- 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 lays in the shoulders, the collar bones, and the sternum. He also adds mass to the lower part of the sculpture to balance out the upper part. Then David demonstrates how you can adjust the relationships between the right ear, the neck, and the hair by adding or removing volume and refining transitions. He adjusts the forehead-hairline-temple relationships the same way. Finally, you see how the right side of the portrait gets more and more specified.
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a little bit of the shoulder, the collar bone,
the sternum, bring some
mass to this lower part to balance out the upper
portion. And then I'll move into the ears, the hair,
and start to pull everything together before I get too much into
dealing with the
mouth, the nose, the eyes, the chin, other areas that I'd really like to get
more information into. I think the smarter thing to do at this point
is to pull everything together and see how everything
balances out and then go from there.
I'm marking where I want
the pit of the neck to be.
A little lower than that.
So right in here. This
can be measured but I'm just gonna measure it
optically right now by comparing
where I think that should be
versus - so the distance from here
to here on him versus the chin
to the upper lip. So in other words when I measure optically from the upper lip
to the bottom of the chin, that distance matches
that distance on him. So that's where I'm going to lay it in initially. And then I'll make
any adjustment that I need to
as I refine it. So
here are the shapes of the
sternocleidomastoid, the big muscle that
connects the head to the torso
and pull those
which means the collarbone will be here. I'm gonna turn
Paul to the side
figure out how far forward
I need to go for the collarbone.
Should be roughly not too far from
where I have it.
You know that's the funny thing about
doing this for 25 years is that
you do it again and again
and you begin to develop a pretty good
feel for where things go.
Initially I had really very little idea for where things went
and so I would measure
everything and need to really measure everything because my instincts
developed. And so if I guessed at something
and then measured I'd be pretty, you know, significantly off,
and now I'm, you know, fairly frequently
in a position where I kind of start by guessing where things should be
and then checking and I'm generally
pretty close. And that just comes from
and then checking it and then doing it again and checking it and doing it again
and checking it. You do it, you know, a hundred times, a thousand times, and you begin
to get a pretty clear idea
of where things are gonna end up.
The front of the collar bone on Paul is
I'm gonna move to the other
other side. So right
through here. I also like
to come down
quickly. You know unfortunately right now the clay
is not as warm
as I would like it so it's a little
more physically demanding to move around.
If this were a warmer or if it were a water
based clay it would go a little bit quicker. I'm going to
go back and forth and switch out
blocks. You know when I'm beginning
work for the day and maybe the
clay isn't as warm as I would like it to be I'll have
multiple blocks of clay in
the oven and when they're not
really warm I'll take out the warmest one, use it for
a little bit, pop it back in the oven, pull out
another one and just go back and forth and that'll help
get me moving while I'm waiting for
things really to all be
the right temperature. You know as
I'm doing this, I can mention
that there are many ways that you can
heat up these oil based clays.
The best that I have found is
some version of convection
which essentially is using
to heat the clay.
A lot of convection ovens that you have in a kitchen will use
a traditional heating element and couple that with a fan so
they're blowing the warm air around
whatever's being heated. Right now I'm using
a space heater in a
enclosed box that has vents
cut in the top so that as the air is blown
around it's being sucked out the top and that
moving warm air heats the clay
pretty evenly. The one method
I would not recommend is a microwave,
although I have used it in the past,
it heats the clay from the inside
and so while the outside stays -
while the outside of the clay stays
cold, the inside
can get so hot that it turns liquid.
And if you squeeze on it sometimes it'll just kind of pop open
and spray molten clay on you.
So it's not
it's not a very good way to heat the clay because
it's a little bit dangerous in that way
because you don't realize how hot it is inside and
once that hot clay comes out
and spatters on your hands, it's so thick
that you can't really get it off
so it's like having hot tar poured on you.
So convection is sort of my favorite
way, some people use heat lamps,
which are okay, not super
high on those because those do, they really
heat one spot of the clay, wherever the heat lamp is
little spot will get really hot and
you manually then have to move the clay around to get
evenly distributed so it's just not the most
efficient way to heat up the clay.
And for what I'm
doing right now, sort of building
for the bust portion of the portrait
this is like really where
I'm having a lot of really warm
fluid clay is most helpful
because you are putting on
a good amount of clay in a fairly short amount of
time. When I'm refining
the features and doing things like that
I don't really need very much clay, I'm not putting on a large volume.
If the clay is cold it's not really that
big a deal. But one of
the things that you're doing when you're building up the busy
is trying to
impart a certain a mount of movement and
rhythm and sort of connection between the
shoulder, the neck, the chin, the throat, the
collarbone. And so working in smaller pieces
because the clay is cold makes it more challenging
to develop that kind of feeling that things are
Not that it's impossible, it's just not
And the process as a whole
is pretty challenging.
