- Lesson details
In the second lesson of David Simon’s figure sculpting series, he takes a few measurements from the model and starts adding clay to the armature. David considers the structure of the figure as he adds volume to the sculpture. After blocking in the major masses of the figure, he can begin to establish the gesture of the pose. In these early stages, he takes pains to limit his focus to the relationships between the parts and the whole, and to not get carried away with any particular part of the figure. Success in any sculptural project relies on constantly checking and re-establishing your proportion– only later should you hone in on the intricacies! Sculpting from life is a dynamic and process-heavy endeavor, by watching this series we hope that you learn about the intricacies involved and are inspired to tackle the challenge!
A sculptor of international acclaim, David Simon’s career has ranged from life-size portraits and figures to massive bronze statues. Among others, he helped oversee the giant Leonardo da Vinci Horse project. David created maquette and sculptures for films such as Where the Wild Things Are, Fantastic Four, and Watchmen, and holds private workshops abroad and in his Los Angeles studio.
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I'm going to measure the head of our model and
I'm gonna compare it to the distance between the feet. And then
I'm going to start adding clay. A sculptor of international
acclaim, David Simon's career has ranged from life-sized portraits and figures
to massive bronze statues and holds private workshops abroad
and in his Los Angeles studio. What I'm trying to do is both
transition from having a wire stick figure
to getting mass on here. I'm trying to establish some
basic dynamics. Wide to narrow, wide to narrow and
I can begin to see the relationships. As I continue, I'm gonna
come down through the lower leg and the base, I'm going to come
up through the neck and head because it's going to establish
how everything relates to everything else.
armature. I explained how to measure it, how to build
it, how to put it together, what these clamps are for
and how to work with them, how to get these bends correct in the wire.
In the intervening time I did
a couple of things that are pretty minor that I don't think are
crucial to show on video. Number one because they're
a little tedious and number two because they're loud, although I'm gonna
be doing one of them with you in a few minutes.
So I just want to point out the things that I did do. I
wires at the bottom into arcs. They were
straight across, if you remember, and I took
a washer, put it on top and put
a screw through it to pin it down. And I pinned this foot
down and I haven't pinned this foot down yet.
What I'm going to do in a few minutes is I'm going to measure the head
of our model, Leah, and I'm gonna compare it
to the distance between the feet. And that's just gonna give me
a bit of assurance that I have this
distance correct before I screw that down. Another
thing that I did, which I don't know how easy
it is to see, but will help me, is I just took a marker
and I marked all of the joints. Just so I could see it better
until I get clay on it. And then one final thing that I did
was I cut the hands short. if you recall in the
measurements that I gave, the entire hand from the wrist to the tip
of the finger is three quarters of a head. I took that measurement
and I cut it in half. Half the hand ends at the knuckle
and the other half is the fingers. Because of this pose
and the fact that her hands are supported in the pose, they're not out
I don't really need the support of the wire. And because the scale
of the figure is relatively small, I don't really -
I find it more difficult to work around a larger piece of
wire. So I just cut those off. If it were bigger I might make
an additional armature for the fingers, but for this and the way
the pose is set up, I just ended up cutting it short.
So again, the first thing I'm gonna do is measure her head,
compare it to the distance between the legs, or more
accurately the feet, and place this
and pin it down. And then I'm gonna start adding clay. So
I've got my calipers and
I'm gonna go over and measure Leah and then I'm gonna ask her
to get into the pose so I can check the feet. And then we'll get going.
It's always a good idea to loosen these if you can
so that you're not - if they're too tight they get a little jerky.
And it can be not so pleasant for a model.
If you are trying to close it and it's resisting and
you push and then suddenly it moves. So these are really
nice ones, they're very smooth.
So whenever you measure you wanna go vertically.
bottom. So not diagonally from the highest point
of the head to the chin but in a straight line
vertically. So now if you can -
I'm just gonna lock these in place
and just for the sake of doing it I'm gonna mark
this on my
So in the future
if I ever need to compare
anything I can.
So now I'm going to go
from the center of her ankle
straight through to the ground on both sides
because that's where I want my wire to be. I want my wire to be right in the middle
So from here to here I would say it's about
three-quarters of a head.
Now since it's
just the wire, it doesn't need to be super
exact. If it's one head that's gonna be way
outside, if it's half a head that'll be way inside, but you know, if it's
a little under or over three quarters I should be fine.
I also have to account for the fact that there's a quarter
of a head base on this side and she's standing
on the block on that side.
So, it's going to be a diagonal. Sort of like
And again, I have
a mark here for where the bottom of the foot should be. So
I'm probably pretty good
here. And now
I'm going to rotate Leah -
rotate to a side view.
And just double check
So I feel like
the upper leg is
The lower leg's pretty good too.
However, I'm not
so confident that the far leg
is right. The upper leg seems okay.
seems a bit too bent.
Okay I'm gonna -
right now I'm checking from the trochanter here
to the middle of the ankle.
And that seems okay.
Now I'm going to turn my sculpture and I'm going
to come, turn Leah just slightly
and check the front
So now I'm checking the upper leg on the
left hand side, her right. And now
the lower leg. And I think
we're just a hair off.
Checking the front.
I think I'm pretty good with that back leg.
So I'm going to pin this now.
So I have a screw
I'm gonna put right through.
Okay, so that is good, however I wasn't
so happy with this other leg, so I'm gonna unscrew that
and change that angle. So I'm going to
move this so I can see the side view. And again
every time I move, I am aligning
this wooden base with that wooden base.
So I'm not quite looking flat at the edge of that
So I'm not quite looking flat at the edge of that.
Okay. Now I'm gonna pin this
so it doesn't move. And then once again
I'm gonna turn
walk over and right now all I'm looking at
is the wood to see if I'm really lined up accurately.
And I feel like I'm just gonna adjust
a little bit.
I'm gonna move the knee outward
a little bit. And it's much easier now that the feet are
pinned. That I don't have to worry
that the whole leg will move
And at this stage I'm imagining
a little bit, the volume
of the clay that's gonna take up a lot of space there. So even though
there's a big gap in between the legs right now, that'll go away
once I begin adding clay. I'm checking right now
from the pit of the neck.
This is very often
the case. From the pit of the neck
to the inside of the ankle
that's bearing the weight, very frequently there'll be
a straight line, or a plumb line rather.
So from the pit of the neck to the inner,
what's called the inner malleolus,
which is the bone of the tibia.
Which is the bone of the lower leg on the inside of the ankle.
Okay that's looking good.
And I do this at the beginning of each
session, particularly at the beginning, I'm checking
all the angles that I've established, making sure
I've seen everything accurately. Now I'm coming back here
just looking, checking
the center of her neck, which'll be just
a hair forward
of that ankle. So I feel like this
can pivot backward. And you can see
now that I have this pinned at the bottom, it's
easier to rotate that without everything else moving.
Just a hair more.
So what I'm looking at is this point here
and where it falls relative to
Okay. That's all looking pretty good to me.
I'm gonna turn back
make sure that the arms and hands are in the right
position. And I'll
come back and forth quite a bit
just to check that everything is right. The upper
arm on the - her right hand side, my left,
is pretty good, but the lower or the forearm needs to
pivot inward here.
And not bad.
Okay so there is a
limit to how perfectly
precise you can get this because some of it will
depend on the volume. And without the volume it's really hard to be
completely accurate. But at this point I think
I'm in pretty good shape and I'm ready to begin to add clay.
So I've got my clay here
in the warming oven.
And that's in pretty good shape right now.
What I'm using is Beau Touche High Melt.
And it's by a company called Chavant
that is based in Red Bank, New Jersey. So I don't know
why it has a French name for its clay.
It's an oil based
essentially is made of the same material that
water based clay is. Water
based clay typically nowadays is shipped in a powder
and mixed with water to hydrate.
will buy it from a company that has mixed it with water already.
That same powder can be mixed with oil
and wax and lanolin and pigment,
several other ingredients and turned into
an oil based clay. And as I'm doing this I'm
realizing, because I'm lined up pretty well that the angle
of that arm is not right. It needs to pivot
Much better. Okay.
As I cover up my armature, I'm going
where it is inside that clay.
oil based clay
as I said is made of the same material
as water based clay, but because it's mixed
with oil instead of water
it behaves exactly the opposite in most
ways from water based clay.
Which is to say that when you apply heat
to water based clay it gets hard.
Water based clay does something called vitrify which
means that it turns to glass essentially.
The primary material in water based
clay is silica
which is essentially glass
or the primary ingredient in glass. And the little
grains of silica, when you fire clay, when it gets hot enough,
melt. And when they melt, just a little bit, they
fuse together in a process called vitrification.
With oil based clay
instead of getting harder as it gets hotter, it
gets softer as it gets hotter.
So in order to make it really
workable, it needs to be heated up.
Not a lot, in fact very little if it's
a very warm day outside the clay will get soft enough on its
own. And there are lots of different ways to
heat it up. What I'm using is essentially
a box with a little space heater in the back of it.
It can be
put in a convection oven, which is what I have
in my studio, which is essentially an oven with a
fan built into it that circulates warm air around.
Although I don't recommend it,
it can be microwaved
and I don't recommend it because it's
heats very unevenly and it's very hard to know if the clay
is hot until you've squeezed it. And once you've squeezed it
it may be
molten in the middle, which is incredibly hot and
a little bit dangerous.
you squeeze that clay and that molten clay oozes
out onto your hand, you can't get it off.
So when I was doing film sculpting
some people would call that an anatomic twinkie, like a liquid
center. But you can burn yourself pretty
easily. So I don't recommend
using a microwave and I don't
recommend doing this in a home oven or an oven
you're intending to cook food that you're going to eat
out of because the odor of the clay will tend to linger.
So the simplest way to heat your clay -
I'm gonna rotate Leah a little bit.
