- Lesson details
World-renowned sculptor Johanna Schwaiger joins New Masters Academy, bringing with her over 20 years experience of teaching and producing figurative and portrait sculpture. In her first series, she demonstrates her method of sculpting a female portrait from a live model. You’ll learn important methods and procedures using various sculpting materials and tools, key landmarks of the skull, and basic clay application. As she approaches a finish in Part 5, Johanna addresses the distance between her sculpture’s eyes, completes the lips, nostrils, and eyebrows. She introduces some finishing techniques in order to make the sculpture less sickly and more lifelike.
- Water-Based Clay
- 2″ x 2″ Plank
- 3/4″ Thick Plywood or Melamine Square
- Small Wood Modeling Tools
- Tiranti Modeling Tools (B Series)
- Wire Clay Cutting Tool
Discuss this video in the forums!Discuss
We introduced the facial features.
We created a likeness.
We will be going back to the facial features, and I will be showing you certain finishing
techniques that can be used to show certain contrast of bone and flesh, also to show you
details of the eyes and how to make shadow lines and think about surfacing and detailing.
So, let’s get started.
We are coming close to a finishing result.
Today I’m going to show you how to make the features more detailed, making transitions
between the features and also transitions from the cheekbones and fleshy areas.
First, I will show you how to treat the transitions better, and then later on today, I will show
you how to make surfaces, like how to make finishing results.
That doesn’t mean we are going to smooth out everything.
We will just clarify the surface.
I don’t like the word smoothing so much, because people will think, oh okay, I have
the form sort of correct, and then they just smear over and just push the clay around.
I have seen that many times with students.
I tend to do that sometimes, too.
We’ll try to avoid that.
What we try to achieve is a very clear form with a clear surface that is describing what’s
Sometimes it can even have marks of the modeling, which makes it even more interesting and alive.
Because we don’t want a plastic look.
It shouldn’t look like it’s produced in a factory or it’s just like a cast face
So, it’s okay to leave a little bit of marks on a sculpture
as long as the surface is clear to the viewer.
So, we still have some clarifying work to do here, and also what I noticed is symmetry
That’s something that I personally always have, but I will show you how to avoid them.
It’s difficult because the human body always has two things, and if we have one thing,
like the mouth we have two sides of it.
There is always symmetry to work on, especially the eyes.
The eyes would look convincing on both sides, the width is convincing, that the width of
the cheekbones are really equal on both sides.
No face is equal.
There is always a slight asymmetry—how to say that in English—asymmetrical feature,
like, it’s not the same.
It doesn’t look good if you make it completely the same.
If you ever took a picture of yourself and you cut off one side and you placed them together,
you look completely different because nobody has two perfect symmetrical faces,
sides of the face.
It doesn’t exist.
It’s okay if there is like a slight asymmetry, but you want to follow the model’s asymmetry
and not just make them because you haven’t seen them.
So there are certain techniques on how to avoid it.
I already noticed on my sculpture that I have to do some adjustments here especially on
And then speaking of the eyes—we will get to that—but I want to say something before.
I personally like to make the eyes not too detailed and not too sharp just because I
like to focus on the expression of the eyes and the bigger shapes, not so much the tiny,
When you look at somebody’s face, we don’t read everything sharp.
We kind of blend out details when we look at somebody.
We want to remind ourselves when we are sculpting or painting or drawing that we are aware of
I’ll bring details to areas where we want you to look, and if the eyes are very sharp
and very equally treated everywhere and very detailed, it’s actually distracting as it
looks too sharp.
It becomes kind of a dead, sharp look, and that is what I want to try to avoid.
And in my search on how to make eyes well, it’s a taste thing, too.
Other people like it more detailed, whatever.
I was looking at old masters that I loved.
My favorite portrait sculptor is Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
I just love his portraits so much.
You see them in Paris in the Louvre.
You see them in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Any of his portraits, even if he doesn’t express a lot of emotion in them, they show
the character so beautifully.
When you look at Carpeaux’s eyes, they are very simplified, actually.
He treats the eyelids very soft, and so I’m trying what Carpeaux is trying with how I
treat the eyes, too.
So, let’s get started.
First of all, I haven’t seen my sculpture for a few days.
What I always do is check the symmetry and check the profile.
Usually I start with the profile and just check if the profile line is working, and
then I go to the front and check if the symmetry is working.
I could not really tell if my left side is kind of smaller than my right side, so let’s
try to fix it.
Even if I have to make big adjustments even in a more resolved stage, we need to do them.
