Book Review: Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay

Book:  Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay
Tools & Techniques for Sculpting Realistic Figures
Author:  Katherine Dewey  ISBN 13:  987 0 8230 1503 0

This book is among my prized art books.  The reason?  It is because I feel that I don’t have all the skills needed to make something that would be beautiful.  This book is SO step by step that you couldn’t possibly do it wrong.

The first part of the book deals with how to create your own tools.  Not cheap tools either.  Good, long lasting ones.  Things for fingernails, for scraping clay away, a rounded shallow bowl for forming your tinfoil core.. something you can really press into.  Eyeball tools, and how to bake everything.  She uses the base of hollow knitting needles for the purpose which gives you a sturdy handle.

The next thing I like about the book, is she gives you the measurement system, then you see her adding blobs of clay, and exactly how she smoothes them into place.  She also includes the differences in racial bone structure and faces.

The thing I love MOST about this book, is that she pays a good deal of attention to the musculature of the body, and adds clay like it was a muscle, and attaches it in the appropriate places.  This gives the body a very  lifelike appearance.

My own take on this book is that it would be easy to take the ideas in this book and do it in paper clay, and make it into a ball jointed doll.  Reason being, she does the drawings the way a bjd artist would.  Drawing the joints as circles and then bending them how you would want them to be positioned.

The things I don’t find useful is the clay clothing and clay hair.  But these steps are easily ignored, and are found at the end of the book.  The one thing I think is clever, however, as far as clothing goes is the detailed instruction on shoes.

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