Sculpt a Baby Bonobo, Starting with WED Clay

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My WED clay model of a baby bonobo is almost done.

I’ll make a few corrections before the next video (that nose really is crooked!) and then I’ll finish him so I can display the final version on my bathroom wall. I just did some major work in my little bathroom, and this cheerful little fellow is my way to celebrate getting it done. (I should have done the work six years ago, but better late than never, right? )

Edit: I didn’t actually finish this baby bonobo sculpture, but I can’t remember why not. I got distracted, I guess. :)

But if I had finished it, I would have used the techniques you can see in this post, simply by covering the clay with plastic wrap and then adding a few layers of paper mache. (I might have to start over and make another bonobo – I kind of like this little guy. Do you ever lose track of a project, and then wonder why?)

BTW, my dad thinks it’s a kind of rude to put a grinning ape in the bathroom. Is that a guy thing? :)

If I make the final sculpture of the grinning bonobo the same way the Gorilla mask was made, I won’t put any fine details into the clay model of the baby bonobo. It would just be covered up by the plaster cloth and paper mache that goes on top of the clay.

On the other hand, if I make a silicone mold instead, I’ll go ahead and add the teeth and other details in the clay itself, because the details will be captured in the casting.

Let me know how you’d like to see me finish the sculpture in the comment section below. I’ll read your comments and make my decision before I post the next video.

Links I mentioned in the video:

Remember to tell me…

… how you would like to see me finish this baby bonobo sculpture. They ways I’ve thought of so far are:

  • Making it with plaster cloth and paper mache, like the gorilla, or
  • Making a mold and then casting it with something (haven’t thought of that part yet).

Which one would you vote for?

And if you have another idea that might be more fun, I’d love to know about it. :)

7 thoughts on “Sculpt a Baby Bonobo, Starting with WED Clay”

  1. Hi Jonnie,
    Appreciate your video’s and all you share of your talent.
    I have a couple questions, I’m in the process of doing a lamb in a laying position. I’ve followed the basics from the Bassett Hound videos since I couldn’t find a full lamb especially laying down. It’s my first actual Paper Mache sculpture. (I did a simple snowman with paste and stripes, to use as a piñata more that 40 years ago) so my first real project.
    Any suggestions on techniques for the fleece? The armature is complete and I’m ready to add Paper Mache. Do you have to do the whole application in one sitting? Also, how do I know how much to make for my size project is there a formula to figure that out? I’ll probably get into this part and have more but for now appreciate if you’re able to get back to me. Thank you, Dee

    • Hi Dee. This sounds like a great project. You don’t have to apply all of the paper mache at once. Our friend Robin posted a baby goat recently, and she made his fur with paper mache clay.

      There may be a way to figure out how many square inches are on a three-dimensional sculpture, and then figure out how many cups of paper mache clay are needed to cover it in a layer 1/8″ thick – but I’m math phobic, so even if there is a way to do it, I wouldn’t be able to explain it. For a life-sized lamb you’ll probably need two batches, or more if your second layer adds a lot of woolly texture. Just start with one batch, and then make more as you need it. And remember to come back and show it off when it’s done! :)

  2. Aw, love that face! Guess a guy may feel he’s being laughed at, perhaps not, uh, measuring up. I do have a See No Evil monkey on the back of toilet – yardsale find.
    Would love to see mold and casting……

  3. Interesting theory about the clowns. I’m not sure about that but biologist hubby says that any time a chimp shows its teeth is not a good thing, as you said. It is fear or aggression.
    My two cents about finishing is for you to do the plaster cloth, then paper mache. I wouldn’t mind a refresher on how to do that. Have fun.

  4. Hi Jonni
    Great work so far. He already has great character!
    Personally I like your sculptures that look as close to real life as possible. That is just my own preference of course.
    You could go really whacky and make him an easter bonobo.. colourful with flower prints or something.
    Just to be different.
    I’m sure whatever you choose will be great!


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