It’s never good in a sculpture to be too attached to what you already made.
If you feel like something is not working, be courageous to just dive into it, and really
sometimes if you have to cut something off even though you fell in love with the shape
already and you loved it so much, it’s better to cut it away and make it again then, you
know, it’s not working, but it’s a beautiful detail.
You know what I mean.
Let’s get started with the profile view.
I’m going to turn my sculpture to the side and have my model turn also to the side.
I’m just going to turn you slightly a little bit more.
Now, I will take a tool, a tool that I really love that I want to mention at this point
Apparently, it’s African wood.
Joshua Jacobo made it, and I love it so much that I use it all the time so I think he gave
it to me for good.
I hope so, because I love it.
African wood, apparently is kind of expensive, but what I like about it so much is that the
surface is really—because it’s very hard wood so the surface is very smooth.
It’s harder so it glides over the clay really well.
I think it looks cool because it’s so dark.
It’s just very dirty.
Okay, so I’m taking this tool now and it has a pointy side, and so with that I can
make drawings and adjustments on my sculpture, so let’s do that.
I stepped three steps away so I have enough distance to my sculpture.
I am pretty happy with what I’m seeing with the profile line.
Okay, just a few little adjustments that I would like to make is make the chin a little
bit pointier and also I need to mark out the edge of her eye orbit a little more clearly
and bring the nose ring a little further back.
This is just a few things I noticed immediately.
I could leave them like that because it doesn’t look not human but I want the likeness to
be as close as possible.
Okay, so I marked those things that I’m seeing.
Making adjustments on the profile line is something you have to do
until the very end, basically.
I am tempted to work on the turban, but I’m not going to because we have so much more
work to do on the facial features that I will leave that to the end.
I will leave that to the end to really build up the turban.
I just really love how the turban takes up this volume in comparison to her features.
It’s very elegant.
Okay, so what I’m seeing from the side is the plane of her zygomatic arch is much more
prominent, and I want to take advantage of it because everything that gives us form and,
you know, strength of planes, let’s just really focus on it.
Even though it would work, I already introduce the zygomatic arch, and it’s not wrong,
but we try to make it look exciting.
Okay, so let’s get into this a little more before we check the front.
At this stage when you already have introduced everything, it’s nice to search for apexes
and enhanced widths and depths.
Meaning, I see an apex like the turn of her zygomatic arch, the widest point of her eyebrow
bone, like this process that is coming out.
So when you’re coming closer to finish, you want to push the forms a little more.
Look where the apexes are, and then add to them to just create structure.
Let’s focus a little more on the nose that could be coming out a tiny bit more.
I’m adding here to the—remember what I told you about where the nasal bone ends and
the, you know, like here her nasal bone ends.
I put a little bump there.
This is always when people do plastic surgery and try to get rid of.
It’s a pity because I find it’s beautiful if somebody has it.
Everybody has it, but it some people it’s very, very straight.
If they have it’s naturally straight, it’s fine, but like if people have it and try to
get rid of it I think it’s such a pity because it’s beautiful.
Okay, I think I’m good here.
Just let’s bring the top of the nose out just a tiny bit more.
Okay, I’m happy.
I’m going to turn her to the front.
So let’s check the front from that side.
I’m going to step back.
Actually, I need to look at it like that.
So, I’m comparing now the front with my model.
I’m realizing I could make the eye sockets a little bit more prominent and more clear.
I will draw it out, and I will make it softer again, like that’s always easier.
Okay, I will correct a few asymmetries that I have on the sculpture.
I’m now realizing now that my jawbone is a little too lean.
That could be a biggie actually, so I will take a—I need a caliper for a second.
I’m just going to grab something.
Let me see what’s going on.
Yeah, I’m like closed border, but I should make the jawbone on both sides
a little bit wider.
It’s just a little on the lean side.
What I need to adjust her is that the zygomatic arch, the widest point is further back and
it’s almost two to three fingers away from the ear.
This is where the widest point of the zygomatic arch is.
I was talking about that in the very beginning.
It can happen that we make the widest point a little bit too forward so I just realized
that I think I should add at this point, okay.
Looking at her, I can see that the eyelids need some more volume.
If you’re struggling with making it perfectly symmetric, you can always—even if you already
are at the end of, coming closer to the end, make a center line, which I’m doing here.
It helps me to see if one eye is closer to the nose than the other, and yes, in my case,
this eye is a little bit closer to the nose than the other eye.
So, what are we going to do?
One needs to have a little bit more distance than the other, so I’m trying to decide
which one I should, you know, bring in.