You know getting a portrait to work well is not an easy thing to do
and so the more
you can make the
elements of the process that can go smoothly,
the more you can make those go smoothly,
the better off you'll be.
You know just because inherently it's a
difficult process and so if you
then add to it by making your materials
fight with you, you're just
adding to those difficulties. That's sort of one of the
issues I've always had with
the idea of student grade materials.
Student grade materials generally are cheaper
materials that are of lower quality.
And I think the idea behind that - I'm gonna get some warm clay -
the idea behind student grade materials is that students
aren't really very good anyhow so why pay a lot of money
if you're not that good. Wait until you're a lot better at
what you do and then spend money on good materials.
Which from a financial standpoint seems to make sense
but if you take into account that
good materials make the work that you're doing easier to accomplish
and that's why they're good materials, then
when somebody really doesn't know what they're doing, you
want to make sure that you're giving them every advantage.
Make the work not fight with them. It's
gonna be easier for someone like me who's been doing this for
a very long time to take materials that maybe aren't that great
and make them do what I want them to do just because I've
spent a lot of time and I kind of know the process, I know where I'm going.
So I can deal a little bit with clay that's not as
warm as I'd like it or materials that don't move around
quite the way I'd like them to.
But if I were a student, I might
just think oh I guess that's how these materials are supposed to work.
always recommended for students to get the best materials that they can.
And when they really know what they're doing
then they can make a decision as to whether they want to work with
cheaper materials because then they'll understand and know what the trade offs
And almost every really good
instructor, professional artist that I've
run into and talked about that idea with sort of
feels the same way. Like good materials are easier to work with so why would students
want to use materials that make learning more difficult.
coming through here. Now
to talk a little about kind of the idea
of what I'm doing, how far down am I gonna go
You know a basic
way out for me, you know, a place where
I would maybe start my thinking about how far down
to go would be to take the overall size of the head
top to bottom, bottom of the chin to the top of the head,
and come down about that same distance from
the chin to the bottom of the chest.
In other words so that the amount
of room that I'm giving to the bust is equal to the amount
of room I'm giving to the head.
And that will help things balance
out here to here,
being equal to here to here.
there, generally what I'll do is cut back
or add to it. So in other words I'll lay in
the chest down to
roughly a mark like
that - and it is really quite rough.
Meaning I'm not
measuring down to the quarter inch, eighth inch
I'm just taking a very, very loose
measurement, you know, maybe like
half inch more than where I am right now.
a pair of dividers. So here to
You can hear
how difficult it is to break that clay off, it's still pretty cold,
so once again switch
to a new block.
This one's pretty good.
Got a third block in here that
has been warming. Maybe three is the right number because
if you have two
each one of those is only being heated for half
the time. Three you'll have one that
much warmer than the other two. This one's much better so I can move
quickly. So here
is where I'm going to put the bottom
of the portrait.
And just draw a quick center line.
And then okay - you can take a break -
as he takes a break I'm gonna
just make a connection here to the
the clay, you don't - with this oil based clay it's pretty
tenacious. It's pretty self supporting
unlike water based clay.
ways of holding the clay together.
Butterflies are little cross pieces of wood held in by
wires that are placed into water based clay
sculptures to help support the weight of the clay
because the clay - the water based clay has very, very little
ability to resist its own weight. So when you put
some mass down here it tends to want to start to fall
on its own so you need these little bits of wood and wire to
that are connected into your main armature to
help resist that downward pressure. Here
I can put a piece of clay like that hanging straight
out to the side and it won't fall
a lot of
ability to resist its own weight. So you don't need very much
but once you start
sculpting it, once you start pushing on it and moving it around with tools
you do want at least a connection
in here to the armature to give it a little bit of
solidity. So that
is definitely something that can be
done when the model is taking a break
you know the very basic general shape.
trapezius or the line of the shoulder upward
And then the overall shape
you know right now this side is wider than that side.
so I'm gonna widen that side a little bit. The overall shape
is going to be
a decision that I'll make based on a number of
factors, one - probably the most important one - being just the
overall feel of the piece
and that will sometimes
change as I go along, as I kind of begin to get
a little bit of a better sense of how
the features are coming together and what the feeling is, I may
adjust the proportion of
how much I'm giving to the lower
section, if I want it more squared off, more oval.
interestingly the kinda classic, oval form
of portraiture comes from
the ancient Roman portrait tradition
and more specifically from portraits of emperors
and there used to be workshops, marble workshops, where they
would create hundreds of portraits of
Julius Caeser and Caesar Augustus
and all the various emperors
and they would be placed upon
bodies, these heroic bodies,
and when an emperor died there was this classic kind of
standardized shape to the bust so
that they could pop off the head of one emperor and pop on
the head of the new emperor without having to change the entire
figure. They just needed to change the head.
