- Lesson details
Join internationally acclaimed artist, David Simon, as he teaches you his approach to modeling a three-quarter life-size portrait in clay.
You will learn how to build your armature, take measurements of your model, block-in the facial features, hair, and neck, and how to build relationships between them. David will also cover the materials and tools he uses, and demonstrate his finishing techniques.
This course is a comprehensive representation of the sculpting process from a few blocks of clay, a pipe, and a wire, to a finished portrait.
In this lesson, David shows you how to block in the neck and the shoulders. Then he details the hair, the ears, and the eyes and builds the relationships between the features. You will also learn how to balance out the symmetry of your sculpture.
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I'm going to continue to block in
the neck, the shoulders, and then go in and start to
balance out the symmetry and add more information.
with the neck and
I'm going to be looking at that antitragul notch
and from there I have almost
a straight line down diagonally
down the neck, through here.
line, this big muscle of the
is the muscle that connects the skull
to the torso
is connected to the mastoid process which is the big, bony
lump behind the ear.
It come down behind the ear and then
as it diagonally moves towards the
pit of the neck
it separates into
shapes. One is this sort of main
tubular shape that comes down
toward the pit of the neck and then right
about here it splits off and
widens and goes towards the
collarbone, spreads out on the collarbone so
the name of it
places where it attaches. The
sternocleido refers to the clavicle,
this portion of it here,
mastoid which is this bump here. And it's pretty
form because it
takes you from the back view because you can see it really
clearly from the back
to the side view where
it's really very visible
and all the way around to the front view. And whenever I'm sculpting I'm
looking for forms that will
allow me to move
from one view to another. In a
the pose may provide opportunities to
do that, you know if someone is twisting and one
arm is forward and one arm is back, that may be an opportunity to lead
the eye around.
But in a portrait you don't have many opportunities
to do that. The ear primarily
stays on the side view
depending on whether there's long hair or not
you know here with Paul I can see the back of the ear. But
they're pretty static views. It's rare that one thing moves
through back view, side view
and front view and so I always like to take the opportunity
those things when I have the opportunity
to. And this
is a view that I think is
really important that a lot of people
don't pay enough attention to, everyone
is focused on the eyes, nose, and mouth.
And a lot of the character
can be gleaned from the back
of the head. On Paul he's got such incredible depth
So I'm gonna pull
way way in here.
Paul can you raise chin a little bit?
Perfect, just like that.
and I'll pull the head inward.
when I put this piece away I think it's got
bumped so I'm just gonna rebuild
this little shape of the ear.
Gonna check it.
Okay can you tilt your head just a tiny
bit - a little bit more - perfect.
Right now I'm looking at how far
the hair is projecting beyond
the ear. So I need the shape of the ear.
that far profile
by closing one eye I can really
see that I'm missing a lot
right here. I'm gonna grab a little bit more clay.
Okay. Let me turn a little bit.
all the way to
And I may go back and forth -
not may, I will go back and forth quite a few
times all the way from
a back view.
So I can keep things even
and see big movements going through
there's a dip right
through here just above the ear.
I'm gonna push
a little bit in here.
You know and
some of the things I'm really looking for,
relationships at this point. So for example
I don't - when I see something going in I'm not going to
sort of push it in as a dent. It
just gives me an indication that something is going on that I want
to look for
connections to. So
I want to
see how that kind of
impression connects through as I go forward
and there is almost
this ridge to the hair.
And particularly with hair I find it really
important to figure out
some sort of governing,
some sort of idea
because I don't have access
at least at this stage to color. I can't just color his hair
I can't make each and every hair
because I don't really
have access to what makes his hair
look the way it does in life.
You know it's this hundreds of thousands of fine strands
that are dark interspersed with light
so I need another kind of
Every model that's going to be
different depending on what their hair looks like, whether it's
wavy or straight, whether it's straight or long.
The color and I try
not to get into one way
of representing it. It's another
creativity. You know it can be
tempting to think
that this process is all
technical. And there are definitely technical
aspects to it. Here I'm just checking the angle
That now needs to tilt back just a tiny bit.
But I think
if you're doing it well
there are tons of
creativity, how you approach different areas. And those
can all be governed by larger
ideas that carry through from
piece to piece. So for example figuring out
where I am within
the sculpture by using the measurements that I've laid out
is something that I mostly
carry from one piece to another and
allows me to feel confident in what I've
doing and not feel like I'm
gonna completely get lost.
But how I
treat the eyes, the hair, the nose, the mouth,
the surface of the clay, all of those things
will vary depending on really
a number of things. Some of it is what I find
interesting about the model. Some of it may be
you know just a personal challenge,
things that I've done a lot of times before that I don't wanna
do again and again.
Okay here I'm
just checking the shape of the hair.
step back and check
I need a little bit
more depth here
and a little bit more
This clay is getting a little bit
cold so I'm gonna switch it for a new block.
