Well, as promised, I thought I should write up a little information on sculpting in Wax. It's not the first medium one would think to work in when starting out with sculpture, but it does offer a lot of benefits.
That said, though, it's probably not the best medium to use if you're JUST getting interested in sculpting. It's primary benefit is that it allows for lots of clean sharp detail, which is something that's valued in the collectibles field. But we all know detail doesn't equal good work.
As a prerequisite to wax, I think it would be best to start out sculpting in Super Sculpey. It's easy to get your hands on, and everything you learn from working with it is applicable to wax sculpting.
But if you're wanting to dive in and try wax, here's some help with getting going:
I personally use a few different kinds of wax with my sculptures. All of which are mixed and offered through private 'dealers' I guess you would say. ha! www.willowproducts.com is an excellent resource for getting your hands on a variety of waxes to begin with. Gary offers a WIDE variety of different waxes to try, ranging from very hard to quite soft. Of course, when talking about wax, even the softest grade is quite hard compared to clay.
Choosing a grade that works for you is sort of dependent on how you like to work. I would suggest ordering samples of Willow Product's various waxes to give them all a try. You probably won't know what you prefer until you dive in and start working with it all.
Another option is Toxic Mom Studios wax, otherwise known as TMS wax. It's my favorite wax for sculpting faces, because it allows for an extremely clean surface and tight detail. If you just starting out with wax, it's not necessary to get this, but I do highly recommend it for headsculpts. TMS is made by Ralph Cordero, and you have to contact him directly to order some. Toxicmama@aim.com
It can be difficult to get in contact with Ralph sometimes, due to his VERY busy schedule. Making wax isn't his full time gig, so be patient if you choose to contact him.
As I said, though...It's not necessary to start with TMS wax. I would still suggest you get some samples from Willow Products, as those waxes are very nice and fully capable of making great sculptures.
So, what is the consistency of wax compared to, say, Super Sculpey? Whereas Sculpey can be molded with your hands, Wax as a general rule, cannot. The softest grades of wax can be worked with your hands, but they must first be warmed up, either in a pan over a stove, or with a heat gun (hairdryer)
Wax is hard, and must be built up into forms by dripping or brushing it at a near molten temp. As it cools, you can drip and add more wax onto your sculpture. What Wax lacks (har har) in speed at the beginning, it more than makes up for when it comes to refining and finishing your piece.
As mentioned above, wax can only be worked with by using hot tools. I'll start to get into all of that in the next 'installment', as this is already getting a bit dense.