In this post I am sharing with you how I created my fox sculpture. And as I made a YouTube video you can find the images there (see below). However I kept the description brief to fit into my subtitles and this blog post gives a more detailed description of how Foxy was created.
I adore foxes- they are beautiful creatures and I can’t understand why anyone would want to hunt and kill them for fun. Years ago when I was studying in London I actually saw a fox and her cubs in the garden where we lived (in Blackheath). Foxes are smart animals who adapt pretty well to urban living. A world without foxes would be a rather sad place. Of course I had to make a fox sculpture.
This little chap, whom I named Foxy is made with Super Sculpey Beige. It’s got a very different feel than ordinary polymer clay like Premo or FIMO and is less sticky. Smoothing seams is easier when working in just one colour, which makes this clay the perfect choice for small sculptures.
I started with the body first – I always do. I think it’s because once I know how big the body is, I can figure out the appropriate size for the head. Foxes have quite long skinny legs, so I made sure to make them long on Foxy too.
Getting the head right took me a few attempts and a lot of patience. I wanted to make sure I don’t end up with another cat or dog! The eyes are pre-baked. I made lots of tiny eye balls ages ago- they are all in green and blue, but as sculptures made with Super Sculpey are getting painted anyway it doesn’t really matter. I tried to add as much detail as possible.
The next step was attaching the head to the body with a cocktail stick. I used a thin sausage of clay to create the neck and smoothed over the seams with a knitting needle. I have knitting needles in various sizes, I can’t knit to save my life, but the needles are great sculpting tools.
Once the whole body was assembled I let it rest for a day and then I added the fur texture using a tapestry needle. After the fur was added I let the sculpture rest again – I always do this, because I want a fresh pair of eyes to check it over again before I finally bake it in my Halogen oven. Sometimes I find a hair that I need to pull out or that I missed out a bit of fur or have to reshape the nose.
Once Foxy was baked (I bake my sculptures for 2 hours at 130 °C) I primed him with white Gesso. This priming helps the acrylic paint to stick better to the clay. Often when you paint directly to the clay it just doesn’t attach itself very well. After drying I painted the fox using white, burnt Umber, black and mix of red and raw Sienna. I had to paint the fox in stages and give him several coats of paint.
I originally wanted to varnish the fox with matte varnish. When I put on the first coat of varnish I noticed that the varnish just clogged up the fur crevasses and it looked horrible. I tried to take it off and some of it came off, but then I realised I had to take it all off! Luckily a friend of mine, who sold me the product, suggested taking the varnish off using water, which worked. The varnish is water based and within a window of 2 hours you can get it off. It took a while and I managed to get off some of the paint too! So I had to re-paint the fox. My friend suggested making test tiles with the paint that I am using and to then varnish those to see if it’s a reaction to the paints. I did this and I am still not sure if it’s the paint or simply the way I apply the varnish. Some tiles are fine, others are not. Since a sculpture meant for indoors doesn’t get handled much it doesn’t really need varnish, so in the end after my tests I decided not to risk it again and left the varnish off. However I highlighted the nose and eyes with gloss varnish.
I hope you like Foxy. He took many days and hours to complete. You can find him in my shop here.