- 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. Having placed the facial features in the previous lesson, in this lesson Johanna pays special attention to the intricacies of the nose, eyes, and mouth. You’ll learn about the various fat pads and boney structures that contribute to the plane changes of these features. Additionally, now that she’s found the “border” of the volumes and structures, Johanna begins to treat the surface of the sculpture more deliberately.
- 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
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Johanna brings over 20 years of expertise in portrait and figure sculpting, having taught
at schools and showing her work in galleries across the globe.
In this series, she’ll teach you her method for sculpting a female portrait in clay.
Hi, I’m back for another lesson.
Today we are going to start to build the features, meaning building the nose,
the eyes, also the lips.
As soon as the features are built, that is a good time to think about the competition,
how far I want the turban to build, and how far down I want the sternum to be.
So, I’m looking forward to our session today.
Let’s get started.
We had a few days of a break in between, so we’re starting again, sculpting a female
portrait with our beautiful model, Sahi.
We are in our third session, meaning we invited her for the third time in.
Today we are going to talk mainly about facial features and how to really map them out, also
about transitional planes and constantly above like keeping the symmetry at this stage.
So, we’re coming close to—like, I wouldn’t say finished, but closer to the proportion
of borders and getting more and more refined.
We also changed tools as I’m being more detailed and not thinking about the big proportions
as much anymore.
I’m using smaller tools.
I think I’ve been showing those to you, but I’m going to show them again.
So, especially for facial features, I’m using a tool that, for instance, can apply
Remember when I said to you that I want a flat surface to cover my index finger to apply clay?
I had a bigger one when I was blocking in bigger proportions.
It looked like this.
It kind of has the same effect.
I’m very often going to use one that’s just much smaller.
And then on the other side, that I may use for the eye section.
It’s round at the ends so I can go into the depths and the roundness of facial features.
And then I have another one that’s a little larger.
I’m using to also apply clay.
In one more I’m using to draw on my sculpture.
So, really until the end I keep drawing on my sculpture, meaning shapes that I’m seeing.
I draw them out first on the clay.
Then I’m making the transitions, and then I’m making the form that I just drew.
Since it’s the beginning of a session, when you start and you have fresh eyes, you want
to check things that you already checked, just because you have better concentration.
You see your sculpture again, you had a break, so you want
to look at the main proportions first.
Usually, I like to start with the profile view.
At this stage today, I would like to start with a front view, just because I feel like
I need to check the symmetry.
I think I was mentioning that to you.
Sometimes when I work on one side, one side grows a little larger than the other side.
It’s a good time to look from the front, measure the four points
I was talking about before.
Even though you would say, oh, I did already measure it, do it again, just because you
want to be really precise about that.
Measuring, especially from the front, I do it with a caliper.
I don’t like that caliper so much, but yeah.
Okay, so let’s get started.
Remember, when you place your sculpture and you work with a model, you have to think about
looking at both from the same angle.
I have a little bit of a triangle situation where I step back at least three steps and
look at the model and my sculpture from the same perspective.
If I need to, I’m using a tool so I can make changes and adjustments as I go.
Okay, now that I measured just the main proportions, I realized that the widths
are all working perfectly.
What I noticed that the length is just a little bit too long.
When you notice something like this, you cannot just cut off anywhere, you need to see where
the problem is.
I need to look at the interior information of my bony points.
Again, if they’re really lining up proportionately correctly.
It’s not a lot that my face is too long, but a little bit, so I’m not just going
to cut off the chin.
That would be the easiest solution for this problem.
I need to see if the nasium, the nose is really placed on the right height.
So, I’m going to again check the distance from the chin to the tip of the nose, tip
of the nose to the hairline.
Okay, it’s good that I did that.
I didn’t cut off the chin because the problem wasn’t the chin.
It was like just the forehead where the frontal plane ends and turns back to the cranium.
That I placed just a little bit too high.
That’s easy to solve, so I’m happy that it’s not something else.
I don’t have to move the nose anywhere, so I don’t lose any details.
All I need to do really is lower this part just a little bit.
The width was working fine.
It’s just the transitions I need to fix.
She looks—which on a sculpture is normal—a little bit too bony because we are looking
at the extreme points and extreme information.
We haven’t made the transitions.
We didn’t fill in the transition planes enough yet, so that’s why she looks a little
At the end of the session today I’m hoping to fill in all the transitional planes and
all the fatty patterns and muscles and all the smaller transitions.
