Sculpting a Wolf Head Display Mask, Part 1

wolf mask patternNote: The video on this page is part of a long series because it took a long time to make the sculpture and turn it into a mask. If you’d like a much faster start, check out my wolf mask pattern. Just print it, cut out the pieces and tape them together. Then you can use the techniques shown in the video series to embellish the mask and add detail, without needing to start from scratch.

And now, back to the original post:

I tried out the human skull-shaped mask form I made, but adding the features of a wolf’s head. It will eventually become a display mask for my wall.

I thought there could be problems with the human bones inside the wolf’s head, but it is actually helping. For one thing, it’s making sure that the face doesn’t flatten out, which is a real issue for me when I use photos for reference models.

I also made several sketches, and I’m using them instead of photos while I build the basic underlying forms and proportions, so I don’t get confused by color changes and details like fur.

I’ve noticed that most of the sculpting videos I see on YouTube don’t really have a lot of explanations about why the artist is doing what they’re doing – often it’s a speeded-up view of the sculptor moving clay around. I can’t actually go that fast myself, since I really do have to think things through, but maybe you would prefer fewer explanations. So – what do you think? Would you like me to whip through it a little faster, and explain things a little bit less?

And another question for you – I stopped doing videos last year after I dropped my camera on the floor (cameras don’t seem to like that) and I started again recently because my very nice step-mother and father gave me a new one. (Thanks, Pete and Dianne!). I’m having a lot of fun doing them, but which type of post do you actually prefer – non-moving tutorials, with still photos and text like a normal blog post, or these video posts? Let me know what you think.

Next question – how many of you have signed up on Pinterest? Do you like it? Have you actually figured it out?

Since I’m asking all these questions – are these videos taking too long to load on your computer?

OK, I’m off to finish that wolf. Next time I’ll try to fix the lighting a little better, and maybe not cut off the top of my head. Getting the cat to be quiet seems like an impossible task, so I won’t even try. ;)

Update: If you’d like to see all the other videos in this series, you can find them here:

And for those of you who don’t have time to watch the whole series, I made a much shorter version showing the highlights. You can find the short version of How to Make a Paper Mache Mask here.

50 thoughts on “Sculpting a Wolf Head Display Mask, Part 1”

  1. Hi Jonni!
    Do you coat the clay in anything prior to adding the paper maché to keep it from sticking? Does the clay remain soft and useable after the mask dries?
    Quietly been following your work for years! So lovely and lifelike! Thank you!

    • Hi Ava. An oil-based modeling clay should stay workable and soft for many uses. I do use a thin coat of Vaseline before adding the paper mache. It might not be needed, but I think it helps when it’s time to get the dry paper mache off the clay mold. You want to be sure to wait until the paper mache is dry all the way through before removing it from your clay form. We’d love to see what you’re making, by the way. Come on back to the Daily Sculptors page on this site when it’s time to show it off. :)

    • Hi Lorraine. I used an oil-based modeling clay, but I don’t remember which brand I used. The one I’ve been using most lately is Sargent’s Plastilina, which is quite soft so you can build your shapes quickly, and it costs less than most oil-based clays. I get mine from Amazon.com.

  2. hello, i am working on a school project and i have to make a mask from puerto rico. the only thing i can think of using is a balloon so i was wondering if a balloon would work to spread the clay onto. it is suppose to look something like this. please let me now!

  3. Thanks Jonni…the divider you mentioned looks like a very valuable and useful tool to help with the eyeball problem. Appreciate that!


  4. Just a heads up on this residue issue Jonni…
    I used nail polish remover on the sculpey residue and it worked good enough to take some off. Probably would have taken it all off if I wasn’t so lazy and quit. Don’t think what remains is going to be a problem.

    Play and learn


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