So when I'm working with oil based clay I try and have a
number of blocks in the oven
and whenever I pull out a new block
you know maybe at the very beginning
I may be putting on so much clay that I use them up
but at this stage I'm not putting on tremendous amounts of clay
and at this scale I'm generally not
so I'll pull out a block, I'll use it for a while and when it's cold I'll
put it back and pull out another so that I always have
something is a temperature that I
want. Can you tilt your head back a little bit Paul?
Okay. So now
at a number of elements. I'm looking
at okay, if that's the antitragul notch I think this portion
of the earlobe is too long
so I'm gonna cut that
of the ear.
So I wanna take that out
and from here
pull that up.
Can you tilt your head just slightly back?
To your right or your left.
Perfect like that.
And then the antitragul
notch which is where that nail is
comes down here, so all of that
needs to move forward
so my first pass
I kind of quickly laid in
a lot of different information
that a lot of it was going to change -
not partially - completely knowing that
much of it was gonna change. So I wasn't looking to get
everything perfect at the beginning, I was
looking to get everything close and establish
some large relationships. And now as I go
going to be correcting a lot of those relationships that were laid in
you know a little off. So for example that
much, much too long.
And I was essentially looking at the line here between
the bottom of the earlobe and his jawline.
And noticing that
you know the earlobe should
have been a little higher than the jawline and it wasn't. So then I
began to look at the antitragul notch.
Can you tilt your head toward your left shoulder?
Okay you can take a break.
So beginning to
look, you know, at the relationship
between that point there and that point there and that point there and
that point there. So there's an interval relationship, meaning
from the bottom of the ear to the top of the ear is
the entire unit of the ear. From
that nail to the bottom is a
interval or a fraction of that total.
And I felt like it was almost looking like it was close to halfway
and the earlobe wasn't half the ear so I know, number one
that that couldn't change because I measured that correctly. Everything
else I was just doing by eye. So that meant that
either the upper part of the ear had to
go much higher to create the right relationship or the bottom of the
ear needed to get lopped off to create the right relationship. Then
I looked at the top of the ear and the relationship to the eye
and I knew I couldn't really come up high enough so that meant that
the bottom of the ear needed to come off.
And that's essentially what
And so right now I'm
really kind of going back and forth between
the ear, the back of the head and hair.
There's a line
through here that
creates the plane of the top of the head
is moving. Then I'm gonna come back to the
and get the entire
volume. And volume can be very, very
I don't think - and maybe there are people who
see it better and more clearly than I do
but in order to really understand volume I need
to process it for multiple
views. You know I can tell that there is a volume
here but knowing exactly how far out it comes before it
turns I can only really tell
by looking at say three quarter view and seeing how much
of this I see beyond the ear.
You know do I need to continue to build that
when I put it on, I'll double check it from a different angle
I'll also come back to this major kind of break through the
head and make sure that what I'm
putting on with respect to
this volume is also working
with respect to that
larger line that I'd like to
And right now like I can - there are holes that are
occurring. And when my model goes on break I like to
address that and just make sure I get rid of
any of those
holes because those are kind of
lost opportunities. You're not gonna be able to
get any information if there's a big hole. So I'll
clean it up
to get something into that area
so that I have the opportunity
then to look at it and
information back in.
I'm gonna add a little bit more of the tragus
which is that bump
above where the nail is.
So that I can begin
to establish the overall shape
of the head from the front view.
And that really comes out.
You know here is
where that nail really is helpful, you know this
portion of the head which is the
is the widest area on Paul.
And then on top of that is a little bit of
that's important to the
silhouette and kind of comes
bit of hair that comes in
and sits on the temple.
Like I'm trying to figure out how I'm gonna get around that corner
And again it's not that hard for me to
sculpt this or sculpt this, it's moving from one area
Moving from the front view into the side view and getting that
movement to work correctly.
that I think is the most challenging.
And for which I
really need to
establish some fixed
points. I need
that point really tells me how deep I can go here.
Right because if I need to create a certain angle
I know I can't bring that out to create that angle so I
have to go in.
and then when I go in
a certain amount then that brow
is either gonna block my view
too far out
seem to work okay and allow me to get
you know because that brow kinda then tucks
into that, the edge of the cheekbone there.
So figuring out
that is is important for me right now.
And again I'm gonna
let myself work through it pretty quickly, knowing
that I'm going to
need to make adjustments again
I think if there's anything
that I've learned it's that.
It's that the first pass is never
a hundred percent right.
And no matter how hard I try it never
will be because there are just too many variables, there are too many things
to take into account. So the goal for me is not getting
everything exactly right, it's getting everything
all the relationships
relationship to one another meaning
I want this point further out than that point.
I want this angle going in this direction. It doesn't matter if it's a hundred percent
right or correct in that direction but it shouldn't be going in the opposite
direction. As long as things are moving
generally the way they should
I can continue to nudge them
to be more and more accurate. If they're going
contrary to where they're going, that's a much bigger issue.
So I am paying a lot of attention, I'm not just
saying oh I know it's not quite right yet so it doesn't matter
I'm saying you know okay it's -
it is going in that direction. That's going upward and then that's going downward
it doesn't need to be going exactly to the correct degree.
right from the beginning.
