ups. But I personally think this sentence is worthy of scrutiny.
”A look at it will be” is a joke, but there are really people who feel they ”look at it will be” after watching the video, and then go back and review it. Then they find out that the process is very bumpy and they can't even do it. It is true that many people ask me why this happens, why they can't do it even though they have already seen it?

For this situation, I think that when these people think they know how to do it, they actually ignore many “invisible” and “not easy to see” operations. Because generally the production of a super light clay works need a long time, generally according to the complexity may be in 2 to 72 hours, or even more time, so handmade artists released video, most of the video to a certain degree of editing and video acceleration, generally produced to 3 ~ 10 minutes an episode, in order to enhance the viewing experience, in most of the video after more than ten times the acceleration, and editing, can see most of the are only the production process.
So for viewers who are not familiar with the production process, the slow and delicate detail processing, in the accelerated video, either becomes a small action that passes in half a second, or may be edited out, and much of the experience about the length of processing becomes less perceptible. Although we see the process of painting the face, making hair, making vegetation, making clothes, assembling and assembling, etc. in the picture, we actually ignore many invisible factors, such as the ratio of air-drying clay (some structures need to mix different air-drying clay to improve air-drying clay properties), the humidity of air-drying clay, drying time and other potential factors, which are the air-drying clay handicrafters in the daily production is to slowly figure out It is also a practical and unobtrusive skill.
So what the general public call a glance, is very difficult to do.

Then let's talk about the second half of the sentence: “Once you start doing it, you don't know how to do it”.

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Failed works

Handicraft production, involving the use of tools and techniques, in addition to the cognitive bias mentioned in the previous article, the next is the problem of skill proficiency and practicality.
The more proficient you are, the faster, better and more spiritual you will be able to produce. Nowadays, there are many artists on the Internet who have released various skills and experiences, making learning more convenient and always finding new techniques. But which techniques are more suitable for you in the production process, you must need to practice to adapt and adjust. By practicing, you can “skill up” and “localize” the technique. Make it more proficient and more suitable for you. This is like you play the game, skills like heroes, a large number of types, to choose the right role for yourself, you must play a few hands to adapt to adapt. Some techniques require practice to be used properly. Of course, there may be some skills and our operating habits to produce a different, not necessarily suitable for everyone, this is very normal. The learning of techniques is like the combination of their own moves in general.
Usually some skills look difficult, do a do actually quite simple, some look simple, but hands on and found not as easy as it seems, some skills do not fit their operating habits, some need a lot of practice to do. Proper hands-on practice is an effective way to filter skills.
But when we think we have learned a lot of techniques and skills, but never practiced, it is often a paper exercise. I often never used, or use and understanding of the skills jokingly referred to as “rollover technology”, if we often use “rollover technology” in the production, it is bound to be repeatedly wrong in the process of production If we often use the “rollover technique” in the production, we are bound to make a lot of mistakes in the process of production and roll over frequently.
So the production of air-drying clay technology is not learned, but should be practiced, learning so that we know, practice so that we master.
Only when we master the skills can we finish the clay work better.

Establishing the right analytical thinking

When you have the materials and tools, you need to understand the idea of creating with air-drying clay before you can make a big brainstorm. Although the creation of air-drying clay is based on many traditional sculpting techniques and concepts, the production of air-drying clay figures is based on the core creation of “parts and combinations”. In other words, various geometries are created, and then adjusted and assembled.
The first step is to make structural trade-offs and analyze the image to be made.
Structure selection
Generally, the reference drawings for clay creation are mostly ACG pictures and homage drawings, but also some portraits. Generally, there will be three views of the figure, so that we can observe the structural relationship of the figure from multiple angles.