So the easiest way to heat your clay
is to get a cardboard
box, line it with aluminum foil
and get an old fashioned
and a cheap clamp light, or really any kind of
cheap lamp that exposes the bulb and
light bulb and the lamp
to the edge of the box and shine the light on the clay
and the heat from the lamp will soften up the
clay. This does not really work very well
with the new compact fluorescent
bulbs because they don't give off very much heat, and doesn't work almost at all
with an LED bulb, which really doesn't give off almost any heat,
so you need one of the old fashioned incandescent bulbs, and
preferably a 100 watt bulb works the best because it gives off a little bit
more heat. So while
our model is taking a break, I'm going to draw
or lines through the center of each
form that I've established in clay.
I'm also going to
measure the naval
which is gonna be three quarters of a head above the pubic bone.
Pubic bone is here. Naval should
I'm going to measure a head and a half to the pit of the neck
And so what I'm trying to do
at this stage is both transition from
having a -
just a wire stick figure to
getting mass on here. Which means I'm not just coating the
armature evenly with clay, because that would essentially be
pointless. I'd just be mirroring what I have in wire with the clay.
I'm trying to establish some basic dynamics,
meaning the upper leg is
wider at the hip, narrower toward the knee.
The hips get wider toward the trochanter
and narrower toward the waist. Not really anything super
anatomical at this stage, but more dynamic.
But wide to narrow, wide to narrow. Just so I can get
the beginnings of some
volume on here. And I can begin to see the relationships.
In other words I don't want to sculpt a pelvis and then sculpt a
rib cage and then sculpt a thigh because they're not gonna have any relationship at this
stage. Even if I do a beautiful job sculpting each element
they're not going to relate to one another.
So I just want to begin to see the relationship. So as I
continue - I'm gonna come down through the lower leg and the base, I'm
going to come up through the neck and head, but when
my model is on a break, I'll tend to like to, at the very least
the base. The base is not something I like to work on very much when
the model is posing but when she is
on a break, it's sort of ideal. There's a temptation
to continue to work on the figure even
without the model. Which, especially at this stage,
can be counterproductive because you may be doing
things and then the model comes back and then you realize everything you did was not
especially early on, breaks are a great time to measure,
check all your measurements, which
are more or less independent
of the model, meaning
if you're using a proportional system the measurement of the upper leg should be
one and three quarters. the lower leg should be two heads.
The measurement I did here from the pubic bone to the naval
three quarters. So all those are things that I can check
while the model's on break. Right now I've put a little clay
down for the base, I've got a mark here for the where the bottom of the knee cap is
and now I'm going to measure two heads. And I'm
gonna do that with a pair of dividers
set backward. So the curve is going outward
and that allows me to go from my mark all the way
to the ground. So that the tip of the
divider will hit the ground. If I did it the other way
you can see as I come down to the ground I can't get the tip
to the ground because of that curve. So by reversing them
I can get the tip to the ground. So once again
I'm gonna set it at two from my mark here.
I'm already a tiny bit high
in the clay for the base, so I'm just gonna shave that down
There we go.
And as I shave it, I'm also flattening
Remember on this side there's a block that she's standing
on. So another thing I can do while she's on the break
I've got the life size
head measurement marked on my stand. I'm gonna take that
measurement from he stand, which is that
and I'm gonna come over to the stand
and compare the size of her head
to these blocks that she's standing on.
Alright so I know that this pivot point is half a head.
And I'm gonna estimate from the ground
it's not half a head,
half a head is
up here. Quarter would be here, so it's
somewhere between a quarter of a head and a half a head
is the height of that block. So
I'm going to come over to my stand,
get between a quarter and a half, just do midway for now,
and take a marker
actually before I do that I'm going to
what I have here.
So I wanna be measuring off
the ground plane here and now
I'm gonna mark that point
is where I want
the bottom of her foot to be
That's pretty good.
I'm gonna get some more clay.
at the dynamic -
you know I'm looking at where I put that mark
and where that wire is. It's not bad at all. I mean
it's barely showing the naval below
the arm and that's what I have
You know, now is the time when
the discrepancy between
the proportional system that we're using and
the proportions of the model are going to begin to show
themselves. Alright, because I've measured everything out
and now I'm comparing it to
the pose and how she's standing and if
that point were right behind
her arm, it would be telling me that
there's something slightly off about either
her relationship to the proportional system that I'm using
or how I measured things.
But if things line up the way
they are at the moment
that's reassuring. So it's a
sort of the converse of
A problem it's sort of pointing out
how things are working correctly, which is
you know, as important as figuring out where the
So there's a lot kind of going on right now.
This is probably, in a lot of ways, the most complex
aspect of sculpting the figure.
In the sense that I'm thinking about
so many things at the same time.
Where things are, the structure of the wire,
and how that's going to help or interfere
with what comes next.
Here, if this is
the naval, the anterior superior iliac
spine's on Leah are a little bit closer
to the naval than they are to the public bone.
So I'm going to
draw a line representing that
and then I'm going to measure a half a head
on either side
of the center line.
Which should establish the width.
to focus the most
on the core of the figure here
at this stage.
Because it's going
to establish where
everything else is and how everything relates
to everything else.
And it's also, from a structural
standpoint, the thing that I can't
change because of
where this pipe is. Now everything there is being locked in
based on the position of that pipe. I can't shift this
left or right. I can shift this left or right,
I can move a shoulder up or down, but I can't
change the position of the pelvis without
a good amount of effort, you know, undoing some of these and
you know, nothing is ever
permanent, even when it's in bronze
it can be changed, but you wanna make sure
that you're focusing on locking in
the things that are
the most difficult to change and allow
allowing things that can be changed more simply to
be the elements that
set in stone early.
Right so, you know, I
am looking at the width here, the position
as I come down.
I've marked the bottom of the knee
I'll turn that around
so I can see it. Now
come up here,
grab some more clay.
And every, you know, every movement
on my part is an opportunity
to see something new. So as I walked over
wanted to take a look
at where other things were happening. And I
can see that I'm missing, you know, quite a bit
in the back, which shouldn't be a surprise because I haven't put anything
on in that regard. I'm gonna turn
my sculpture, I'm gonna turn Leah a little
I'm going to add some volume
back. Now the, you know, the difficult thing, or one
of the difficult things about sculpting is that
you have to deal with it from all
sides and you can't do it all at once.
Which is truer the
larger you get. You know I'm able to move through
a piece of this scale relatively quickly.
If this were, you know, even
three feet tall, four feet tall, it would take a lot
more time to add clay
and there has to be a way to
what happens when you add clay
to one area and you don't add clay to another area for,
you know, a reasonable amount of time.
A long time. So what I'm
noticing is the angle of this
leg seems to be too far up.
And what I'm doing in my head is trying to figure out
if there are ways that I can compensate for that
with the clay. Or if I should
change this whole angle.
You know one way of compensating that
for that with clay is to
raise that here. Raise this portion. If I
raise that up, that's gonna change the angle there
I'm not sure if I can do that yet. So
I'm gonna move
up through the back a little bit.
And as I do this
I'm gonna make sure I keep a center line.
And this is, you know, obviously
the time when I'm gonna be using the most amount of clay.
It's the time I'm gonna be moving the most, rotating
the model the most. It's because everything at
this stage is in flux. I'm not
sure of where anything is
gonna end up at the very end.
I'm trying to juggle a lot of different issues.
You know the angle of that, the spacing
between the legs,
and also the fact that I'm working with
a live model. A human being, not a photograph.
So I know that things will
adjust as I go along
in the pose, in the balance and the weight
and not just, you know, between now and when I'm finished
but within each
20 minutes pose. It'll start one way, shift
a little bit
and that's one of the
benefits, you know, it's a challenge but it's also one of the
benefits of working with a live model
is you get a whole
array of options
as you work through it.
She may be
more twerked in one
set than another. She may, as the 20 minute set
goes along, settle into it and increase the shift
and so paying attention as I'm going along and doing
other things allows me to, kind of in the back of my head,
evaluate where I want to take
the piece in the end.
What do I think is interesting
and how do I want to
And it can be a real challenge when there's so much to
do, to force yourself to move
on. You know, there's a lot I'd like to do here but I don't wanna leave the head
the way it is. I wanna make sure I
am - I shoulda done it the other way -
blocking in the head as well
as everything else.
And for me, blocking in the head always begins with
positioning the neck. You know, you
can have the head really beautifully established but
if you haven't positioned the neck correctly
it won't matter. Right now I'm checking where
the chin should be
relative to what's beneath it.
You know there are things that I
noticing as I work that I really like
that I kind of am putting in my, you know, putting in my
head for later. Like I love the, you know, the power
of the neck compared
to how delicate the head is. I wanna make sure that I
get that feeling
in there. And I find it to be really important
to have that, just that
kind of feeling about what I
think is interesting. And that as
I go along, once the, you know,
proportions are established and position of everything is
established, that will be kind of what I'm using
to figure out what needs to
happen. You know, if I really like the feeling of
power to the shoulders and neck,
and I look at it and I don't feel that then that's where I have to
make my adjustments. If I have
no opinion, I just sort of say okay this is the model in front of me, I gotta
make a sculpture of her, there will become - or there will
come a time in the process where I just get lost because
there's no way, no matter how talented a
sculptor is that he can capture, or she can capture, everything
about a model. And so when you get to a certain
point, you're just sort of adding and detailing
and noodling around
without really any goal
or purpose. If you've said, you know, what I wanna make sure
I get across in this study is
X, Y, or Z
then that becomes something that you can always go back to and say, okay does
it have that? If the answer is yes, great,
Continue to add things that support it. If the answer is no
then that's exactly where you have to
focus your attention and figure out okay, why am I not getting that?
you know, I 'm feeling like I have a bit of a problem with the head.
measurements. Just because the top of my wire is a little bit
in the way. Okay, so it seems like I'm a little
small still. So I'm going to check the length
of the neck. Okay that's why.
