- Lesson details
In this series, David Simon shows you his entire process for sculpting a female figure in oil-based clay. In the fifth lesson of this series, David Simon resolves the forms and relationships of the shoulders, breasts and ribcage. He begins to put in some of the elements of the face, then ends by moving down to the pelvis and adjusting those large forms.
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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we're gonna start off by just checking everything
top to bottom, the position of everything, the volumes,
the rotation, and
last time I noted this area, which I did
notice when I got in this morning that is still
a little bit of a problem.
There are, you know, obviously a number of areas that are
underdeveloped. I think probably the upper back in particular.
There is a problem in the pelvis from
the back view. I feel like
this whole area's a little stretched out, I wanna take a look at that. So
I wanna start by addressing those elements that are
bothering me a little bit as opposed to elements that I just haven't
refined yet. And once everything is ironed out, which
I would imagine would be, you know, fairly quick, then
I'm going to begin to address
this area and then move through, back and forth,
deal a little bit with the volume of the head, the forearm
and begin to go in a little bit deeper to each area. So that's where we're
gonna begin today. Okay whenever you're ready.
you know whenever
I take a break for, you know, an extended
period of time, which is the case between
this session and the last session, there was a holiday
it's almost like I have to figure out everything
all over again. Not that
I'm really going back to the beginning but
when I'm sort of in the middle of a session
I get pretty
attuned to what
I'm trying to do. And then when I have, you know,
a few days break, even a week break
I guess I still have in my head what's going on.
When it gets longer than that
then I have -
I kind of have to reevaluate
and figure out quite a bit again.
And sometimes that's not such a bad thing, it gives you
you know a really fresh
perspective. You know right now I'm looking
particularly at the shoulders and their relationship because that's something I
guess maybe I was never quite
So right now I'm checking
to find this
point, which is the end of the
on her is
you know kind of sharp. On some people it's -
you know you can find it
but it's not as clear. On her that's like a very, very -
that point and that point are really really clear and so it gives
a kind of
specificity to the width
of the shoulders and people kind of slump down
a little bit and they don't have such a sharp point there. And so
the angle of the shoulder is not quite as
defined. And it's something
I think, you know
that's important to do. Not necessarily with the
shoulders but in general whenever you're working with a model.
You're looking for those things that really
apart in the way that you look
at things from other people.
You know one of the most
sort of interesting characteristics and
highlight those. So
I'm gonna grab a little bit of clay.
And this is an area I really haven't
dealt with, the ribcage. I spent
a lot of time
adjusting the position of the legs, the knees, the hips
and now I'm moving up
into the torso. And, you know, a pose
like this is sort of cut in half
by that forearm coming across.
there is a little bit
of a challenge to making that
connection. Making sure that it
connection. Making sure that it
it reads correctly because
you know physically you can't connect it. You can't just kind of pull right through
So it's something wherever
I'm up in here I'm starting here
and then jumping over the arm
and making sure that that relationship
is working. I want
breast to be a little bit higher
and one a little bit lower
I'm gonna deal a little bit with
probably the most difficult area just in terms of
access. I'm gonna turn Leah a little bit so I can see
so I can get the light a little bit different.
right there on the ribcage. You know this area in here
is gonna be probably the most difficult and just
in terms of access on
I'm working around the
arm, you know predominantly
it a little bit more difficult to get in there and the breast is making it
difficult to continue that line
And so my approach
is going to be
to do little by little
add, adjust the line
here I'm also going to
you know I'm seeing that forearm turning right now
meaning the plane
which I had, you know I can see I had that
rotated. I don't know if I wanna
wait and maintain that because that's a
an aspect of the pose that I'm sure
You know the
that kind of positioning of the hand
how the hands are being clasped is
really typical, it's really typical that something like
that will adjust as the model kind of settles in
you know when the two hands are clasped they'll kind of adjust that
and that'll affect the rotation of the forearm
and sometimes I wanna like
wait for that moment when it really feels like
the model's settled in and feels very comfortable, as opposed
to trying to like say no you weren't like that last week
it was more like this and then you can get
position of it more closer to
what it was but the spirit of it doesn't feel like
as comfortable. And so sometimes I'm wait
a session, a 20 minute session, or two, to see like
how that pans out and what those
adjustments are. And then sometimes I'll ask
for like a little bit of a change or sometimes I'll
say you know what I think, given everything else, I like what's happening
and I'll adjust what I have.
But with everything I think
moving through an entire area.
So here I've begun in the abdomen
established some depth
in a few spots,
then I'm moving
up into the
breast or down into the forearm
or over into a different
area of the abdomen.
moving into the sternum,
depth that I need
And I'll keep the tool
on the large side
as long as I can
meaning, you know, even though this area in between
the breast is a challenge with a larger
tool to kind of get the depth that I want
rather than moving into a really small
tool, keeping with a larger
one will let me move from that
into this lower
area in a
And once I just I really can't get to what I need
to then I'll switch
to something that's a little bit smaller
but as I move in in
depth here, I can move out in height a little bit
there to kind of arrive at where I wanna be.
So I'm pushing in here,
I'm gonna rotate Leah a little bit more counterclockwise.
And this, you know, this is something that I
do very kind of consciously and very
typically whenever I'm like trying to figure something out that
involves depth or volume.
I generally start out by
adding more depth first. So the deeper I go in here
the less volume I'll need to add
Because the volume is made up of the difference between the low point and the high point.
So if the low point needs to go in, that's the first thing
that should happen. Because if I
I'm trying to create the feeling of volume and I start by adding to the high point
and I add enough volume and then I notice that the low point
also needs to go in once I start pushing the low point in, suddenly
the volume will be too much because I've already added
to that high point. So here
noticing that from here it's really kind of moving
turn the form here.
So that's working pretty well to
there. Now I'm going to -
we need to push up a little bit more here
then I'm just gonna
sharpen the line.
And I'm just pushing
pretty much straight in
and pulling around
as you get kind of further and further in
to the process you wanna make sure that you're cleaning
your tools off otherwise you start mushing up
the material that you're removing into the material
that you're keeping.
So now that I've kind of pushed
pushed in a bit, I'm gonna turn Leah back
and check the drawing of that area.
So it's a combination of the form
meaning the depth and the height
and the drawing, which is essentially the edge
of these shapes.
probably the most challenging thing about
sculpture as opposed to drawing
you kind of need to be
thinking about both of those things and how they related to one another when
you're sculpting. You know start pushing around
the volumes and suddenly the drawing or the edges
stop working well.
And then you just focus on getting all of those edges working well and then you
the volumes flatten out. So
getting both of them working together
is ultimately what is going to
result in the best outcome.
Okay so that all is
working relatively well. And then the other obvious
challenge is that
when I get one area working better
in relation to itself, I then have
to get that to work in relation to
nonadjacent areas. So just because that might be working
a little bit better, it may be so different than what's happening down
here that either
this area or that area have to change or sometimes both have to change
just so that they harmonize better.
Okay. So that has a little bit more
depth here. Still I've got
an issue right in here.
And part of the issue
that I have in this
the left - her left - abdomen
is I haven't
really decided what I'm gonna do with this forearm. Whether I'm going to
turn it in the way that I have the hand, the plane of the
hand being downward
like this where it's rotated with the thumb
kind of coming out, the pinky turning in, would result in the
forearm doing the same thing, rotating out.
But beginning today, her forearm is rotated inward.
And so you can see that this area
where the two meet is not really
resolved in any way. And that's really
a function of not being -
not being sure which
direction I'm gonna go with that,
So while she's on break I'm going to fill in
allowed to occur between the breast and the arm.
You know these are areas where it's good to have
a little wood or metal
tool where you can kind of lay clay on from the outside and then use a tool
to compress and
kinda steer clay in the direction that you
want it to go that are beyond the reach of your hand.
Like when I wanna get into that
that kind of the best option.
And once I have that
clay in that area,
it makes it a lot easier than to
refine and such
with other tools. You know it's sort of more of a problem when
you just have a big gap where you've kind of ended
even like an 8th of an inch or a 16th of an inch away from the edge
that prevents you from doing very much. But now with
that in place you can take a tool and go right
up to that edge.
So I'm just cleaning
that area up.
And then rather than continue to
fiddle with this area
in the next pose, when the model comes back
I think I'm gonna turn
to the back view and try and address what's
happening in this area,
which was another of the issues that I had.
So I'll take a look at that, make some adjustments
there, and then
pull some things together. Right this
for me is a little bit flat through here
some weird shifting going on between
the pelvis on one side and the other that I feel like is better
resolved from the front view.
