Snake goes sculpey crazy

After my previous mammoth post on my tests with clay- this is purely about making the snake character with sculpey clay which was intended as a tester for my stop motion animation.
I spent the last 2 weeks making this- not solidly 2 weeks but when I could. But then then the last few days I just hated the colour and re-coloured it again which has turned out a lot better! Before making this I wasnt sure how I was going to make this character for the animation, for building the body etc. So this has helped me MASSIVELY for when it comes to understanding how to make the final version and also for the scale- the scale of this one is too big.

So again I started this with a basic wire armature and padded it out with foil and covered in masking tape and then rolled out thinner layers of sculpey clay ready to blend to the armature.

Next was to sculpt part of the head seperately which would then be joined to the body. I found the sculpey clay much better for doing this kind of work with compared to other clays.

Then to join the head and start adding the side parts of the head.

But... I wasnt happy with the face shape- it was too elongated and too 'dragon' like. It didnt reflect my drawing properly so I pulled the face back off which looked really mad and funny! I then took some of the clay away to make a smaller mouth which stuck out less and better eyes. This turned out a lot better just by making some small changes and it instantly looked a lot more like the drawing. It was actually quite easy to do too- to resculpt it again even by pulling the face off!

It was then baked for about 10 minutes which actually was probably too long even though it says for longer on the box but thats the kinda thing I was wanting to learn from this- its all part of testing to realise how long is needed etc.
Next up was adding some of the detail (once it had been firstly baked) which was just the same of the design- a few scales added and then all of the inner part of the snake which was made by creating lots of rectangles and moulding each one on individually to the body. This took quite a while but worked perfectly and gave the exact look I hoped for and the same as the actual design.

Once it had been baked again only for about 5 minutes this time and at a lower temperature- I then decided i'd give a try to airbrushing it rather than using a paintbrush. It would still be with acrylic paints but heavily watered down. First I added the primer and then began the longgggg and sometimes tedious layering of the paint.
I went with more realistic colours using deep green and then lots of browns. It ended up being a lot of layers in the end compared to what I thought because sometimes one layer would over power too much so then I'd have to add another to blend in more again and so on.....
But once it was all done and started to dry out and just stand there on the desk- it looked ugly!!! It was just waaay too dark and looked hideous and wrong. I knew straight away that these were not the colours to be used on the final model. The eyes were also really bad on it!

So finally yesterday and today I got the airbrush back out, mixed up some much brighter colours and ta dah!!! In my opinion it looks loads better with brighter colours and reflects the characters style more too. In real life it is a little brighter but I also think these colours are best for going with the peacock characters too because its stupid and pointless if they look more cartoon style and then the snake comes along looking all crap and dark and more realistic. It would just clash! So this is much better.
This is the final model in the end which is obviously not made to scale but I learnt that my final model cannot be made in this way as it actually needs to move so I've been thinking of other methods since this now for using urethane foam and perhaps liquid silicone.
I also liked using the airbrush too and would like to for my final model if its possible. Although it was more difficult for painting smaller areas because this is the first time I've airbrushed something so I'm not used to working on details with it. Before now my only use for the airbrush was a good few years ago when I used to do a lot of nail art! So quite a big difference there.
Making this has also made me think more in terms of how the snake will move on the animation and where abouts on the body the main joints should be and ways to made the head etc. Im also not going to include the daft marking detail which is shown on the back of this one- they do have markings like that but it looks stupid on here.


  1. Terrific character! Such a cute look on it's face!

  2. That's fantastic! I really love the face :D

  3. to stengthen the armature get two lengths of the same wire and twist them together its stronger than you think! i love the detail and colour on him x

  4. Wooo thanks everyone! And thanks Justine, yeah I'm gonna do that for the final version with the wire. I only had finer wire at the time to twist but I'm waiting for some thicker aluminium wire.

  5. i think your snake looks fantastic! from all angles, a really nice model, can it move? it looks like an ornament :)

  6. the snakes brilliant i cant wait to see the peacocks

  7. Thanks!! Hopefuly the peacocks will turn out ok- i hope so anyways!
    That snake model doesnt move- wish it did but its all from sculpey so its more of a maquette really. I need to make the final version differently so it can move.




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