The chin is a little low.
Okay. Get some more clay.
And this is one of the reasons why these
measurements are so helpful. That neck looks incredibly long right now.
But my measurements are telling me that
that's the right length for it.
And then I'll realize oh, that's because I don't have the
trapezius here, which acts to
kinda mitigate some of that length. And also it's too narrow
so now I'm trying to figure out, is it too narrow
this way, does it need to come backward or forward?
So, once I match the base I'll look at the front
of the neck, compared to what's below it.
Which I feel like could come out just a tiny, tiny bit.
Which means that the bulk of what I'm missing is
on the back of the neck.
Okay, so you can
see on this side
the wire embedded in
that head. So now
that she's on break I'm gonna come down
and add a little volume to that
block that she's standing on. Add a little volume to
the back here.
And I can talk a little bit now
about the base, why it's there and what it's for.
You know, the base I think
is an important element for a few reasons. Number one
it gives me the ability to pin
the figure down without worrying about
how I'm doing it. I'm gonna end up covering any screws or any washers
or other fasteners, staples, to hold it
down. Number two, from the point of view of
casting, or transforming this into a more
finished material, having a base on this
is really helpful because when I make a mold
what I'm essentially doing is making the inverse
of everything here. So this little mound becomes
a little cup in the mold. And that makes it easier
to pour in whatever material I'm using
particularly if I'm not using
plaster or another gypsum based material. Plaster expands
but almost every other material will shrink. So if I ended
at the bottom of the foot and I filled up my mold
to the bottom of the foot, as the material cured it would pull inward.
If I have a base I can
get any shrink that comes from that material pulling in
to happen in the base. Which is helpful.
For example wax, which is what you would
cast in if you wanted to make a bronze,
will shrink quite a lot. And if you end up with your
shrink in the base, it's easier to deal with. You can either add
more wax to the base because it's a pretty simple shape
or if you don't want a base in the finished piece,
you can then just cut off the material, the excess material.
You know with some resins that
you pour into your mold, you can fill it to the bottom
of the foot and leave that base empty and if it shrinks down a little bit
you can add more material after
it's sort of semi-cured and shrunken in until you get a nice, flat
area where the foot ends.
You can make it a little bit fuller than that and then sand it flat
and end up with a casting of the figure that ends at the feet.
So the base has a
number of different functions from
structural, in terms of holding any fasteners
that I'm using to attach it to the wood base
and making those invisible, to casting and providing an
area that the casting can
the casting material can be poured into. That's why I like
to have a base. And it also makes the
armature a little simpler. I don't have to worry about being
as precise with the measurements, because any discrepancy in my
measurements in the legs can be taken up in the base. Meaning
if I didn't measure the length of that lower leg quite right, if I left too much
wire I can just make the base thicker and still have the wire
or the upper and lower leg the right length. If I
made that a little bit too short,
I can just reduce the thickness of the base and get the correct length
of the leg. If I didn't include the base
each one of those problems would be
kind of a bigger problem. If the legs were too long,
there'd be no way for me to correct that without redoing the whole armature.
And even worse, if the legs were too short, there'd be no way really
for me to correct that without
more complex. So
I'm gonna take a little extra time to - since the model is still on break -
to just square off
that base keeping the
front of it and I'm probably - the length
of the foot is about one head from the heel
to the front of the foot. So that foot is gonna end out here.
So I need a little bit more
base in front.
And I don't need any more base in the back
beyond where the heel of the back foot where
be. Unless, you know, I have some
sort of aesthetic or
compositional reason to want that base to be
bigger. But from a,
you know, a purely functional standpoint
the base needs to be - go as far back
as the heel of the back foot
and as far forward as
the toes of the front foot.
So I'll grab a little bit more clay.
I need to come forward a little bit
That seems pretty good. Just
even it out. I don't need to come out
any further really than here.
And the only reason I'm coming out this far as opposed to here is because
right here I've got my wire, so I wanna
hide my wire, I don't want that showing.
So the base can be as rough
I want to make it.
And I like it to be relatively
clean and squared off. And I also like it
to have a relationship to the wooden base that it's on.
Meaning, I like to square out the front
edge if I can with the front of the wood. Just so I don't get
confused about what
referencing when I rotate everything.
You know, this rectangle
were rotated slightly I might get a little
confused and say wait, am I, should I be looking at that edge
or that edge. If they're the same then I don't have to
think about it.
with Leah back I'm gonna ignore the base
and come back to
dealing with the figure.
It's really beginning
to bug me the angle of that leg
so I'm going to
excavate a little bit of the base
around that wire
because at this point the only way to change
and I, you know, I think I know what
happened. I think that the
length of that upper leg from the wire
to that point, that's correct. Two
heads from there
to the bottom of the foot is not
quite correct. You can see from here
that line should be.
It's about a half an inch off, which I think at the very bottom
it's lifted up half an inch, which is increasing that
bend. So I'm gonna grab my drill,
unscrew it. And sometimes
I'm really bad about doing this -
you know it's something that when I teach I
make student do immediately. Change that and correct it.
But I have this great model, you know,
engaged in what I'm doing and I'll just sort of say well let me work
up in here and I'll deal with that later. And that's
really not a good idea. It's a much better
idea to deal with it when you see it
and then you don't have to worry about it and then everything'll be correct.
So what I'm gonna do is take this measurement -
that discrepancy that I had there -
transfer it down
the very bottom of the wire I want to be
here instead of here.
So I'm going to rotate the leg outward,
like that, take a pair
of pliers and
ends at that point
and then rotate it back
and now I have the ability to
reduce that angle.
Now that angle's much, much better.
I'm going to just
the front view.
How far out that is.
End it with a little clay to hold it in place.
Yeah, I like that much better.
So now I'm just gonna
Okay. Put that away. So
that took all of a few minutes.
And now I think everything is
much closer to where it should be.
So I don't
my first response is
generally to try and avoid changing that.
But I think that's one of the things about learning how -
probably learning anything, the reason you actually have to learn it is because it's
not necessarily natural.
It's not what your instinct
If it were I guess you wouldn't have to learn it.
You would just know to do it.
And that's one of the - I think the pitfalls
of lots of experience. There's
almost no negative
to having a lot of experience at something. It makes you better at it, it makes you understand it
better. The one pitfall is that you can think
you don't really need to do some of the things
should be doing.
You can think like I've been doing this for 25 years, I don't need to do that, I know what I'm
doing. And then sometimes - and sometimes that's true,
sometimes you can change your
approach and that's one of the things I think makes
art or probably anything else interesting and engaging
to do is experiment and try different things.
But it's also true that
there are times when
you do that and you find
that you know maybe it would have been a better idea to do what I
kind of thought and know I should have done.
had the opportunity
while we were at lunch to just come back and take a look at what
I'd done and kinda catalogue what I liked and what I didn't
and sometimes, you know, that happens when you're not in the
thick of sort of feeling the pressure of the model being there and figuring
things out. You can look at things and
see things that you want to do that maybe,
maybe take a little more time to sink in. So now
our model Leah's back. I
have a few things in my head that I'm
interested in accomplishing. I also know that she's a little bit fresher after
like an hour break and so
that not only is good
for her, obviously, but it's going to
in some ways reset the pose.
It's going to - she's gonna have a little more energy, the pose'll
probably be a little bit sharper and
you know I know that the pose is gonna go through a lot of
iterations over the course of sculpting. Unlike
drawing in particular, sculpture is
really something that unfolds with time.
It's not something that you can begin and
finish in a 15 minute session.
And because of that
all kinds of different
issues arise with it. You know, both
challenges and opportunities. Some of the challenges are
keeping the work looking fresh when
it's taking you, you know, a relatively long time to accomplish
it. Some of the
you know, the benefits are it really does give you a
longer amount of time to understand what you're looking at
and to really kind of absorb it. And that's one of
my favorite aspects of the process of
sculpting the figure in particular, as
opposed to say, making a portrait. While I really do
love making portraits, there is
sort of a complexity to everything
that's going on when you're sculpting a figure
that just isn't there with a portrait.
With, you know, portrait you always have the eyes, nose, mouth
forehead, chin, all of those elements are in
like a pretty predictable range.
Whereas when you're sculpting the figure, things can
be, you know, wildly different. The balance can vary, the
rhythms can vary, you know, pretty drastically.
Within even the same model. You get the same model
doing several different poses and you have completely different
challenges. Whereas, after you've
sculpted the portrait of somebody
there's not really a huge incentive to do another portrait of that
them. Unless they get plastic
surgery or age very drastically.
So in a lot of ways, the point of
the activity for me
of doing a figure study in particular is
about understand better
what I'm looking at. That's sort of the internal
narrative for me of what I enjoy about
it. When it
goes beyond being a study and it's party of, you know, body of work
that I'm making, you know, there are other
elements to it that are external
from the figure. You know, if I'm trying
to communicate a certain narrative or idea
and the figure is the vehicle to do that
then I'm sort of looking at what I'm sculpting
in a relationship to the idea that I have.
When I'm, you know, purely doing a study, as I am now,
it becomes, for me,
a process of really trying to
understand as fully as I can what I'm looking at.
Both from a physical
standpoint and a psychological
standpoint, a structural standpoint, a
elements are kind of
combined into this process that unfolds, you know, over a
wide span of time.
As opposed to doing a quick, little
something along those lines. So you
have those two elements of an opportunity to really study
something and get to understand it on a fairly deep level.
And you have the challenge of
keeping a sense of movement and freshness and rhythm to something that
doesn't have that kind of
spontaneity as part of the process.
So it takes all kinds, I think, of different
strategies to allow you to get that and to see that
and to be open and aware of that kind of thing.