I think what I’m going to do is bring this eye a little bit closer.
Therefore, always when I work on the eyes, I’ll make sure that I use a tool that’s
working for that.
I’m using this kind of tool.
This tool I like very much.
I brought it at Tiranti, which is an online art supply website in the UK.
I bought it there and sanded it a little bit to the shape I like it.
It has kind of a knifey kind of top, and that tool I like to use for eyes because it...so
what I’m trying to do now is bring this a little bit closer by adding to the eyelids
on the inside.
And then bringing that a little bit closer.
Also, when I do that, I have add on the eyeball on the inside, too, and bring the inner eye
corner a little bit more in.
Another thing to check is if the eyes are placed in the right depth.
Meaning, if one is further out than the other.
I don’t have the feeling it is, but I will check in a moment and look from underneath.
That helps me to see better if one eye is coming out more than the other.
That’s just something that happens easily.
Yeah, I will go on my knees basically and try to distinguish if one is further out,
and from underneath, when I was looking from underneath, I could see that this is a little
bit further out than this, so I’m going to fix it.
What my model has is beautiful, she has kind of like almond shaped eyes.
The inner eye corner is kind of sharp, turning inward.
I have another tool that I like to use.
This is really sharp and pointy and small.
This tool I only use for eye corners.
It’s my eye corner tool to get rid of the little
bit of crumbles.
Yeah, I like the symmetry much better.
Okay, so I’m working a little bit around the eye, and then I will—always when you
make it the change it’s not as clear, and there always little crumbles and stuff, so
you need to clean it up with a tool.
That I will do more towards the end.
From a distance, I could see that the eye socket could be a little bit more pronounced.
I’m using a tool here that has, I bought, you can get that everywhere, but what I did
was with a metal file I made little teeth into my, I think it’s called a reduction tool.
I don’t know if this is an English word or not.
What the tool does, what me how I go over the form.
I don’t, since I have little teeth, I’m trying to like, okay, since I have little
teeth here, I don’t cut straightaway.
I can follow the form with it and go over the surface and don’t lose the shape that
I already found while I reduce it.
If I would not have those little teeth I would cut of straights, and I would lose the form
I already found, so I’m reducing by going over the shape and not lose the shapes already
found, so I really like this tool.
Also, it helps me to unify this surface a little better.
Sometimes you’ll find in art supply stores already made ones, but usually I don’t like
the distance of the teeth so much, so it’s better to create your own, like a tool that
has teeth really close together and then one that has it further apart.
It almost looks a little bit like stone carving tools where they have the teeth, where they
go over the surface.
This is what I’m using right now.
I like to use it for bones too.
Like here I’m emphasizing the eye orbit.
Even those lines, I kind of like them.
We can get rid of them later on, but I kind of like the texture.
Yeah, the texture.
Okay, we are not done with the eyes, so what we need to do now is go a little bit over
the surface here and unify that better.
I’m drawing out a little better, how her eye sockets are and we see the bones better.
Okay, I think this is a good improvement on that eye,
so I need to do the same thing on the other eye, which is making the eyelid a little,
a little more volume to the eyelid.
Okay, I’m going over the surface a tiny bit because I was making changes on the nose,
so I need to work them into the sculpture.
The eyes are better.
Very soon we will go and work on the nose wings more.
Let’s continue on the eyes a little longer.
Now I’m working over the surface of the keystone.
The keystone really means this triangle here.
That’s an important one.
We want to really focus on its shape.
We are almost happy.
I don’t know if you are.
I’m going with this tool over planes a little bit more.
Let’s soften the eyelid a little bit because it’s a little sharp, and that we don’t like.
We’re softening it with a very fine tool, and now I have to concentrate.
This is a little tedious but we’ll make it.
What I mean by sharp is the line is like a little not clear, and a bit just sharp, too
And then both sides.
I don’t want this corner.
I don’t like it.
Let’s try to get rid of it.
I’ll soften it here so I need to do that on the inside.
It’s going to be hard to make it and also not block the view of it, so you’ll have
to be patient for a moment.
I’m rounding it, like softening it up.
Just so it doesn’t catch so much attention and still creates a nice shadow line
so that’s the goal.
Okay, keep softening this area a little bit more.
By using the edge of my tool and just rounding out the sharp edges that I don’t want, and
this is really a tasting.
I just like it better soft.
She doesn’t get sharp eyes.
It’s kind of looking more interesting.
Other people like having the really detailed eyes.