And I'm not going to spend enormous amounts of time,
for example in the eye that I'm looking at now
I'm filling in a big hole underneath
the lower lid
as I mentioned before because I don't like those
big voids, they prevent me from
putting in information.
But I'm no concerned with exactly how far
out it comes and exactly
what the depth is
I will eventually but that's
a product of
as I add more and more information making all that information kind of
So there's some information around that eye
now I'm gonna move down into the cheek and how that
form takes me toward the mouth.
So there's this double
form here. One,
which eventually might get broken down further.
But for now I'll make it two
and I'll -
I'm constantly in an ideal situation where I'm just working one on one
with a model
you may not be able to constantly
see it but I keep turning the model, I keep
rotating him, rotating the work.
The more angles
that I can see it from
the quicker I can make
and to some people as I work it seems
that I'm being very, very, very kind of
precise all the time but to me it doesn't feel that way.
To me it just feels like I'm throwing things
on and looking at them and then
changing them and the quicker I can make those changes
the quicker I'll get to a point where
I begin to see something. So
nails, the points I put into the clay, are -
early on allow me to get
it kind of into the rough world of looking
like him pretty quickly. You know it's not
too much of a concern for me whether it will look like Paul
in the end. I think, you know, I can see a resemblance pretty
quickly when I begin. It's whether I can capture
you know something less
a little bit more of the personality, a little bit more of the
kind of the fleeting expression
two things I think need to happen
for me to be able to do that. One
is that I need to be able to
see it in him
you know if I have no idea what I feel about
you know if I have no idea what I feel about
personality and his
physiognomy then it's a pretty good
chance I'm not gonna be able to put anything very interesting into the portrait.
And then at the same time
I need to find something that is occurring
in the portrait that I think is interesting that
I can continue to pull out.
So I'm looking at kind of at the same time
for both of those things. Is something going on in the portrait that's interesting
and is there something that I'm seeing in him. So I'm looking at
how he holds his head, what he
does when he breaks the pose to go on break
all of these elements that
are more unique
Are things that I'm paying
attention to at the very, very beginning in some sense
subconsciously because at the very beginning I'm thinking of a lot of
technical things, making sure the armature is the right size, making sure
the clay is the right temperature, making sure that I have all my
materials and all that stuff.
Can you open your eyes Paul?
And then as I get into the portrait
symmetry becomes important,
volume and mass and
all of the sort of the technical aspects that I'm
paying attention to. But somewhere in there is always,
you know, what is interesting about
his head. And generally I'll have that at the very beginning
say oh I really love how, you know, his chin is narrow and it goes up
really wide at the temples there's this sort of real interesting
overall shape. And then as
I work and I look and sort of struggle with different
elements I become a
little bit more I think sensitive
things that I wasn't
I've got more information on this side.
I'm just gonna do a little bit more through the
temple and the cheekbone there's an odd
jump right now I don't like.
And then I'm gonna jump over
to the other side of the
head and deal a little bit more with
the symmetry, make sure that the two - one side doesn't really
get too far ahead of the other
I've gotten better over the years at
keeping things moving
together, not letting one area get completely
alignment with the rest, my
tendency is to like get really into one thing and wanna continue
to explore it.
And I've gotten better at sort of laying off of it,
moving into other areas.
Trying to keep things balance
that's a little bit better in how that's
moving in here.
All of that.
Do need to come out here?
I'm gonna move over
Tilt your head toward me a little bit.
Okay now on this side
figure out a little bit
about what's going on in the hair.
Definitely there's more depth
in here than what I've got so
Pull that depth out,
pull some volume out
and continue that
line that I had through the
sometimes it's hard for me to
explain what I'm doing. I get so focused in seeing
something that I drop off
an indication for me when I'm working with a model that
enjoy working with, they're generally really good at
keeping up the conversation and then they'll sort of
if I start to quiet down because I get really absorbed they'll
not get offended and just sort of quiet down and we'll work
for a while and then maybe when I get distracted we'll talk again.
It's not something I would do while I'm trying to make a video but
it's just this
rhythm that will tend to occur
when I'm working with the model. There are times when I just get so
entranced by what I'm doing and trying to
figure out what - how to do something or how I wanna handle
something that it gets difficult for me to
which is not ideal.
When I'm trying to explain what I'm doing
so essentially -
that was his timer, you can take a break -
essentially I'm trying to continue
this side what I had done
on the opposite side of the hair, beginning to
get a sense for the three dimensionality of the volume, where
the big form of the hair
is moving to
and beginning to create some divisions.
Okay let me take
a couple minute break, I'm just gonna get a cup of water.
I'm just gonna add some mass
to the neck and shoulder
it's funny, this process
in a lot of ways is very antithetical to my
To do it well it should be pretty methodical
and make sure that you're not getting ahead of yourself in one area over another.
And I tend to get distracted
and absorbed with one thing and wanna
focus on it and pursue it and finish it and perfect it
and it's really not the way
this process works best.
This process really works best if you can
divide your attention, if you can let go
of things and
move evenly through everything.
You know because everything you do in one area is going to
create a necessity for you to change another area.