And knowing, you know, when to
look at the work that you're doing and
how to and having a process
for that is, I think, is
important. And for me, like
the sessions that I'm working - whether it be
you know, when the model's on break,
lunchtime, you know, the evening
after I'm finished
working or the morning when I come in,
spending some time looking and getting a feel
for where things are as something that's always
I think yielded
a lot of -
a lot of insights
for me. Where I can see things maybe a little bit more
clearly. Okay so
at this stage
you know, I'm chasing the pose a little bit which
is to say that as the pose -
it's interesting, as I develop the pose in clay over
this armature, Leah is also developing the pose. She's sort of
settling in to it, she's sort of finding how
and I, you know, I've noticed with almost every model that I've
worked with, you know, the pose that you end up with is not
ever the pose that you begin with. It starts somewhere and then
as I kind of discover it and get to know it better, the model
discovers it and gets to know it better and how it feels.
And chasing a pose is essentially that
process of, as
the pose that the model is
doing gets adjusted and changed, the sculpture
follows those changes. And there
has to come a point - because to a certain attempt that never stops -
but there has to come a point where
sculpture is is what the sculpture is, I'm not going to perpetually
just follow every alteration the model does
because sometimes she's just sort of correcting her balance and
at that moment I see it and I change the pose and then she settles back into
how it was before, then that wasn't a very effective
use of my energy to
make those alterations.
So you kind of get a feel as you,
you know, sculpt for
longer amounts of time and gain more experience of
longer amounts of time and gain more experience of
when it's appropriate to, sort of, chase the pose and as she
you know, rotates more into it, to increase the
rotation on the sculpture. And when
what you've established is what you're going to keep.
And if she alters it
you ignore that alteration, or you ask her to, you know, okay can you
move your shoulder forward or backward. But for me
at the beginning stages, which is where I am now
unless it's a pretty radical
shift, I'll just allow
you know the model to sort of settle into it and I'll just change what
I'm doing based on that, rather than saying, hey you were doing something
different the last
20 minutes or - because I think
ultimately it gives you more possibility.
You know, the more you see her doing different things, changing, settling,
breathing, how that effects everything - I'm gonna
turn her a little bit -
the more you get to
look at that and say, you know what, I kinda like what she's doing now
better than what she was doing at the beginning.
So you know I don't find it necessary or
desirable to make
corrections or ask the model to correct the pose.
I find it to be more
important for me to be
aware of where it was, where it's going,
how it's changing. And in that sense, the
process of sculpting is less the process of copying
than it is of, in some ways,
of making a collage. You know, you can
look at all the micro
adjustments that the model's making, each one of those
as almost a photograph and what you're doing
is choosing, let's say, the arm for this particular
photograph and the leg from that photograph and the
foot from that other one, and putting them together
in the way that you find the most interesting, as opposed to
having one static version of all of them and copying the
entire thing as one. And that's why I feel like working from
a photograph is so much different than working from
life. Because the photograph really does never move.
And there is, sort of, the possibility
if you spend enough time and care enough
to do it - turn again - of
getting everything in your sculpture to match the photograph.
And even though there is, you know, the
possibility of doing that, I think in almost every case
it's not very interesting.
You know it's -
the closer your, you know, that your sculpture resembles
the photograph, the more it seems that
the act of making the sculpture was
in some ways less important, and why not just look at
the photograph. You know, a great sculpture
is always going to be
different than the source material. It's different than the human being that it came
from, it's different from any photo reference that
assisted in its creation
and I think that's
in a lot of ways, that's the point of doing it. If it is just sort of
meant to be as close a
copy as I can get to
how the model looks, I could
just 3D scan the model or photograph the model.
There should always be something that I'm adding to it.
And in a very literal
sense, that's what I'm doing right now. I'm adding. Just adding
And I - also I'm jumping around quite
a bit. You know I'm going
from here, to here, I pulled that arm in, I pulled this
forward. I'm going to change
this angle, you know the more -
the longer I can stay
I think the better
off I am.
Okay, now I'm gonna force myself to stop because
the model has taken a break. And what I'm gonna do is
check the height of this block
it's even. I also want to
check the length of the leg
Okay, so that's good.
That's the upper leg.
Now the lower leg.
The bend is in the wrong
place. So I wanna adjust
Okay let's see.
That's pretty good.
You know and that - the proportions
can be adjusted but early
on I find that it's, you know, pretty helpful
to stick to my measurements because there's so many things
that are left, kind of, vague or ill defined
or, you know, aren't there yet. The head, the
arms. It can be very difficult to judge,
you know, subtleties of proportion that
you know, maybe I want to change their proportions a little bit. Maybe I want to lengthen the leg
or - it's hard to know
when there's so much up in the air. So
early on I try and stick pretty close
seven and a half head
system. And then once
are more defined, once my
pose and rhythm has been
really established, then I can make little
adjustments like in here, shift this,
to a different place but, you know, the
using the system is really to go from
nothing, from having really like no clay, no volume -
you know when you're beginning you don't even have an armature - you've got literally nothing -
to having a whole set of
proportions that are
there for you to work with.
And again, they're general meaning
they're not set in stone and every one is not
identical and each one
of these measurements. So there's no saying I can't
shift that naval just up or down a tiny bit.
The proportional system is there to give me, you know, an
indication of where
I should begin.
And I find it silly to
treat it in
either of the two ways that I've seen it treated. I know
a few sculptors who
almost deride the idea of using measurement
which I think is
you know, is kind of silly. And
I know others who are so
wedded to them that if you alter any
they think it's a mistake.
Measurements are a tool that you use
as long as they're helpful
and when you need
to use something else, you do.
And they, you know, although I maybe use
them or am wedded to them
somewhat less now than when I began sculpting
I still find them extremely useful, particularly
to go from one scale to another.
You know, if I tend to sculpt at one
scale, you know, if I'm always doing half life-sized figures
if suddenly I want to do a quarter life sized figure or a two-thirds life-sized figure
that can be very jarring. You become accustomed to
the way certain volumes look at certain
sizes and when you change it it can be, you know, difficult to
evaluate. And having
the tool of a proportional system really,
you know, helps.
You kind of recalibrate. You know, oh this is
how big that should be until you say, oh okay
now I'm starting to see where everything should be. And then you can begin to
kind of back off on how
are adhering to them.
There are people - or there are sayings about
the knowledge of various things, like grammar,
anatomy for any artist, you know, the idea being that
you learn it and then you forget it. Which is
a little bit of a tongue in cheek way to look at it because obviously
you don't forget it, but the
meaning behind that is that you learn it really well
and then you put it to the back of your list of priorities as you're working.
Knowing that it's always there and that it's
providing a certain amount of guidance, but it's not the primary motivating
factor when you're making decisions. The same way that
if - I'm gonna turn the model again -
grammar, or the most important thing
to a writer it might not be
a writer that you'd be all that interested in reading.
parentheses are used correctly, doesn't
mean that the writing is worth reading.
Having said that, if you don't know where to put a period or where to put a comma,
it can be impossible to read something.
Even if it's full of great ideas. So proportion
and anatomy, in my
opinion, are kind of like that. They're
helpful and important at times to know
but are not the key
or the driving force behind
any kind of visual art, I don't think.
Any more than grammar is the driving force behind
So now I'm starting to
Okay so I can come out a little bit
There are lots of different approaches that people have
come up with, developed,
for doing what I'm doing now. Some people work
purely by the silhouette and, you know, follow
this as if it were a contour drawing.
Which is obviously not the way I'm working.
Although it is partially, I'm certainly using that outline as an indication.
I don't have one
what I'm doing. And that's - you know
maybe because I never - I was never in an [indistinct]
program, I was never sort of trained as a
sculptor. You know, it's, in my opinion, it's a
Evokes training an animal to me
I know that I developed the way I work by
essentially being forced to learn and understand
general principles of how to relate
one thing to another. And then to figure out on my own
what are ways that made sense for me to
organize that information. And sculpting and drawing and
painting, in terms of making studies,
where those no external requirement, you're not,
you know, it's not a commission, it's not a piece of artwork
that expresses specific
ideas. When it's just a study
what it really
is is the artist organizing the information
in front of them into a specific
I'm figuring out by taking in that information and organizing it
is what sculpting is.
And so first you have to identify what the information is, is it linear,
is it the position of things in space, is it volumes?
And it's all of that at different times.
And then what's the best way to organize that?
Is it dropping plumb lines? Is it -
?drawing on the surface
Is it sculpting a very, very accurate
silhouette? Is it constructing
volumes and space and relating them to each other. And there are
you know there are sculptors who champion each one of those sort of approaches.
But I don't really - it never interested me
to take a side
in a fight that ultimately, I think,
misses the point. You know, for me if the work in the end
is great work that's interesting and engaging
it doesn't much matter to me how
it was achieved, in the sense that
it doesn't matter to me whether the way I
understand the process of sculpture was
employed to get that result.
You know, I do know people who would look at that and say well if you sculpted
using the sight's eyes method
and used converging silhouettes
then that's a great sculpture. And if you didn't then it's not
a great sculpture. I think the
ends, in a lot of ways for sculpture,
justify the means. If you made something that's really
interesting then however you made it was the right way to make it.
Even if it wouldn't have been the way I would have done it.
Okay so interestingly like the pose right now is
slightly less rotated. And so what I'm gonna do right now
because I was, you know, I was working on that rotation, is I'm just gonna shift
to a different aspect. I'm gonna shift to the leg.
Which is not gonna change very much.
And that's, you know, that's something that
you'll begin to recognize when you work a lot
with models, is that you know things change
both over the long span
of time, meaning, you know, if you're working with someone for
eight weeks. From week one to week four
or five, the pose will have changed. But also
within one 20 minute session
when the model's fresh and
has a lot of strength, the pose will emphasize one thing
as their energy
diminishes, things will change.
You know, some things will improve and some things will
recede, you know, whether that's an
improvement or not is obviously up to how you
feel about it. But what's, I think,
ultimately true is that you need
a strategy for dealing with
those changes. Like what do you do when
suddenly the leg is not quite in the same
organizational relationship as it was when you began.