Very often you get caught up with wanting to show what you’re able of doing and wanting
to show off—not show off—but presenting your ability to make details really, really,
well, but then it’s counterproductive because it’s just taking away from its beauty.
Let’s not do that.
Yeah, I just like it better when it’s softer, and now here, this is a bit hard, like where
the eyelid comes up and turns here.
Here are lots of forms coming together, so how do we solve this?
By holding the breath and getting into those details.
I was not breathing.
And then I want to emphasize this beautiful curvature she has above her eyelid, which
is just really nice.
Same thing on the other side.
Okay, so I will have to adjust what I just did here and made it soft.
I will clean it at the end, like a little bit out, and very soon we’ll talk about
the eyebrows, but first I need to adjust this other eye.
Therefore, I need to step back.
Never forget to step back because only from a distance you see if the symmetry is working.
It is a discipline.
You need to tell yourself, I cannot judge it from here; I need to see it from a distance.
It’s something that you just have to keep doing.
So, I’m going to step back and look at my model and look at my sculpture.
It’s good that I did that because I need to prolong this here a tiny bit.
I will have to add to the eyeball on this side.
And then it’s to sharpen certain areas, so let’s fix it.
Can you just look straight ahead?
Thank you so much.
This curvature she has above her eyelid is just really, really gorgeous.
That’s what we want to focus on a bit.
There is a little bit of skin before the eyelid, and this fills up a little bit before it turns
up to eye orbit.
To make that is good because it makes it look a little alive.
Let’s see if this is good.
Okay, we exaggerated the thickness of the eyelid on this side a little.
So the eyes are really, really when I do eyes it’s very much going back and forth process.
If you make the pupils too sharp again then it’s not beautiful or just too, not really alive.
Either you don’t like them at all and just show the direction of a look by shaping the
eyelid well because you can shape the eyelid in a way that you can tell in which direction
the model is looking, or you just make a little bit of a layering.
I’m thinking of Houdon, how he makes eyes.
He has this beautiful layering.
I don’t know really how he did it, but he makes the pupil very, very soft and not very
deep, and the iris first and then the pupil just one layer deeper and not very deep.
I heard one time that in the Hellenistic era or even Roman era if they would want to emphasize
darker eyes they would drill in deeper so it creates a darker shadow.
It shows that this person had brown eyes or dark eyes.
I find that interesting.
I just don’t use that technique so much.
I mean my model has really dark eyes, so I’m not going to make super dark like deep irises
because it’s going to distract from the rest of the sculpture.
You can already tell by the features that I’m choosing that she has dark skin and
she might have dark eyes too, so it’s not so important to me.
So, you either don’t make them at all or you make a very light kind of round iris.
I just drew out where I want the iris to be, and then I could make another layer to show
a little bit of where the pupil should be.
I make a stronger mark like above and below, like where the iris disappears underneath
the lid. That’s one way to do it.
I could go deeper and carve out a little bit of the iris.
This takes some time so be patient with me.
If you would want to you could leave a little bit of clay in order to show a highlight like that.
I didn’t carve in very deeply because I don’t want to scare anybody.
Not deep but a little bit, but I left a little bit of clay to kind of show like a highlight.
I don’t always do that.
I don’t really, I’m a huge fan of special effects like that, but it’s something you
can try out if it works for you.
Okay, let’s leave that for now.
A little larger maybe.
Yeah, if it’s too graphic, sometimes I make it and then I decide, no, I don’t like it,
and then I just take it away again.
Let’s leave it for now.
Just cleaning out left and right.
The highest point of her eyebrow process is here.
And she has it really beautifully so we make it.
I’m going over just, I made a change before on the side here, on that area.
I want it to have more volume here.
Now it’s time to work that volume into the sculpture.
Round it up here a tiny bit more.
I don’t like it when it’s pointy.
This tool is also great to make a little cross-hatching.
You go in one direction and then you immediately go in the other direction to unify surfaces.
Just be careful that you don’t get crazy with it.
It’s a little bit like the same with a stump in a charcoal drawing.
If you realize, oh wow, this is so great to unify with, and then you go over the whole
shape and then you loose all the beautiful structure you found so carefully.
Use it but with moderation.
Let’s talk about eyebrows.
We have an indication of eyebrows already on this side, and so the drawing of the eyebrow
is what I like.
We won’t ever have it exactly how the model has it because eyebrows are a very personal
thing, and women style them very differently, but we want to try to make a good characteristic
representation of the eyebrows of the model.
