Call for Cats, and Daily Sculpture Challenge

Get a fast start on your next paper mache project or hand-made gift with Jonni’s easy downloadable patterns for masks, animal sculptures and faux trophy mounts. The patterns help you create a beautiful work of art, even if you’ve never sculpted anything before.

I think it would be fun to have a special post to show off all the paper mache cats that people made following my recent video series. Did you make a cat? If so, I’d love to add it to the gallery on a special post here on my site. If you’d like your cat to show up on the new post, just send me the image, along with the way you’d like your name to appear in the credits.

I know that many of you have already posted photos of your cats. Since I would legally need to ask every single one of you for permission to move your images to a new post (and I’m way too lazy to do that), I’m hoping that you’ll go ahead and send your photos to me even if you already posted them in the comment area of another post.  I will assume that anyone sending me their cat photo is giving me official permission to publish it here on this site.

In fact, I’d like to see your paper mache cat even if you made it some other way than the methods I showed you in the videos. If your cat was made differently, please mention it when you send the photo so I can let people know. We can all learn new things from each other.

“Daily Sculpture Challenge”

My experimenting phase seems to be over, and now I’m trying push myself to get better at portrait and figure sculpture. I am convinced that the best way to learn a new skill fastest is to use it as often as possible — so I’ve challenged myself to create at least one new sculpture a day. If that sounds like a fun idea, I hope you’ll join me.

Since paper mache dries too slowly to make it a good medium for this particular challenge, I’m just going to use modeling clay. If any of the pieces turn out well, I might turn them into small finished works using the methods I used to make my hippo and cougar. I also think it would be fun to try finishing them with the “faux encaustic” method mentioned in the Surface Treatment Workshop book – but I’m really nowhere near actually having anything to finish at this point. What I really want to concentrate on is making as many portraits and figure sculptures as I can, so I can make as many mistakes as possible as fast as possible. An, of course, I’m hoping that will help me improve my sculpting skills.

In fact, I just received another video by Dan Reader, this one on beginning figure sculpting. Just as soon as I hit the “publish” button on this post, I’m going to rip the plastic off the video and watch it all the way through. I learned so much from his portrait video, so I know this one will be good, too.

There’s already an online group called the Daily Painters (Jessie joined quite some time ago, but I don’t know if she’s still a member). But that does give me an idea… It’s always easier to stick to a personal commitment if other people join you. So – would you like to join an informal “daily sculptor’s” group? Any medium, any subject, any size – just to encourage each other to really push ourselves to learn as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. If anyone decides to join me, we can figure out a way to make it easy to share our daily sculptures. Maybe a new Flickr page, or something…

Most of the daily painters do very small paintings. I think that’s a good idea, so my portraits will be quite small, too – 5 or six inches, or so. I’m now on day three (and only two portraits – I have to get started on #3 soon). Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Small Portrait Sculpture #1
Small Portrait Sculpture #2
Small Portrait Sculpture #2
Small Portrait Sculpture #1

Both of these ladies were photographed by government photographers during the 30’s and 40’s. The sculptures are reliefs, and small, so they don’t take much time – at least until I go back and try to fix them and make them better. In fact, now that I see the photos, I see more things I need to fix – but that means I’m learning already, doesn’t it?

(I really dislike the stickiness of the modeling clay I have on hand. I ordered some “Monster Clay,” but it isn’t here yet. It isn’t supposed to be as sticky.)

Anyway, enough rambling for one day. Send in those paper mache cats, if you have one. No deadline, since we can always add more photos to the post, but it would be nice to get them up soon and show them off.  And let me know in the comment section if you’d like to “join” a daily sculptor’s group. (And let me know exactly what you mean by “joining” and “group” too, while you’re at it. This is just a kernel of an idea so far, so any suggestions are more than welcome.)

30 thoughts on “Call for Cats, and Daily Sculpture Challenge”

  1. Hi Jonni …. Greetings from Australia. … I would love to be part of your new ‘on line’ sculpting group …. I have never done sculpting before but have always wanted to have a go, so, I think that something like this may be just what I need to get me started …. it sounds like a lot of fun, as well as being a challenge, so you can count me in. I love your posts and really do admire your expertise and creative talent.

  2. Hi, jonny it’s me sheetal from india. Here in india i am persuing masters in fine arts. So during last month i had exhibition in which i have had to display around 8 works. For one of my 8 works i chose paper mache as a medium & it was very first time that i was going to make paper mache sculpture. So i searched a lot online to get some references & finnaly i found this site of yours. So i follow your all videos in which you are making sculpture of your own cat. As i was working on yoga so the pose i was working on was cat pose (marjariasana) in this i have showed mixture of human & cat. Finnaly here it is! Please give me suggestion regarding this & tell me all the mistakes that you are able to see as iknow that i’ve done lots of mistakes.

  3. i would love to join your group. i do alot of polymer clay,and have become obsessed with it. but, now am wanting to try paper mache.


  4. I’m also in for the daily sculpt (or daily whatever) …

    I made progress today on my fish (above), some small face/figure sculpts … which I’m using to get a little more comfortable with face structures and expression. I’m referring to them as ‘little ladies’ — tho they seem a little more witch-like (perhaps the herbal wise woman kind of witch, tho …)


    I also did a spine and sternum with the beginning of ribs … to test out a skeleton idea I’ve been having.

    I think doing a daily report will really help me move some of these projects forward. Great idea! And clearly I’ll need to work on my picture taking skills as well. : )

  5. I confess, my cat is still in pieces. But I will send you a pic when I’m moving forward again.

    I decided I should tackle something a little simpler and more cartoony, to get warmed up to mache again, so I’ve got 2 fish in progress. Only have a picture of one.