So working on one thing and then finishing it and then moving on is
not really practical
because it's gonna end up
being pretty inefficient, you're gonna spend hours on
an eye and then do the other eye and realize that you have to change
the first eye. So the more that you can
divide up your attention
move from one area into another
the better off you'll be.
Definitely not my strong suit.
Okay so I'm gonna step
back and take a look at where I am.
And now I think I'm gonna adjust the ear, the eye,
and the mouth.
Because there are few large relationships that I
a little bit away
from the angle of the ear here
and add a little bit
to the front.
a little bit. That looks better.
and now from the inner
corner of the eye.
For some reason
I have a little area that I'm working
in and I'll put something down in that area
and then completely lose it within
ten seconds and I'll look everywhere. Where did I
leave that knife? And
invariably it's right in front of me.
So in the inner corner of the eye
I'm just gonna
pull in some large relationships, how deep
is one thing relative to another.
How many shapes
are occurring within an area.
Okay now I'm beginning
to see a few things that are
not working. And that one of them is the upper
into the nostril.
You know there's a movement that I wanna create going from here
to here and I just feel like all of this is just tilted in
much too far so I'm gonna begin
to pull that angle
And I don't really - I don't
feel too upset about not seeing that earlier.
I know there's just so much that
you know, I know I put in that angle and that angle was wrong
and I guess I just wasn't paying
when I did it but that's fine. There
are just too many things to focus on to ever
think that you can
do everything perfectly at the beginning
but if you're,
you know, if you're trying
to get the big things right - I mean the angle
is close, it was moving that way instead
of that way, it was very -
I won't say it was minimal, because it wasn't minimal it was
kind of important to change that.
But it was going in the right direction it wasn't going in the opposite direction
from what it should have been.
So by making those
adjustments pretty quickly at least
to me it really improves
everything. Now I'm gonna move
the forms up the side of his
nose. I don't know how far out yet
it needs to come what I'm putting on right now because of
the angle that I'm looking I can't tell
so I'm just gonna add the form and then I'm gonna turn -
I'll turn the sculpture so I can
see that and
right about there is how far out it should come.
I'll turn him back.
Push all that
pull everything here out
and I'm using this little metal
tool just as a small
version of my finger to add clay into an
area that would be a little bit difficult
for me to get my finger into without
mushing up everything that's around it. For something like this
you could use any number of wooden tools or metal tools
or plastic tools. It's just kind of a
smaller shape. And then when I can I'll just
lay it in with my hand here.
It's large enough for me not to get in the way of
anything. Okay so now I've got that, now what's above it
here how that moves down -
curious about so from the side view I can see
that the nostril is turning forward like that,
that form I just put on is right here
another form that I don't have that's
right here, which leads into
the ridge of the nose. So I'm gonna lay that on, turn him to the front view
and that really is coming out.
Can you tilt your head just slightly that way? Perfect.
needs to come out more
can you open your eyes? Good.
I'm gonna lay in this eye.
First I'm going to - I know where the eye begins
because I marked it with a measurement
so the measurement I took was from the outside of the eye to
the outside of the eye. And then from the outside
of the eye I have the measurement of one eye so that brought me
to where the eye should begin
then I just need to optically figure out
how high up
needs to move in a little bit here.
And in general I think the forms
around the eye are much more
important than the eye itself. If you can get all the forms
going the correct direction, around to correct volume, the correct position
you can almost leave out the eye entirely
and it will still look right.
Okay so I'm
here I'm getting the projection of the eyelid.
So the things that I
I'm really focused on right now
in addition to
tilt your head just a little bit to your - perfect.
In addition to the beginning point
and end point of the inner and outer corner of the eye
here I'm really concerned about the
projection, the furthest point out
then my relationship that
to the brow above it, meaning how close
do I need to be
to the brow
which will provide
the depth of the eye.
I think I'm a little too deep
and I'll keep
rotating and checking where
the further point out is.
It's right about here.
Okay. So I want to make sure that
has the correct relationship
to the brow, meaning I have enough room
between where the eyelid ends
and the brow.
that I have enough depth from the
top of the eyelid to the bottom of the eyelid.
Can you open your eyes Paul? Thanks.
And I wanna make sure that
the eye is round,
that goes in enough at both the
inner corner and at the outer corner.
not concerned with getting
everything super refined right now, you know, it's something
I like if I can try and deal with -
can you tilt your head a little bit toward me?
Deal with progressively throughout the piece.
Meaning I don't want one area to get all smooth and refined
the four other areas around it do.
And that includes the
eye. You know I'll need more information in an
the area around the eye just because there are a lot of things
in there that are changing
You know the cheek doesn't have
the quantity of information
going on in there
that's changing all the time. So I don't need
to put in as much as early
as I do in the eye.
And again I'm gonna try and avoid
leaving a big gap
And sometimes I'll
what I'm doing here.
Some material to create
just because it makes it
a little easier to see what's going on
and it allows the
drawing that I do
to have a little bit more
context. So here that's
And then all of this is
long right now.
So I'm gonna pull that
and all of this
needs to come out.
Do that. And now I'm gonna come
and deal a little bit with the mouth.
Which has been bothering me.