I'm just going to work this transition that I
started putting in today
and just pull it all the way down through
so that it lines up. I noticed that there is a shadow that was
coming all the way through.
gonna be caused by the separation
between the muscles of the
stomach and what's called the
inguinal ligament, which is formed kind of below
and to the outside
of the stomach. And again
it doesn't, you know, you don't have to know the name of every
muscle or tendon or form or what they do or
what they're attached to. It's helpful
sometimes to have a basic understanding, to look at
anatomy books, you know, maybe read through them a little bit
just to be familiar with where things
are. But I don't find
you know a deep and
medical knowledge of anatomy to be
creating a good sculpture.
Much better to have -
you know in my opinion it's much better to have a really
deep knowledge and experience
of looking at sculpture. And I look at a lot
of sculpture to see, you know, how people divide up
what kinds of shapes they're working with,
you know very often in a figure sculpture that
deals with anatomy but
more indirectly than
directly. Meaning, you know, there are
elements that are influencing the
decision by whoever
has sculptured something to make a particular division
and that, you know,
frequently has an anatomical component to them - I'm gonna turn Leah
a little to look at the back view.
reason other than anatomy that
a particular artist has like chosen to
represent something in a particular way.
It could be harmony, it could be rhythm, it could be
emotion, it could be any number of things that relate to
what they're trying to achieve with the
sculpture that they're making that has caused
them to either separate or combine
or three forms or four forms and
you know that's one of the fascinating things to me about
sculpture. You know when I began and
I really didn't know
very much about it or what I was doing in a very deep way,
I think I would look just
at a lot of great sculptures as in their anatomical
component and say oh that's,
you know, he did that because he's really showing the ribcage
or the whatever, you know, whatever element I was
with great sculpture, you know, you keep looking at it and it keeps
revealing more and more
and you know eventually I
realized that most of the great work that I was
attracted to that I would come back to again and again, it wasn't really the
anatomy that was the driving motivation for
the decisions that were being made within the
sculpture. The anatomy was a tool that was,
you know, seemed to be used when it was helpful and
ignored when it wasn't.
And so then
I began to like have to reexamine like what
what was going on.
For example in Michelangelo's work, looked at from a certain point of view
you could think that the sculptures were just wrong.
Because the anatomy was not correctly
placed or articulated in a way that
corresponded to what
existed in anatomy books and things that
you could, you know,
could reproduce with a model. And so
if you look at it purely from that point of view you would start to be
disappointed and say well that doesn't look right, that looks wrong,
and that looks wrong. But what attracted me to
the work in the first place was something different
because if those elements that seem wrong from an
anatomical point of view had bothered me so much
initially I would never have been as, you know, taken with the work.
So trying to figure out if it wasn't just
the anatomy that was so interesting
what was it? And generally
there are large
combination of things. And anatomy is one of them. But
they are all kind of used as tools or as elements
completion of an overall
and then all
this great work that I'd been looking at since I was young
I could go back to
once I kind of had the beginnings of
a way to conceptualize
the technical aspects that went into them and say
you know okay well what is
this really doing and how are they doing it?
in that context anatomy
just becomes one of a number of elements that
go into making something
that has some sort of resonance.
Okay so back to
what I'm actually doing.
There's a depth to this
that begins or sort of
doesn't begin it kind of culminates
it's at its deepest point right around
And from there it's coming outward.
There's a division
here and so the things that I need to figure out
are: do I need
to go in
all through here to allow that to come out? Do I need to come out
more here which will allow that to go in or do I
need to do a combination of those two things?
So right now the first thing I'm doing is just creating
And what's the transition
has been created
and I'm using the hand
and the placement of the hand as well as that
elbow as a guide for where that is
And now I'm gonna turn
this way, I'm gonna turn Leah
see I can go in a little bit
So I've gone in here.
You can see I can come out or come in rather
on the side and you know to me this is so much more important
than the anatomy is understanding or being able to kind of
evaluate where shapes are turning
and leave them as sort of abstract shapes that are
turning, going in, out, angling,
and then later on I can kind of connect them to
some sort of anatomical template.
Okay so that - that's all moving in a little bit more
Because if I do the opposite and just
sort of say okay here is the
bottom of the ribcage and this is gonna be the
erector spinae muscle
and this is gonna be the eternal oblique,
I may have all the correct
muscles laid in but
they won't necessarily have any kind of rhythmic relationship
to one another, they won't be necessarily describing the character
of the pose in the way that I'd like them to.
Whereas if I note
kind of the depth and the sort of the play of shadows that
I can capture some of
that kind of feeling
and then just make sure that they have
that kind of anatomical underpinning
You know and if I had to choose one or the other, whether they had an
anatomical underpinning that seemed accurate or whether they were moving
in the right direction and had
the right depth and dynamic, I'd always
choose the latter.
You know dynamic and have the right depth
and create the shadows that I want them to rather
than that they be accurate.
But you don't need to choose one or the other, they can
do both. But when you're, you know
as you're seeing, when you're doing both in
sculpture you have to pick one or the other to begin with. Like you can't do everything
at once, there's always just a physical
requirement that you prioritize one thing
over the other, do that and then do something else.
And so I always will prioritize the
movement, the depth, and then
I'll kind of go back in and connect it more
So I've pushed in quite a bit here which I think is
Now I'm gonna turn her back
and that'll help
this area. I wanna get
the connection between
the buttock and the
in a pose like this just difficult in terms of
the way it's lit. You know light coming
down is gonna create this huge pool of shadow that
makes it difficult to see what's going on.
And so it's easy to
just sort of skip over it or ignore it or
not give it the same amount of information that you give
to things that are easier to see.
And it's an area
where things happen kind of quickly,
you know in some areas things move
from dark to light or from deep to shallow in a very gradual
kind of well
Like from here, going around. And in some areas things go from high to low
and then back to high very, very quickly. And
that's what's happening in here. I feel like that
as I begin to deal with that that's
helping quite a bit.
so if that's
there, I need more depth
here and then more height in the
shoulder blade. Remember at the beginning the shoulder blade was
giving me problems. Right now
this shoulder's quite a bit higher than what
I'm seeing on her.
And I feel, you know, more importantly that the
two sides are not relating. So I'm gonna
start by getting an angle between
this point on the shoulder blade
which is essentially where this volume on top, which is the
trapezius is meeting the edge of the
trapezius is meeting the edge of the
shoulder blade there's like a little kind of bit of shadow
from that point
I'm gonna take an angle
up to the top of the shoulder
pull that whole volume down
I'll try my best to not
drop the tool. It's a habit I have
developed over the years but
the room I'm in is a little echoey so it probably sounds very
harsh when I do that. Like a little.
harsh when I do that. Like a little.
So that's - I wanna bring
down. I also
wanna bring down that line just a tiny bit
Okay now I'm gonna
do a quick measurement of the upper
arm on that side, which should
be one and a quarter
Okay so I do have a little room to come down because
I'm feeling overall that that's a little bit too high.
Okay if that is right there
And that's right there
So I'm gonna adjust all of
this whole area is kind of not working
the way I'd like it to so I'm gonna kind of
resketch it out
And I think ultimately the
longer I can keep
these areas moving
the better off I am,
meaning it's easy
to feel like, when you've been working on something for a little
while, that you wanna move through
all the various stages.
You wanna set up your armature and
when you've been dealing with your armature for a while you just wanna be done with the armature and
start piling on clay and when you've been
block is something else for a while you wanna stop blocking it out and start
tightening things up and finishing the surface
but ultimately the longer I can keep
the blocking in as a part of
the blocking in as a part of
the refining process and more natural
the finished result will look.
the quicker I sort of stop
making these larger kinds of adjustments
where, you know, I've lowered that whole shoulder and now I'm pulling out
that whole shoulder blade, immediately I like it
better. I like that relationship better. I'm gonna have to check it
from the front view because something is not
you know there's obviously been a slice made here and that's gonna affect
what happens here. I'm gonna have to check it I think from the side view here
to see what
what's gonna happen.
But as I, you know, as I've been
working for more and more and more
years, I've done more and more sculptures,
I begin to realize that the finishing is not really that tough.
Which is certainly like not
to discount it at all. I feel like when I was
younger and when I didn't really know what I was doing
it was such a mystery to me and something I really wanted
to know about.
And it seemed, you know, full of secrets and
But when I, you know, as I've gotten older
not only have I done a lot more sculptures and finished a lot more work
but I've also worked with a lot of sculptors and seen a lot of
students and professionals and
in the end, the finish
is never the thing, for me, that's the most impressive.
You know I've been around people who are really
talented at finishing, that have a real gift
for it, a real patience with it.
