How to Make Ceramic Cat Fur
image by Wikimedia Commons
Though it is often traditional to create ceramic cats without texture, those artists who wish to create more realism in their sculptures will find themselves met with the challenge of how to render animal fur in clay. While clay artists have developed a number of techniques for this, what works best for cat sculptures often depends upon the breed of cat being created. Long and short haired cats, as well as cats with unusual fur, can be created using similar techniques and different texturing tools made from household items.
Sculpt tufts of fur in appropriate places on your cat sculpture. Pull clay away from the body and pinch it off to form tufts in places like tips of ears, tails, cheeks and joints on the feet.
Moisten the surface of your ceramic clay. Subtle effects like fur texture require a sensitive clay palette, so wet the surface of your cat by dabbing it gently with a sponge or lightly spritzing it with a spray bottle. Wait a few minutes for the moisture to fully soak in.
Create lined fur texture with a fine-toothed comb. Lightly brush the surface of your cat sculpture with the fine end of a hair comb, or better yet, an eyebrow comb. Use short strokes and be sure to go over the surface of the cat a couple of times and layer the textures, or the effects will be too uniform to look natural. Use this technique for sculptures of short-haired cats, whose fur tends to lie flat and straight.
Make wavier fur texture using a paintbrush. An old paintbrush with long, soft bristles can be used to create fur texture using the same light brushing techniques, but the softness of th bristles will create wavy hair such as is seen on more long-haired cats.
Use a paper towel to create fluffy cat fur texture. Press a piece of dry, clean paper towel against the moistened clay to imprint the texture of the towel's weave against the sculpture. This will create a curly look such as is seen on exotic short-hair cat breeds like the Rex.
Create rumply fur using an old toothbrush. Use this technique for cats with curly hair that is long. Press the bristles of the brush into the softened clay and wiggle the brush very slightly in a circular motion, creating indentations in the shape of the bristles. As with the brush and comb, be sure to layer this texture several times.
Fire and glaze your sculpture as normal.