And they would
also do all kinds of things like
have inlay of different materials and
so the standardized
oval format would allow for
fitting the head into
was made of a different material.
And like many things
Roman and Greek sculpture
when it was rediscovered, primarily
in the Renaissance in Rome
aspects of why things were done
initially by the people who were finding
and being influenced by
those pieces. And so they
some of the ideas out of context, probably the most
well known and famous of them being
the blank eyeball, the idea
you know that you have the eye and the white
and colored part of the eye would all be sort of
a simple arced white shape as opposed to
what I've done and having the
iris carved in the way I've
indicated and that sort of white, or what they call blank
eye was seen as a very classical
decision and so very
often in the Renaissance sculptors would leave that eyeball
blank in that way to kind of
almost as a connotation of
later they began to understand that all of these ancient
pieces were painted and so the reason why those
eyes frequently would be left that way was because the iris was painted on
to that round paint as opposed to left blank.
So they're all kinds of
sort of reasons that things were made a certain way
and then the
the reason that they were done becomes
lost and just
the fact, the aesthetic fact, of what they looked like becomes
more important and people adopt the aesthetic with
without the reason behind it. And
there's nothing inherently I think wrong with that and if you like
the way something looks, if it feels interesting there's nothing
wrong with doing it even though it's not for the same
reason that the initial -
the people who did it initially did it.
You know and a good example of that is the
shape, this sort of classic shape of the bust.
Okay so I definitely am gonna wanna come out
Let's see I need
And then that.
Now this clay is
beginning to get a little bit too
these other sections.
is gonna come back.
this is, you know, partially based
but at this stage for me mostly
just based on
not even design but more balance.
You know trying to get a feel for
the balance of the piece. That balances much better
on that side
than on that side. This feels a little high and it feels
a little bit narrow.
So I'm going to
cut it down a little bit here.
And bring it outward
that out. Bring
that all looks okay.
Bring that down.
I'm gonna bring this shape
out a little bit further here.
Definitely a very, very
flat front to back,.
which I'm not
crazy about. Just kinda scoot
back in that chair so you're sitting a little more upright.
Okay so it looks to me like
a couple of things need to happen. One,
and so right about
here - is there? No, right
the back really comes
out from that point. So it's fairly
straight up and down
to there. And then
a real - that should be
sixth or the seventh vertebrae
the trapezius really comes out there.
maybe even more importantly the collar bone
needs to come forward
all through this
So it's much more important to get
to like get a quick
sense of the volume, you know,
as quick as I can
and I'm not
that it be perfectly
accurate int terms of
I'm really concerned much more about where it is
and how full and the relationship to
what is around it. There's this big mass
right under that collarbone
It's also pretty important that I maintain
a midline, a sense of where that
division should be.
put the other side.
You know I don't have any
doubt I can figure out all of
the sort of the shape of everything
but the shape of everything and sort of the modeling
is really unimportant if things are not
in the right place. So there's a big
division here, and then a really
kind of distinct arc in the volume here.
Meaning that that collarbone really comes
out and then in pretty deeply.
And figuring out
where that is - see this all needs to come
So I've gone
from one side all the way around the front to the other side within just
a couple of minutes.
all the way to the back view.
So there is that vertebrae
coming in here, out
to the side view
That's really gonna go in
And I'll go over all
of those elements multiple times.
Right now I'm just trying to get like an overall feel for where
the volumes are, how they're moving
And now I can
come back to the front, do a couple of quick
lines to sketch
out where I want
the structure to be. So here is,
you know, some of the cartilage of the ribcage here
major division below the
clavicle or the
So here's where I can
do a little bit of shaping and modeling because
I've laid in
some of the mass.
Now some people
will go much further
in blocking in the mass before they do any kind of shaping.
I kind of - I tend to go back and forth between
massing things in, giving them a little
shape, adjusting the mass again.
So just because I'm doing a little modeling doesn't mean I won't
go right over that with, you know, more mass. I feel like
from the side it's still a little bit vertical.
You know all of this still really needs to come out
but sometimes for me I have a harder time
seeing that overall angle
without a little bit of information
around it. For example, you know,
having done a little bit of work here
allowed me to see that a little more clearly.
Come back to the front view.
Fill in here.
a little bit in here. Now I'm gonna connect
a little bit up through into the neck,
pit of the neck here.
Can you raise your chin a little bit, it's right there.
come inside of the clavicle
here. So in other words the clavicle is gonna stay here.
So right here
that sternocleidomastoid will -
the end of that will stay inside of the end of the bone here.
And then that
connection through the throat
in the neck. Okay.
