A question arose in my mind "How do I know if my sculptures are being made the best the can be ?!" So I created this page as a resource that contains information I've found that lists what you need to do to ensure you're doing what you're supposed to to create a quality clay sculpture.
Intro to Sculpting
What is Polymer Clay ? Polymer clay is PVC, PolyVinyl Chloride. Until it is cured it is a very malleable plastic that can be shaped and reshaped a multitude of times. It can be hardened by being cured (baked) in an oven.
Polymer clay cures at significantly lower temperatures than earthen clays, so it can be easily hardened in a home oven or convection oven. Please read over these links to be informed:
Anatomy & Proportions If you'll be figurative pieces and/or animals its incredibly important to learn and/or familiarize yourself with correct anatomy. Anatomy is a huge and adds a substantial amount of quality to your end-result. I've created this page to assist you in anatomy that has helped me a lot with my pieces.
Armature "The armature is the skeleton of your sculpture. It's an internal structure that gives added strength and support for your sculpture to keep it from breaking and also reduces the amount of clay you need to use. Armatures can be made from a variety of materials such as wire, sculpting epoxy such as Aves ApoxieSculpt, Sculpey Ultralight clay, or a combination of materials.
Do I need an armature?
If you're making a complex figure with thin extremities such as arms, legs, tails, etc. or a large figure, you need an armature. The reason large figures need armatures is that any layer of polymer clay thicker than 1/2 inch is difficult to cure thoroughly and evenly so a large sculpture should be bulked out with some other material such as epoxy."
Curing "Be sure to bake/cure your clay thoroughly at the temperature indicated on the clay package. Underbaking can leave your sculpture weak and at times can actually break down due to uncured plasticizers in the clay. A process you can use is ramp baking, this was originated by Katherine Dewey. This means you first bake for 15-20 minutes at 225, let your piece cool completely, second 15-20 minutes at 250 and let it cool completely, then depending on the thickness of the sculpture between 20 and 60 minutes at 275."
Painting (Blushing) "After your sculpture has cured you can choose to either leave it the color of the clay or paint it. There are many techniques you can use for painting polymer clay sculptures from light washes of color, to brushing thicker paint on, sponge painting, airbrushing, liquid polymer clays, applying soft pastels, or mica powders.
Avoid lacquer based enamel paints, they will not dry properly on polymer clay and remain sticky. Acrylics work best, oil paints especially heat set oils are also effective."