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Paper Mache Artists

Why paper mache?

I’ve been making art, in one form or another, for as long as I can remember. I sold pen and ink portraits of animals at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, I sold my paper mache baby animal dolls at the Portland Saturday Market, and I showed my work in many major art fairs on the West Coast.

Then I got a ‘real’ job, as many of us eventually do – sigh – but I finally quit my last one in 2005.

Then I started a small business in affiliate marketing, back when that was fairly easy, and it gave me lots of free time to start working on my art again. I tried a number of different things, but I had a hard time finding one that really appealed to me.

Then I decided to try paper mache. And why not? It worked when I was a kid. 🙂

The biggest problem was that the dragon’s nose kept slumping to the table when I was adding the paper mache, and I had to prop him up with a toilet paper roll while he dried. Not too classy…

And I had to start over on the head a couple of times, because it wasn’t the right size.

So I started using cardboard patterns and building my sculptures around them – and it worked!

That’s why I now recommend using a cardboard pattern inside your animal sculptures.

The pattern supports the sculpture and makes it stronger, and it sets the silhouette, or outline, of the animal. With a pattern, you know you’re getting the legs as long as they’re supposed to be and the head is the right size. It saves hours of trial and error.

Now, because of this website and my YouTube channel, thousands of artists use patterns for their sculptures, and it makes sculpting with paper mache so much easier! This post shows you how to make your own flat cardboard patterns for any animal you want to make.

There are hundreds of posts on this site, and many of them use those patterns that you can make yourself.

I also show you how I often experiment, changing things around, using different methods and recipes, sometimes starting over entirely – because that’s how real sculptures are made. I don’t always know exactly how I’m going to make something, but it usually ends up OK at the end. Isn’t that how art usually works? 🙂

And I kept looking for easier ways to sculpt with paper mache…

I combined the pattern idea with the PM clay recipe in my first book: Make Animal Sculptures with Paper Mache Clay.

But could paper mache sculpting be even easier?

After creating hundreds of posts and videos, and meeting many creative readers of this blog and my YouTube channel, I discovered that many people need an even easier, faster way to make masks and sculptures.

Sometimes it’s because they feel intimidated by the sculpting process, but it’s usually just because they don’t have time to start entirely from scratch.

That’s when I started making 3D templates for masks and sculptures that make all the shapes for you.

When designing the patterns I try to make it easy for anyone over the age of 13 to create a lifelike animal sculpture, even if they’ve never sculpted anything before. After putting all the pieces together (which does take some patience) you can add your own creative touches and bring your sculpture to life. Each one becomes a one-of-a-kind sculpture or mask that their creator can be proud of. And that makes me proud, too. 🙂

Whether you start from scratch or use one of my patterns, one of the most common things you’ll hear is:

“I didn’t know you could make something like that with paper mache!”