You know one option -
one thing I frequently do is I move to a different location
and I wait, either for another pose or for a time
when that gets back to
being the way I want it be.
And very often it's, you know, there are times
when it makes sense to ask the model to make an adjustment
but often, you know, I've experienced
the fact that I'll ask, you know, can you move that
just slightly to the left, and they do and it's the right
position but it doesn't feel right.
And a model's not a mannequin where you can just take one
element and move it around. Everything is
connected together and the energy of
the entire pose is not
reducible to the, you know, the placement of
one limb or the angle of a foot.
And so, very often, it's more desirable just to wait
comes back, then trying to
rearrange the model into that. I'm gonna rotate her again.
when I come back really
accurately place my board in relation to that board
and figure out where the center
of her neck should be. Like it's -
feel like I'm off.
From this side, yeah.
It should be more over here.
Okay. So I'm a little bit
Leah to the profile
just a quarter of a turn.
And turn my stand
until I'm really seeing the side there.
Interesting. So now I'm finding
that I have a big - not a big
but somewhat of an issue - with rotation.
I need more rotation here, this
should twist because I want to see a little bit of that.
is the anterior superior iliac spine
which would mean
bottom of the rib cage would be
come right up and
into the shoulder
and now I'm gonna turn one more time
to the back view
And that, you know, that's also something
that I think
there's a temptation not to do, kind of correctly or as much
as I should or as people should, is
turning, changing your position, you know, because
it's a sculpture and because it's intended to be seen
from every angle, the
more frequently you change angles
when you're working, the
quicker you'll see any problems that
And that can be turning the model like I
just did, or it can be turning or changing my own
relationship. Sometimes I'll come over here just for a second
to check something and then come right back.
I mean that's often the case. I'll come over here,
I'll look - again, I'm looking for where
my relationship is to the
wooden stand and turning that to see, am I
seeing the same thing? You know,
I think even more like that.
Yeah that's pretty close to what I
should be seeing.
And so now I can see okay I need a lot more
volume here, volume here,
volume on the front of the leg, which is not
surprising. I mean, the whole
piece needs a lot of volume.
But just because the whole piece needs a lot of volume it doesn't mean that it needs
volume all over equally.
And so, especially
at this stage, I'm
really concerned with
the relationship much more than I'm concerned with the
absolute position of any
thing. Meaning, I want
this to be further out than this.
And this to be further out than this.
But I don't care if this is in the final position, or that's in the final position. I care about
the fact that relative to one another, things are
moving in the correct direction.
And if they are, that allows me to kinda decide
as I go exactly what I want the dynamic to
be. Do I want it to g a little bit beyond what a model is doing?
To accentuate that aspect? Do I wanna
underplay something? As long as the relationships are right, I can change
the absolutes. But if one thing
should be further out from the other and it's the opposite
that's - that's a really big problem.
So now I'm gonna come back to the back view having
seen a bunch of things from that
three quarter position.
Okay. So move outward
Okay that's pretty good.
So that - how that center line is ultimately
gonna function or where
it is, how it tilts,
important and something that I'm
thinking about right now.
There's a tilt,
albeit very slight
to the hips.
Alright there's more width, I'm just trying to figure out how much of it
goes on that side and how much on this other side.
Get some more clay.
So I'm really thinking much more
transactionally right now than I'm thinking
literally, you know, about
oh her pelvis is turning this way. I'm much more thinking about
is this line relating correctly to this point?
Or does it have to shift left to right - now
if I shift it left or right, how is that going to affect this other point?
And the visual
aspect of it, at this stage for me,
is secondary. I just kind of trust that if I
keep doing that, the visual will follow.
It will end up looking correct.
If I take my time and
place things correctly.
You know, which kind of sounds obvious that it will look correct if I
place things correctly, but in many, many
years of teaching I've noticed that most people
how it looks to them, even at the very beginning. They'll say, well but
she's got more volume there.
She's got wider hips or she's got a narrower waist
and to me that
is not really important at this stage.
At this stage I'm just trying to get things in the right orientation.
And once they're in the right orientation
it'll be much easier for me to deal
the distribution of the volume. Getting her
kind of situated correctly. Volumetrically.
So I kinda see that. Now I'm gonna come back
basically when I get to a point where I feel like I'm just pushing around
clay and not really
making important progress then I'll just change my point of view.
you know, in a lot of ways there's no formula
for this. It's - what I'm doing right now
is really figuring out what I'm looking at. And
everyone has their own
approach to how
they can best understand
what they're looking at. And I think that
it's not - there's certain underlying
principles about making sure that what you're looking at
in the model is the same thing that you're looking at in the sculpture.
That is not a personal approach, that's just
a necessary approach. Like if I'm
looking at her side, if I'm looking at
Leah's side and I'm looking at the back of my sculpture, there's really no way
that I'm making any kind of accurate
relationships. But whether I begin in one spot
or another, or how much volume I add before
I move to another area, different sculptors,
different very good sculptors work differently. And I think
underlying that is
kind of - and I'm gonna turn Leah just a little bit -
is the need to understand what you
need to feel confident about what you're doing.
If you confidently say, yes, that all needs to go back
then, by all means, move it all back.
But if you don't really feel confident that that's what needs to change
it doesn't, to me, make sense that you should change it.
It makes sense to me that you should
look for some other pieces of information that will either verify that
or modify that.
Change it in some way. Like, oh no, I don't need to move that back, it's
actually that that needs to move forward.
So there, you know, there are a lot of
different ways that you can go about the
nuts and bolts of putting a sculpture together.
You know, right down to how
you add the clay. You know, there's not
a correct way to add clay
to the sculpture. There - it's kind of like
penmenship. You know, you have your own way of
holding a pen and your own way of signing things
based on how your hand moves.
And I think that's true for clay.
The one thing that's, you know, undoubtedly,
is that the longer you do it, the more
confident you get in
how you do it. Meaning, I've been putting
clay on sculptures for
many years and so I don't
question how I add clay. I don't think oh but maybe it would be better if
I added little, you know, little bits at a time.
I've done enough sculptures to know that how I add the clay works
operations that I'm gonna do. How I end up finishing the surface and things like
that. I will
go into those idea as I move
through this. But I do think it's kind of important
to note that there is
not one correct way.
You know, having said that obviously
all I can offer is my way, how I do it. I would not
be very good at explaining how
other people work.
So, you know, I
effectively communicate what I think and
how I work. But I think it can be helpful to
there are a lot of different approaches that all work well.
And I'll try my best as I work to differentiate
things that I think are universally important to do
versus things that I do that maybe other people
things that I'm happy about and not happy right
now. I feel like I've got too much volume on this hip and thigh
relative to everything else. Meaning, you know, that
is fairly close to where it will end up, but because I have almost nothing here and nothing here and
nothing here, that shouldn't be, you know, as
developed. So I'm gonna make it a point not to widen that
really at all. I think the movement through the piece
is pretty good.
You know I might
want to come back just a tiny bit
But I think that's all fine.
You know I've got this ridge sticking out, which is telling me
something from this view. About how I wanted that to
come out. But that, I think, is all a function of the rotation
that I was missing a little bit. I think it's a good
idea that, you know, the head position's not right with the neck.
That's something I really need to examine.
I think it's a good practice to get into
to, when the model's on break, to just
look at what you have, you know if you need to
or re, kind of re-establish your measurements.
So I'm just taking a look at that.
The height of the naval.
And kind of set an agenda for what you want to
accomplish in the next 20 minute session.
And one of the paradoxes to doing this
in a way that
I think is probably the most effective, which is to work through the entire piece
at once, rather than finish a section and then move to
another section is that the sections that are more developed
at this stage, it's easier for me to
look at that and say oh actually that should come out a little bit, and that
I need to move a little more diagonally and that
in other words, it's easier for me to
do more work on sections that are more developed, and ignore
sections that are undeveloped because there's nothing there to really evaluate. And what I
really should be doing is putting more clay
here, here, here, here, connecting that
and seeing everything
together. So that, I mean that's one
ways in which experience
is helpful, you know, I know - and also one of the ways
that teaching is helpful. I've told so many students that
and it's very easy for me
not to do it, but occasionally
my own voice comes back to me
of telling people you should,
when the model's on break, take a break yourself.
Don't add any clay.
Evaluate where things are, come up with a plan for your next 20
So that's essentially what I'm doing. Now I'm just looking
and cataloging where
I think things need to go.
And for me the most important thing is the movement
of the pose. Not, you know, not the anatomy. I've done
enough sculptures that I feel like
anatomy is, is fairly straightforward once
I've got everything where I want it to be.
In a proportion - proportion's probably the simplest
because if you measure everything, proportion's gonna be
pretty much be right.
A little bit of a problem with those smaller dividers so I'm just gonna move
to a large pair of calipers.
You know the - so the
measure it and it should be accurate. Movement
is the toughest because it's, you know, it's
all wrapped up with composition,
things that are not,
you know, that you're not able to break down
in a step by step way.
You know, rhythm varies
sculpture to sculpture, it varies sort of
body type to body type, pose to pose.
The same pose, given a different body,
will suggest different kinds
of rhythmic ideas that I might want to
And so I find that to be the thing that
I focus on first, do I have
the organization of forms in space
correctly and do I
then see some sort of
underlying ideas that
I can bring to that aesthetically?
And that's what I look for
at the beginning and I try and kind of pull those all together
and once I feel like they're there then I can start translating
that into the anatomy.
Okay, so Leah is back
I can sort of see where
I am looking at a
few things vertically.
and what I'm trying to figure out is exactly where
her ribcage is
facing. Her ribcage and her shoulders. And
make sure that I have
kind of right here.
One of the challenges
when I'm teaching is that when I really am super
focused and engaged I tend to
not talk at all.