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Reference pictures

Whether it's a general picture or a figure picture, when you use it as a reference picture for clay figure making, there will be some trade-offs first. Because the image of the clothing and accessories are drawn, relying on light and dark and spatial perspective to set off a sense of volume, and does not really produce volume. In contrast, when making clothing and armor accessories from clay, they end up being three-dimensional. Even thin clothing has thickness, and can have a big impact on the overall volume of the figure. If not handled well, there may be a variety of problems such as bloated character clothing, armor disproportion, and insufficient space for the installation of accessories. There are also pictures of characters lifting a sledgehammer without pressure, make an equal ratio of sledgehammer for clay people to hold, it is likely that the fingertips can not support, and can not hold, or the center of gravity is out of balance, unstable and other physical problems. Sometimes even layers of armor scales, body ties, etc., you always think about giving up to continue.

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How to make a figure with air-drying clay? 16

So at the very beginning, you have to roughly determine those structures that do not need to be done; those ornaments painted, those ornaments appliqué; those structures to be streamlined, etc.. And to determine the production of the part to make a draft in mind, sort out the production steps and combination of steps to do in mind.
Structure analysis
The production of air-drying clay handicrafts is basically a layered production, that is, from the inside to the outside, wrapped production. There is no structure and the surface can not be seen not to do, for example, we do not need to make the heart inside the character, and do not need to make the fat in the cotton pants. Take the human figure as an example: the general vegetarian body is the innermost layer, clothing wrapped vegetarian body, clothing surface decorated with accessories belt, the character holding a weapon prop. We then analyze the overall structure: the base is the basis of everything, clay human figures are difficult to stand on their own, need leg stakes fixed. So the legs are on the base, the legs carry the whole upper body, the arms are connected to the upper body around, and the head is inserted in the neck of the upper body. After analyzing the structure it is time to start the production.
The general production process: first make or choose a suitable face model, according to the size of the face model, the initial head to body ratio, simulate the general data of the human figure. Such as upper body length, shoulder width, arm length, leg length / overall height of the figure. After that, the legs are made first; then the pants and shoes. Then make the upper body prime, and lower the pile when the legs are dry enough to wear the skeleton, so that the lower body can stand. After that, assemble the upper body prime. Make clothes from inside to outside, layer by layer. Then make the mounting arms and hands, then the sleeves, etc. Draw the face of the human figure (you can also draw a spare first after the face mold is selected). Make the back of the head and add hair. Assemble the head (I'll make up the head (~ ̄▽ ̄)~), and finally add supplementary weapons, props, character makeup, accessories, scene decoration, etc. And in fact, according to the various differences in the human figure (non-human figure) to be made, the skills required in the process of building each part are different, and need to be accumulated in the daily practice.

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Character accessories and weapons
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How to make a figure with air-drying clay? 17
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Final Results

Making figures are not difficult
Being able to make a beloved Masabi figure is one of the ultimate goals of many clay figure lovers. Many of my friends find it difficult to control the ratio of their work after trying. In fact, the proportion of positive ratio is very manageable. Because of the limitations of the subject matter and the audience, the actual proportion of the characters in the production, basically the form of young men and women, rarely see the role of young or old state.
About the proportion of the human body of young people can actually find a lot of relevant information. General characters are calculated using the height and width of the head to measure, such as we often mention the seven-headed body, nine-headed body is the reason. And some of the 1/8, 1/12 value, it means that according to the real parameters isometric reduction 8 times, 12 times. When familiar with the conventional human proportions. The actual difference between the proportions of different characters, that is, the size of the chest, and the length and thickness of the legs and other parts of the small differences.

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Men and women waist difference
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Character body proportions
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Male to female body ratio
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How to make a figure with air-drying clay? 18

How to reflect a sense of seniority

Many novices will always feel that their handiwork is not advanced enough, generally see more or less the following reasons.

1、Proportional disorder
Disproportion is one of the main reasons why many air-drying clay works look strange. There are more problems with the human figure, such as too large chest, slippery shoulders (shoulders are not obvious), waist is too long, neck is too thin, large hands and feet and so on. The solution is to review more reference diagrams and read more knowledge about human proportions.

2、Rough workmanship
There are many reasons for rough workmanship, such as the quality of air-drying clay caused by the expansion and collapse of deformation; manual unskilled resulting in parts out of shape distortion; the air-drying clay humidity does not understand the bottom of the patch caused by; painting is not skilled in drawing the character face collapse.