Can you close your mouth
Paul? Thank you.
So it's mainly the form above
the mouth I think is the problem.
There's much more volume
and arc - and tilt your head
a little bit - perfect.
And the angle I had too
I'll add a little bit
and this I want to
and then how that approaches a corner
of the mouth, I'm gonna turn this,
turn him - and I really need
to figure out how far back the corner of the
mouth here is going relative to the nostril.
If you can just tilt your head toward me, toward the shoulder?
Perfect. And now I'm gonna double check the angle.
The head I think might need to come forward slightly.
right now that's where I think
the corner should be. And then
needs to come back
and this whole
relationship to the back corner of the eye. So I mean
one of the ways that I look to create
a sense of rhythm in these portraits is to look for
opportunities to nudge forms
in a way that
emphasizes the relationship that they
adjacent forms. So in other words
the back of this little fold
is very close to the corner of that eye.
So I'll just kind of nudge it into alignment
with the back corner of the eye. You can take a break.
You know it may be a millimeter, it may be just
tilting something a hair
to encourage that relationship.
But I think that ultimately
helps give a sense of
to what I'm doing.
And it's one of the
decisions that you can make that
you know something like a 3D scan
can't. You know a 3D scan
in theory will give you exactly what
is there as a sculptor
you can modify that in a very kind of
And almost - it almost comes
down to a choice as to whether you wanna look at that way
or you don't wanna look at it that way. If you wanna look at it that way
you'll look at it and say yeah, absolutely,
when I look at him it looks exactly right.
And that's kinda the goal. The goal is for
the work when I'm done to be really, really
convincing as a portrait both
purely trying to
capture a feeling of likeness and also emotionally.
It should feel like the
model. And that's something that life
casts can't do and it's something that 3D scans can't do.
Any mechanical form of
representation will capture what's there but
modify what's there in
a conscious way. You know very
often, you know, casts or 3D scans will
vary from what's there because the model moved a little bit while
the scan was being taken or while the cast was being made.
But it's not a purposeful
alteration, whereas, you know, when
you're sculpting you know that's your job, your job is to make
Some of them have to do with the shortcomings
of the medium, you know, if you wanna
call it that - or maybe the limitations of the medium is a better term.
Meaning, you know, I don't have color, I don't have
that I'm using. I'm not gluing on hair or adding
glass eyes or painting in a little red into the cheeks. I've got
one color and one density
of the material, it's all clay. And out of that material
I'm trying to evoke the full spectrum of color
and texture and material
the sort of individual strands and wavy movement of hair,
the darker color around the
eyes and the lips, the reddening in the cheek,
all of that. I'm going to be
getting or trying to get, just by modifying
the way I'm playing with the
forms and the transitions. And
forms, I mean, now is as good of time as any to define
the terms. A form is a
So anything that's coming
outward and curving
and it curves outward in its profile.
So it can be round, it can be oval, it can be tear dropped, but it's
coming outward in every direction. And transitions
are the concavities,
are connecting the forms together.
So you have - you can widen the transitions, you can deepen them,
you can make them
closer together or further apart. And each one of those
decisions to do one of those things will
have an impact on the feeling
that area of the sculpture. Making it feel harder or softer
or making it feel bony
or fleshy or making it look
a different color, darker than it
really is or lighter than it really is.
And I think, you know, when I
began - not this particular piece but when I
began sculpting, I would make my forms
and transitions a little bit more extreme.
Now I draw an outline around each form, I would draw
an outline around each transition and play with them
and as I kind of got more comfortable
I don't do that any more.
I'm a little more - a little quicker,
organic with how I move through them.
But occasionally I will say okay here's the
edge of that form, here is
the shape of the transition, and then
on that transition.
I think I'm going to switch back to the other
half of the face, block in the eye a little closer to the level I have
on this side, deal with the mouth a little closer to
what I have on that side. Just so everything is balancing
correctly. This was getting too far ahead, I moved
to this side, now this is a little bit ahead, I'll move back to that side, and then
once I have that, I'll move back into the skull, the hair, the ears,
balance them out.
we can start getting into expressions,
of which right now
I don't have any
but the lack of a pose and the lack of
expression is helpful for me
right now, you know, it allows me to
the problems with the symmetry
and since Paul
you know, relatively
You know most people are
but some of the forms that I'm seeing
pretty asymmetrical and so
I'm going to pull
some of that in, you know,
I'm doing right now, I'm doing a lot of drawing. Just laying in
and this is a great example of what I was talking about earlier
how I can get distracted, I just
said I'm gonna move to the other side and as I was comparing the
two sides I noticed something about this side that I really wanna
And that's, you know,
that's fine, I'll just let myself do a little bit, I'm just not gonna let
it get too far.
I want the shadow to be a little broader right there.
Now I'm gonna come over
to the other side
begin to lay
again from the side of the nose I can see that I'm collapsed a little
So I'll lay in
a bunch of volume here.
And again as I was laying that in, I felt
my hand. I felt like I was pushing into
areas that I didn't want to push into, so I just switched
and picked up
a tool to help me, especially in an area like that between
the nostril and the nose where I don't want that big gap
in there, but I don't wanna flatten the nostril so I lay on a piece
and just use a tool to help
kinda control where it goes
as I push it in.