Will be important in creating
a connection between
and the chest.
So pretty strong angle.
So I find it helpful to draw that line
and then cut in
and it's just helpful to have that guide
there's a lot happening even in
one little curve like that
to get it to feel correct.
added a little bit of depth here.
the side of the neck.
where we pass the
which is here. As I go up I begin to
get the back view
of the sternocleidomastoid.
And that's really important to be able to create that
sense of full three
dimensionally. The side view of this portion of the
sternocleidomastoid and the back view of the upper portion.
I'm just making sure that I have
a lot of depth.
So now I'm gonna take a step back
and it's definitely
helpful to me to see this moving all the way
You know I feel like
maybe the angle is too severe
I may want to flatten that a little bit
when Paul comes back.
Pulling down a little bit.
But I'll do
you know just a tiny bit there and then move onto the other side,
which will help balance things out and then
I'll move a little bit into the throat to pull that,
particularly a point like that, pull that in under the chin.
And then up into the ear.
And then I'll really have kind of a flow all the way through.
Then probably the next step in balancing this portrait out
will be dealing with the hair a little bit and how that connects in.
So I'm gonna
quickly take a very quick look at this.
I'm gonna see it in that.
That's pretty good where I have it.
out a little bit more.
I'm gonna move to the other side
to quickly - the first thing I'm gonna
do is check the pit of the neck
which is close, it can maybe come up
just a tiny, tiny bit.
And I'll start to pay
attention now to symmetry, getting that
even though it's not, strictly speaking,
I want a pretty clear
what's going on one side and
what's going on
on the other.
needs to come down.
That will go there -
just use my hand
to push in a little bit of that depth.
And come in
here. That can come up just a tiny bit
that's gonna come up - can you turn your head that - perfect.
Just like that. So I'm just
taking a step back and checking
where some of these angles are. I feel like
this angle can come out just a tiny bit
can come in
and then the throat
is coming straight here
and straight here
meaning I need more depth
And because I'm right handed
it always has seemed a little bit easier for me to deal
with the right hand side, with this side.
This is more
accessible, my tool's
always in that hand, it's -
I feel like I'm always crossing over
myself on the opposite side
but I just
have to always be aware,
myself to not get too far
the head on one side before I
and lay out the opposite side.
You know and ultimately if you build really
strong, solid armatures you can lay these things down
and reposition him if there's
something that's particularly tricky to get into
crossing up your body. You know if I'm
finishing something, you know, I may lay it down to get
an area a little bit more
to the tools I'm using. So here I definitely
I need that to go back
considerable amount. So
I'll just dig it out with my thumb
to get the initial
switching to a tool
to even it out.
In general whatever you can
use to make what you're doing go
it's not simply a question of being efficient
thing - you know if
you take a lot of time to excavate an area like that
it becomes very, very difficult to know when to stop.
If you take, you know, millimeter by millimeter out
it becomes so time consuming and you lose
track of how much you're removing then it's very easy to just go way
beyond where you need to be. If you can get it done in
a few seconds, you know, stop, look
say oh I'm not quite deep enough, do it again, a few seconds
you'll be able to see with much more clarity
need to end up. You know if
you very, very carefully remove just a little bit
more, a little bit more, every time you look and you try and check you're so
far away from where you need to be that it becomes easier and easier not to
check as often and just say oh I probably need to remove more. You just keep slowly
removing, removing, removing, and then by the time you get around to checking
you've gone beyond where you need to be
and then the other negative of that is it took you so long to get
there that you're less likely to make the correction.
So speed in that way not
only makes things more efficient and makes you able to get
through something quicker, it also
tends to make you more accurate just because
you'll be more likely to make all the
corrections you need to make because the initial -
the initial modeling, the initial removal or addition of
material didn't take that long. So you don't feel quite as bad about
adjusting it. Okay.
So that's actually not too bad
in terms of just a very rough lay in.
I'll just clean that up a little bit.
You know again I'm much more
relationships than having this thing all
completely modeled and
clean. I can see things
better, this is balancing out, you know there's still
problems in here but I don't wanna get into
a place where I'm really
just focusing all of my energy
on cleaning this, making it all nice and even.
It's tempting. As I'm
saying that I'm actually cleaning it and making it more even.
But that's not my
goal at this stage.
My goal is getting things balanced
and turning, you know, what was a really
just the head turn into more of
a complete portrait.
take a look at the entire thing
I'm gonna start to make a couple of adjustments to
the ear. Can you bring your chin down a little bit? Perfect.
So I'm gonna adjust the ear.
Now I can begin to see the relationship
between the ear and the neck
very, you know, minute
adjustments that I'm making to
make this angle
match that angle. And then
in addition to that,
the hair and how that
interacting with the
point at which it touches the ear and then how it continues up
from that point.