So I drew it out, and then I added from underneath material and kind of like in the beginning
of the eyebrow, brushed it upwards.
I’m saying brushing because it’s really almost like brushing eyebrows.
Then I created a very subtle line underneath the eyebrow, just a very subtle level, this
Here, underneath this line is super subtle.
It’s important to be subtle on the eyebrows.
Then you can, if you want, make a few lines.
They suggest—what’s word, strain?
It’s a chest—I don’t know the English word for that.
The bushes, strengths of eyebrows.
Okay, the same thing needs to happen on the other side.
I already started with this a little bit, but let’s make it stronger.
Again, I draw out how I want the eyebrow line to be.
Have a very subtle line underneath the eyebrow and take away underneath it.
Less is more on this issue.
Then when it’s going thinner here, it’s important that two planes come together, like
from underneath and above and create an apex line here.
Okay, it’s working, I think.
I added a little bit more to it.
A little bit stronger, a little bit more.
If you want to you can draw into it a little bit more to emphasize the strengths,
if that’s a word.
I’m going over the keystone a tiny bit more.
Okay, so we like the symmetry so far.
I softened up the eyelids more.
That’s a personal preference that I like.
Now, here there is an iris and here is no iris.
Let’s keep that look for some time because I haven’t decided yet if I even want the
iris or not.
I might get rid of it soon, but I’ll keep it like that for now.
Cleaning the eyes a little bit more.
Okay, we need to take a break because the sculpture is getting dry.
on them forever.
But let’s leave them for now, and I will go over them toward the end again.
Let’s go to, let’s continue with nose and mouth.
Alright, so what I noticed about the nose in my sculpture is that the right nostril
is larger than the left, and we want to fix it.
My model has a slight—no, hers are good.
My sculpture is not good so let’s fix it.
In order to make the nostrils matching, you need to look from underneath and look into
your sculpture, and then you also kind of have to look from underneath and on your model.
I think what needs to happen is bring this a little bit lower.
Okay, what needs to happen is I have to bring in that nose wing.
I need to make it a little bit leaner.
Yeah, let’s make it leaner.
I might have to turn my model around and just look at
it naturally from the side.
Yeah, and then make this a little smaller.
Not nostril, what I meant was the nose wing.
And I’m going to bring this lower and then bring this a little up here.
Also, what you should never forget, what I don’t have on my sculpture is there is a
little plane on the nose to the lip so it doesn’t look like—it’s very good if
you get the book by Édouard Lantéri, in his book Modeling the Human Figure, it’s
very good how he describes the features and how to make them and how to sculpt them, and
he points out how he turned the nose wing correctly and how this plane comes out.
Just very helpful information.
His knowledge is connected to the 19th century knowledge of sculpting, so it’s very helpful
to get this book.
So yeah, let’s shape this a little more precisely.
There is always a point.
I’m making a mark here to show you that also the nose wing has an apex.
There is a point where it turns direction inward,
and I haven’t paid enough attention yet.
I marked it here just for you to see where I’m doing this.
Where my mark was I turn it inward.
It makes it look more convincing.
Then you search for the apex also along the nose wing.
It’s very good if you’re very clear and precise about like where things are turning.
If you’re not sure, if you mark it, then turn it.
This is a little bit like I’m sculpting from the profile view, so it could be like
that we look from the front, and we see, oh wow, it was a bit too wide.
But, it’s okay because I decided the shape because of how I saw it from the side, and
then I just kind of make it a little leaner from the front if I need to.
I might not, but let’s see.
I’m going to bring my model a little closer to me.
I’m happy to have a patient model.
Another thing that I would advise you to do is to...
like, I’m showing you technical thing. like how to shape things.
You’ll want to also have a conversation with your model and like talk to them and
kind of a little bit like watch them how they talk and how they express themselves emotionally
because this is going to be an important part of how you emphasize your sculpture, in what
direction you want to push it.
It’s good to talk to your model and build a little bit of a relationship with your model
to see how she or her expresses themselves emotionally.
It’s very important to bring it to the sculpture, too.
I’m noticing now that the distance from the nose to the mouth is a little short because
I also added a plane change here.
This distance is a little too short so I’m going to change it.
Then what I do too, I draw out, like when I see that, say, a shape that’s going inside,
for instance, I like to draw out the shape that I’m seeing first on my sculpture,
That way I can be sure is this really the shape I want, and then I deepen it on that
area that I’m seeing.
So, I drew that out and I’m using a tool to work in it a little bit.
This is like detailed surface work that I’m doing here.