Okay now there's a shadow line that goes
Not quite to the back of the nostril but
close. And then
here and then
these forms need to come out quite a bit in the cheek.
So coming forward, all through here.
See all of that
is coming forward.
Shadow line that runs through to here. This
is much more vertical
on him than what I had.
And then here it moves
backward and another shape moves forward.
And then here
needs to move forward.
And then that upper
eyelid needs to move out quite a bit
gets very close to the edge
of the bridge of the
nose. Right about there.
I'm gonna check it from the front
because I feel like I'm probably pulling it and I am,
I'm much too far in so that high point right now
sort of here and I think I want it here.
So I'll keep the height, just add
volume to the
outside of that line and then
the tool and work that
eyelid is arcing really, really quickly
and I've got the end point marked
right there. And
I just put in
the highpoint. And that highpoint
is just a relationship
right now. It may change
as I continue
to refine. I mean it almost certainly will.
Later I may shift his eyes so he's looking in one direction or another
and that will change the highpoint. But
it's important for me to have some sort of idea
And probably when I kind of finish laying in
the basic movement of the eyes
I'm going to - in fact I can see right now I need to adjust
the far side to be a little bit wider
volumetrically. But now
here on this eye I need to get some volume
below right now this upper lid looks
gigantic because there's a hole underneath it.
Going to begin to lay in
underneath. Looking at some
marks that I made earlier.
I'll fill in that big
hole that I left.
Get in there and
add a little volume
underneath as well.
Again as I
mentioned earlier, holes are just
areas where you can't add anything
information wise. There's a hole there and visually
you just kind of skip it and that
ends up being a problem.
I like to remove them as I work
as much as I can and as quickly
as I can. So that one right
there is the inner corner of the eye.
All of that volume needs to go away because his eyelid is
extreme in terms of
being further out
than the eyeball. There's a lot of depth on him
between the eyelid and the eyeball so
gonna push in
all of this
that lower lid
needs to really come up.
Okay now that I have that
I'm gonna deal with the form underneath the eye.
Again I know there's like a million
problems with the eye and eyelid, I'm not trying to
finish sculpting it at this point, I just wanna lay in
a representation of
some of the projection and then the depth
that will eventually be in there.
It also gives me an opportunity
to look at it. You know I know it's not
gonna remain that way but now that I can see
something there, as I work on other things, you know my eye
keeps going back to it and I kinda begin to get
ideas for how I wanna
address it. And every now and then like what I'm doing right now I'll come in and
add a bit of depth
and then go back
to what I was doing before. So right now
I feel like I wanna deal a little bit with the upper
lip, how that moves into the cheek
on this side.
I'm gonna deal a little bit with the volume.
So that's gonna come out like that.
That'll be somewhere in there.
Right in here there's a depth
that I'm missing
and then a volume
here that I don't have
but I'll add.
Okay so I feel like the upper lip
colored part of the upper lip needs to come down
a bit more. So I'm gonna just change that angle.
Carve that in.
Add a little more volume to the
this form underneath is a shadow
comes down so...
So some of the shapes
of the shadow that are
below the mouth
are giving me
indications about the form and the direction. I think
maybe what I have is a
hair too low. So I'm gonna
push it up just a tiny, tiny bit.
But ultimately I feel like
the angle of the upper lip could drop even a tiny, tiny, tiny bit
Can you close your mouth Paul? Thanks.
So when I'm beginning like this I, you know, I like
the eyes open, straight forward, the mouth
closed, the head, you know, a square,
as I can get. And then later on when
all the relationships are established, then I'll
add all of the movement that's more natural
to him. He obviously has like a tendency to lean his head
towards his right shoulder, you know his mouth occasionally
has a tendency to open. So those
are all things that I'm kind of storing in my head right now,
characteristics that I wanna think about adding.
But at this stage I'm, you know, I've got
a thousands forms to try and organize
and trying to do that at the same time
would be a little bit of overload for me.
So I like to
leave that until a little bit later.
Okay now, can you tilt your head just
a hair back? Perfect.
Okay now I'm gonna check a
couple of verticals.
Tilt your head just a hair back to your left
and your chin down just slightly. Perfect.
Just toward the outside.
So I'm a little tiny bit wide with that mouth.
And the form around it come
in a little bit.
So that angle is right but
it's too wide
so I'll come to the side, trim that back
Okay now I'm gonna make
the movement up into the corner of the eye
where I've got kind of a matrix of
different things coming together.
Calm that area down, it's too jumbled.
So I'm gonna fill it a little bit
particularly right here
in this corner.
And then moves inward.
And then sticking,
add a little bit.
And also there's like a ledge
around the nostril.
Okay you can take
a break Paul.
So I feel like
I've balanced out the two sides. There's still
a little bit of a problem with the corners of the mouth that I wanna address.
The ears, you know one side
has the beginning of some shadow, the other doesn't. I'm gonna
begin to get that. The shape of the
back of the head I'm not really happy with,
I feel like it's a little cut off looking.