At the end of the session I’m hoping that I cleared out the facial features more.
Okay, so when I want to reduce something, I’m not cutting off.
I want to use a tool that I don’t have here.
Okay, so when I need to do a reduction, in every art supply store they are selling you
these kind of shaped tools to reduce.
I don’t recommend using them just how you get them.
What I do, usually, is I cut in with a metal file little teeth, so I’m not just cutting
off, but reducing by scratching off.
That way I don’t lose the form that I already sculpting.
I don’t cut an edge off, but I can form, reduce by following the forms.
So that I like much better.
If you find a tool like this, this I bought from, it’s a plaster tool, really.
It has little teeth at the end.
It’s very rusty by now because I use it all the time.
If you find something like this that’s amazing because then you can also go into the smaller
areas and clear out transitional planes and reduce them a little bit.
I want to make a bigger reduction here because I realize that the upper part of my forehead
is a little too long, so I’m going to… so, if you see that like when I’m reducing,
I’m not just cutting away.
I’m trying to follow the form with those teeth.
If you’ve ever seen a stone sculpture, for instance, beautiful to see is Michelangelo’s
sculptures that are not finished where you can see the teeth, how he was working.
A tool that he would use for teeth, and you see the direction of how he would carve it out.
You can see that in Florence in Academia.
That’s very interesting.
Sometimes when you have to reduce, it’s better to reduce this way.
In the best case, you don’t have to reduce much because we are just building up, but
if you need to, it’s better to just form it away, not cut it away.
Okay, so now I want to fill in a little bit of the forms so I get rid of the boniness
and look at transitional planes.
I’m going to just approach it visually.
Remember to keep the center line until the end of your sculpture kind of present so you
don’t, you avoid asymmetry.
Like, you keep your symmetry in check.
I realize that the left side of the cheekbone on my left side is larger than on the other
side a little bit.
I’m trying to—you’re okay.
So, I’ve been working on the symmetry a little bit.
I fixed the right cheekbone that was a bit smaller.
I’m quite happy with that.
Next thing I want to do is work on the facial features more.
So, one thing that I haven’t been working much yet was the nose and the lips.
Let’s start with the nose.
When I start with the nose, the first thing that I want to make sure is that what we call
the keystone, which is really at the end of the nose before it turns into the eyebrow,
I want to make sure that the proportion and the shape of it is really solid.
That’s something that’s on everybody, proportionately very different.
That’s very much a key.
That’s very much a key to creating a very good likeness, to focus on that and to draw
it out and to see really where the plane is changing.
You can either measure the width of this, like how wide it really is, and go to the
model and measure it, or just compare it visually.
Just make sure that the distance is really how the model has it.
Okay, since I’ll be working on the facial features more, I want to explain to you how
I choose the terms and everything.
I added a little bit of light here that I can turn and show you guys what I’m doing
on the sculpture better.
One of my favorite tools to work on the facial features is this one, and I was just starting
to explain how I start with the nose, with the keystone first.
It’s very good to make—even though you measured it before, I know, but measure it
again from the top of the nose up to the eyebrow line here.
In between is the keystone.
On my sculpture it’s a little bit on the higher side.
The mark that you really want to be making is one here.
This shows on a skull.
This very prominent line just before it turns into the eyebrow line.
This line here represents that one.
The eyebrows are not just hair.
It’s really a very prominent process that protects the eyes that’s just above the
This line is turning into the eyebrow line, so I marked it here.
And on every model, the distance from here to here varies very much.
This is not always the same.
That’s why I try to find it on the model, mark it where she has it, and that’s a very
important characteristic point to map out correctly.
I’m introducing here the keystone, also like the little processes of the eyebrow line.
I’m showing on my sculpture where it is.
Now, to go down to the nose, then again, the nasium to the top of the nasal bone, this
plane, if you look from underneath, has a very strong angle.
This is kind of a triangle shape.
Very often, people underestimate the width of this, hence the angle of that bone.
On top of this, we have fleshy patterns, a little bit of fat patterns.
This is like a plane that has a very strong angle in this direction.
Don’t underestimate it because a lot of people place the nose and make this too straight
so it doesn’t look like the nose is integrating into the face.
It looks more like it’s placed on it.
If you watch out for that angle correctly, then it looks more like the nose is more integrated
into the facial features.
That’s what I’m looking at her right now.