So a little fresh clay.
And right now for me everything is
pulling from that neck.
So this line - let me see if I can line it up in front of the
camera - this line here
has a relationship to this line and
to that line. So I'm adding a little bit here, I'm changing
the angle a little bit here. I'm gonna come right up
the top of the head.
better and now
there's an angle here.
the things I'm doing now are, in some ways, more rhythmic
I really want
of the hair to come up
and then fall back
in to a line with the hair here.
like that. The hair
forward like that.
Recheck from the front. So again you have to be
check it from multiple angles.
There's one kind of movement that I'm looking for from the
hair and how it comes from the ear
up to the
the point on the head where it changes direction
and it's not the entirety of the hair,
it's kind of a section that maybe goes from the front of the ear
right around here
ends right about here.
So back here it's going in.
So I'm gonna dig that inward a bit
to that turn.
That is all turning backward.
So getting that one
chunk of hair
in a way that I want it to with
the rest of the hair
the ear and with the skull underneath
is what I'm working on now. It's starting
to make sense
to me I'm
starting to see where the divisions are.
There's one right here where this
chunk of hair in the front
Raise your chin up just a little bit. Perfect, thank you.
And then this
is coming in
This side of the head.
And the sideburn
Can you open
your eyes? Thank you.
The movement right through here
like that where
there's a lot of volume above and a real transition below.
So I'm gonna clean up
a little bit below and then move
from that deep portion
coming in from
I almost feel like a barber now. Just
that side burn
use a smaller tool to remove it.
And now I wanna get
laid in, particularly the relationship
it comes into the
There's a lot of depth
So the way I'm gonna start to get
that tab is I'll cut the angle fairly deeply.
This angle I'll cut fairly deeply so
this line and this line. And then I'm gonna back cut behind
them like this.
And I'm trying to make this
cut, this cut,
and that cut intersect to the point where I
can lift out that entire chunk. And that'll give me
the depth that I'm looking for
in sort of a neat
way. Meaning a way in which I'm not scooping out
clay and leaving a big mess
behind. I can keep the angles all nice and neat. Okay so take a break.
What's that? Okay.
So Paul is gonna take a break.
So I've done a bit of adjustment of these layers.
I've got a bit more to do, I can kind of see the differences
but I can also see that they can be a little more
extreme. So while he is taking a
break I'm gonna pull this in
and those little hatch marks are
a guide, a note that I
make for myself. You know I have a whole
set of little symbols that I've
develop over time as a little set of
notes that only I understand.
You know I understand what they mean when I make little x's or little hatch
marks or little curves, you know, that is telling me okay take that in
sometimes I'll make curved lines and that'll tell me
like okay I wanna add a little bit more to that section.
feeling like this is a little monolithic
you know it's coming inward but it doesn't have...
Sounds like there was just a car accident outside.
It doesn't have a lot of shape
So I'm going to take a little bit of look
tincture for the ear and clean it up a little bit.
Get a little clay in there, also
making it a little more
All the pushing and pulling that I've done
clay for the ear, even though the
clay itself is pretty
will stay where I put it, there's a crack that developed that,
you know if you keep pushing, pulling the ear off, pushing it back on
it's not that the weight of it will allow it
to fall off but when you then start modeling it'll start
to move around. So right now on both
cleaning it and
packing a little bit of clay into
areas where it feels like it's
wiggling a little bit, just to make it
a little bit more solid where
I wanna be able to
sculpting with it, so here
now that the back is a little
firmer, I can
shape the edge.
see that the
front of the ear needs to come forward a bit.
This needs to come vertical.
tragus, which is the name of this
form, this little flap of
skin, that needs to be longer and higher.
The thing that I know
about this area is where that nail
is, right here is the notch. So
above - that tells me just about everything that I need to know.
You know that notch has a particular
angle to it.
So this all,
this front part, all needs to move up because
needs to go up like that.
In like that.
That, a little bit
A little bit more inside. The front of the ear
is blending in
to the side of the head up here.
Where it attaches
And then changing direction here.
it should come forward.
Now the ear
is an area that intimidates
a lot of people but it's actually
in my opinion like one of the easier areas to deal with
because all the shapes are
pretty linear, just a matter of getting all the angles
correct and not that that's
not challenging at all
but getting a bunch of angles right is now
really that difficult compared to like
how everything in the front needs to arc.
I've always found the ear to be - and in addition to that
like if you get things just a hair off
it still looks like an ear. It doesn't suddenly -
not only does it not suddenly
become a huge problem but a
very slightly differently shaped ear will not prevent it
from looking like the model, whereas
if you really have issues with the eyes or the nose or the mouth
it really affects the likeness.