And I appreciate it because it's part of, you know, it's part
certainly of what I do
but the work that really stands out is not the work that's
has the best finish on it
where all the components really add up to something that's more
than just the sum of all the parts that you put together,
where there's some sort of magic
that happens with the combination of all the things that have been put together.
feel like the only way that happens is if you keep
as you're sculpting this area,
looking at this area and seeing how the two compare and making adjustments to
this based on this and this. And something
and once I'm doing that I'll say this needs to come out relative
Sometimes I'll say well you know what I can only pull that out so far, I think I'm gonna push this
in, whatever state this is at. Maybe I just spent time
reworking it and I'll just go right back into it.
Because that's actually how I'm starting to feel like this
still needs to go in because I know I need to still pull
this out a little bit but if I push this in a little bit
I'll need to pull that out less.
So the longer I can keep things
open, keep them moving,
the better off I'll be and the quicker the finish will come.
You know when you're - it's funny you can get to a point where suddenly
things get finished really, really quickly.
Even though things seem like they're staying
rough, you know, for longer
than they might.
And I still, you know, even after,
actually I know that is true
I still have, you know, the desire and sort of the
bad habit of saying you know I just wanna finish this area. Let me
just go in and clean that up.
And that's why, you know, frankly that's why you have to learn
to sculpt. It's not a natural
thing that you're born with. You have to learn what the bad habits are,
how to get into good habits, and
beyond that how to deal with your bad habits. You can't eliminate
them. You can't just say I will no longer have any bad habits, you just need to
when you can indulge them and when you have to fight against them.
You know people - diets never work. You know if you say
well I'm gonna lose wights or get in shape by just never having
any food that I like, that'll last for a
certain amount of time, depending on your willpower, but eventually everyone
fails. It's not a matter of just eliminating all the things
that you shouldn't have, it's a matter of being able to control it
and have them when you can and know when
you have to put them aside. And it's the same
with things that you do
when you're sculpting. Everyone has
certain tendencies that maybe are not,
you know, achieve exactly the results that they would like.
Those are things that
need to be
identified, understood, addressed,
but not eliminated.
In my case, you know, that desire to kind of
maybe move through and finish an area before
everything else has been completely worked out
is something that I'll let myself do in limited
quantities but also
I'll finish an area and then completely rework it
if it needs to be.
Which is not, you know, not the most efficient thing. it
be way more efficient just to not finish that area until everything else
were worked through.
But as long as things end up where they need to end up
I feel like there are a lot of different ways that you can get there.
you know it's one of the things that I experiment with. Like every piece that I
do I try and have,
you know, a couple of goals technically that are
things that I wanna try doing
one way or another.
And one of those might be, you know
like ah I wanna keep this piece open or loose longer than
I normally do and see, you know, how
And I think
I think it's important, I think it's important
when you've done something for a long time to constantly have
a sense of exploration about it because
things can get, you know, can get stale, they can get boring, they can get -
they can lose their
excitement to the person who's doing them and
I think there's a very short distance
between me losing my excitement and
doing it and the work losing its interest.
When I'm not that interested in it, I think
it comes across in the work and
the work itself becomes less interesting to look at.
However doing things like what I'm doing
now, which is being filmed doing a demonstration
of how to sculpt, that, you know, definitely
makes it much more difficult to experiment.
You know to say, I wonder what would happen if I
changes my process in this particular way
that's also true if, you know,
you're working on a film, on a
project where you're being accounted on to produce
something. You tend to wanna do what you
have a track record doing. You know it'll
work, you know you've done it exactly that way in the past, you don't feel like
there is a lot of risk involved
but it's always been something that, you know,
I've struggled with and I've
admired a lot in other people who are able to do it. In almost
every field. Actors and musicians who will play parts
or songs or produce albums that are different
than what they've done before.
Obviously particularly people that have had success. When they've had success doing
one thing it becomes that much
more difficult to not do that again and
And I've definitely
experienced, you know, being in a class, teaching
you know that desire to want
to project a sense
of certainty about
how to do something.
But I really do believe that
having some component
in everything that I do that
is different from what I've done before
It doesn't mean I'll throw out everything that I have learned,
it's just a little change
every single time. I'll try this, I'll try this new tool, I'll try this new
approach. I'll just try keeping this
fluid for longer. I'll try tightening this up at a different point
or I'll - you know all those
different elements. And sometimes they work and sometimes
they don't and one of the great things about having a lot of experience
is that when they don't work,
I know what to do and I won't panic and say oh no now I've
ruined it. I can always get it back, I can always go back to
what I know how to do so
I will maybe find out something new
that is great, that works, or
I'll have spend a little extra time correcting something
but I think, you know, ultimately that's
a good trade off.
And from like an artistic standpoint I think that's an important quality
to have, that quality of
wanting to know new things, wanting to
approaches and different ways to do things and different
ideas and I think that
your technique is not merely sort of something that you learn
solidify and then
stays the same and then you explore ideas with it. I think
that the ideas that your work
wrapped up in the technique
approach to how you make it.
So anyway I've been
dealing a little bit with the shoulder, I'm gonna rotate her again
so that I can see the side view.
kind of blending together
the change that I made here by
shoulder. And then the front view.
So that's gotta come down,
gonna come up to repeat here,
I'll walk around and just check where that point
all of this seems like it needs to go in.
Okay now we're going to
deal a little bit with the transition between the
of the shoulder blade and the volumes
that make up the interior
and so the shoulder blade has this -
it's called a spine which is
the border of it, which has, on here you know
edge to it
and then there's kind of a gentle volume that
takes up the area between that
edge and the outside of the shoulder.
And it's sort of double
curve. You know I know that there's
the back head of the deltoid and the teres major
and the infraspintus, but what's more
concerning to me or more important
is the arrangement of shapes
like what's the angle of this bottom
edge, how does that
relate to what's on top
Okay and then this point
feels like it's too far out,
take off the top.
And then the turn back to the
finish off this turn.
into there and then
to the shadow here and here. So that's telling me
like this stuff all needs to go forward a little bit
which I'm gonna switch to
that'll let me go in
in a more
focused way. That out,
that is there.
needs softer and the
transition needs to be broader here.
I'll just broaden out that
And so here is a good example I'm really
going for the
character of the area, there's like a
highlight in here
moving into a flatter area
there and so I'll get the
overall sort of the character of the area
before I tighten up the
specifics of the anatomy, you know I can
sharpen up the edge
once that general, you know, volume
here transition here, once that
basic arrangement is working.
And as I get more
into it I will
keep turning it to make sure
that it's working
from the side in addition to
the back view so as I get this
the light is a little bit - actually
it's very different on her and on the sculpture
so right now this is getting washed out. On her that's
a strong shadow but I can kind of evaluate it by
the piece to the side to see like how those
And now I'm beginning to look at that
add a little volume
on that edge.
I still need a little bit of volume here.
And now if I can
push that forward
figuring out where that point is.
Should be a little bit forward.
Just gonna turn that
at the neck. So that's pretty good where that is.
This needs a little bit more depth.
There we go.
So I'm looking kind of from there to there, there to there
there to there and there to there and
sort of those progression of those intervals
work better and that helps me in turn
turning all those forms.
Because a lot of these are turning in
multiple planes at the same time.
Meaning this may go more
in than that.
You know and there's - it's
pretty likely, you know,
almost certain that things are changing
you know you can see them changing on the model as
I'm making those decisions.
So at a certain point the question
will become like where do you
stop? Where do you
arrangement of all those different things if they keep
And I think one -
you know there's no one answer but I think ultimately
it has to do with what overall you find
interesting and engaging about
not only about the pose and
you try and
contextualize those changes. So as things change you might
say you know what, one of the things I like was this sort of sense of
depth in this area and this arrangement has the most
depth. So even though it's changing I think
I'm gonna leave it the way it is and move on.
Okay see how this is all turning
inward here. Again I need the
wooden tool just to help
get into that area.
Alright so model now is taking a
break and I'm gonna take a quick break as well
and then when I come back
I'm gonna evaluate where things are in that area
we actually adjusted the lights a little bit
to get a more similar pattern on the model and
the sculpture because before they were
almost exactly the opposite. The model was being lit from
here and the sculpture was being lit from here. So I
kept having to adjust to see what I was doing.
So this makes it a lot easier
at this stage. Earlier on it was not really
that much of an issue because I wasn't really dealing much with depth
as long as I could see the outline, everything
was fine. As I begin to push in on the
transitions like here and here,
then it becomes more important to be able to see
like what those shadows are doing and if
it - not that the model has to match exactly
what I'm seeing on the sculpture but when they're completely
reversed it becomes kind of difficult to tell what's happening.
The lighting is one of those elements in
sculpture that is so important to the
appearance of the work both as you're making it
and when it's being viewed.
I think it's much more
important to sculpture than it is to painting
because it's - you know the temperature, depending on the patina
that the sculpture has, the temperature of the light may or may not be
an important factor.