I try to place that from both sides.
Okay, so I work myself from above down, and the next thing we need to talk about is the
I don’t want to talk too much about the anatomy of it, but there is a way to simplify
it really well.
Let’s divide it.
The nose has a plane from underneath and one from the top.
The nose wing from the side.
I want to show you guys from this angle.
I’m going to turn my model also.
Let’s look at it from this side for a second.
Here is a plane from underneath, and then the nose wing starts higher up than the top
tip of the nose.
This is kind of a triangle shape.
This must be higher than the top of the nose, like where it turns into the philtrum.
This has a triangle shape.
Then it’s like the nose wing is also shaped differently from person to person, but the
anatomy, of course, is always the same.
We’re looking at the top plane, and there is always a very clear line here.
I’m going to mark, draw it out for you so you can see what I’m talking about.
This line divides the lower plane from the upper plane.
Now I’m just going to imitate how the turn looks on my model and fill this in more with
a smaller tool.
Throwing around tools.
Then we have this line here—I don’t know if you can see it, this represents how the
nose wing turns to the tip of the nose.
Then it comes together to here where really three planes come together.
One is the one from below.
One is the plane coming from above from the nose wing to the front, and one is from the
bridge of the nose down.
This point here is a point where three planes come together.
It’s an important one to place it correctly.
When you work on something like the nose, you can’t just work on the nose.
Very often you have to work on the surroundings to integrate it because it’s a sculpture.
It’s attached to something so very often, in order to make that thing work, you have
to work around it.
And then underneath the nose in this area here, the nose wing turns inside, so there
is still cartilage that turns upwards.
It doesn’t end here.
Very often people sculpt it the way it kind of ends here, but it’s not what the nose
Then one thing, I think I mentioned it before, but I’m mentioning it again.
The philtrum doesn’t come out of the edge of the nose wing.
It comes out like halfway from the corner of the nose wing to the top of the nose, halfway.
This is where the philtrum inserts.
That’s important because that way we show that we understand that here is teeth underneath.
Okay, now I need to focus a little bit better on how my model has her nose shaped.
In her case it goes a little bit upwards and then clean that out better.
Then I have to do the same thing on the other side, so it’s always good to like finish
one side and then go right to the next side.
But, we’re not done here.
It’s real important that you show how the nose wing turns backward and forward.
I’m stepping you through a few steps back, checking the whole thing a little bit.
What’s missing really is what I just talked about underneath, the turn.
The cartilage is underneath the nose.
I don’t have it.
I’m going to make it now.
It’s okay to overexaggerate plane changes in the beginning a little bit because it’s
always easier to have something too harsh and then soften it then don’t have anything
at all, and you have to invent it.
I have to do it on this side, too.
Again, I need to make the plane changes
of the nose wing.
Nose opening or the nostrils.
What I’m doing right now is finding transitions here.
Getting rid of like the big holes when I see a nice transition plane.
That’s what I’m doing.
I marked the plane changes of the nose out as good as I could.
I can do that a little more precise here.
And then working also, what I did from the other side, seeing how far the upper eyelid
is coming out in comparison to the keystone of the nose.
I’m filing in forms a lot and using right now just a tool that’s flat here.
I’m trying to go all over the profile line and seeing if I can see planes.
I’m filling it in.
My surface is very loose, and it has lots of bumps and holes.
I do two steps at once.
I work on the forms, and at the same time I work on the surface.
I’m filling in, unifying the shapes, basically.
What we need to be really precise about is her jawline.
The direction of the jawline varies from person to person.
Let’s work a little bit on the neck.
Just everything that sticks out and is bothering the eye.
When I’m working on the neck for a portrait head, the way you do it from the side is you
try to detect where her sternocleidomastoideus is.
That’s like the big neck muscle that’s wrapping around from the back of ear to the
front of her sternum.
That’s very prominent and obvious.
Usually I start with this muscle and kind of indicate in what direction it goes.
Then I’m filling in the bigger shapes and masses.
Good, let’s work on the lip area for a second and on the chin from this angle.
What I did on the other side, we’re going to do this the exact same way on this side, too.
I’m measuring the tragus to the corner of the lip
so it is a little bit further.
What a lot of people underestimate very often is the mass right next to the corner of the
lip, like a little bit of a mass, a volume that I’m indicating here.
Let’s work on the lip line for a second.
So, what really is prominent on my model is that she has very pronounced cheekbones.