There's such a
angles and sizes and
movements, such a variety from person to person
in the ears and even between two ears of the
I feel like
you just have more of a leeway
ear than you do with many other features.
I'm gonna turn - and that's
said you do need to be aware that
you're checking it from
DS13_01 01:26DS13_02 28:53(sculpting)
You know here I'm working
from three quarters
behind, sort of telling me
you know giving me a lot of really good
about that shape.
And then that comes forward,
this goes there. Now I can come back
to the side view,
you know since Paul does not have
super long hair,
with which I can support the ear.
You know if it's a female portrait and they've got lots of long hair, the back
of the ear frequently can be right up against the volume of the hair
and that lends some structural
the modeling of the
ear. Here the back of the ear is pretty much free floating and so
I will, you know, periodically
brace my hand behind
the ear if I'm pushing or pulling too much
just in order not to have the whole thing
crack or move. That said like once I've
modeling it I can remove my hand, it's not gonna move on it's own.
The clay will be
you know very strong in
resisting movement on its own. It's just if you're pushing and pulling and
doing things like that you wanna develop a habit
supporting with the hand that you're not working with. You can see
this, my left hand, is holding that ear in place as
Okay so that's all working well. Now I'm
into - the one thing that's definitely really
helpful in dealing with ears
are different shapes and tools, particularly any round tools.
This one that I have that's
toothed and round is great for getting into areas
edges and things like that.
raise your chin a little bit Paul. Right there.
I'll pull out material here
and, you know, you do definitely
have to be careful here because the actual
structure of the ear is super, super thin.
And with someone like Paul who doesn't
have that hair
behind the ear to give support to that edge
it is very
easy to get that
detached or cracked or...
Okay so here I'm giving a little depth to that portion of the ear
from a three quarter perspective I can
take a look at the angle there.
It goes a lot like that.
Go in here.
this needs to come forward.
Can you tilt your head just a little bit to your
left ear. Yeah and then turn your chin towards me.
Perfect, just like that.
Okay so now that whole edge right there
I'm gonna switch tools. And as a rule
I don't know if I mentioned this, I always
try and use the largest tool that I can for whatever I'm
doing. And I'll really only
try and switch tools if
I'm having a hard time getting
the larger tool to do what I need it to do.
But small tools are really
a big problem
in terms of movement. They're very bad at
dealing with movement.
They're great o help you reach things that
you can't reach with larger tools but if you want
a sense of connection and movement between
areas, the little tools are
more something that are going to interfere with that and kill that
sense of rhythm and connection.
for an area like what I'm doing right now, this tool is relatively -
you know I can get from the ear lobe all the way up
in one movement. Right here
I want a little more depth. I'm not able to get that
with that tool so I'll switch
to the smaller tool which will allow me to get that depth.
Now I'm gonna check this from the front.
some roundness to the inside
of this structure.
That's somewhat better.
and I wanna
deal a little bit with
the structure of how the ear is moving
So here I want a little more
So with the little tool I'll excavate
Okay so that's not 100 percent
finished. There's one structure I feel like I'm
really missing that I wanna add in which is this,
the end of this
piece and how
at the end
I feel like there's a
break in there that I don't quit have
I see it. So right
Going into that point
and then right at that point it's beginning to come
out and it's just like a little bit
because the clay is
separating. In other words it's hard to
pack it in in such a way that I can
You know sometimes that's
one of the more time consuming
and annoying elements is, you know, I just wanna
move and, you know, I'm seeing things and I wanna put them in and
I've gotta slow down and just pack in the clay and
just carefully come in here and
make sure it's connected and not going to
Okay so that's good enough for now.
One other thing
I wanna do is increase the size of the tragus. His
tragus really comes out
and there's a little rounded
knob to it that I wanna
put on there to make sure I have that
you know that nice character. And from there
it really is almost a plane
Okay. There we go. Okay.
more clearly having put some information into that ear
what's going on. I can see
a couple of problems I'll just quickly fix that
is coming out a little too much when I looked at it from the front
because I wanna be able to
capture a little bit of the
aspect of the edge of the ear, it's one of
things that I find kind of
makes things a little bit more lively, that little extra
movement in the edge of the ear there.
And that kinda
compelling me to move
this shape inward
So this is a good example of, you know, I've done
you know a reasonable amount of
modeling in there but I
know that I'm still gonna change things. So I, you know,
I'm not very wedded to it. I don't consider what I'm doing right now
finishing work in any sense,
but that information
set in stone so to speak. It's not -
it's not something that I won't
alter or adjust, you know, all of this actually can see now
needs to go in
relative to the edge
of the ear.
But it's helping me kind of work my way into
that temple and how
I wanna ultimately deal with the hair.