I’m drawing this out like...I’ll probably have to do that on the other side to see,
what am I saying, like to shape the nose wing correctly.
And then even more.
So, this, how this shape turns in—I draw it out.
I drew it, I compare it, and then I go with like a tool that has a kind of pointy point,
pointy ending, and then I carve it out.
Remember when I said this, the apex where the nose wing turns in, I think this is part
of the problem why my nose wing got too large.
It didn’t turn in enough.
This is a question that you need to ask yourself.
It already works better, but I feel like I should do that same thing
on the other side also.
I’m going to turn it back and shape it just a little better.
Okay, let’s just hold our breath.
This is real detail work, and sometimes I’m talking and sculpting at the same time, but
when it’s getting detailed like this I forget to breathe.
One thing that I noticed also, I was getting a bit too excited about the tip of the nose.
She has more of a turned-down one a little bit.
Now it’s a little bit too, the surface is a little bit too edgy, and I’m going to
turn them both in front and soften the eye and the nose a little more.
Okay, so I need to soften this a little more.
My tool is so wet.
This is too extreme now, softening it.
Okay, what I noticed before is that the distance to the lip is a little too short,
so I brought the lip a tiny bit down, but also I’m thinking I need to bring the nose
a tiny bit up to enlarge the distance just a little.
Also, the distance I noticed, what’s very important is that you look at the distance
from a nose ring to the inner eye corner, and that can get easily too long because we
just, it’s a—I don’t know—it’s just something that, the length tends to be exaggerated
by everybody who is sculpting a portrait.
I’m trying to bring that up.
Very soon we’ll be talking about the lips, but we’re not there yet.
Okay, let me just check it off in front.
So, from the side I was trying to turn in underneath the nose, turn in the eye, but
what am I talking about?
The nose wing—a little bit more.
I need to reduce a plane, so I’m using my friend here.
The tip of the nose is a little bit too edgy.
I need to reduce it more so I’m going to—no, this is not what I like.
I’m going to use this guy.
No, no, no.
Okay, so another thing I noticed is that the top of the nose needs to become leaner here.
Okay, nose wing is not perfect yet, but let’s make it better.
Try to shape it from underneath.
It’s better but not perfect.
I’m going to—I think what we need to do is turn her to the other side.
Look at the profile from this side, and then we will be working on the mouth, on the lips.
You can look straight ahead.
I’m going to turn here.
Let’s look at the nose wing from the other side and try to match it.
We are trying to match it by—yeah, again, we draw here out this shape that we saw on
the other side, this kind of shape.
Then we need to also make the turn underneath the nose wing that goes inward.
We need to emphasize that too here.
We also checked the distance to the lip, if that is working, and that is a little too
close together, so I’m bringing it up a tiny bit.
Okay, sorry, I’m just working for a second on that.
Now, I think I should bring it backwards on here.
Here where the apex is I’ll add...
okay, let’s check.
I’m filling in this because I want to.
So, where were we?
I need to get the nose wing better.
So, yeah, the apex of where the nose wing is turning is something that is good
to focus on, and then you make the connection basically to the front.
This part turns in.
Just much more.
Okay, so let’s see from the side—still not completely happy.
Okay, it is better.
It is better.
I think it’s a good time to continue with the mouth.
I like them better.
They’re not exactly equal yet.
I can still.
I can match them more.
They’re not equal completely, but we will maybe look at it there again.
Let’s continue with the lips.
The lips can get way more exciting than what I did.
Like, I mean I blocked in a volume and placement of the lips, but I didn’t go over the contour
line and exact detailing, and my model has very prominent lips.
Full lips and a nice contour line so let’s focus on that for a second.
What I needed to do before was also to increase the distance between the nose and the upper
And as I was saying before, it’s very often about the—what am I saying—about the surrounding
of the mouth.
Let’s focus on that for a little bit.
I’m clarifying the surface right now with this tool.
The surface structure is a little rough still, but we will clean it up later.
Okay, let’s get started.
So first, again, I draw out the philtrum one more time.
I did that before, but it just needs to happen again.
Now it’s again about the apex of the lips.
Okay, so I want to get the contour lines correctly, so they’re a little bit like waving it off.
Let me just fix one thing up here.
What I’m doing is I will look at the profile again and just check the contour line from
the profile side on both sides and then look from the front again, so that’s easier.
Yeah, that’s easier because I can see how the lip line turns down.
I know this is not part of the lip, but I need to fix it.
So, what is part of the lip very much is the corner of the lips and around the corner of
the lips we have a little bit of a mass here that has this kind of kidney bean shape.
