Ceramic sculpture tools are available in their zillions.
So how do you know which ones to buy without having to go through years of trial and error?
Let's start by saying every pro sculptor has worked out their own unique and individual way of getting results - and probably no two are exactly the same, so you must look around, take it all on board and make your choices.
There is no right or wrong, btw.
The tools and techniques shown on this page work for me, and took me years to work out.
I narrow it down to four essential tools for me - specifically for ceramic sculpture/clay modeling (actually, I lied, each tool has two heads, so actually, that's 8 essential clay tools).
I explain all four ceramic sculpture tools one by one on this page.
Hopefully, this will make the essential clay tools much easier to use, so bookmark this essential online guide and return often.
My tools are top quality, and especially designed to be efficient and so not the cheapest you can buy.
You can get similar for less if you shop around - but you might not get all the tools together in one set.
Some tools, especially the very fine wire tool you will find quite hard to find - and it is this specific tool which makes modeling faces easier.
I find eBay is very good for this type of price comparison on modelling tools. If you click on this link you will get straight through to a (recommended).
I'm not sure if you can get the small wire tool (or similar) on eBay, but take a look and see. You can buy it from me if you need to (see below).
From application to refinement, various methods are explained below using as examples the tools in my basic tool set one by one
I look at each of the ceramic sculpture tools in turn within the clay modelling tool set I put together for site visitors. Visitors can purchase this clay modelling tool set if they so wish.
There are many shapes and sizes of ribbon tool around ('ribbon' meaning flat cutting edge - this is NOT a wire tool). The only two ends I have ever used for figure modeling are these two - so I combined them into one tool - one angled, one curved. They take away medium sized slices of clay.
The pointed end is an essential potter's needle - for cutting, trimming, shaping and making small indents. The scraper end of this clay modeling tool is a clay remover and shaper smoother. The serrated edges give a unique ability to make smooth contours and planes that a non-serrated edge could not. Can be used on concave planes, unlike the basic tool above.
Usage frequency: Scraper end - quite often. The pointed end is a sharpened point ideal for squaring off and cutting, especially on the edges of a sculpt.