Mica powder has always been great for polymer clay artists as a surface treatment. Traditionally in the polymer clay world, mica powder has been used for jewelry artists and as an “all over” treatment for sculptors. But did you know that mica can also be used in wonderful and surprising ways for sculpting too? Even on facial and realistic sculptures? Mica powder highlight is a wonderful trick that if you don’t know, you should get to know and use in your sculpting.
How to Use Mica Powders as a Highlight in Sculpting
Using mica powders (even over chalk pastels) can be an effective way to bend the eye to a point of interest or point of light. The main point in sculpting is getting your viewer to see what you see. Having your viewer understand the piece or character that you have created, in the way that you have created it.
I have used this technique mica powder highlight technique for a very long time in my studio and on all my sculptures. Once I point it out to people, they can see it. But if you do it and do it well, the highlight should literally hide in your sculpture and not stick out.
This highlighting technique is done simply by using whatever light you currently have in your studio. You do not need special light, bright lights, or any special close-up lighting. You simply use the natural “highlight” in the room to add mica powder to the piece you’re working on. Use the light and where a “bright spot” sits on your piece, this is your pieces’ natural highlight. This is where you add your forced highlight to further enhance your design. You can see this demonstration in the video below.
Kater’s Acres Mica Powders
I have a large array of mica powders in my shop. The reason for this is because over the years as I have been sculpting I haven’t always found the exact shade of mica for a highlight that I need or want. One is too dark, not bright enough; or one is too bold and not pastel enough. So with that in mind I have carefully selected several mica powders that work well on a variety of sculpting needs, several specially catered to facial sculpting.
Here are a few of my favorites that I return to over and over again for facial sculpting.
- Carousel – Face highlights
- Palomino – Mid-toned Face highlight
- Oink – Cheek highlights
- Brick – Lip highlights
Enjoy watching how to use mica powder for sculpting: