Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Young Dutch Bunny #2 of 30

This bunny is the second in my 2012 collection of ’30 Bunnies for Spring’
Bunny #2 is a young Dutch Bunny – Inspired by my childhood pet (See Bunny photo below)

Dutch rabbits are common pets in the US and worldwide. They are recognized by their ‘formal’ getup of black suit and white shirt. They weigh approximately 5 lb. and measure over a foot in length
My Dutch Rabbit is a 1:3 scale sculpture, where every foot of ‘live’ rabbit is sculpted at 3 inches

Planning My Bunny

Dutch rabbits are easily recognized by their black and white color pattern. I started with a simple sketch of a resting alert rabbit.

The Rabbit Armature

Since this rabbit will be resting on all fours close to the ground I did not require wire for his armature. I did however try a ‘new’ foil technique. Till now I have sculpted an animal’s face independent of the body, then worked hard to attach it. Rabbits, with their little neck prove challenging in this respect, so for this rabbit I created a full body foil armature with the head already positioned
I wrapped the foil in very thin layers of scrap clay ensuring proper adhesion and removal of air bubbles

Sculpting a Black Rabbit

Since I plan to give my Dutch Bunny finely painted details, I chose to sculpt him on solid black clay. This makes it easier for the sculpting as I don’t have to worry about color placement.
This 3 inch rabbit used about 1 2-oz package of Premo Sculpey Polymer Clay
I covered the facial area in black clay, and marked basic facial details. I baked one round eyeball and let it cool as I covered the body in clay too.

I added balls of clay for each cheek, whisker batch, and forehead. I sliced the eyeball in half an inserted on the sides of the face. I added thin ropes of gray clay (black and white mixed) to outline the eye socket and create a wide-eyed young rabbit look.

Black Rabbit – Body and Legs

I added clay ‘pancakes’ to the bunny’s rump, belly, and sides to give him a nice rounded appearance. Since his face/body is turned in one direction I left that side slightly thinner to make him look like’s he’s leaning forward to see something interesting
Small pancakes formed the hind legs/thighs, and small tapered ‘logs’ formed the front and hind paws
A round ball formed his tufty tail

Detailing the rabbit

After a small blade marked his toes, my bunny was finally ready for his ears. As the most fragile feature, I add these last.
Each ear was formed from an elongated clay log, hollowed out in the center, and tapered at the top. I textured side and back with needle tool, then added deep veins inside the ears. These details are added prior to attaching the ears as the ‘rough handling’ is likely to break the ears from the head.
The ears were attached behind the bunny’s eyes with minimal loss of detail

Then came the fun part, I ‘went to town’ on the bunny using a thicker needle tool (tapestry needle) and careful patterned strokes to follow the natural rabbit hair growth direction


The rabbit was baked for approximately 1 hour. Baking time depends on the thickness of the clay. Using foil as the bulk of his core allowed all the clay to be cured in just an hour. A solid clay rabbit of this size would require 2-3 hours of baking and lots of prayers. (Finer details like ears can burn/crack)

Turning a Black Bunny into a Dutch Rabbit

This bunny was painted using Liquid Polymer Clay mixed with Genesis Heat-Set Oil Paints and baked after each painted layer

The Base Coat

Even black-furred animals have a light sheen from the short ‘under-fur’ and the reflection of light. This was accomplished using a nearly dry paintbrush to partially coat the dark areas.
A dilute layer of white paint was added to the white-fur areas to ensure the paint seeped into the texture grooves.
I also added a thin layer of white inside the ears to ensure the next layer (red) shows up on the black
Into the oven he went for 5 minutes to ‘set’ this layer

The Second Coat

The second coat is the first color coat. I added a thick (concentrated) layer of white paint to the white-fur areas. This starts to create a 3-D fur effect and hide the black clay beneath. The black areas were painted with dilute black tinted TLS allowing it to seep in between the white.
I painted the inner ear with a dilute layer of TLS tinted red allowing it to seep into the vein grooves carved on the inner ear. (The red shows up well given the white layer beneath)
Back to the oven for 5 minutes to set the paint

The Third Coat

The third coat is about strengthening the colors. I repeated the white and black coats as in coat #2
I also added a thin layer of black to the inner ear to dull the red around the veins
Back to the oven for 5 minutes

The Final Coat

The third coat should have been the final coat, however, the black clay under the white fur was difficult to conceal, so I gave it yet another layer.
For the final layer I added another thick layer of white, and then added half strokes to the area between black and white to mimic the natural transition between fur colors.
The inner ears received another thin layer of black for a dull-red effect with deep red veins.
I added additional glaze with a hint of white paint to put 'life' in his eyes
I got a bit carried away with the mouth-nose area. I added a faint layer of pink at the base of the nose, and then slowly feathered the color out to mimic the natural pink to white transition.
A few read brush-strokes for the tongue, and my Dutch Bunny was ready for his final bake

10 minutes later and he is complete!!

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  1. WOW!!!! Amazing job!
    Leah, this is gorgeous and cute. Well done:)

  2. You are very talented and I can the love that goes into your pieces! Thanks for giving us a peek into your process!

  3. He looks just like a real bunny! Wonderful work Leah!!

  4. Number 1 is so cute and so is this. Good luck on number 3, loved looking at the process. The black bunny alone is already good even without the pain and the paint finishes it like a cherry on top

  5. So glad you put a PW ad on my site! I love this bunny and the tutorial is awesome! Thanks!

  6. Your bunnies are wonderful and it's so interesting to see photos showing your process!

  7. This is so adorable! It looks like my bunny except mine has gray and white hair! I love it!