Before any sculpting can begin a base of either armature wire, tinfoil or a combination of both is created to act as a 'skeleton' of sorts to support the polymer clay. Besides supporting the sculpting of the polymer clay it also helps economize how much clay is utilized. This also helps speeds up the baking process of the final sculpted piece. Care is taken to create a proper body shape while at the same time producing a sub structure that will support the creature within it’s container.
Bakeable polymer clay is then utilized to build up the final form of each creature. Then the legs, arms, and other possible appendages are added. as the form is refined Details such as scales, pores, hair, wrinkles, and other character creating elements begin to appear and evolve on the final form.
Once the sculpt is completed, the creature is baked at 175 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes. The thicker the polymer clay is the longer it takes to bake while the risk for cracking increases. The clay hardens and furthers strengthens the sculpt in preparation for paint and further detailing.
As soon as the polymer clay is cool, a base color of black, grey and white is applied to both seal the clay as well create a nice under body of paint to deepen shadows and make highlights pop.
After the base coat is dry the layering of the final paint finish begins. Multiple layers of paint is applied to created skin tone, age, and other surface characteristics to each creature. Reference images galore are utilized to give each creature the right semi living preserved look.
The creature is clear coated to protect the paint finish Once the last layer of finishing paint is thoroughly dry. Then the creature is mounted in it’s final home of a shadow box. Sizes of shadowboxes range from smaller 2 inches x2 inches to large 8 inches x 8 inches. The size of the shadowbox is dictated by each creature created. Care is taken to insure that the creature will not break free and escape it’s final resting place.