So I'm gonna move a little bit into that area
and this is, you know, this is an area where
his physical attributes
I'm going to have to kind of get one layer
more refined than I
have been up until now.
Meaning he has such short hair
that there's such a color different here
this area of his face rough
is making it very difficult to establish
difference in materials, meaning
hair to flesh.
You know if there were more volume to the hair, I'd have more room
to make the
transition and I would need as refined
a transition. So here
I'm beginning to move that in
I'm gonna add just a tiny bit
now I'm gonna move that
the face. Now I'm gonna take a little bit of screen.
Clean that area
a little bit,
check it from the front.
Can you lower your chin just a little bit?
it's collapsing just a tiny bit
right here, pull that out.
Good. And now move that.
And I'll try and describe
what I'm seeing.
So I'm looking specifically at this
whoops let me - this line here.
And the shape of it that I'm seeing on the model, there's like a distinct
break right here that I didn't
have that I'm adding and there's another break
and then this line is not
quite so flat as what I have. So I'm gonna add a
little bit of volume,
turning it just so I can see it more clearly,
adding that volume,
blending it in a little bit
where I get to the transition right here
I wanna start with
dig into that area. I'm gonna switch to a round tool
because it's a fairly small area
and I need
a little more depth.
So now when I come back to the front view
if we come out a little bit with the camera
so we can see this far edge, there we go.
Now I'm kind of down to this point.
It looks okay but
I want that
to begin to move in
that area. And outward
behind it, like right here.
See this sideburn really should be moving
outward. So that
kind of a combined problem of
it not moving probably inward enough
Let me check that.
So that's going in.
Try and draw that edge real quick.
Okay that's better.
I wanna end
a little bit more elegantly.
I don't like
that edge so I'm gonna get rid of it
and mark that highlight a little bit higher.
this area in
a shadow in there. And
doing something like this it's helpful to
clean it off a little bit
because that texture that the tool
leaves makes it a harder
to see if I'm actually getting a shadow.
Raise your chin a little bit.
So I want a little pool of shadow there.
I wanna turn in a little bit here because I
want another pool of shadow moving
up through here.
So I'm gonna clean
a little bit
so you can see a little bit more
what's going on there. Move down a little bit.
So the side burn definitely needs
to come up
And everything underneath it
is moving at an angle inward.
I also think it needs to come forward. Can you life your chin a little bit?
To about here.
So I'm gonna remove the clay
which gives me more depth
to play with.
this can come up like that.
Switch to a larger tool so it's
the hair has more
volume and like.
Now three quarters will help me
this line that I'm trying to get,
which I feel like can come out just a tiny bit here to get more
length in that area.
And then also
there's a change
where the ear is coming out
and then back in. So
I'm gonna clean that area a little bit.
And move that right into
the side of the head.
that looks okay.
I feel like this
whole form right here
needs to move
inward just a tiny bit. I'm gonna check it from the front one more
needs to move in and that is much too
shave it down a little bit.
If the shape of it is right, it's sticking out
which is a combination I think of
what's in front of it being
a little too far out so I need to move that area
in to get enough of a transition
because I want
a division between
the shape around the eye
and this wider portion of the
raise your chin up a little bit - of the
zygomatic arch, which is what
this shape is.
So I'm just pushing that in a little bit.
And this fine tuning of like getting those shapes sort of
into their proper location,
you know it is so important in
kind of the transition from this being a sketch
into a more fully realized portrait.
And, you know, as you can
tell, it's not a perfectly - at
least for me - it's not a perfectly linear process,
where you do one thing and then you do the next thing and then you do the next thing
and then you're done. It's doing
something, doing something else, doing something else, going back to the first thing,
making adjustments on that,
and it's why
the first few times you do a
portrait, it's so hard to know,
you know, exactly what to do and when to do what and how much attention to give
something just because
until you've gone through it enough times,
it's hard to realize how many times you're gonna go
over something again and again and so how, in some ways
it doesn't, you know, it doesn't matter if you're exactly right
in a granular sense the, you know, the first time or two.
Just it close because you're gonna end up adjusting it almost no matter
what. I've never seen the process go without, you know,
countless little changes
adjustment, and some major ones. And there are times when I
end up making a fairly
but they're always
you know or at least I like to think, they're always worth
while. Always worth while to
improve what you're doing.
Even if it means getting rid of something you spent a lot of time on
the alteration is gonna improve it, then
in my opinion
it's worth doing.
So here I'm increasing the transition
through this area, which allows
me then to
pull this shape that I felt was a little too far out
I can pull that in
without losing the
transition that I have. Okay.
Take a break.
And now I'm going to clean it up a little bit.