But the direction,
and pattern that
light creates on the sculpture is either going to make it look
completely flat or have a lot of
form to it. And as long as a painting is evenly
lit and you can see the whole thing, the lighting that a
painting contains is actually created by the
painter. He's the one - he or she - is the
one who sets up a pattern of light
within the painting that's an illusion.
You know lighter or darker color is placed in a certain
order will give the appearance of light
in the painting. And so as long as it's evenly lit
that's all you really need. With a sculpture you can ruin the viewing
of it by having the light placed
in the wrong location.
Okay so now I'm gonna turn
the model and
there we go.
Okay so now I can see
I'm gonna move up just a tiny bit closer
All of that
needs to move in
as well as
So if that's there
that's going to be the bottom of the ear
this would be
a little deeper.
And again here I'm kind of running into
it becomes just a little more awkward
well the light right now
is really good, you know, it's
it is tempting when, especially when you
have a lot of experience, to
feel like you can get
away with a lot and, you know, you don't need to adjust your
lighting, you don't need to set things up in a particular way.
And I think they're are you know there are definitely
benefits to that. To giving yourself tougher situations
but it can also, I think,
result from a little bit of laziness
you know there have definitely been times when I haven't
adjusted an armature that I know I should have adjusted or changed the lighting
or done something and then ultimately when I do it
it - I realize what a big difference it
makes. And the irony is
that usually it doesn't take very much effort to make that
adjustment, it's just something that you feel like eh, I can get by with
it the way it is.
And I'm saying that because we spent a few minutes
adjusting the lighting during the break and suddenly that
area is much clearer in terms of what's going on.
I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise but
if you can see it it's a lot easier to do it.
Suddenly I see this like very mild
through here, which is just showing me how
that form is rotating.
And how it ends
before this next form comes out.
Unfortunately there's not a lot I can do about that pipe.
Except work around it.
So when I'm
working with these big forms, once I get
them close sometimes I just move into a
screen which will pull the elements together
really quickly and allow me
to see where I am.
this is where
the pipe and the wire
get a little trickier.
You need to compress everything into that
area right where the pipe and the wire meet
so that you can sculpt as
if it weren't there and try and
connect up to
the area around it.
up into the neck
and the sternocleidomastoid which is this big
and I'm, you know, I'm looking for two things. I'm looking for
the position, how far back
does that go? I'm looking for
the relative depth
meaning right here, that shadow
versus the form behind it, which is
I'm looking for the
gonna turn Leah a little bit
so I can see the angle from this
view. And this muscle has two components
to it. One connects from behind the ear to the
pit of the neck and the other kind of
comes out the side of it and connects
slightly outward to the
It's called the sternocleidomastoid
because it connects from the sternum
so the sterno, to the
clavicle, cleido, and then the mastoid process is the
the big bump above and behind your
ear and it's a little horn shape. If you look it
a skull, it's a little horn shape
behind the hole on the side of the skull.
So just clarifying that
which then should help me
if I move a little bit
Leah I think maybe your shoulders were rotated a little bit more.
There we go, yeah.
Okay so that
come back, let's
And then all of that can move inward.
There is a hair in the clay
which is always frustrating,
it doesn't wanna come out.
here, push that back.
I'm gonna push the form
of the -
trapezius back a little bit.
Fill up the transition
and now I can
move into that area that was kind of a problem
or has been.
And that's I think just a naturally
aspect of this pose.
You know whenever things are - like the breast and the arm are parallel they're
kind of pushing against each other,
you know the challenge is to keep those directions the way they are
and yet find ways to differentiate
and depth of certain things.
is an opportunity to get some depth.
On top of the collar bone.
I'm just gonna clean
the edge of it
because I want this sort of depth and then the shelf
all in fairly
rapid succession. So what's happening
is because her arm
is pushing against the side of
her body, it's causing the muscle of the chest to be
compressed in, which pushes it up just slightly
little bit of a shelf right under the collar bone.
A very important factor in creating
placement for the - you know I've got to
I need the muscle of the chest, the pectoral, the shoulder
the collarbone and the breast and the upper arm
all to exist in this space and yet to feel
like they're all individual
entities. And when everything is squeezed together
like that that's, you know, the challenge of finding opportunities
to divide it and be clear
about those divisions and at the same time to
have that proximity
to have all those areas right up against each other.
Gonna lower this a little bit.
So this angle
I can kinda see what's happening
a little bit better. I've got the
shoulder beginning to move inward.
Quickly combine kind of
all the clay that's been laid on
And that'll help.
I need to see that. So when
the model gets back from here break
here I'm just sharpening
the shoulder, when the model gets back from her break I wanna move
into this area and then quickly jump across
and deal with that shoulder
so that the shoulders kind of have a relationship
to one another.
Gonna move the...
And because when I was looking
at it from a particular angle I felt like I should be seeing a little bit
more of that shoulder.
Figure out what's going on there
and move down through here and right now I'm
feeling like there's a bend happening to that
forearm that's being pushed up here so my,
you know, my initial feeling is that the forearm
angle should just change very, very slightly.
So I'll start
by just putting in that the top of that movement
pulling down a little bit here.
And then I'm -
this area just in preparation
for when she gets back I can
it without all of that
stopping and starting of clay
you know the way that is.
You know layers laying on top.
Sometimes it makes it more difficult to see what's going on
and figure out what needs to happen.
I'm gonna clean up
gotten this hard edge here, I'm just gonna soften that.
I have a few questions like this from this view
is still not quite reading correctly and this, when I look
at it across this way feels like it needs to come forward.
So those are things that I wanna address
she comes back.
Okay so we're here.
Okay, I'm gonna just sketch in
That should go
to there. Gonna be a high point here.
A division here.
A division here and then all that should go in. So I'm gonna
I can see the divisions, I can't really
see the depth from that view so in
this view I can really much more clearly see the depth then
this has to go way, way in here.
And this will
have to go in as well.
And then all of that can
It's funny, the room when I got in
was ice cold. And now
it's pretty warm and the clay is
responding to that, making it
much stickier and mushier
which requires me to
clean the tool more often because the clay'll just sort of gum it up.
reacts very kind of
heat. The warmer it gets, the stickier it becomes.
out just a little bit.
And now I'm gonna jump over to that side.
There's a shadow right here
I'm gonna need to
and so I've gotta connect the sternum
with what's happening below.
It's kind of like a
three dimensional jigsaw puzzle.
You see certain things and you say oh that all needs to come out
and then you look at an adjacent area and suddenly it doesn't have
the correct relationship to that. I mean you've got to
figure out is this wrong or is that wrong or do both need to
change a little bit to work together?
I was up in the mountains
for New Years
and we had a giant, like I don't know, 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle
and I remember that feeling of like getting a little area
and not really - you know and then getting another area and
trying to figure out how the went together
little pieces I could use as a bridge to figure out how they were
oriented to one another and
you know it's very similar except here you're creating
each piece of the jigsaw puzzle as you put it together
which is both obviously more difficult
and in some ways less difficult
because I can change, you know, with a jigsaw puzzle if that piece doesn't fit in
to the other piece there's not a lot you can do.
With this I can just change the shape of the piece
of the jigsaw puzzle to make them fit.
But they do have to fit. You do have to kind of
make those areas,
areas that seem like they're fighting with one another
come to some sort of resolution.
Okay so that's working
a little bit better.
change that. Okay I'm gonna
come back and deal with that edge because I don't wanna leave it.
So we'll go back clockwise.
Right to about there.
edge here I can see looking this way
that it needed to come out and now
without changing the height
I need to resolve
butts into the arm.
Okay so I
I can see I cut in there to get that transition.
So I'm gonna try and leave that
transition, making sure it goes in there
deal with how
interacting with what's around it.
So here really I'm - this is
very big tool for this little area.
I like it because it can keep
thing kinda broad.
But I'm switching to the
screen to pull it
more into the same
realm. And so all these
move a little bit more fluidly.
Go to a smaller
piece of screen. And one of the really great things about a screen is
that you can cut it
to any shape. Here I'm cut the
so it'll mimic the shape of my finger
and other times I want an edge like that
to get into an area that I can't get into
with a finger.
has been cleaned up to an extent. I'm gonna
walk over and check.
Yeah I can see like this line
needs to come in a little bit more.
And then that line
needs to come out.
It's funny I put tools down
on the table and then they seem to just vanish.
I used to think people were
taking them and then I'd look back in a few minutes
and see them again. It's like an odd
And sort of a compression of what happens with your
house keys and your car keys where you look all over the house and then you look back
in a spot that you've already looked and there they are.
And it's compressed because
you know you're not moving. You know I'll put this tool down, look up
do something, look down again and won't see it again. And then
a few minutes later I'll find it.