    • Great walking fish! And don’t worry about sending your cat “in time,” because we can add photos to the gallery at any time. (I like the figure sculpture behind the fish, too.

  6. Oh one more thing on daily sculpting – Jonni please use the “princess” bas relief I sent you recently for my first submission, and daily sculpting should get it’s own special place alone on your site. Talk soon. Joanne

    • Your Princess sculpture is lovely – but it must have taken much longer than a day to complete. Wouldn’t you rather put it in a comment on your previous guest post about making life sized busts? It would be nice if people could see them it along with your other work. If you have trouble with the upload feature, just let me know and I’ll walk you through it.

  7. Hi Jonni- yes to the daily sculpt and your portraits have a professional look. I am pretty sure you already have my two cat pictures and please do publish them here. The snow leopard and the calico kitty are my submissions and you can use the descriptions that I sent with them. As for the daily sculpting I think it should be a contest where all readers will vote on their favorite once a week or once a month and the winner will get special recognition as he or she’s prize.

    • Hi Joanne. Yes, I do have your cat photos – that’s what gave me the idea to put up a special post. They will definitely be included.

      I do think I’ll put up a special page where we can add our daily sculptures, done or not, any medium, any size. It seems to be the easiest way to do it, since all the other options I looked at required me to set up a new account somewhere. And I already have too many accounts, with Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, etc. But I don’t think I’ll do the contest. It’s an interesting idea, but I really want my own daily sculptures to be all about learning – and I don’t want to worry about what people will think if I make mistakes, because the mistakes give you the lessons that you need for improvement.

      • Jonni, you gotta remember one important rule about mistakes in art ….. Unless you tell what the mistake is you’re the only one who’s going to know. Everyone else is going to think you did it on purpose.

        • True – but when one is in learning mode, the artist is the only one who needs to know, right? (Sometimes the “mistakes” end up being more fun than what we really intended to do. Another part of the learning process.)

  8. Hola Jonni, me encanta la idea de unirme al grupo.Es buena la idea de realizarlo con plastilina.
    Me encantaron las cabezas!!!.
    Ya me pongo a modelar y les enviò mis fotos.

    • Wonderful! That’s three of us now. Maybe I can put up a page for us, where we can post our daily sculpture in the comment section. I’ll think about it a bit more, and let you know.

  9. Hi Jonni, I would love to join a sculpting class, but I’m not ready to, nor do I have the time right now to do one every day! I am working on a barn owl for my grandaughter right now, but it seems I work a little and think a LOT! Then work a little more! Plus, with my volunteering, looking after my Mom, and spending WAY too much time on your blog,, and any other papier mache and dollhouse furniture sites I can find, I procrastinate the day away! You are a wonderful artist! You make it look so easy, but I’m not nearly as good at making things look like what they are! 🙂 I will try to follow the sculpting group and maybe I can make more time eventually.

  10. This is one of my wannabe cats. This one wants to be a tiger with large claws which seem to fit the role He was made with newspaper and covered with strips of rosin paper. His claws of paper clay. His whiskers are gold plated wire and he’s painted with acrylics.

  11. Jonni, I would totally love to join your daily sculpting group. I’m not sure how committed I can be but I will do my best!

    I’m interested in checking out the Dan Reeder video’s you referred to. Your sculptures look amazing, lots of personality in both of them. 🙂

    • Great – I don’t know if I can do one every single day either, but it would be worth trying. We’ll keep each other on track. Do you have any ideas about how we should keep in touch?

      • I agree with you about the additional accounts, (i have plenty) A page on your site would work great. I also have flickr and facebook accounts too, so if you decide to go that way, I’m there too.

        this is a great incentive to share work.

        oh, jonni, does it have to be papermache?

        • No, there are no rules. I’m not doing paper mache at the moment myself. And I put up a page for us, at Daily Sculptors. There’s a link to it up at the top of every page, under the pig.

          I’ll post an announcement now. I think this will really help me stay on track. I’m so glad you decided to join us.

  12. The faces you have rendered here reminded me of the same company that made small dog heads to hang on the wall.

    I had mentioned it in a prior post, but forgot to tell you the company name. It is Bossons – a company from England which after several decades, is still producing wall art.

    They do different breeds of dogs, but their wall art of faces is often of famous people or of someone like a sea captain- (in other words they created faces of recognizable general characters you see in life). Some pieces deemed rare, can cost a few hundred dollars. I just saw some on Ebay for sale, as well as on line at antique dealers.

    As I mentioned- I prefer your wall masks because they are larger.

    Knowing you can get good detail with the Jonni Clay 2( and everyone has their own personal preference of how much detail they want to incorporate) doing a full bodied piece or faces of people or animals takes Paper Mache to a whole new level. This is really quite exciting Jonni!

    My first ever paper mache’ project was thrust on me by an art teacher in 8th grade. We had to work in teams on large pieces.

    My friend and I got stuck making a huge pair of blue jeans 🙁
    I mean really- how lame!

    I was not enthusiastic about the project and neither was my friend who worked on it with me.

    And if someone thinks making a huge pair of pants would be a simplistic and fast paper mache’ project- they are wrong. { Not to mention we did it the old fashion, traditional way. Yes- it was a huge mess as well.}

    That was our last big art assignment as the year came to an end.

    Then our teacher ordered us to decide who would take the completed pants home, since he was not allowing any artwork to remain in school once it closed for summer.

    I had the misfortune of getting stuck dragging it onto my school bus and bringing it home.

    With the time and effort put into something we did not even want to make, I still wonder what we could have done back then, if we made something we really were excited about.

    I am sure the argument between my friend and I at the end of the year would have been totally different, and more about who got to keep it- as opposed to who got *stuck * with it 🙁

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