It’s important and also the lip area is also the chin how we choose the plane changes,
and I said, okay, this mark that I’m making here that shows the plane change from underneath
the lip to the chin.
So we fill in here a little more.
Sorry, I just have to fix something.
I’m filling in here the corner of the mouth first to have a rounded enough volume, and
I like how the skin turns toward the lips, and then since I have a rounded enough volume
or like need to build up, I can make the plane change of the lip better, if that makes sense.
I’m still building up the volume around the lips, sort of step by step.
I don’t use big chunks of clay, ever, in this stage, as you can tell.
Very tiny bits, filling in holes, reacting to—like sometimes I treat the surface of
the landscape of the face almost like an abstract little hill, abstract forms that don’t even
connect with the extra thing that I’m doing.
I sculpt around the mouth.
I don’t think so much that this is the anatomy of the mouth sometimes.
I have an abstract shape that helps me to sculpt what I’m seeing, not so much to sculpt
what I think there is, if that makes sense.
I don’t know if it does.
Okay, so let’s look at it from the front for a moment.
I didn’t change it on the lip itself so much.
I just built up the corners of the mouth.
I will do the same thing from the other side, and then we go up to the front and then we
have enough volume to really shape the lips.
I turn my model around.
Little more…and a little more.
I am looking from the side but from another angle.
Okay, I’m building the volume around it so I can actually go into the details of the lip.
Okay, I’m almost happy.
Okay, so still a little bit of work to do on the corner of the mouth
and reduction tool from earlier.
Let’s create the planes a little better.
The contour is seen on humans better because it’s lighter.
The lips have a different coloring than the rest of the skin, and I have only one color,
which is clay color, so what I need to do is make a little bit of a higher line, like
the contour line around the lips.
It should look lighter.
That’s what I need to add to it and make it a little higher.
Also, we don’t want to make it look sharp because the skin is soft always and everywhere.
There is never a sharp edge anywhere.
Okay, what I’m doing now is I’m softening the lips first
before I bring back the contour line.
It’s good that I focused first, I focused first around the lip, all the anatomy, the
mass around the lip is existing and is more or less correct so I can
create a plane change.
If this is one direction than it changes direction where the lips start.
It’s important that we choose the right mass around the lip.
I use this tool to make a straight line underneath the lower lip.
This woman has really big lips, and that’s fun to sculpt.
The contour line, try to create a shadow underneath the lower lip by reducing
the lower lip, like carving a little in to create this shadow.
So, the surface is rough.
I don’t care.
I just am looking at the volume for now.
Later on, I will smooth it a little more.
We can also go on your knees and look from underneath, realizing I that could even get
a little bigger with those lips.
Okay, I need to spray the sculpture.
Can you look a little towards me?
So, I’m still making lips here because it’s challenging.
Again, to make the contour lips it’s nice to create a little bit of a line
along the contours.
And then we smooth, soften it up a little, again.
I’m going to soften the contour a bit more.
Let’s create a little bit of a shadow underneath the lower lip
by carving it in just here.
That’s kind of okay for now.
I’m going over the chin a little, trying to enhance the planes underneath the chin.
I’m still not very happy with how I made the philtrum so I want to be a little bit
more precise about it.
I’m working on the chin.
The chin has those two kind of wing shapes underneath the lips, and then it comes up
here and hits the bump underneath it.
Okay, when I look from underneath I can tell that this side is a little larger
than the other side, so I just need to correct this side for a moment, and then we will be
going on to something else.
Okay, I just enlarged—the left and the right side was not the same size, so I
have to enlarge the right side a little bit.
As soon as we have done that I can talk about finishing techniques with you.
Okay, you can look straight ahead again, please.
You can look straight ahead, thanks.
No, this is not it.
So, to smooth the contour line, I kind of roll my tool over the sharp edges.
That’s a little bit of a back and forth process.
I smooth it, and then from the inside I keep bringing the contour line out.
I could do this forever, but I will very soon stop working on the lips.
I’m pretty happy with the lips so far.
I just feel like certain areas I need to clean up a little.
And then also, then again, making the corners of the lips are hard because you want to make
it look like there is flesh turning in, and that is a little tricky to make.
It just needs a little concentration.
Okay, so I think…I can’t stop. I can’t stop.
Softening edges still.
Good, so let’s leave the lips alone for a second.
The philtrum is a little weird still, but whatever.
Okay, let’s leave the lips.
I’ve said that like five times but I keep working on them.
