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FAQ



I get many e-mails with questions regarding what material or camera I use. I was hoping to make a FAQ page for quite some time and finally I did! I hope you find the answer to most of your questions here. You can still e-mail me if you couldn't find your answer, but please understand that sometimes I'm unable to write back. E-mail replying requires a lot of time, and I wouldn't be able to concentrate on my work if I do so.

 What camera do you use?

The camera that I use is a Nikon D200. I have 3 lenses that I got them over time and I use them for different purposes:

- AF-S NIKKOR 35mm 1:1.8G (This one is a very light lens and perfect for portrait and landscape, I take this one with me if I travel)
- AF-S MICRO NIKKOR 105mm 1:2.8G ED (I use this one for taking the photos of small objects, like jewelry)
- AF-S NIKKOR 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5G ED (This one is an all-purpose lens)


 Do you edit your photos?

Absolutely! I take my photos in raw format and work on them in PhotoShop. I believe that paying attention to composition of the photo and the editing that you do on the raw files is much more important than your equipment.


 In what light do you take your photos?

I take my photos in natural window light. Usually in the morning, because our apartment is facing east and I don't see the sun in the evening :o) But early evening light is also great if you're living in a house or your place faces west.


 Where did you learn photography?

I am a self-taught photographer. I constantly learn more by reading online tutorials and practicing.


 What watercolor brand(s) do you use?

 I use 3 brands and I'm happy with all of them:

1. Winsor and Newton, Artists' Water
2. Schmincke, Aquarell
3. Holbein


 What watercolor paper do you use?

I use hot pressed watercolor blocks by Fabriano (Extra white, 100% cotton, 140 lbs)


 What printer and paper do you use for your prints?

You can find that information in my Etsy shop's listing descriptions: https://www.etsy.com/shop/joojoo


 What sketchbook brand do you use?

I got my sketchbook from a Canadian shop called DeSerre. If you would like something similar I suggest that you get this watercolor notebook by Moleskine:

I have the small version of it and its quality is excellent.


 What type of pen and pencil do you use for your sketchbook pages?

The brands of colored pencils that I use and recommend are:


Sometimes I also use regular HB pencil for shading on top of watercolors.

For the borders I use:

- Sakura Micron 005 in black

These pens come in many colors and it's great to have them all!


 Where do you find inspiration?

I believe ideas are floating in the air. When your mind is engaged with something that you love, you get the ideas from the atmosphere. I get inspiration from almost everything, nice colors in a scene of a movie, nature, children’s book illustrations, fashion magazines, blogs or even my dreams!

When an idea comes to my mind I draw it on a piece of paper and I write some notes so that I don’t forget it (I have a folder organizer to keep all of my sketches and ideas). Later I get back to my big folder and go through my sketches and I pick one and make a clay sculpture out of it or use it for an illustration. I have a huge collection of pictures on my computer’s hard drive. Whatever catches my eye I save it in that folder. I go through my treasure folder once in a while to feed my mind with colors, forms, textures or even the materials that I can use… it really helps my creativity.

Sometimes I think about what to do next in my sketchbook for days, I kind of daydream while doing household chores or riding the subway. I believe thinking is the most important part of coming up with ideas.

The time that I spend to find inspiration and come up with ideas is more than the time that I actually spend on doing the drawings.


 What brand of polymer clay do you use?

 I use two brands of polymer clay: 

- Sculpey III 
Fimo.


 Do you recommend any polymer clay books to help me with techniques?

I found this book very useful:

"The Art of Jewelry: Polymer Clay Techniques, Projects, Inspiration."
by Katherine Duncan Aimone 


 Do you have any techniques for how I don't get my fingerprints all over my polymer clay creations?

What I do to create a smooth surface is so simple. After I make any part (like a flower petal or a snail) I rub my finger gently on the surface (in one direction) to get rid of all the fingerprints. You shouldn't press on the clay hard, because it creates uneven surface. The clay may look shiny before baking, but when you bake the piece, it will get perfectly matte.

But I believe fingerprints give a special charm to your piece, so don’t worry if there are still some fingerprints on your work. It’s the beauty and soul of a handmade piece 

I don't usually use sandpaper on baked clay, because it makes the clay surface shiny. But if you like a shiny surface, you can use this sandpaper, it's perfect for polymer clay:

"3M Automotive Sandpaper 1500Grit", you can find it online, but I got it from WalMart (Auto Repair section)


My polymer clay is very sticky, what do I do?