Okay so I'm gonna leave that - I'm gonna turn
Leah and try and deal a little bit with the
her right shoulder.
also I'll deal a little bit with
how the the shoulder
ends up here.
you turn the model because you have the idea
seeing this and immediately my eye went to that.
I just wanna quickly
Okay now I'm gonna move over
letting my eye go through, point to point
on these sections.
where is the pit of the neck?
the center line, where is that
shadow relative to her chin? Where is this
point of the shoulder?
Where is the other -
how much lower - you know that breast
is lower than the other one, fairly
where like I've got this arm
here I can move it down here slightly but not a lot.
So I have the ability to
and get more room.
Right because to create the angle
that I want here
my two choices are I could lower the breast to that one
line or I could raise the other one
let's say to that line
Or I could do a little bit of both.
But in order to lower that at all and maintain the
distance here, I'd have to lower,
lengthen the upper arm, lower the forearm
so those are all
kind of in my head as I
try and figure out how I'm going to accomplish
that one angle -
that one angle of getting that, coming upward.
Now I really - frequently it's a combination
of doing three or four different strategies.
You know maybe lengthening, lowering that, lowering that a tiny
bit, raising that.
And all of those together kind of add up
to what I need.
Okay I'm gonna turn her again
Okay so that's
you know all of these terms are really helpful
in figuring out
how I'm going to
solve that problem.
Which, you know, ultimately just
you know to go back to the puzzle
analogy, you know the pose
is a problem to solve.
Like a crossword puzzle.
You know there are a lot of clues and
your job is to put the pieces together
in a way that
satisfies all of the requirements.
You know the balance, the volume,
the movement, all of those
need to be worked out and sometimes you
do something and it perfectly solves one of your problems but creates another problem.
And so you kind of
have to learn like when to abandon
a strategy and say well that's just not working
and when you keep the basic strategy and you just modify
the expression of it.
You know maybe that did need to move in but in addition to having that
move in that other thing also needed to move up and that combination would
solve the problem.
That's why the
work can sometimes get to a point where it looks very weird.
because you're doing like a whole lot of things
part way just to see how they're gonna play out.
And then suddenly you figure out
what the solution is and everything comes together pretty
quickly. That means that goes there, that goes there, that goes there,
And it's just like doing a crossword puzzle.
Once you figure out that like - the key to it
it's very satisfying to oh now I get it that just means
all needs to go back and that'll allow everything else to fit
that's pretty good.
that's really coming forward.
will come back. So then
eventually I'm, you know, widening
my view to include what's going on down here.
And also up into the head.
To begin to get that to work alongside everything
else. So the jawline,
I'm gonna turn it one more time.
And a little bit more
running through that shoulder.
There we go.
Okay now I'm going to go in and just sketch out
some of the
changes and movements.
everything is happening.
You know that's pretty typical,
you know I saw that coming out from
the front view, put on a piece of clay and then I turn to
the side view and it's just sort of hanging out in the air.
So I'm gonna take a break now
and then when I come back I'll reevaluate
and start moving a little bit deeper into some of these forms.
out by walking around a little bit and
taking a quick look at where things are right now.
But I have kind of a pretty good idea of where
I'm gonna go. I think I can see some things I wanna
do in here, in here, arms, legs,
and start to move everything forward.
I'll start out just by
taking a quick overview, making sure my view
I'll make a few notes on the clay.
That I want to come in
even more than that.
I feel like I need more volume here so
I'll just throw a little on there.
There's definitely a much sharper
I'll put in.
A little bit more of a
point right there.
needs to come in a little bit
Like that may be part of what's gonna give
a little more depth.
All of that can come in.
Just gonna shave off.
Okay I'm gonna come down into the
that I'll come
in a little bit
a little bit more volume here.
The neck needs to come back.
there are two folds here.
from where I am
I think I'm gonna sketch in a little bit more of this arm.
So I'm gonna use just my
hand to apply the clay and the screen to
kinda combine it into a cleaner
form. And that
allows me to move
a little more quickly into blocking out
where the volume is.
Pull that off from there. So for
example, I just made a corner there and with the screen I can get
rid of it pretty quickly,.
And again the screen is not a good material to use for
areas where I need like really clean
Particularly where things happen
quickly. Where it has to move through a number of forms in a small
area. It's just too big and clumsy to do that.
But in a long form like
it is really good to be
able to put something on quickly like that and then combine it
all into a continuous
volume quickly. And I can always go
back into that with a tool to pull out
smaller forms or details
or other elements that I wanna put in.
you know another
analogy that I sometimes use for
this process is that
it can be like those camping cups
where they're a series of rings and they collapse
into sort of a flat shape and then you pull
the wide ring and each one of the smaller rings clicks
into place and it become a cup.
And that's sort of what I'm doing in terms of
getting the big shapes
roughly placed and then as they begin
to get roughly placed then I will begin to add the
mid size forms.
And that's before the large forms are completely
resolved and then as the mid sized forms begin to be placed, I'll
begin to add the smaller forms.
So that adds the larger things come up
the other things come in behind them.
So it's not that I pull - like you can't take the camping cup and pull
the big ring all the way to the top without the
other rings following. And I don't wanna
completely resolve the large form without adding in
the smaller forms because they're so dependent on
one another and when I begin to see how the smaller forms are relating
that may cause me to change the
larger form a little bit.
And so now that things are
you know getting a little bit more resolved
in here, I wanna add in some of the features
of the face
or at least the main structural components.
There we go.
So I can begin to get a sense of the
light and shadow,
the position of everything,
I'm dealing a little bit with the cheekbone
and again the challenge is always
keep everything balanced. Not to get too wrapped up in
sculpting every feature
of the face which is, you know
easy to do. You start saying oh well actually that's a little bit more like that and oh that
could go that way. Because everything could move in or out
at this point. Which is one of the reasons I want to add
some of this information
just to begin to see with a little bit
more precision where things are falling.
And that way as I
refine other areas I can push the head
backward or forward, I can move the collar bones in or out.
you know again, like that juggling analogy,
you're constantly trying to divide your attention
between all the different balls that you have
in the air and never
you know giving too much
attention to any one thing.
Because at the same time if you give too little attention
then what you're doing is pointless. So if you don't
get the relative element
correct. Meaning you know I'm putting it in, the forms
around her mouth
the position of the eye, the length of the nose, all of that stuff, if I get
them you know so incorrect meaning like, the direction
is opposite from what it should be, then there's no real
point in doing it. So I wanna get the relative placement
right, meaning show her from the bottom of her nose
to her mouth you know is relatively long. So
relatively long distance, so I'll move up the nose
and the angle here
between her cheek and muzzle is roughly like that.
So if I get those you know kind of roughly
placed those will be helpful for moving forward. If I get them
really incorrect, no just like
oh that could be a little shorter, that could be a little big but oh the direction
of that's all wrong. Then it's really not
helpful at all. So you know that's one of the challenges knowing
how much attention can you give something without
the trap of really
getting sucked into doing the portrait at this stage which is really -
which is not gonna be helpful. So I'll leave that
for the moment.
into the shoulder. And if I - gonna
turn her a little bit
the model is now on break. I'm gonna
do some quick
symmetry fixes in the face.
You know a quick measurement that you can use
is from the bottom of the chin to the center of the eye is about
a half a head.
So right there should be the middle of the
And that means the brow can be
and then basically as you go down everything
cuts in half. So the bottom of the nose
from a half goes to a corner of a head
and then the
center of the mouth is about an 8th and from that
point, you know from those
measurements you look at the model. And if the model's nose is a
little short, bump that from a half, just slightly higher.
You know they're good starting points, particularly the
head obviously is gonna vary,
you know, pretty widely. Everyone
looks so different but
having, you know, those initial measurements are helpful
to know where to go from. You know if you have no measurement at all
it becomes really difficult to know
where anything goes. Meaning, you know,
maybe the eyes are here, maybe they're down here. If you have
a starting point that says, on average, they should be here then you
can look at your model and say, you know on her I think they're slightly lower than
average so I'm gonna bump them just down a tiny bit. So
it's also particularly helpful you know when you're
changing scale, which you know usually you are,
usually you're not sculpting life size.
So when you are making a sculpture that's smaller
or larger than life size to know
to place some of these things, it's
helpful to have that kind of starting point.
here I've drawn a center line.
And I'm just making sure
that I have roughly
on either side of that center line and that they're doing roughly
the same thing. Meaning this is moving backward
roughly in the same way on both sides of that
and this is moving outward.
So I've got this going back quite a bit further
one side than the other.
So here - again I'm just evening
this side out based on what I began with on that side.
So now that Leah's back
I'm just gonna like rough in the shape here.
And then move into
the shoulder, the collarbone,
the pectoral in here. So this all
downward, away from the shoulder.