Okay, the thing is, now the chin needs to be a little bit sharper around the contour
line so I’m just going to look at what her chin looks like.
There is a plane that comes upwards.
Okay, so the chin has— I would like to show you on a skull.
The chin has this wing shape here, and then in the middle of it, it comes to a point directing
up to the tooth line.
That’s not always symmetrical in the middle, but we want to emphasize it here that it turns
up to a pointy edge.
I’m creating a shadow.
Okay, I think that is good for now.
Okay, so now I would—if I had time forever, I would probably focus on the plane changes
of the chin a little longer, but I would like to show you options of finishing techniques
that you can choose.
Having said that, there is not one way of finishing a surface of a sculpture.
There are all different kinds of tastes and how you treat the surfaces.
Of course, I’m going to show you what I like and what I try to do.
As I said, I don’t want it to be completely smoothed out.
I don’t mind if it still has structure, but it also shouldn’t look like a skin disease.
In a lot of areas, it’s a bit too rough.
There are a few ways to solve the problem.
One is I go over this tool, that is a metal rake that I already explained, and cross-hatch
over certain shapes.
I especially like to do that over bony parts of the face like the forehead
and the zygomatic arch.
I’m kind of smoothening out the surface, and in another way to clarify the surface
is a very small tool like this one, and I used very soft clay, like very soft clay means
just clay that has more water in it so it’s like softer.
The sculpture itself is a bit dryer because we worked on it longer so the surface is harder.
With the very soft clay, not mush but kind of just a little bit softer, spray a little
bit more on it, I work the softer clay into the harder with a small tool in certain areas.
I’m going to show you how that could look like.
I have lots of clay laying around, kind of messy.
I spray it on the clay.
I just took fresh clay out of my bag and I spray a little bit on it, and then it’s
a little bit too mush in the beginning because we don’t want it to be slick—like not
So, this very small tool that I can’t find—yeah, right here.
While I do that, I’m using a small tool and working it into the surface.
I’ll try to enhance certain areas of the sculpture,
like I do two things at the same time.
You cannot just blindly and without thinking just smoothing in all the holes and softening
it all out.
We need to follow with the tool the forms and try to enhance the forms,
like the ins and outs.
Very important is that where we tend to get a little messy is everywhere where, for instance,
the nose wing where the planes come together or the corners of the eye, areas where it’s
harder to get into with a tool, but it’s important to clean that out because it gives
a messy kind of look.
I could work on them even longer and work out the details even more but I’m not going to.
I was saying I want to work on the finishing technique.
I take this very small tool, and I have softer clay that I sprayed a little better, and then
I’m going to search for places where the surface is too bumpy for my taste, and then
with the corner of my tool I’m kind of working it into the sculpture.
They will be the surface modeling.
For that you don’t really need the model to be there.
In this case, I would want to emphasize certain shapes so I try to do two things at once,
like going over the surface plus...can you look towards me just a hair?
With this I’m working over the zygomatic arch.
Always when they kind of want to show hard material.
That’s hard because—I mean clay is the same consistency, but we can create an illusion
of hard and soft by making the surface plane changes kind of harsh, like harder.
Since the bridge of the nose...can emphasize that a little bit.
So, here is what I would like to do.
I would like to show you on one area what a finished look could look like because it
takes a long time to model to a complete finish.
I would like you to watch me do it in a certain area, what I think would be a nice finished
surface, in my opinion.
Then I will privately work on the whole sculpture, and then I will show you guys what the finished
result could look like.
Let’s pick this eye section here.
Can you look towards me?
Thank you for being so patient.
Okay, today we have been working over the features, the eyes, the nose, the nostrils,
the mouth, trying to get it more detailed, trying to get it closer to the model’s characteristics.
We started to introduce some finishing techniques, meaning to unify the surfaces, creating the
convincing surface, and started to detail out the eyelashes and eyes.
All the finishing techniques.
We’ve been starting that on one area, and we will have one more session, and we’ll
try to bring the sculpture or portrait to a nice finishing result, also including a
little bit of the turban wrapping and the neck and all those things.
So, that was it for today.
Free to try
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
15m 41s2. Brief Intro About Symmetry, Strong Features, and Tools
19m 35s3. Adjusting the Distance Between the Eyes
13m 6s4. Sculpting the Pupils and the Eyebrows
26m 56s5. Adjusting the Nostrils
29m 34s6. Defining the Lips
32m 58s7. More Work on the Lips, then Tips for Surface Finishing
21m 59s8. Finishing Techniques