You know and I
ideally I try my
best to kind of get back
from the work when the model is on
break and make either some physical notes
on the clay. You know for example saying okay that
part of the ear, that all has to come in,
maybe making a note about like an area that I feel like
doesn't have resolution to it.
It's not the rhythm isn't making
sense of just some things that I wanna think about
or address when
the model comes back. Because it can be really
easy to get caught up in what you
have already done. You know for example I've
done a decent amount of work in this area and like
I said before, nothing is right 100%, it's all
getting closer. But I can see
oh that could go in more and that will make the chin rounder and I can do that
but it's probably not - it's not probably, it's not a good idea
for me to just keep working on something I have been working on,
it's much better for me to balance out other things that are around it.
And so when the model is not there I don't have the opportunity to
sit there and continue to look at the model and obsess over whether
I have this curve exactly right. I can -
number one I can view the sculpture
a little bit more in its own terms, you know, how does it look
compared to itself. Are the two sides
working well together? Does one
area really seem
problematic. Other things that I really want to make sure I get to
you know I keep coming back to this area, which
I feel is not working yet. And I know it's gonna be
real - an interesting challenge - because he has like kind of a bristly
short hair. And to create
that illusion is gonna be -
is gonna be a challenge and
interesting and a lot of that
I think is going to come down to
the different surfaces I end up with.
You know for example if you have somebody, you know, with
stubble and you wanna represent that, that's
gotta capture more shadow than the skin around it.
And if you have a very rough surface like what I have now on the clay
I'd have to have a much rougher surface where I want the
stubble to show up.
And that may get to a point where if I want the
hair to look darker than the stubble that my textures are not
going to function that well. And so I may have to smooth
the skin out a little bit more so I can add more shadow to where the
stubble is so it's kind of a constant back and forth of figuring out
where I'm going to end up in terms of
of how I deal
with the surface. So it's something I'm thinking about at this stage but I
haven't really 100% figured out.
clean up a few little areas while I'm waiting for
model to return. Just
areas where I feel like I've got holes that are developing.
thing that I like to do a lot
is cover over an area and then look at everything
without that particular area.
And that will kind of help me identify a problem. When I cover the
mouth I feel like the piece is a little bit better, like
if I cover the nose the mouth really jumps out as being a problem.
So it allows me to isolate, you know, what
the main issues are at the point that I'm
everything is super, super, super rough right now.
Which, you know, more and more as I've
done more and more portraits I've
working rougher and rougher
kind worked rougher and rougher and
left things more open
early on. Even if the portrait ends up
getting tightened up quite a bit.
It's because I feel like it gives me more opportunity, I can look
through here and there's so many little accidents of how the clay landed
as I added it.
And that just let's me - you know I can say oh that's kind of interesting
I wonder if I keep that or if I
extend that into that other area how that would look.
And it can
be, you know, it can be more challenging
that way than keeping everything
even in controlled and tight.
But I kind of like the opportunity.
For example this shadow under the
chin went on sharper on that
side and I kinda like that so I'm gonna add that.
So now a couple of things
that I think I'm going to try and deal
with. I'm gonna quickly deal a little bit with
his left ear.
So from the antitragul notch, which is where my
nail is, it's very, very, very minimal
coming out to the tragus. Not very much.
Especially compared to the opposite
So right here
shape of the opening
in front, all of this needs to go in.
go in a little bit
at a profile.
And say okay that's actually much more vertical.
That movement to the antitragus
back behind here.
And I have a little round tool to get rid of
some of that interior
and then there's a line
going that way.
That ear has got to come quite a bit forward.
Around here is where the ear
attaches to the head.
I'm gonna connect in through here.
Straighten that a bit.
Then again I'm not going to worry
right now about every detail
of the inner ear
or not the inner ear - anatomically speaking the
inner ear is inside that canal, but the inner -
inner portion of the
outline of the ear is not something that
I'm super worried about right now. It's just more
giving an indication of where the shadows are going to lay down
some of the movements are. So definitely
while the placement of that movement is okay, the
angle in the front is completely off.
all needs to come out.
Do that one more time.
That all needed to come pretty
Okay now that's gonna
lead me into the side burn.
Turn again to the side view
a little bit more.
And all through here
let that go in
quite a bit.
Slightly more vertical.
That kind of lines up with the
So I'm just gonna come in more. And, you know, this is
kind of important because I want the sense of the
temple going in and then that
bit of sideburn going out.
So figuring out how that
occurs is gonna be
In a lot of ways I'm looking at these different areas less
as the ear and the temple and the hair
to move the shape in the direction
that I think it needs to go to be
evocative of what's going on with him so the
depth in here
right in front of
the ear as it goes up into his temple and then how
it really comes out,
figuring out how to get deep enough
what I'm doing right now.
You know if this were an abstract sculpture I would just
push it in but
in order to get that kind of abstract relationship of depth
to volume I need
to both do the practical sort of
maneuvering of pushing and pulling out
but at the same time I have to make it work with the
narrative elements that are there, his eye,
his ear. It's gotta look like an eye and an ear and not just an area that's
been pulled or pushed in different
ways. And that's, you know, one of the
hallmarks of good representational art is that abstract
things functioning both as what they are
abstract elements to make
a composition work.
