Polar Bear Sculpture, From a Busy Week in My Studio

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.

This polar bear is a small sculpture, about 6″ high and 11″ long. I used a very thin wash of pearl white acrylic paint to give it a soft sheen. The project used the basic techniques shown in the lop-eared bunny sculpture. I did not use a cardboard pattern, as I did for the panda bear sculpture or the echidna.

My learning goal for this series of sculptures is to loosen up a little. I’m trying to do that by working from quick sketches instead of using photos for my models. With the polar bear I wanted to emphasize the forward slant of his back and the sense of him being on the prowl, which is shown by his raised front paw. I’m not sure I succeeded, but the project was fun.

I also spent some time in the last few weeks playing around with clay, to remind myself that spontaneity is fun. The paper mache process sometimes requires so much time between each step that it’s easy for me to forget the “fun” part. Whenever that happens, I feel it’s time to reconnect with that aspect of my art.

5 Animal Sculptures in Progress
5 Animal Sculptures in Progress

This has been a very hot week here in Eastern Oregon. I had to move some of my work from the front porch to the back deck. Before the move I was cutting into my early morning reading time and rushing into my studio to get work done before the sun’s heat drove me out, usually before 8am. In the photo above you can see the five animal sculptures that are now in process.

I also made a few changes to this blog. I noticed that many of the paper mache tutorials are old enough that they were falling out of the “recent posts” section in the sidebar. To make it easier for you to find the tutorial you’re looking for, or to just “shop around,” I put together a separate tutorial page, which you can reach from the links at the top of each post. Now you can just find the image of an animal sculpture you’d like to try, click on it, and go directly to that tutorial.

I’ll soon be putting together a gallery page to show the animal sculptures that are available for sale. My small house is quickly running out of room, and the materials are beginning to be expensive. (Relatively expensive, of course. Compared to other sculptural media, paper mache is very inexpensive.) My bulldog-type pound pooch I’m now working on, for instance, used up more than $5 worth of masking tape – and the Australian shepherd behind him in the photo above needed even more. I also bought some roll-ends of newsprint so I’d always have materials to work on without raiding the local want-ad paper stand. And I purchased some new paints online (why are art supplies so dang expensive?).

So – if I want to keep making these critters, I need to find new homes for some of them. If you’re interested in owning one of these sculptures instead of making one yourself, watch for the new gallery page, coming in the next few days.

26 thoughts on “Polar Bear Sculpture, From a Busy Week in My Studio”

    • Hello, Namanya. Your Kebisoni Cow sculpture is beautiful. Do you have any tips for other people who would like to make a large sculpture like yours? Also, you might want to repost your comment on the Daily Sculptors page, because many more people would see it. There’s a link to it at the top of the blog. Thanks for sharing!

  1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion for paper mache! You are a gifted artist and I can only hope to get to your level at some point.

  2. Im a beginner….doing bits and bobs for school events and bowls for parties .. ..just believing i can do anything once i put my mind to it. Its so versatile.

  3. I made these masks for a local production of the Lion King made from Paper mache and plaster. I’ve never tried this before. It was a learning experience. I’m interested in sculpting classes now because of it.

  4. I love your sculptures, I started using paper around 3 years ago. I never looked up recipes, just started forming a clay from shredded paper, water ,flour. I sculpt on a huge scale. Thanks for all the hard work.

  5. As a sculpturer and potter I think you animals are great. I am glad to see someone other than myself using mache’

    I am trying to get more people involved with this type of art since schools in my area are cutting more and more art out.

    Great ideas
    Thank you

    • Thanks for your comments. I’d love to see your artwork. Do you display images online so we could take a look? I’m always happy to find other paper mache sculptors.

  6. The polar bear is great! You captured his cuddly ferocity perfectly. I must admit though, that I am intrigued by the bulldog in progress I can’t wait to see the finished sculpture!

  7. ADORABLE… comme d’habitude une réussite… et quel travail, quelle patience..Merci encore de nous faire partager tout cela… et sorry I don’t speak english to say you BRAVO.

    Marie de Nice en France

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