Some colors of polymer clay are softer that the others. If my clay is soft and sticky, I just put the part that I've made in the freezer for 2 or 3 minutes and then I do the gentle rubbing. (see the previous question)


 How do you stop polymer clay from picking up bits of dust and lint?

The only secret to avoid lint and dust is to clean your work surface. For example the area of your table that you place the clay. I also wash my hands a lot during the work and when I switch between colors, and I dry them with paper towel. A regular towel also has little particles and it is better not to use it. I also wash all my tools to get rid of dust. It needs patience! I know!!! ;)


 How do you keep your polymer clay whites so white?

I use Fimo white, its code is "0", it's much whiter than Sculpey white.


 Seems like you've got lots of polymer clay colors, do you mix them?

Yes I do! You can create almost endless colors by mixing clay.


 Can I mix two different brands of polymer clay?

I do and I didn't have any problems with that. Although if you are not sure you can experiment yourself.

 How come your polymer clay colors are so vibrant?

To get vibrant colors make sure you are not over-baking polymer clay. I bake almost most of my small figurines for just 5-8 minutes on the highest rack of my oven. Get yourself an oven thermometer to make sure your are baking in the right temperature. 

 How do you create "sandy texture” on polymer clay? (Whales, llama and elephant)

I use "Ceramic Stucco Texture Gel" by Liquitex. 

 How do you create "velvety texture” on polymer clay?

Velvet powder is a powder that my sister got me from a craft shop in Iran and I was not able to find it anywhere else. But it's exactly the same thing as "Sand Blasting Abrasive" or micro glass beads that is used for cleaning brass and automotive parts. All you need to do is to apply some "Mod Podge" to clay, roll it in the powder and then bake it.


 Where do I buy "Sand blasting abrasive"?

Probably “auto repair” shops. Google is your best friend here ;) 


 What do you use to paint on polymer clay?

I use two types of acrylic paint from Liquitex:

- Basics (The big tubes) http://www.liquitex.com/BASICS/
- Professional (smaller tubes) [Soft body and heavy body]


 How do I avoid brush marks (bumpy/textured surface) while painting with acrylic paint on polymer clay?

This problem sometimes happens to me too. For me the reason is some dried paint or impurity in the paint. As you know acrylic paint dries very quickly and those little dried particles cause the problem. I suggest that when you thin your paint from the tube use it as fast as possible so that those dry pieces won't build up and cause the bumpiness. Try to squeeze out just a bit of paint each time, thin it, work with it and when it starts to get thick or dry just stop thinning it with water and instead use fresh paint again. 

For the textured brush lines I suggest that you thin your paint with a little bit more of water and fill the area that you would like the color on, with as much paint as possible. It may first look like a little pool of paint that looks very runny and impossible to dry, but it actually will dry to a very smooth surface. If after drying the coverage was not good, just repeat the same process with runny paint (Not extremely runny but just thin enough to stay in place). This is how I create very smooth texture. It needs some patience and time.


 What sort of brush do you use for detailed painting on your polymer clay pieces?

I use 

- Micron by Dynasty Mini Art Brush- Pointed Flat Size 15/0 
- 6/0 DeSerres PERCISION 786R

But you can find great 6/0 and 15/0 brushes in other brands too.

✿ What type of magnet do you use for your polymer clay magnets?

I use tiny Magcraft rare earth magnets. You can find them on Ebay, Etsy and some local craft and hobby shops or you can order them directly from their website:
http://www.rare-earth-magnets.com/

✿ Do you attach the magnets afterwards? or do you bake polymer clay and magnet together?

I insert the magnet in the clay and then bake polymer clay and magnet together. However, magnet won't be as strong as before after baking, so I take it out and glue a new one in with super glue. I have a couple of weak magnets for this purpose.


 Do you sell your polymer clay figurines anywhere?

Not at the moment. I may occasionally sell some of them in my Etsy shop. Please check my blog often for such updates. 


 Do you sell your snails?

As I mentioned I am not selling my polymer clay figurines and snails unless they are for sale in my Etsy shops. 


 Do you do watercolor/jewelry or polymer clay custom orders?

Sorry! I don't do any custom orders.

 Can I feature your work on my blog?

Absolutely!  As long as you link back to my blog, Flickr or Facebook. I'd love to be featured on your blog.

 Would you like to sponsor a giveaway?

Sorry! I don't sponsor giveaways, but thanks a lot for your interest.