Which is not good when you're teaching
because people want to hear what they should be
But I feel like it's probably
a good thing to convey.
You know it's one of the things that
about working with models, I guess everybody has their own
preferences, but for me, like the models that I work with who I get along
with really well are people I can talk with
when I'm doing things that don't require my complete
focus and who are comfortable just sort of
getting a little bit quieter and just working when I
start to need to focus
and I get quieter.
And some models I work with will talk the entire time
which makes it difficult, and some,
which is even creepier, never talk at all.
But in a, I think,
in a real sense, like a good model-artist
relationship is a collaboration between
two people. And it's why
I don't enjoy very much working from photographs.
Although, you know, sometimes it's unavoidable.
And there are definitely,
you know, advantages, you know sometimes if I'm doing a larger
piece I'll take a bunch of photographs and
use those to build the armature. It's not really,
you know, that
crucial to have somebody standing in your
studio for hours on end as you weld
steel pipe or bend wire or
do things like that. So photos can be, you know, really handy.
In that sense.
Okay so, once again I'm
going to find the height of that
to that block that she's standing on.
Which remember I measured
using her head measurement.
And so I established a height here
based on the measurement from her knee to
the ground and using that, I'm
establishing the height of the block
that she's standing on.
Should be just a tiny
bit higher than what I have.
And on top of that, I can begin
to place the foot.
So here you can kinda see the
wire going right through the foot, through the clay
kind block through the base. And that's,
you know, giving me a lot of stability.
But once I've covered it
you'll never see that.
coming out here,
So now I'm just sort of going through and placing volumes.
One thing I'm trying to figure out - her
shoulders are pretty wide
you know the measurements that I gave
armature are meant as
kind of a good
Meaning, you know, the bulk of people will fall
into this range. If you find a model
you - and Leah, I can see, you know, her shoulders are
wide. If the model has wide shoulders
it's good to know that 5/8ths is
of your average, standard, starting point
and then you just go a little bit wider.
If you didn't have that kind of bit of knowledge that 5/8ths was your starting point
it would be easy to make her shoulders like ridiculously wide.
and un - you know, really unrealistically wide.
So the fact that my proportional
system is not gonna give me every bit of information for
every model all the time, it isn't a weakness.
You know there's no - there's
nothing that's going to give you complete knowledge
of every model. Which
includes anatomy. You know one of the things I found the most interesting
includes anatomy. You know one of the things I found the most interesting
about doing human dissection, when I did
the ones that I have done,
is how different one
cadaver is from another. You know, in
the anatomy books that I look at, I kind of
had the assumption that although people look
different - I'm gonna rotate Leah a little bit -
when they have they're skin on
it just sort of seemed to me that if you unzipped
the skin and took it off, we would all
have these red
muscle suits that looked identical, that have the same
bulges in the same places and
when I - I did a dissection at UCLA,
I guess it wasn't a
dissection it was - we went into a dissection lab
and examined a bunch of cadavers and they had a lot of them. Maybe
had five or six cadavers. And going from one to another
was as different as looking at five or six different people's faces.
There were forms on some that didn't exist at all
on others. When I was looking for
particular muscles that I thought I knew
about in the cadavers, I really had to search and say oh
I guess that thing right there is that
And so, you know, that is to say that
what you think you know
in all kinds of different
spheres, whether it's proportion or
anatomy or movement or anything else
may not be as
iron clad and
we may think it is.
And ultimately i think it's always more interesting to -
turn a little bit more -
to observe what's there than to
just sort of put on what we think
You know it's one of the things that I hear the most often
from people who, you know, want to start sculpting but
are insecure about it and say oh I don't think I know enough about anatomy.
anatomy is fascinating and learning about
sort of anatomy in the abstract is, you know,
really interesting. But it has very little
to do with what sculpture is.
One of the most talented
sculptors that I knew - a teacher of mine
when I was in college, know really anything about
anatomy. But he had an incredible eye.
And that more than made up
for any lack of
specific knowledge about
the Latin names of muscles or
where they were located or origin and insertion.
Which isn't to say that it isn't a fascinating subject, I think, you know we all
have these bodies and it's really fascinating to know about them
but it's not
at all what sculpture is. And some of the greatest
sculptors who ever lived knew far, far less about
anatomy than we do,
and yet their work was so much better.
looking at that and I'm seeing
it's turning even more.
And I guess as I've
gotten older and done more
careful and neat in
my application of clay at the beginning.
I guess I always feel like I can clean it up later.
I was more interested in
the pieces of clay that I am putting on, making sure that they're
telling me the information that I want to
For example in the past, like,
I wouldn't leave that - the silhouette
is not right - but I'm more concerned with that
basic angle changing direction, you know, that kind
coming up. And I can always fill in and clean
I feel like, for me, this part of the process is
a series of note taking. And when you take notes
it's not super important to have a
specific format, it's much more important to know, for
the person writing the note to understand what that note
You know even if
you have your own crazy language that only you can understand, as long as
you get what that note's saying, then
that's helpful. I'm gonna rotate the model again.
right now I'm
at a point where
some of what's happening
probably makes more sense to me
than it does
kind of looking at the overall.
But as I go along,
that will begin to change and things will seem
to make more sense globally
throughout the piece.
Okay that's all gonna come out.
So as, you know, as
the sessions are going along, the post is getting a little
bit more rotated, which is kinda nice.
It's gonna come through
Get some more clay.
I think I...
coming up through here.
So now I'm gonna take a five minute
break and get some water.
So I was looking at the position of the head
and neck in particular.
And I can kinda see -
you know I moved the neck over to the right.
And just - it hasn't been
enough time for me to get
to be completely clear on where everything
was and whether I'm changing it or
whether what I had was wrong and it's always been like this.
In another couple of sessions I'll know this pose
so well that I'll be able to tell if something is
different. And maybe that things
changed, it may be that I had them
wrong or I hadn't done anything or
and that's why I'm
kind of in that mode of - to a certain extent - chasing
the pose and trying to
keep adjusting what I have
to what I'm seeing. Even if what I'm seeing
has changed a little bit.
There will come a point where that
slows down and stops. Where I'm not - just because I see it, I'm not necessarily
going to sculpt it. I'm not gonna make a change
just because it happens to be different from what I have.
But that - that point has not
arrived for me yet.
You know, when I'm working on bigger sculptures,
two, three times this size or more with a model
very frequently these
first few sessions are the only time the model will be in the complete
pose. Because I'm jumping around, you know, so
much at this stage. But what -
once everything's in the right place and I slow down I might spend
you know, an entire four, five hour session working on
one area. And
you know the model will keep the pose in that area and everything else can be,
you know, the other arm can move, the legs can be different.
so both for me and for the model
this, you know, this is the most challenging because
so - you know for the model, every bit of the pose is very important at this stage.
And for me
I'm trying to do
so many things at once and get them all
to relate to one another. I'm gonna turn her
the square board that she's
standing on - turn this down -
what the square board she's standing on and the squareness of the
board I'm sculpting her on allow me to see is the
rotation. The rotation's definitely been reduced
right now. So I'm seeing like this -
are more in this
position as opposed to here. I'm seeing more of the back.
I'm not going to make
that complete adjustment because I do like
that rotation. So I'm not gonna take this whole thing and swivel it back.
Even though I just got finished saying
that I'm gonna be chasing a pose right now as opposed to
deciding how I want things.
That's an interesting
and one that ever since I started
teaching more than 20 years ago,
about. I have a - like a friend who's really an
amazing painter who refuses to teach.
And one reason that he gives, or I guess the primary reason he gives
for refusing to teach is he says that if he
taught he would need to tell
his students what they
needed to do. To do that he'd need to
you know, to
advocate a particular way of painting.
And in his studio he likes to experiment
and he was afraid that teaching would make -
the act of telling people how to do something would make him
either feel obligated to do what he was
telling other people to do in his studio, and thereby reduce his sense of freedom
and exploration in his own work.
And I, you know, the more
years I teach and the more I do it and the more years I sculpt, I
realize that, you know,
that that is such an issue. Like the minute - almost the minute
you say something, you think of 20
times when what you just said would not be right.
And I think I just kind of experienced that.
I just said I'm not gonna continue chasing this pose
around as it alters, and then I said
oh I turned it and it's less rotated but I'm gonna keep the rotation I had.
And I - I guess
I don't know how to - how to explain that
except that there, you know, there is a lot
to the process that really -
really there's no substitute for experience, for knowing,
you know, knowing when you have something. For example
like what, what I had in that pose, I liked.
And if I got rid of it, I was pretty sure I wasn't gonna get something
better. And that comes, I think, from doing it
for a really long time and knowing you - when you've seen something
many times and when you see something, you know, oh
that's interesting, I really like that.
Predominantly because I haven't seen it exactly like that before
and so I didn't want to lose that.
And it's one of that -
the difficult things about teaching is that, you know, the whole
point of teaching is imparting knowledge.
You know, sometimes that knowledge is based on
just, you know, basic
stuff. You know, like,
two plus two equals four. You don't need experience to know
over and over again that two plus two is four, whether it's two
peanuts plus two peanuts is four peanuts, or two almonds plus two almonds -
it's a fact. Other things are much more based on experience.
that's one thing that you cannot impart
through teaching. Although, you know, I would
like to. I mean, I would love to be able to, just sort of
run a class and people would have the experience
of 20 years of doing something, but
it, you know, there's frequently you need to
experience something and see it in front of you before it makes sense.
You know, it's happened many, many, many times
to me where I've said something and people say yeah, yeah, yeah
and then after, you know, several classes, they say oh now I kind of
understand a little bit better why you were saying that. And it makes
a little bit more sense to me. And while that's
gratifying to know that what I'm saying sometimes gets
through, it's also frustrating because it
reinforces my belief that
to a certain extent, you know, the best teacher is
You know and, in some ways, the best
thing that I can be
is a guide and a critic
as opposed to, in a teaching capacity,
as opposed to
something more profound. It'd be great to think
that what I'm - without me they wouldn't learn anything. But the truth is
if, you know, you sculpt long enough, you'll figure
a lot out and with
good guidance maybe you'll figure it out quicker and you won't have
as many detours along that path.