And now I'm going to
go right into that line where
and refine that,
get that really
And I keep
now going back and forth,
side to front
to see that shape and
how it's moving. It's getting closer
to what I want.
And I'll keep
going back and forth as I
refine that area to make sure
that I'm looking for is
So earlier in the process
I was looking really to maintain a lot of straight,
a lot of kind of clear angles
Now I'm looking to break them, you know, I don't
want this to be too straight, I want
a more dynamic
set of movements, like right now I'd like for this line right
here to follow that curve a little bit
more and for maybe even that curve right here
to be less clear. I'm gonna step
in front just for a second.
Like that but a little bit better.
So I'm gonna take
that away and now
I want that line of the hair there to
follow it a little bit more.
So again I'll step in front of the camera just for a second
so I can try and get that.
Okay that's better.
Following that a little bit more
this thing, pulling that hair
up and through
and it's right - the problem area is right here.
Where if you look at it it sort of widens
and turns flat on that line
what I'm trying to get rid of a little bit.
I want that to
a little bit more.
Seeing how I can make
that transition. And those transitions are somewhat
better but not sure about that -
not something I wanna
take a look at when he comes back.
And then I can go right up into the temple.
Okay now I can
I can have a little more of an arc
to the outer portion of the eyebrow.
And then I want a little bit more
of a structure going through the temple there.
Right in here.
Okay. Get that
front not so
strong and then
push it in.
deal a little bit with the transition.
Where the hair is, where that
Now that turns the corner,
you know from the front view to the
And then from there.
volume of the forehead can
I'm gonna come up a little further here,
give that a little more
And then move
use the screen to combine it a little bit.
Okay the issue that
I'm seeing is that this line
needs to come in
a little more severely.
And then go out
kinda like that
before it turns back.
And in the hair
needs to come right in here.
little volume here to the
line of the temple.
deal with area in between.
Make a line and then I'll
the form right up to that line.
Redraw the line and then
So shape like that.
Now this is a little wide.
I'll narrow that down
that out just a little bit.
And it's that turn - and sometimes
you know, they'll be just a little tiny
sort of way of
transition is moving that
I'll feel is just like the crucial
like the key to an area for me. Getting, moving
it from one to another by
really understanding how
a little area is moving and I'll put in
twice or three times the amount of
information that I'll end up with in the end just
so I can, you know, really
get a clear, clear picture in my head of what
is happening and how that
section works. Sometimes I'll put in a ton of information and then
take out 80 percent of it
because I don't necessarily need that 80 percent
of information visually for the
sculpture to work but I need it
for myself to be able to
feel like I really understand that area.
This should be coming up.
and then down.
I'm seeing how that -
and for right now
it's for me figuring out how
this forehead, the hair, all these different elements
are gonna come together.
That's what I'm
And to a certain extent
over. Just I wanna know for myself exactly
how that area
is coming together.
And once I know,
once I have a clear idea in my head then
I can create a short
hand for it
and get it to work
in the larger context of
And, you know, I guess on some level I feel like it's worth while
to show - you know I can not do this
and, you know, end up with a nice portrait that looks like him
but I really want that -
you know there's a certain specific quality that
how his hair is moving through this area that I really
want to capture.
Has something to do with the large
form of hair here,
like it needs to come down a little more.
And how that
This is kinda
and then that.
So all this moving backward
following the shape of that head.
In some ways following that brow line
for that line of the temple
and then this
really changing direction
Okay now I'm gonna come - I feel like
I'm starting to see
that area more clearly and what I want
is this, giving this back
to the forehead.
That's really gotta come in and then
it's such a complex area
you know seeing it in three quarter like this
you know shows me
quite a bit. Can you tilt your head down a little bit? A little more.
needs to go
that needs to go
in even more.
So today I laid in
the bottom of the bust, I connected it up a little bit
more through this
ear, through the temple
the hair, getting that a little bit more
I'm going to deal
next time with symmetry, getting this side to match
getting up and dividing that hair into less of a helmet
and how I can
continue to movement through the entire piece.
And I also think I'm going to change the pose, right now this
a very frontal,
his eyes are forward, his mouth is closed, his chin
is in line with his chest. I think maybe we'll turn the head, shift
the eyes and that will give a little bit of expression and
give more of a focus for the stages that are still
to come which are finishing, pulling things together and making things
feel much more
like a portrait and much less like a study of a head.
Free to try
1. Lesson overview44sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Laying in the shoulders, the collar bones, and the sternum29m 7s
3. Bringing the mass to the lower part to balance out the upper part30m 32s
4. Adjusting the relationship between the right ear, the neck, and the hair35m 56s
5. Adding information to the right ear, the temple, and the cheek29m 36s
6. Adjusting the relationship between the forehead, the temple, and the hairline17m 57s