3、Detail performance is not enough
Air-drying clay hand-me-downs to enhance the sense of seniority is the main way to increase the details. A lot of big brother production role is not complex, but the details are very delicate in place, very for the role of extra points, the details determine success or failure. For example, some human figures have decorations, texture folds, props and other small structures on their clothing. If you can do it is a big plus. There are 2 types of general flat detailing: painted and superimposed structures. Each of the two ways are suitable for the purpose and constraints. Painted generally in a relatively small space, or should not be done with clay complex graphics; do not need to repeat the embodiment of the ornament. Such as handwritten text totems, fan and umbrella calligraphy, collar and cuff patterns, tattoos, etc. Create a natural and varied look and feel. And superimposed structure is mostly used to deal with details that have a sense of spatial presence. Such as collars, buttons, laces, smooth and shaped edges, etc. Create a sense of neat and clean modeling.
In addition there are additions to the small props, such as hairpins, ribbons, daggers on the belt and small hanging bags, metal parts of the belt, shoelaces and other three-dimensional structure, are also able to add color and light to the role.

4、Lazy to change
Usually will see a lot of works, some of which can see the author's actual level has been very good, but in the work presented, but still have some flaws. After communication, in fact, the author found the problem in the production process, but felt too lazy to change. He always thought that he would correct them next time and do a good job. Often at the end, because of lazy changes, the work will accumulate a number of defects.
5、Appropriate deletion
In the process of completing the handicraft, we often encounter some structures that are not easy to complete with clay. For example, the character's persona is a man wearing satin clothing, the surface of the clothing is covered with beautiful dark flowers. This pattern is extremely troublesome to draw, and it is easy to make mistakes. There are also clothes with various textures, such as cotton texture, polyester texture, nylon texture, etc. There are always friends coming in to ask how they can make these structures and details. Personally, I feel that the shape is necessary to do well, while some details need to be cut and omitted. Clay has its own shortcomings direction: not suitable for doing precise angular mechanical style, not suitable for carving a strong sense of muscle, not convenient to make the surface of the subtle changes, etc.. (Can also make a certain effect, but the difficulty process will be very stuck hands, it is recommended to choose a more suitable material.) If you have a strong demand for this area of the player, please to the direction of fine carving oil clay, American clay.

About “give up”

Briefly talk about the “abandonment” problem.
There are a lot of people who start to learn at the spur of the moment, and then give up after practicing and realizing that it is not suitable. However, there are also some people who really like working with clay, but in the long term, the progress is slow and the results are not high, and then they choose to give up.
I have more contact with the latter. A lot of people are working tirelessly to learn about air-drying clay, trying hard and then trying again to get on the wrong line of practice.
For example, an American user once told me that he found the trick to correct the shaky hands in drawing faces, practicing lining up with pencil in a grid and filling it up. I think if you are learning Western painting, sketching and sketching to practice lining up is right. However, the little bit of microscopic drawing and painting work involved in the air-drying clay process is all done with the outline pen (a kind of brush). In terms of the different ways of applying force to the soft and hard brushes, the wrong set was chosen. Such practice must be ineffective in terms of results. One of my friends from Jilin talked to me about the challenge of choosing a more different character after each one. But each one did not do well. First of all, make sure this is a skilled work. To make rapid technical progress, you just need to be in the right direction, to do the same type, and to practice a lot. A novice may take ah two or three hours to draw a face, three hours to do the hands, two or three hours for the two feet, and a human figure may have to last more than a week off and on. The next time you change the role to do, and so on to do, the role and will not be. Instead, it is better to quietly draw more face, more cut fingers, if there is a weekend two or three hours, in fact, you can get a very experienced practice and gain. Basic skills are solid, you can get more fun in the creation, and will not easily give up.

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Practice drawing
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Practice drawing

Finally, I hope that, in the constant pursuit of technical and stylistic perfection, you can still maintain the initial attitude of love for life.

It's really fun to do this with love.


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