And I guess
you know the longer that I
sculpt, the more
years that I've put in, the more I kind of come to the
realization that I'd rather that it work really well
have it look exactly accurate
narratively. And it's still
important for me to have things
seeing like what they are. But if I have to sacrifice something I'd
rather it look a little less
like Paul and a little bit
more interesting as a sculpture.
There are, you know, there are
always things that you can say like well, you know, if you want it to look just
like him, take a picture of him. But in the end
I believe it will look just like him.
And the real challenge is to make it
and interesting dynamic
sculpture, which includes psychological
elements, compositional elements, and all these
other things that I'd like
to think about
putting in. So right now I'm
really focusing on moving from the side
view to the front view, which is, you know, it's interesting
how his hair is moving
around that corner. That's what I'm trying to
get right now. So
sometimes it's helpful to have
large knife to make
kind of big
both big lines to help -
define an entire area and
align a lot of the smaller
movements that I'll be putting in if everything tends to fall
along the same
line, that same axis that I drew it will create a sense of unity.
That will be lost if I use just like a little tool and draw
lots of little shapes.
There's this interesting line
from - can you tilt your head just to the
The line of the temple
right like that where things really begin to fall off.
So it's just a little tiny movement
that I'm missing right here,
which is causing a real
And then the hair will tend to break
right around that
line, sort of softly as it goes over it.
So I'll lay in
a line like that and then
the hair will just turn
and change direction.
Kind of a little bit out.
From that line.
Can you tilt your head to your left shoulder? Perfect, just like that.
So it's right in here that's
the challenge. Right now I'm getting just
the right amount to show.
So the eyebrow is coming up there, changing
fold right there.
So it's some wispy hair coming through
on that side.
A little bit more of an arc.
something is going on I don't like right here.
So I'm gonna try and figure out
how to move
so I want that hair to be turning
back toward the ear
and then coming out rapidly around the
Then by the time it reaches here
it's a lot more volume.
Tilt your head a little bit to -
a little more - good, perfect.
So that's short, I need just a tiny bit more volume
A tiny bit
more volume to that edge of the ear.
can deal with some of the depth
and shapes around
You know I always think this is, for me,
true in figure sculpture and in
portrait sculpture, where things change
are the most important areas.
So for example the temple
is a change between the hair
and the face and the ear
so it's really crucial to get that
The jawline, those underneath the jawline
like those areas I feel like you can get the nose, the mouth,
the eyes all wrong. If those areas of transition are right
the elbow, the knee, the shoulder,
on the figure. If you get those
everything else can be off and it'll still work pretty well.
If you have everything but those
you'll still have problems. If you have beautiful
features on this thing and then all the transitional areas
are wrong, it's gonna be very difficult
to get it to really feel correct.
And it's a little, you know, when you're beginning it's
a little counterintuitive. I think the important things are the
eyes, the nose, the mouth, getting the features to look right.
And the more I do it,
the more evidence I see in
my own work and looking at other people's work and
some sculptures by people like
Bernini, portraits by Bernini and Houdon,
portrait sculptors that, you know, it's really where those
elements are changing that are
areas to focus on.
I'm getting kinda close
The drawing needs to
get a little more specific.
That's gotta end higher up
and then that cheek needs to come in a little bit earlier.
I want it to arc out a little
bit more and soften.
I wanna increase the shadow here
Part of that I can do by pushing in
and part of that
I can do by adding.
the holes that I have in the corner of the mouth and the bottom
of the lip are preventing me
further. So I'm gonna fill that
I'll sketch in a little bit of what I want to happen there.
Now I'll push in a little bit
just looking a little bit
at the shadow
that's being created.
Okay now I'm gonna sketch in a little bit
of some of this
stuff that I feel like is maybe a little extreme.
Like this needs to come forward.
I feel like
this line definitely needs to come forward a lot
And then I'm missing some
movements through and under here.
there's a lot more depth under
here than what I have.
So some of this
was missing and
needed to, you know, sketch
was going on there.
So in this session I've
added a little bit more to the neck and shoulders, which
i need to continue on, I blocked out a little bit more of the
skull, I added in the eyes, more information,
around the mouth, more information around the ears,
In the end here I was just starting to get
in under the chin, you know on this side
of the chin you can see it's much wider from the nail to
the edge. On this side I've begun to push in and add more
information, which I think will
give more of a
what that area really should
be. I'm missing a lot of shadow
in through here. So at the end I was just beginning
to go kind of one more layer
in deeper into all of these areas in
order to begin to
increase the amount of information and then
begin to relate the
information together and pull everything together.
And so next time we will continue with that.
Free to try
1. Lesson overview18sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Blocking in the neck, working on the hair and the ears24m 30s
3. Clarifying the eyes, building the relationships between the features21m 1s
4. Working on the left side of the face29m 53s
5. Working on the right side of the face26m 8s
6. Switching back to the left side of the face30m 1s