next steps – working on the palm, starting to add the joints for the fingers and working on the fingers.
start filling in the rest of the palm with clay – you can smear white glue on the “bones” and wait for it to dry — this allows both the paperclay and the polymer to stick to the bones better. if you are working in paperclay – wet the surface of the dry clay and then add on the new clay. press and smear to join it firmly to the dry parts.
constantly compare your clay palm to your reference drawing and your other palm (if you are working on the second one…) you need both hands to be the same size. Also start looking at your hand and notice the angle your thumb makes to the rest of your hand. A natural relaxed position for me has my thumb rotated towards my palm, while my daughter finds it more comfortable to have her thumb more out to the side – almost in line with her fingers. One thing to think about here is that once the hand is in hard clay or resin, you won’t be able to rotate the base of the thumb in – so think about whether or not your figure will wear removable clothing and how wide you want the hand to be.
Once you have the thumb angle pretty much decided and started to be sculpted – you can either add the base ball for the thumb joint, or start the socket – depending on whether you want the ball part of the hand, or part of the thumb. I did the other hand with the ball as part of the thumb so will make this hand the same way.
Look at your hand and notice the direction that the thumb curls in. You will want the groove in the ball to be in line with the angle the thumb will move in –
Choose a largish ball and check to see where you want to put it on the hand — the hole in the ball needs to connect to the top of the hole in the bone in the palm, but the angle can be different – you can use fine wire to pull the elastic thru the bones when you string the thumb, so the angle just needs to be one that you can easily thread wire thru.
now wet the dry clay on the thumb and press some more clay there – push the ball firmly into place so the clay kind of oozes up around it.
smear the clay in place, removing any extra – but pressing it firmly around the ball to hold it in place. Now is a good time to start to build up the fleshy mound at the base of the thumb. Look at your hand again – on mine, the base of the thumb takes up about half the base of the hand. Thread your stringing wire up thru the palm and out the base of the thumb to make sure you have the holes in the balls and the bone aligned.
compare against your existing hand if you are doing a 2nd hand (or against your drawing if this is the first) and make any adjustments – then set aside to dry. Remember – you are just roughing things in now – you will go back and do detail and clean up once things are starting to work together.
While the palm is drying – start work on the fingers and thumb.
I find it convenient to string each of the fingertips at this time. Take each of the fingertip bones that you drilled horizontal holes in and cut pieces of very tiny elasic long enough to go from the base of the palm out thru the end of the finger tip and back again – and add extra to give you plenty to fidget with going thru the wrist ball. also cut small pieces of galvanized wire the correct size to fit thru the horizontal hole you drilled in the fingertip bone.
The curve that you drilled in one end of the figertip bone with your dremel will be the base of the fingertip. the flat end is the nail end of the fingertip.
Bend the elastic in half at the middle, and push the bend up thru the base of the fingertip bone and a little past the end of it. hold the bent elastic with one hand, and the 2 ends with the other, and wiggle it around inside the bone so that the horizontal hole is perpendicular to the 2 strands – so when you push the piece of wire thru the holes, it will go in between the 2 lines of elastic.
Push the wire thru one side and out the other, and then gently pull the elasic down out the base of the bone until it hangs up on the wire. sometimes you have to do this a couple of times before it catches properly.
Now you can start adding the clay around the finger bones. work to keep the ridges of clay that surround the ball at the top of the bones – very straight and flat. I find it easiest to put the clay on the fingers around the balls first, and let them dry. Then I add the clay at the base of the next joint, fitting it down over the ball – and using that nice flat ridge on the lower bone to help me make the socket flat and even.
the nice thing about the paperclay is you can keep adding and carving away to work on the joints. be careful to make the socket walls thick enough to be strong. You won’t be stringing the fingers terribly tight so you don’t have to worry too much about strength.
I find it easiest to keep the finger segments in line by sculpting them while they are all strung on the elastic….