But ultimately what's
really doing the teaching is the experience that the person is having.
So now I'm
looking at the negative space between her arm
and her back.
And I'm closing it on both sides. I'm bringing that arm down.
It needs to continue to come down.
And I'm bringing the back out as well. You know, I have way too big -
or I should say I had way too big a space
figuring out, you know, how that needed to close up.
You know, there's always multiple ways to accomplish
the same thing. And the
trick is figuring out which one of
those ways is the correct way. In other words,
getting a different shaped triangle in this space, I
can do by moving this wall of the back further
back. I can move this portion of the arm in. I
can move that portion of the arm up.
And it's not enough just to get that triangle right
if the way I did it now causes a problem somewhere else.
So figuring out
both, okay that triangle shape was not quite right
and then what it is that I would probably need to do to get that
corrected in a way that doesn't mess anything else up
is one of the challenges. And
so frequently I'll do a few things
and I'll get it better than it was, as opposed to getting it perfect.
And I'll get it just to the point where
it's working better than it was
and then I'll move on to something else.
Because there's still so
much left to do. but even if I got that correct
you know, in a way that
preserved the relationship of the head and the butt and the back of the
thigh, if all those were working I may get to the front here and realize
that all of that needed to move forward. So,
efficiency is something that I think
you develop as you do it more and more by seeing
the problems that you encounter and trying to mitigate
Did that pad help?
Still, you know, pretty far away, and still, obviously, there's no detail, there's no,
you know, nothing is locked in.
But as I move around I see
the relationships getting more and more
accurate to one
You know as I was saying before, you should never work when the model's on
a break, which, of course, is exactly what I'm doing.
And just my own
voice to, you know, that I use
in class with students to tell them not to do that, I'm hoping to
channel and say okay, I'm gonna stop and I'm
going to take a little bit of time
to reset some
of my measurements.
This is something I do tell students that they should do. A lot of students,
you know, they measure once and they measure haphazardly
and then they never do it again.
So I frequently say, you know, the one, you know - stop
trying to sculpt the pose when the model's not there and take your time to
check your measurements, to
So that line I just drew represents that
anterior superior iliac spine, or the
what some people call the point of the hip.
It's one head wide, a little closer to the naval
and the pubic bone.
I'm gonna correct -
It collapsed a little bit.
on that side so I'm just
fixing a little bit of the symmetry.
Okay so as I move through this,
with the exception of
that forearm, I know that there's a big problem with that forearm and I
feel like, you know, part of it is the rotation that's been
adjusting, you know, sometimes she's a little more rotated and sometimes less,
but what I - why I know it's a problem is that wire is touching that bone
and I should have room for clay on the front
and the back of that wire. I know that there's something
that will have to change.
Either my abdomen is
coming too far out, which I don't think it is, or that forearm
is too close, which it certainly is.
The question is, do I wanna pull that elbow
outward, which'll just kinda pull that entire
thing out, but it's also going to change the position here.
I can pivot the wrist
out that way, leaving the elbow where it is, and that will
increase the distance between the hands. So that's kind of my,
you know, my thought process right now. Do I wanna
pull everything out here or do I want to pivot
just that wrist outward, leaving the elbow where it is?
And increase the distance between the hands. And that's something that
I'll look at when she comes back.
You know, I've got some ugly silhouettes
and spots. This is mushy and - so that's something
you know, I'll pay attention to. This is very flat
and formless, where the neck and the head meet.
You know, but this is my first session adding clay, so
I'm not looking to make this beautiful
at this point. I'm looking
kind of to get some answers. To figure out
a whole bunch of things. And once I figure those out
it won't be very difficult for me to make this look
you know, good. To have it - to add all the rhythm and tension
and things that I want in it from an aesthetic
point of view. It would be much more difficult to start
with those aesthetics and then try and get the
structure correct. I'd rather
get, you know, a really solid
understanding in my own mind of what the structure should be
first and then deal with
some of the aesthetics. Which might - you know, it might
lead me to alter the structure a little bit.
But it's always better for me
to know how that structure
should be functioning and
consciously, you know, make a decision to alter it then
to, you know, not bother figuring it out.
also one of the things that I find so liberating
and fun about doing
a figure study. Is that when there isn't an agenda
that goes beyond it, I don't have an external idea that I'm trying to represent with
this figure, or a narrative that this narrative is a part of,
you know, I can -
I can do whatever I want with it. It's sort of a blank
slate. I can say, you know, I really want to push
this feeling of weight in this. That's what I like about it, I'm gonna shift
things, slightly push this in, you know,
.alter that, just to make the weight more apparent
But I do - I kind of - I like starting
from the point of view of, you know, what is she doing, what
forces are acting upon her that are
influencing the way these things are
organized. Before she gets back up there,
And how thoroughly
can I understand it. I remember when I was younger
before I, you know, seriously understood
I drew a lot. I drew in sketchbooks.
I lived in Europe and kept a sketchbook in Italy
and I remember thinking,
you know, how
different it was to
look at a fountain, for example,
you know just look at it and appreciate it and say
like wow that is really, that's so beautiful. And then sitting down
to draw it and how completely different my
understanding was. Like how many things were
there that I didn't see, even when I looked, you know, pretty -
what I thought was pretty intensely. I'd sit there and I'd stare at it
and say oh, that's really, I like that, that's really beautiful
and I'd sit down to draw it and I'd see like a hundred things that I hadn't noticed about
it in, you know, my
survey of it.
And for me sculpture is like that
times ten. You know when you
figuratively thinking, I must always
sculpt standing up, but when you sit down
with a model to sculpt, all the things that
you thought kind of, one by one,
start going out the window and you just have to see things that you never
note of, things that
seemed, if you did notice them, seemed unimportant suddenly
take on a very different level
and there's this feeling of
a certain kind of knowledge
that you've had
before if you've sculpted, you know, a lot as I have.
You know I've done it hundreds and hundreds of times and each time there's
this feeling of discovery, which I think is so
powerful it makes me
think of, you know, that it must be like that to
be a really great musician, sitting with your instrument, whatever
it is and playing it and
it's why the arts are so
powerful. Because it always
so much to discover in the act of
You know, so much for me, so much less of a
that kind of that idea of being God like where you're creating
something out of nothing, so much less that than
an act of, or a feeling of, discovery.
Of the idea that you didn't know anything and suddenly things are opening up.
you know, in a certain way, lots of experience
gives you the confidence to know
that you can,
in some ways, let go and just let yourself
be open to that process of discovery, knowing that
it will come together. Even if it looks terrible
for a while, if you allow your
to operate that way and to really kind of say, is that really
there, is it further back, should that shift? If you allow yourself to do all that,
even though it might
go from looking pretty good to looking pretty bad
for a little while, on the other end it will be better.
And that's, I think, probably the hardest thing for people who don't have
a lot of experience, they get to a point where things look okay and then
they're terrified to change it because
I have something and I don't want to lose that.
And if you've done it a hundred times and you can consistently get that
it's not such a - it's not so terrifying
the idea that you might lose it. Because you know you can always do that again.
What's exciting is that you might get something much better than you've
gotten before. And obviously it's the only way that you ever will.
To take those chances and lose some of those
gains that you consistently
are able to achieve in the hopes that you can
move beyond that into something more.
Okay so I'm gonna start to deal
a little bit with this forearm.
I'm just putting
a little mass on the inside,
you know the
shape of the forearm as it approaches the elbow
you know is nice and round, and then as
it approaches her abdomen, it's pushing somewhat
into the abdomen. And
the abdomen is pushing into the forearm.
So I'm gonna come over
here, just for a second
yeah so I think of the
choices that I'd outline before, I think I'm gonna pivot from the wrist
Okay. Now I'm
gonna deal a little bit with the
silhouette. Whenever I'm dealing with the silhouette
I'll keep rotating, like this.
I can see the arch this way of her arm
but I want to make sure that I have it centered as I add it.
So, I'll shift
to a view like this and then back to make sure I'm
getting both of those at the same time.
Meaning I'm not putting this on too far back or too far
And doing the same thing with the back
to a certain extent pulling
that center line out.
And then checking it from the midline.
I could tell all of that
needed to come out.
difficult to see where I am, looking at it from this angle.
So, I'm gonna also turn
to here and that'll help.
Okay, so here
the hair here,
needs to come out, that
can come out.
Around to here. Okay.
So you can, I'm sure hear, in my
mumbling and getting quiet
and repetitive, this here, that there,
that's kind of an externalization
of what goes through my head as I get more
and more, in some ways, schizophrenic.
I'm gonna rotate her again. That process
is speeding up of making those connections
because, you know, things are getting closer. I have enough
volume in a lot of areas where it's not that I need to add
a whole bunch of material, so I'm looking
and saying okay, that's there, that goes down and that comes out and that
gotta move back. And I just am doing that
very, very quickly and very repetitively just because
I do it in one area
one time, that's
like kind of a micro correction that will occur
you know, many times over in that same
spot. And the more times I do it, the better off I'll be.
And so the best way to accomplish that is not to
obsess about it and try and get every
element perfect once but move
through it quickly, move on, come back to it, see how
what you've done in another area
is affecting it.
And so that causes that kind of,
at least for me, that annoying
schizophrenic kind of voice in my head.
Saying that goes there, that's gotta come out, that's gotta go back, and that
should shift and that point, right there, is not high enough and then her cheek I can see more
of it from here.
line - you know but I think
one of the things I like about what I think we're doing in filming
this is to give people like a true
sense of what the process is like.