As a shape that pectoral
is really lifting and separating
because of how that arm
on her hip is pulled backward.
Okay I'm gonna rotate.
at her eye,
the side of the nose,
the shape of the ear,
gonna sketch in a little bit the shape of
is moving up.
Okay. So clean it a little bit
and move down
into the torso.
So here as things are getting a little
bit more developed
I can see the
it can be deep under the arm
is really rough.
So I wanna get under there, get rid of the
that are developing.
That's good now
I'm gonna take the volume, which is here, and
broaden it out a little bit. So
I'm adding to the top of that which opens
that up a little bit.
but a tiny bit more - take
soften the transition there.
And then it's coming out more
toward the bottom.
And then broadens
And then there's a real diagonal
fold going through
And then there's a double curve to the inside
that I think I can get just by
a little bit.
So right here.
And there's another full
right here which is gonna change the shape
right at the end
Okay now I'm gonna deal a little bit
with this edge.
The breast and below it
as relating to the form of the
pectoral or the chest muscle above it. So pulling in just
a tiny bit
You know sometimes some of the trickiest things are
the way something turns.
You know there's an infinite
variety of ways something can turn
from the side to the front view or the side to the back
view. There's just that arc can be tight, it can be loose, it can go
quicker or slower overall, it can be
slow for a part and then turn quickly
and figuring out like the correct
combination of all those
elements is what leads to it really kind of
You know -
and I'll look for a number of
different ways to identify like what the
correct turn is. For example right now
I'm looking under her shoulder, the muscle of her
shoulder at how the bicep is moving into the arm pit
there I'll see the edge
of the pectoral, that'll tell me like how far in
I can go in order to get
the angle that I want
here and then the more depth I have here
the more the breast will come out.
And I also want
this to be ultimately
Here is where around to where
Okay now I need more depth.
Now I'm gonna turn so I can see a little bit more
from three quarter view.
Getting that to turn inward
and ultimately figuring out
you can see I'm going back and forth, back and forth, in and out
and honing in on those areas
and hopefully every task that I make
over them, something is getting more
refined and more accurate. I'm figuring out a little bit
more clearly all
of the different things that make up that particular
area. You know the angle
and the various movements.
And that's what's
ultimately satisfying to go back to
that analogy of the crossword puzzle int he Sunday
New York Times crossword puzzle always has a theme and it
usually has these very long clues, maybe 20
letters in the word or the phrase that you're trying
to figure out. And the most
satisfying is when you finally figure out what the trick that they're
employing is. And once you get it
then you can almost always get all of the long
clues and that, you know, suddenly unlocks the whole puzzle.
Other times you just never get it. Even if you
finish the puzzle and you fill in those squares by getting, you know if it's
a 20 squares across long clue, they'll be
it'll be made up of a whole bunch of ones down. If you get all the ones down, so you
ultimately have all the letters in the puzzle it's just never
very satisfying if you never really got what they were trying to get at in the puzzle.
And it's the same with
this. There'll be - you're looking at all these areas
getting different views of them, going back and forth. And at one
at some point you'll unlock an area, you'll
understand why it looks a certain way and then it'll go pretty quickly.
You can do it just by kind of
drawing it from every angle again and again until there are no
mistakes. But it never, you know you never get
that feeling of like ah now I understand why it's doing that.
Why it looks the way it does. And for me that's the
satisfying and the enjoyable
aspect of doing this. Every pose, every model
every portrait has that kind of key.
that you're trying to unlock.
What is making this look the way it does to me or feel
the way it does.
you know maybe ostensibly all the major angles are right and
you can't find any errors but it's not quick feeling right.
and figuring out why that is and what that is,t hat's
causing it to do that.
is really the kind of the
motivating factor for me and the
Obviously, you know, there's more than just sort of the process
of making it look a particular
way, otherwise you'd never be interested
in looking at the work once it was finished.
But it is
I mean it's undeniably a big part of it is that the process
of making it. And I have
like, I've definitely encountered by professional sculptors
and students who don't like it. Don't like the
process. And any short cut they can take
in the process they will. And I
it's something I don't relate to. If I didn't enjoy the
process I don't think I would do it.
Which is not necessarily to say that I
enjoy every aspect of the process, there are a lot of things,
mold making, a lot of the cleaning up of
patina, there's a lot of areas of it
that I don't particularly enjoy. But as a large
kind of process I
do enjoy it. I don't think there's
any artist or
person who's engaged in almost any activity on
a professional level that loves every single component of it.
There's always something you don't like about it. And the
question is do the things that you really love about it outweigh the things that
you don't love about it.
For me, you know, there's really
no question. I love the process of
modeling in clay so
much that I'm willing to deal with
and get good at all those things I'm not
And even within the aspects that I'm not crazy about
I can find elements
to engage me. And I think that's -
you know that's part of the trick
is finding something about what you're doing that
enjoy and dive into and
become engaged with.
Push it a little bit more here.
More there and then
they're able to
And you notice when I'm doing this I'm going over it
multiple times lightly
as opposed to pushing hard and trying to clean it
in one quick pass.
If I do that I'll have the tendency to flatten everything.
So by going over it multiple times gently
I can see more clearly what's going on.
I can see like there are these little holes that are not gonna go away
unless I fill them in or I push really hard and
flatten everything. And, you know, obviously I don't wanna push hard and flatten
I'll kinda creep up on it, go around it,
find out where there's a little
hole or a gap, fill it in and then
Okay so that's
pretty well there.
I need to get
in through here, deal with that
So I'll work on that edge and then
And as I do
that I wanna make sure that overall
the movement that I want
is staying there. Meaning I want this a little lower, this a little higher, and
right now I'm feeling that I don't really have that
so the first thing I'm going to do is
push that a little higher. Now
I just finished kind of cleaning
and rounding that and that kind of
relates a little bit to what I was talking about a little while ago,
which is that, you know, it's not
ideal, it would be better for me to leave that blocked in roughly
but I wanted to see how that turn was gonna work and how
it would work with what's underneath. And so
one of the ways that I've kind of
gotten around that is as long as I'm willing
to take it out, even if I've spent a considerable amount of time
putting it in and making it look nice, as long as
I can just cut into it and wipe it out, it may not be
the ideal, most efficient
stratus line to get to what I want to go.
it's not really hurting the work.
You know what will hurt the work is if I go in and I put in
the breast and I clean it and make it just
the way I want it and then I notice that maybe it should be a little higher
but then I don't move it because I spent too much time
making it the way I wanted it. And it's one reason
I think that a lot of people say, you know, don't deal
with detail until the very end because
most people when they spend a lot of time messing
with something and getting it just right, they don't wanna
Okay so that angle here
to here is better now.
And now I can
begin to deal with the ribcage underneath
here now that
forearm are going to work.
Okay so it looks like
this line can
come a little bit more
over to this side and from
here to here
to here, all that is
going deeper. So
gonna come in
some material, keeping that eye on that line that I drew,
going over to
the other side,
so back and forth
in order to achieve that kind of roundness that
And then coupling that with
so it's right
in here, the material
gonna have to be removed. You can kinda see I'm getting into
an area where it's gonna be more challenging to get a large
tool and yet I do wanna
use a larger tool in there because I wanna move
a decent amount of material
all at one time.
You know I don't wanna go
in with like a really small tool and pick away at it
because that'll make it
more difficult to keep the
form even. With a larger
tool I can
keep the form more even.
Okay so that...
So I'm just periodically checking it from the side
just to make sure I'm not
not going too deep.
And I'm gonna rotate her a little bit
clockwise. Just so I can see
in between the arm and the ribcage.
Need to get rid of that.
again it's just -
it's not that it's a difficult thing to sculpt, it's just, you know, not having
not a lot of room to get the material
in and more
importantly not having a lot of room to really
be able to shape it. And that's where
the good tools are the most helpful.
You know when you have something that will
allow you to move
into an area that you can see into you just
hard time reaching
and all good tools for
sculpture are or should be
of some aspect of your hand or your eye.
So the knife for me
is really an extension of my eye. It allows me - if I
to come down here and then come over
here and then down here,
it allows me to trace what my eye is seeing. I'm not really
manipulating the clay at all I'm just sort of saying
I see this coming that way. The wooden
tool allows me to project my finger
into this area where my finger can't reach.
packed the clay
remove it if I need to.
So when I'm making tools, which I
do pretty often
those are the things that are
kind of the focus of what I'm doing.
How is this relating to how I'm gonna hold it,
how to use it, and is it going to allow me to project
what I would -
what I want to do into the area that the tools
intended to make
accessible for me.
in a situation like what I'm doing here
sometimes I'll just move the entire arm out of the way.
And that'll make it a lot easier to deal with
the ribcage, the abdomen,
all the things that I'm
struggling a little bit
The upside to doing that
and I might do it here just to show you.
