The Wizard

Made by Jon Keller

For this project I used printer paper paper mache ( used printer paper ). I tore it into small pieces and let it soak in water for several hours , and then used an immersion blender to break it down as much as possible. I wanted a very smooth product. I got most of the water out using a strainer , but then , in small batches , squeezed out as much water as I could using a piece of linen . After that I kneaded it ( again , in small batches ) with white glue , until it was smooth and thick ….suitable for detailed sculpting.

I made an armature out of aluminum foil . I used a butter knife to get most of the material onto the armature and then clay sculpting tools for the details. The hat was made by rolling out a thin sheet of paper mache onto wax paper ….when it was almost dry it could be easily cut and shaped. The stars on the hat were made using a star shaped hole puncher and cardboard. Once everything was assembled and dry I gave the entire piece several coats of acrylic paint , which greatly improved the “smoothness” . The final step was to varnish it . The base is a wooden disc with a strip of leather glued around the outside edge.


Paper mache wizard portraitPaper mache wizard portrait


7 thoughts on “The Wizard”

  1. Incredible! Love how you made the base from his beard into what (intentionally or not) looks like a tree trunk. Amazing work as always.

  2. Jon!

    This wizard is fa-nom-in-al.

    And Thank you for sharing some of you methods for creating this.

    Happy sculptin!

  3. Thank you Eileen.
    When I was younger , when my skills were developing , I focused on portraits. It took a while ( years and years ) , but eventually I became a pretty decent portrait guy ( drawing , painting ).
    As far as prolific goes , well , due to the pandemic , for the last two years I have been working from home….which has given me a lot of extra time that I did not have when I had to go into the city every day . I used that time to do projects , and I have done many . And yes , I am running out of room for all of these things.
    I have never been in any shows . I have sold portraits to colleagues at work but have never sold any sculpture. Truth is , aside from this website , very few people have seen these paper mache creations.
    Thanks again for your positive feedback , always appreciated.

    • i really encourage you to try to show somewhere. It might not be the focus of your sculpting but it is very rewarding. The jurying process is a bit daunting I must admit but once you are in, it is quite fun. I am in 2 local shows and they are a highlight of my year. Both of the ones I participate in are fundraisers, both for area religious organizations. They take a percentage of what you sell but I don’t mind that. They usually have a “Meet the artists night”, usually with wine and cheese and you get to talk to the visitors, find out their stories and tell your own. My opening line is that “this is not your kindergarten paper mache” People love to hear about your process/inspiration and even if you are shy, it becomes easy to talk about since it is your passion. From what you show on this website, you would do great as far as the selling goes…..if you can bear to part with any of them! I hope you think about it. If you need advice, feel free to ask!

      • Thank you again for your positive feedback and your insights into showing work.
        While I have never been in a show , I have been in creative competitions , a few times. A few years ago one of my sons was very much into cosplay . I made 3 different costumes for him to compete in the New York City Comicon costume competition ( the largest in the Untied States ). These were massive projects ( 200-400 hours of work each time ) employing many different mediums , with the emphasis on sculpting .We did very well ( each time ). We have been on tv , in magazines, even in the New York Times ( online edition ) . I have to admit , it was thrilling .
        I will look into local shows …. but I live in New York City , and there are many artist around here , which may change the dynamics a little .
        And , as you mentioned , I may find it a little difficult to part with some of these creations. While I have sold many portraits , and do not have any emotional attachment to them , the sculptures are different. They take more time than a portrait and are much more personal .
        Again , thank you ……. I appreciate that you took the time to share your advice and experience about showing work.

  4. Jon, you are so good with portraiture! I love this wizard, love the puppets, actually, love all of your work. You are very prolific as well! How do you get so many done? Nice work.
    Do you show anywhere? You should get into a show or two, great for the morale and good to get some extra cash. The best is that it creates more room to make more sculptures…there’s only so much room in the house!


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