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PK01: Sculpting Cartoon Critters

w/ Kris Richards


video sleeve image

$24.95 + S&H

Table of Contents:

Striped Snake

Approx. Running Time: 63 minutes

Just for Kids!
Making Polymer Clay Bears, Bunnies and Bugs!

Kids now have a polymer clay video to call their own. MindStorm Productions presents the first video designed expressly for kids who want to have fun with polymer clay, and it kicks off their new series "Junior Artisans of Polymer Clay."

"Sculpting Cartoon Critters" features Kris Richards sharing her wealth of experience as well as her infectious enthusiasm for polymer clay characters. Kris is a well-known polymer artist and teacher and the author of the popular book New Ways With Polymer Clay. She has the ideal personality for explaining to youngsters how to make simple but creative animals from clay, how to have fun using "wiggly eyes," and how to enjoy being creative.

Kris begins by reviewing the small number of tools and supplies needed - for instance, clay is cut with a metal ruler, not with a more dangerous tissue blade. Other tools are common household items adapted for use with clay. In demonstrating how to make a needle tool, Kris emphasizes the importance of consulting with a "grown-up," a caution she repeats at appropriate times during the video.

Kris now presents the basics of working with polymer clay. After explaining that all the animal projects will be made from balls of clay, she demonstrates how to roll various amounts of clay between two hands, how to fix "boo-boos," and how to manipulate balls of clay into ears and tails.

The first and most basic project is a bright red bear. Kris carefully demonstrates all the steps in making this sitting critter, including the muzzle on the face, pads on the feet, and personality all around. As Kris says, "wiggly eyes make bears look goofy." In what will be a recurring theme of the video, Kris encourages her young viewers to take what she's teaching and make the projects their own: "You can decide. It's your sculpture, you can change it any way you like."

Subsequent projects build on the basics: a bunny, a cat, and a dog in various colors and with assorted new features. Throughout, Kris's engaging style appeals directly to kids, with comments like "bug eyes are the best-they're so funny." Where else does an instructor have completed characters wave good-bye to the viewers as they march off to be hardened in the oven?

When Kris moves to the second major critter type, she introduces a new basic body shape with a caterpillar. Once again composed of basic balls of clay, this cartoon character has expressive eyes and eyelids. Kris shows how different materials affect the look of the antennae, and encourages her viewers to experiment and have fun. Her fondness for smaller critters is evident as she moves on to more caterpillars, snakes, beetles and spiders. Assorted materials are used with varying effects to make pipe cleaner and wire legs, telephone wire and dressmaker pin antennae, and various surface decorations. Fascinating facts about these creatures are sprinkled here and there -"Did you know there are more kinds of beetles in the world than any other kind of bug?"

In making a snake, Kris explains how to blend two colors in varying proportions to get a range of colors from dark to light. She also shows how to mix two colors of clay easily and thoroughly. These techniques are then used to create a striped snake by twisting, rolling and marbleizing colors.

Guest appearances by a turtle with a bow tie, an ant, and beetles not yet seen anywhere in Nature give kids even more encouragement to be as creative as they want.

The video ends with the most complex project, a detailed bee sitting on a flower and leaf. By this time, kids should be adept enough to create their own Cartoon Critters with unique antennae, legs, wings, and color combinations. After Kris's farewell "And now we're going to bug out of here," keep the tape playing for very funny outtakes complete with "silly moments" from the taping of the video. Kids are sure to enjoy this lighthearted ending to a creative video which is packed with fun and information.