The upside to doing it is it does make it really easy to
access that and much quicker to refine it.
The downside is that it doesn't
look that way. Like it doesn't - if I move her arm I'll be able to
see that thing. I can't really see it on her.
So it changes what
I'm doing in a way that
is not always the most helpful.
You know for example I might move the arm, see all this
detail start to sculpt it and then when I put it back
it might look a little bit awkward because some of the detail that I
doesn't really make sense with the position
you know of her arm and what I want
the focus to be.
You know I want
roundness to this section and then a set back before the
ribcage. You know it's kind of
the goal of what I'm doing - I'm gonna turn her a little bit more.
See a little bit of the back of the forearm.
So that's pretty good, I can see that
the ribcage is moving backward
I could also see right here
to here, that
can be slightly
Just gotta turn the
sculpture to get light on that area.
Okay so I'm gonna turn this
until they match and now
I'll deal a little bit with the forearm.
The end of
this forearm is a little
further out toward me.
There's an outward and an upward.
right here I feel like I can come out even a little bit more.
because I can see a little bit more of this arm
beyond the breast when I looked at it
from that angle.
And then that will come out even more.
I'm gonna turn this like that and walk a little bit
over to here.
Gonna change that.
A little bit too much.
Back, like that.
can drop down a little bit here.
I have to go back into
what's essentially the bicep
Get rid of
some back here.
Okay so that's pretty helpful now I can clean up
And it's funny because sometimes I'll -
I'm just cleaning this to see it a little bit better with the
intention of going back and
revisiting that. Sometimes I don't even go back. When I -
when everything seems to be working I might
just leave it the way it is.
You know there are two questions that everyone loves
to ask, which I hate to answer. One is
how long does something like this take?
And then the other is how do you know when you're done?
those two questions really kind of
and I understand them certainly but, you know, why people wanna
know. But they're really antithetical to the way
I like to go about working, which is that, you know, it's like
an investigation. It's like figuring
something out. Getting to know something and
know something profound about it and be able to really kind of
feel like you have a clear understanding of it.
And sometimes that happens really, really quickly and sometimes that takes
a really long time.
So I mean, that's the completely unsatisfied
answer to how long does something like this take and
how do you know when you're done.
My answer, which is a little bit glib but also
like kind of true is like
when it stops getting better, when
I stop understanding more and more about it, when I kind of get to a point
everything that I've understood about what I'm looking at
is represented and the things that I'm doing
aren't really leading to a greater understanding of what's there, then
it's time to stop. And stopping might
mean spending a few more hours just cleaning
the surface and making it more readable.
But for me,
stopping, you know, like that
kind of clean up work, it almost
doesn't feel like sculpting to me. You know I'm no longer
really engaged with trying to figure things out.
I'm just kind of on autopilot cleaning that up, cleaning that up, and smoothing
Okay so I'm gonna take two
and then the model'll be back and we'll continue in this
section and moving through the elbow.
break and I wanna, you know,
I noticed while I was walking away from the sculpture that
this arm is getting thick front to back because I kept building it out that way.
So I wanna make sure that I address that and pull that
in from the outside. But right now I wanna
get a little bit more sort of done in this transition.
this transition here.
So I'm just, I'm
lining everything up
and it looks like I keep needing to come out
so I'm just gonna come around, take a look
this. I want
to make sure that the abdomen has that feeling of
compressed by the arm.
I'm pulling that arm in a little bit.
Make sure that the edge of the forearm
is compressing to the edge
of the abdomen.
I'm gonna turn again.
again. By and large I'm pulling
that arm out, away,
and then there are times when I would do that
just by taking the entire armature and pulling it out
but I have quite a lot of room in the
clay there. And that wouldn't really accomplish
what I really need to accomplish, which is
adjusting all the forms and making all the forms
move in the correct direction. Like the mass would be further out.
But all of the
forms would still need to be
adjusted, so it seems
as efficient to pull it out
The primary reason why
I would move the
And that's, you know, any area. The head,
arm, the leg,
as if the entire thing were basically righted, just need to face a different
direction. If that's not the
case and I have the room to do it, I'll generally just move
And so frequently the way I'll make that decision is by
putting a cut with a knife in the direction
away from where I need to move.
Meaning, if that arm needs to move
in that direction, I'll cut in on this side.
If I run into the armature very quickly, I know that if I just start
building on this side and removing clay there, I'm gonna run into the armature.
And so then I would probably move the entire armature
in the direction that I need to move.
So now I'm gonna turn a little bit more.
Now I should be able
the width here.
And that'll allow me to pull that forward.
All of this forward
and this tool
that I'm using now is a handmade rake
that I made out of a piece of brass tubing
and a saw blade.
I used a coping saw blade
and a blowtorch to
bend it into the shape that I wanted. And then I filed the teeth down
so that they were still there but not as
And it's a great kind of mid
size tool for the kinds of forms
sculpting right now.
And it's, you know, it's particularly good
on these edges where I want that form
in the front to end and this
triangular shape from the elbow
to move outward.
That allows me to get
deep in and around
whatever shape that I need
to, which would be very difficult to do with
the screen. Once it's there
the screen is, you know, good to
clean and remove some of the marks that are left behind by that tool.
it would soften
the forms of the transitions. In terms of the
of the precision of getting in and around little shapes
rake tool is really handy.
I'm gonna turn it one more time to get a really good
side view of that arm.
you know I think it's fine, I can just increase
the transition here between
of the, or the top of the tricep here,
and the shoulder
but as I come down
this to become narrower as it approaches the elbow.
Gonna clean up that relationship between the
forearm and where it hits the
That turn under.
I'm gonna turn it one more time,
I want the back view of her forearm
and then I can really see
that deep transition
That's coming out
through the tricep.
There's a little bit of
right here, which is the
it needs to be
begin to turn forward. This is sort of tricky because I'll have
a very good angle
in order to do that, both
my body to get the right angle and
the sculpture to get light into that.
and then add to the
So essentially I'm just tightening up the edge
of the torso,
the edge of the upper arm
and getting a clean
between those. And, you know as
the inner area becomes cleaner I can take
the side, which is more easily accessible, and blend
it into that
and then the same thing with the arm. Instead of
using that larger tool on the arm I'll just use this
slightly smaller one and that'll
allow me to get in there
and then I'm going to have to
get into the transition between that upper arm
and the forearm.
Which still is a bit of
in terms of how it's
being resolved on the inside.
And the trick is getting all that
clay kind of moving
in the right direction
Ultimately create the
that there is actually
compression taking place between the arm and the
torso but obviously there is no compression,
it's just a whole bunch of clay shoved into an area.
But if the drawing is
right, it would arc here
and arc here
then it will be pretty convincing.
You know it's one of the more time consuming things
because you just have to very carefully
lay the clay in
you know right now I'm moving the abdomen lower into that
place where the two meet.
Now I'm turning the forearm away
from the abdomen
and it doesn't help
clay is kinda soft and mushy right now.
I don't have any with me now but next week I will bring
some baby powder and that's one
way of helping in an area like that where
it's kind of a tight, confined area
things are getting sticky as I try and add clay
and move it around. And the baby powder will, in essence,
me to work with the clay, work with tools in that area
without everything getting gummed up.
It almost acts as a release. So if I dip the tool
in it, the clay is not gonna stick to the tool, it'll cut a little bit more cleanly.
You have to be careful with
baby powder because once you add it
clay doesn't like to stick any more.
So if you - you don't wanna put clay in, add
baby powder and then try and put more clay in because that
then, you know, the new clay is not gonna wanna stick, it sort of
more toward the end when you feel like you have enough
clay in there and you're trying to shape it
and it's sticky and
causing problems and the baby powder is really, you know, quite helpful
allowing you to create
shapes and move things around without creating a big
sticky mess. There's also
solvents that I'll bring that I can
demonstrate which help in a kind of a
similar way. They definitely are more to
reduce the friction, which is what the baby powder does
but they also tend to melt the surface of the clay a little bit
an opportunity to blend things
a little more
aggressively than you can without it.
you know for right now
I'm gonna forgo the baby powder and
and just resort to cleaning
the tool frequently. And ultimately you can
get away without using anything if you just keep
cleaning off the clay that builds up on the tool.
I'm going to now move into the
Pull this in a little bit.
Sorry I'm mumbling.
I'm gonna move into this area
under the -
under the arm.
Sort of the bottom of the shoulder.
And I guess like the thing that I'm doing
now overall is
is looking for depth and volume
so you can see by pushing in
here. Pushing in
I'm creating, you know, quite a good
amount of depth.
I'm going to clean up this area
with a broader tool.
