Actually, it's not so much as having troubles with lions. It's more like having problems making masks, but I am getting close to solving my dilemmas. I have been working for almost a month trying to make a lion mask in a pendant size. I sculpted four different lions in order to make molds. Three of the lion sculptures made it to the mold stage and then I was not satisfied with the results. No matter what I try, the finished product comes out of the mold with tears, bad impressions, misshapen, or other imperfections.
So, now, I am making sculpted supports that the clay drapes over and gets remolded. There is a layer of aluminum foil between the two so the clay won't stick and easily pops off the support. Confused, yet? Me too. My first attempt cracked because when the clay goes through the heating process, it shrinks and that is a problem when it is on a solid support. I just finished my third support, which is smaller with more defined lines. The clay that goes over this support will be thicker, making it more resistant to cracking.
One other thought; Using a support instead of a mold will add more variety to each piece. Every lion will be a one of a kind because each one will be worked on top of the support.
While we are waiting for me to figure all of this out, here the first mask I was able to finish. It's called "Adam" because it's the first one.