A paper mache artist typically uses different paper mache techniques to create sculptures that are usually quite high in detail and artistic in nature. Different artists often focus on particular types of sculptures, and some artists choose to create works similar to fine art, while other artists create more commercial pieces. These works can be sold and displayed as ornamentation, much like other works of art, and many of them are used as decoration for events or holidays. A paper mache artist often creates his or her own work using different techniques, often painting the completed piece for even more detail, and selling his or her work like other artists.
The work of a paper mache artist often begins with an idea for a particular sculpture or paper mache creation. Some artists may simply begin creating a work based on an idea, while other artists often draw out a sketch of what the finished piece will look like. Once this preparation is complete, then a paper mache artist usually creates a frame on which the paper mache can be applied. Different artists use different techniques to create these frames, including using chicken wire to create a mesh form, balls of paper joined together to create the sculpture, or cardboard to create the frame.
Onto this frame, a paper mache artist then applies layers of paper mache. This is typically created by making a paste, often a combination of glue, flour, and water, and then soaking strips of paper in this paste. Some artists use cloth instead of paper or as a final layer over the paper, to give the finished sculpture a smoother texture. Different materials can also be used by a paper mache artist to create differences in texture for sculptures of creatures or things that might have scales, hair, cloth garments, or even metallic armor.
Once a paper mache artist has created the actual sculpture, then he or she usually paints it for additional details and realism. This is often similar to how artists paint maquettes or busts, and different paint techniques can be used. Airbrushing is often used for more realistic shades and tones of color, allowing the artist to apply highlights and shadows in a way that makes the sculpture more dramatic in appearance. A paper mache artist then typically sells his or her work, often through Internet websites, local art festivals, and even through galleries and private showings of artistic works.