This tutorial is more detailed in the sculpting part. However, at the end I will also explain how I painted the monster on the tentacle journal cover.
Modelling from polymer clay is a great fun, don’t be afraid of it even if it’s your first time. This clay doesn’t air-dry so it’s easier to re-do what you don’t like, however, keep your clay in an air-tight container as it gets harder to work with when exposed to the air during a longer period of time.
– polymer clay
– acrylic paint
– spray varnish
– small round brushes
– journal: mine is 15 x 12 x 3 cm, handbound in faux leather, with recycled paper, a braided bookmark and two laces to tie
– tools for working with the clay: I used some professional stainless steel modelling tools and hobby clay decorating tools. Anything works though, you can use tools you find in your kitchen
– rolling pin
– mat for working, such as silicone mat
– epoxy glue
How to make the tentacle journal cover – modelling from polymer clay
Base and teeth
First, I rolled out the polymer clay, measured and cut the base just a little less than the size of my journal.
Then I started making the teeth. I formed a small ball from a piece of clay. I rolled it with my fingers on the mat to make it longer and pointy at one end. Then I shaped it a little with my fingers, because I didn’t want the teet to be straight.
After that, I placed it in the center of the base and with a flat tool I blended a little of the bottom of the tooth into the base.
Then I made a thin rope, wrapped it wround the bottom of the tooth, flattened it with a steel tool and blended the rope into the base and the tooth as much as possible.
I made several teeth of different size and shape and placed them into an irregular circle. I attached each of them following the same steps.
For the gums, I made a rope from the clay, flattened it with my fingers and wrapped it around the teeth.
I used a modelling tool to press the gums a little between the teeth.
Then I made small creases in the gums to make them more fit an ugly creature.
The last step was to use a flat tool to detach the top of the gums from the teeth (where the arrow points in the last photo).
I formed the tentacles by rolling out ropes from the clay (making them thinner towards one end) and flattening them a little.
Then I made small balls and placed them where the tentacle suckers would be.
I pressed them a little into the tentacle with my finger and used a tool with a straight end to pinch a hole in the center of each sucker.
After that I shaped the tentacles differently – some are rather straight, some are twisted.
I placed them around the teeth. In the picture you see a tentacle without suckers, that was just to check if the tentacle was the correct length.
I placed 8 tentacles around the teeth and blended their ends around the teeth in the base where it was possible.
I used a pointy dentist tool to scratch the tentacles to give them more texture.
Warts and Finishing Touch
I made small indents around the whole base to create texture.
You can see small shapes around the sea monster, I don’t really know what they are but I felt like the whole scenery needed some more details. I call them warts. For each wart I made a ball, placed it on the base and then pressed it with a tool with a ball at the end. This way the hole in the wart was created.
I pressed some of the warts’ edges with my fingers to give them an irregular shape.
Baking and Painting
I placed the base with the monster in a flat tray on a baking sheet and baked it for 30 minutes on 130 °C.
Normally, I wouldn’t start painting the base because you almost always drop color when painting the other parts, however, I wasn’t quite sure what color my monster should be, so I wanted the base – water to have at least the basic color to help me decide about the monster. So first, I painted the base dark blue.
The tentacles were next – I made a rather liquid solution of light pink, light blue and grey. First I covered the tentacles fast in the pink color, then I blended in some blue and the grey just towards the thick ends of the tentacle.
By this time the tentacles looked like cute pink-blue marbles which is definitely not the finished effect you want in a disgusting blood-thirsty sea monster. So I let the paint dry properly, then made a super watery solution of red and coated all the tentacles with it. So that all the previous colors were still visible but the tentacles got a disgusting bloody look.
Then I painted the suckers with the same thin solution of dark purple, just to give it a little different shade.
I coated the warts first in red, then black and then purple, making each layer of paint more liquid than the previous one.
While the first layer of colors on the tentacles was drying, I started with the teeth. An ugly sea monster just cannot have white teeth so I coated them with light ochre. Then I added a darker shade of ochre towards the bottom of the teeth. At the end, when all the paint was dry I took a completely dry brush and make strokes of brown paint from the bottom of the teeth fading towards the tip.
I painted the gums bloody red.
And to finish the base I coated it with watery solution of different shades of dark green and black to give it a more deep sea effect. In the end, I spray varnished everything.
Attaching to the journal
I attached the base to the journal with epoxy glue. I would have prefered to work directly on the journal to make sure the base copied the cover exactly. However, the cover was moving a lot and didn’t allow me to make the tiny details properly.
Well, this is how the sea monster was “born” and the tentacle journal cover done, hope you enjoyed the process of polymer clay modelling!