It's much less, I think,
mystical than when you see somebody kind of
sculpting super fast on YouTube or
you see the sort of curated
view of the experience and you begin to feel like well why
am I not getting those results, why can't I do that,
why, you know, do I just not have enough talent? And, you know, I've
run into people with a tremendous amount of talent
but two things that I have to
say about that are number one, those are not people who's work
is the most interesting and
number two, it tends to be - they tend to be some of the people who are the worst at
teaching. You have a tremendous amount of talent, things
come naturally to you and so it can be
irritating and, in some ways,
unfathomable why people that
you're telling to, you know, do this or that are not immediately
able to do it. If it - if it took you
some work to understand get good at what you're doing, it's a little bit easier
to relate to people who are trying to learn the same thing.
And so seeing this sort of
unvarnished look at
doing this and saying okay that didn't work, let's try
to correct it, change this and
you know, oh he spent a bunch of time doing that and it didn't really seem to
help that much, you know, the
process I don't think, at least for me, is not
one directional. It's not a
path where every bit of clay I add makes everything
inexorably better. And that's
why I emphasize the idea of
understanding. You know, if everything I do is helping me understand what
I'm looking at better and better, then it doesn't matter
that it's not always the most efficient that I've
you know, used extra steps to get somewhere.
And I feel like this format,
in ways that may be writing a book wouldn't allow, allows
you know, the viewer to see that process of
you know, that didn't work out, that was a mistake, let me correct it
this is how I'm gonna try and correct it. And this, you know, this may be as
why I'm gonna try and correct it in that particular way.
You know, and as you'll see as the process goes forward
the beginning goes, you know, really quick. I mean this went from
a wire frame
to having all the volumes
articulated, laid on,
organized, in a few hours.
As the process goes forward, it becomes much
know, hopefully it continues top get better and better. That's the idea.
But it doesn't go at that speed, like in
one four hour session it goes from no clay
to all the forms. The next four hours all the forms have tons of detail
and then the final four hours the detail is all
smoothed out and cleaned up.
It would be nice if it worked that way in real life
but I think it would also be a fiction.
I should not be adding clay without the model. I was,
you know, I get too wrapped up sometimes. So I'm gonna take a little
see a few things that I didn't see before
You know, some of the mushiness that I have now is
starting to annoying me. So I'm going to
probably use this tool
a little bit more just to clean up
an area quickly so it's not as
You know, ultimately the cleaner
the form is in between the
silhouettes, between these lines, the easier it is to
see the character of the silhouette.
So, in other words, if I clean that up a little bit
now my eye is going to that edge. And we can see
like okay it's got an odd point to it
that I want to get rid of.
And I'm missing quite a bit
of volume on the
So I'm kind of, right now, at an
in between point where
there's still a lot I want to keep very open
and there's some that I wanna tighten up a little bit and
And so I'm gonna go back and forth between those two
ways of working.
And when I say tighten up, I'm not looking to finish
any area at this point, I just wanna
clean the surface so the
surface isn't as noisy and full of darks and lights
which can be distracting.
Okay, there's an arc -
That hair really comes out.
So here I've got this crazy edge.
You know and early on
that doesn't really bother me, but as I
get more and more volume
the things that
I'm looking at become
more focused. And then
all of that kind of wiggle
becomes really distracting in order for me to see something.
You know a little bit more precise.
You know, exactly what angle
arm need to go at, exactly what's the angle backwards
of that leg?
I'm gonna turn Leah again.
we'll look a little bit at
center line from this angle,
it's got kind of a movement outward.
And then downward. And I feel like it's a little bit collapsed
in the middle.
And that's something I kind of try
to pay attention to. The deepest part of that center line
I want to pull out.
Because if I just build up
on both sides and continue that approach
eventually I'm left with a hole in the
middle that is going to force me
to get rid of all the information on
either side, just to be able to
sculpt that. So I'll start by pulling the deepest point out
or the deepest point in, out as far as I
needed to go, both in terms of the depth,
how far in that line is, but also
the curvature. And if I can sculpt that, then I can sculpt what's on
either side of that without worrying about coming
back in to what's becoming a deeper and deeper crevice and trying to
get information into it.
You know, it's sort of a strategy
that I've had to
develop for practical purposes.
You know, you're always dealing, in sculpture,
with certain physical constraints.
You know, in this particular type of armature I've got this as a physical constraint
and so I have to develop an approach like where am I gonna put these clamps
and how am I going to deal with them as I sculpt and how am I gonna deal
with that pipe and then eventually, when I want to make a mold,
how am I gonna deal with that Vis-à-vis,
having the structure here, which I need to have
in order to hold the figure up.
I should say need to have
you know, with a grain of salt, because there are ways to
eliminate external armatures, it's
all a trade off.
You know, the external armature makes it easy for me to move the legs
You know, the external armature makes it easy for me to move the legs
essence are not holding it up. The only reason why
I screwed them in was so they wouldn't move around once I
felt like I had placed them correctly. I can unscrew them
and lift them both off the ground
and she'll still be held in the correct place by this pipe. So that's,
you know, one of the benefits of having that pipe.
One of the downsides is, like, it makes it difficult to sculpt
this area and particularly right where the pipe
interfaces with her. That becomes a real
kind of problem area to deal
with. I'm gonna rotate her a little bit more.
Whereas, when I
sculpt without the pipe, what's really holding her up
is her legs. Or, I should say,
the legs of the sculpture is what is holding the entire sculpture.
And so at the very beginning I have to make sure the legs are really perfectly placed
and are not going to move.
And so that, you know that
limits what I can do as I
develop the pose.
But on the other, you know, side of it,
I don't have to deal with any external
armature, it's easier for me to get to every
area on the piece and it's easier when I want to
make a mold because there's nothing in the way. Visually in a lot of ways
it's easier because I don't have to
kind of mentally eliminate that pipe
so obviously once I cast this and
change the material, that pipe won't be there
anymore. Sometimes, visually,
you know you unconsciously take the weight -
the visual weight of that pipe into account when you're judging
the balance of the pose, and then you remove the pipe and the pose doesn't look balanced
anymore. So, removing the pipe has that advantage.
So, you know, whether you use
the pipe or you don't use the pipe,
is just a
balancing of the pros and cons
of, you know, what for you personally is more important
or more worth while. There does get to be
a scale at which it makes a lot more sense not to have
the pipe because you're gonna have to have
heavy structure that the feet are not going to be
you know, infinitely movable. You know, when you get to life size
you know, you can't have the feet hanging out in space.
And so for me, putting the armature
all on the inside there,
allows you the benefit that I just went over
of, you know, eliminating the visual interference of the pipe,
all the technical difficulties of working around it, and you wouldn't
get the benefit of working with it anyway. Meaning
on a life size piece you can like keep moving things around very easily because you're dealing with
so much actual weight, not virtual
weight that you're gonna need the legs
to do a lot of the supporting anyway.
So, I do know,
sculptors who have worked both ways. I know very, very good
sculptors who work both ways. Some swear by
using the -
what I guess technically people call a back iron, although
I'm using it in the side of the figure
because they feel like that gives them the most options if they want to change things
and I know other people who use internal
armatures and, you know, hate the idea
of having the back iron.
I guess for me as a rule, I generally
would prefer not to use it, but
because you have to be much
more accurate with your initial position of the
feet, when I teach I generally teach
especially with students that haven't sculpted a lot
before, with the back iron because
it does allow for, you know, mistakes to be corrected
And even though I don't use it, typically, in my own work
I certainly appreciate it when I do use it
and try and take advantage of that
ability to rest the weight
here and make the legs less
So you can see as I'm
pulling out these, you know, two forms on either side
of the spine, that are called the erector spinae, I'm developing this
deep pull, which
is kinda what I was saying I don't want. So right
now I'm going into that and adding
I'm gonna turn her one more time.
Actually, do the other
way. Because although I keep wanting
to go back and forth and correct things there
I know that this area of the shoulder
is something that really needs
a little bit more attention.
And I'm just
sketching out, like, the major
abstract shapes in here that are, you know,
linked to the anatomy
but are gonna allow me to
move the volume
Get this off here.
All that needs to come out.
This'll come out.
All this will need to come out.
And now I'll move down the forearm
Shift that whole thing
You know the best laid plans, I was
so careful that I just realized that whole thing needs to
be a little bit higher so that I can keep the naval
where it is and increase the
angle downward of that forearm.
And then from a technical standpoint
this is one of the tougher areas, where
you have two forms that are pushing against one another.
And it's just
challenging to get
material in and
and organize it in a tight
location, like where her
meeting her abdomen.
And then with the breasts on top, you know that
ribcage in here becomes
the nexus of her upper arm,
her breasts, her ribcage, her
abdomen. And getting all of those
to the correct location
So that's it for this session.
To recap a little bit of what I've
done, I began with the armature
more or less correctly placed. I
knew that the leg needed to be pinned down
so it wasn't gonna move around too much, I checked
the position of everything that I had established last week. I made
a few alterations, pinned everything down
and began to add volume. The bulk of what I did today
was put on volume everywhere and began to adjust
forward, backward, in, out, up, and down and make
relationships between various components.
What I'll be dealing with next time is adding
some volume for the hands,
which is the one area where I really don't have any information
and then I'll probably be dealing
a little bit more with the silhouette. Getting
relationships in the silhouette to work a little bit better throughout the piece. Right now,
there are few spots where I've done a little bit
to the silhouette but by and large, it hasn't been dealt with.
So I'll be dealing, you know, with the silhouette
and with the rhythm of the pose
a little bit next session.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 12sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Taking Measurements & Adding Clay28m 29s
3. Blocking in Key Features34m 19s
4. Thoughts on Poses, Sculptural Habits & Goals36m 12s
5. Identifying Missing Volumes42m 43s
6. Subtleties of the Head & Neck39m 28s
7. Thoughts on Armatures, Making Progressing on the Back20m 55s