I was seeing a lot of
You know I see a little bit,
kind of a broader, fuller,
surface here. So I'm just gonna come out.
and I'm gonna let that come
a little further out toward the shoulder blade here
and then combine
and now I'm coming across the top
of the shoulder blade.
I wanna turn
her back a little bit counter clockwise.
Now that'll let me see just how the
shoulder is a ball
shape in the shoulder
And behind that
the forms soften. You know there's not really a harsh
to the top of the shoulder.
You know it kinda gently moves from this top
plane right here
to the side plane. But that
kind of rounded shape at the end of the shoulder
caps that movement off.
Now I wanna widen it
as it approaches the
the inner edge
of the shoulder blade here
I'll flip that,
inward and then kinda...
Right you can see like right
here it's moving in
then rounding into this fuller
And then the transition
is a little bit higher up.
Okay and while I'm here
we're also going to look at the
I'm gonna come down into
the back of the neck, through
and do a little more
letting the hair
get a little further here.
of what's known as the seventh
cervical vertebrae, which is a sort of
bump at base of or the nape of the neck.
And that's -
the spine is divided into
four sections. The cervical
or the neck section, the thoracic or the rib
section, the lumbar, the lower back
section, and then the sacrum, which is the
series of vertebrae that are fused together
right down here, below the lumbar.
And one of
the more pronounced, if not the most
pronounced, vertebrae is the seventh cervical, which forms a
kind of lump or bump at the
base of the back of the neck.
here and cut here, here.
And I'm just looking for
the shape of
the hair. You know very, at this point, very rough.
You know I'll
look for the center line, which is here.
that is the top of
this is going up and over.
This will need to come out a bit.
I'm gonna turn her
back a little bit so I can get more of a profile.
Moving back forward.
This is coming out and then coming back
then overall all
of this is facing downward,
this is all coming inward,
this is all coming
This is gonna come back just
a tiny bit.
Pull that ear back a little bit
you know I'm looking more than anything for big
shapes, what direction they're facing.
You know for example this hair is facing upward
and then by the time it gets to the
part that's tied back
making sure I have
enough of an angle there.
In getting the, you know, this
area that's a little tied back, making sure there's a volume.
You know whenever I'm dealing
with hair, I'm primarily looking for
like to divide it up in big chunks and
figure out which direction
the chunks are moving. So in other words, is it moving
underneath, to the side, to the
top, and is it moving backward, forward, it's almost like
And figuring out where it divides from
the next chunk.
kinda looking through the whole
sculpture for the things that I find
to be jarring or out of place or not
You know I find that whole
lower part of the neck to be coming out too far.
pushing it back in
sternocleidomastoid right here
as the throat.
I keep pushing
that back in.
Create that little sort of
the feeling of how she's holding her head.
Which is pretty
There's a lot of depth here
which I can
with a rounded tool.
So it's kind of like rounded
portion of her jaw line
and then that
So I feel like I wanna
move down - like I feel like everything in this area has
gotten, to a certain extent, reduced in volume.
And this sort of pelvic
area hasn't lost any. So I feel like
I'd like to move down into here, increase the depth
in a few places that will lighten up the feeling of the area and kind of
balance it more with what's going on up above.
And then once I'd done that, I moved
in through the knees and feet, then I feel like everything
will be around the same
from here I'm gonna go down into
the area around the naval.
I'm gonna start by increasing the depth
of the transition here.
And I'm moving the
a little bit forward
at the bottom by pushing
in a little bit up above.
So by pushing in
add a little bit to the ribcage
I'm going to try and get a little more direction
So here -
So below that line
very carefully push in
and then turn.
So again what I'm looking for is this
outward movement slightly.
So by pushing in a little bit more
I'll check it from
A little bit of a division here.
I can use a little bit of screen.
Just soften that transition.
I might have gone in a little bit too far -
a little bit back.
And now I'm just softening that edge
and then I'll follow that
So I'm just going back and forth
to create an even
And I want the top edge
of that narrow
strip to be further in
than the bottom edge.
And that's why on the model you can see the highlight there because the
that little area's facing the light.
come in there
turn that form into
I just kinda wanna broaden it. It kinda comes up to a line and then
ends as it
comes out of that area I wanna broaden that
That's better. Now here,
top edge of that form needs to come
and the bottom edge of the form
above it needs to do the
opposite. It needs to turn downward.
I'll turn that form
gently away from the light so
I should get just a very soft shadow.
right down here
I wanna change the shape just slightly.
and I want this,
the sides here as they come outward towards the hips,
to go deeper.
And then the center line
to have a more,
like a straighter line that turns a little bit more rapidly
at the end.
So a straighter line through here.
And then come back.
So in an area that's like small and tight
I might go back and forth between
drawing it in
and modeling it
with a tool
a number of times.
So right here I feel like there's an extra little movement.
And it's, you know, a really crucial
area because this is
the corner of the pelvis.
And as I
work into it, I definitely feel
like I'm understanding what's going on a little bit better
pass I make
And so that's the bone.
Got the edge
of the pelvis, the
anterior superior iliac spine.
And so I wanna make sure I have
just that very
Just gonna come down
gonna turn her a little bit
push into that area.
Pull that in underneath a little
And I'm carefully kinda turning it
in the light to see, like there's a
spot here that
is too low.
There's a little piece of something in the clay.
So I'm just cleaning
that surface, that's an area that
you know I want a lot of very
kind of subtle movement.
on the side there
the center line.
And now I'm gonna
add some depth, this depth I have here I'm gonna add
to the other side.
And I feel like already that's helping lighten the feeling,
just adding the depth here.
On that side it's a bit more
diagonal. This transition.
the ligament which is this
This vaguely triangular form here
a little bit like that.
transition or actually it's like a
crease that's moving through here.
So I'm just gonna take a piece
of the screen that I've been using, I feel like it's getting a little
gummy, and cut it and that exposes a fresh
That will allow me to
deal with this area a little more cleanly.
Okay now back to
I need to and can
go in that area.
So I'm just moving a
little bit of material. Now on this side, it's
That part of that line is a little deeper than the top.
start on one side and then I'll move
to the other side of that line.
And I'm gonna actually rotate her a little bit
and that'll help me see the depth
So here now that I've pushed that
bottom, the bottom of that line
now I feel like the top
I can just pull
And now I'm just changing the edge.
And that I'm doing just
by drawing it from both sides until those two sides
meet and then I can just pull out
that piece of clay. And now I've got the depth
that little section
And this is, you know,
where the thigh is compressing into the
genitals and the hip,
is an area where I kind of
a number of things happening
in a pretty smaller amount
will end that, which will allow me to round
here and then
and there and that'll allow that shape
to become rounded.
But there's no rounded shapes without depth
on both sides of them. So in order to create that kind of rounded
shape I just made
I needed more depth here and I needed some depth here. Now
although I initially put in that depth
it looked pretty extreme,
it was because it was just one little spot.
And once I broaden that out, it won't seem as
Now here I'm not putting back any clay, I'm actually,
I'm removing a tiny bit that was
and all that
toward the inside
this line's probably a little too sharp.
So I'm gonna soften it.
Okay and now
that to the outside.
Here I'm just gonna soften this
I'm pushing here,
softening that edge and then
move all that outward,
meaning I want the quadriceps or the
group of muscles
on the front of thigh to move outward.
So I pushed in a bit of a
transition here, just by
kind of leaning my thumb outward
as I went down to try and shift
and then widening
the transition from the inner thigh
and then from the high point
here I'll just
blend it into the transition.
And then as I come down
I'll try and clarify
the overall movement of that
big group, the transition
through here and then
move all of that
down into the knee, which
really doesn't yet exist, I haven't put in the knee.
But its helpful to begin to get some depth
in this area,
all through here, to balance some of the depth
It's a little tight
so I'll soften it just a bit.
Just turn that
So today I did
quite a bit of work, I think I made a good
amount of progress, particularly in
this area here, which was really unresolved.
I was able to
deal with the shoulder,
the breast, and the ribcage and how they related. I did a little bit of work
moving from this shoulder into the shoulder blade.
I began to put in some of the elements of the face to begin to balance
that out with what was going on below it
and then at the end I moved into the pelvis to try and even
everything out. Next week I'll continue down the leg,
try and establish particularly this knee, the hands,
and then begin to move up and down through it,
jumping around to begin to pull everything a little
bit more together and to look for rhythm
throughout the piece as we move towards
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 26sNow playing...
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2. Reevaluating the Sculpture27m 24s
3. Refining the Back47m 30s
4. Relighting the Model36m 29s
5. The Chest15m 23s
6. The Head, Upper Arm & Chest29m 44s
7. The Chest & Back31m 11s
8. Adjusting the Left Arm, Shoulder Blade & Hair39m 44s
9. The Neck, Pelvis & Thighs36m 58s