Just before it turns to the corner of her lip she gets very lean in that area that we
want to enhance because it emphasizes character.
Then again, when I’m making a portrait head, I ask myself a lot what feeling does this
person give me?
With this model I feel a lot of female pride, and there is a strength in that.
When you see strong, what does that feeling give me?
Why is it like that?
I’m asking myself, okay, it’s because her cheekbones are very pronounced.
The way her nose is shapes has a very elegant turn.
She has very full lips too.
It’s good that you talk to yourself that way because then you don’t miss essential
characteristics that you want to emphasize.
Not exaggerate, you don’t want to make a caricature.
It shouldn’t look funny at the end.
You want to be aware and mindful about things that you find aesthetically pleasing or interesting,
or just a strong characteristic on somebody.
I’m still unifying some forms here.
I’m kind of happy where I placed the eye.
I will check that from the front.
It can be that there is a symmetry problem that you only can see from the front.
Work on the ear for a moment.
That’s kind of all over the place.
Before we start turning her, we should start thinking about the turban, too, and give it
a little more mass.
Always when I add mass to a sculpture, more mass, then I’m using a blocking tool like this.
Just add it where I think it’s good, and then press it into the sculpture.
Then we will later on draw out the folds.
I love combining figurative sculpture with some cloth and drapery because it’s a way
to emphasize the feel of the person when there is drapery involved.
This is a turban now so we don’t have a whole lot of play with it.
We can only show how it’s wrapping around the head.
Let’s say you do a full body figure, it’s nice to add a little bit of cloth and then
play with the folds.
I’m trying to imitate the big folds that I’m seeing, and later on I can just draw
them out more.
If that would be hair, I would kind of go about it the same way.
I’m not sculpting hair in its texture obviously because I couldn’t do that with clay.
If this would be her hair, it’s probably the same way, by just determining how the
big masses of her hair, the big chunks of her hair are falling down the skull.
Then I would just make larger directions, kind of like what I’m doing here and go
very gestural about it, meaning just showing what direction I want the hair to fall, and
in her case what direction is the turban draped.
Later I could like go more into depth into it and then really make the turns.
If I already have the directions of it, I tell the viewer what this thing is.
You can already tell, okay, it’s a turban.
It’s not hair.
What I like very much is—it doesn’t matter if it’s hair or a turban or whatever, when
it’s very close to the skull, what happens very often is that people will use too much mass.
They want to show hair as something that in the mass, different from the skull.
When you look at it, it’s very close to the skull, and it’s not a lot of material
that distinguishes it.
I’m using just a tiny bit of material.
Then make a line so it almost merges into the skull.
It gives it a better solid look in the sense that this is really like wrapped tightly around
her skull and not like a helmet that she’s putting on.
In this case, the turban goes slightly over her ear, and we like that sensation, so we
will copy that.
Then again, you don’t have to like, if somebody wears a turban you don’t have to copy the
You kind of just want to use it to enhance maybe the elegancy of your portrait head and
same as if somebody has curls or long hair or whatever.
Don’t try to copy exactly the hairdo.
Try to fill in a little bit, like what is it, what direction is it giving to your sculpture,
and make sense of the overall composition.
It communicates with the face, so you can’t just—we’re not copying nature here.
We want to get a little bit of composition and just get excited about what’s going
on here, and then you intuitively know how to place the composition on the head, too.
Okay, so this is enough for now as a block-in for the turban.
I’m still not done here on this angle.
Can you turn to your left just a hair?
What I didn’t do from this angle correctly yet is the lower eyelid.
Not eyelid—yeah, eyelid—and how far it comes out.
This is what I meant.
I wanted to work on the ear before, and then I got distracted.
That’s fine, but let’s not get too distracted.
I’m working on—the placement of the ear is fine and the proportions of it, but I just
don’t want it to look so junky.
I’m using a smaller tool.
I was talking about the anatomy of the ear in the last session, but I’m going to repeat
it really quick.
The whole thing looks like a question mark.
This part is called the helix, and it inserts in the center of the ear, and then comes out
like a spiral.
So, it inserts here, comes out like a spiral.
It kind of like makes this question mark shape and then merges into the earlobe here.
And then the inner spiral here is called the antihelix.
It follows that shape except that in the upper area it’s like a Y letter.
It has two fingers that are spreading out like that.
So, if you see it like that, it’s not so complicated to make, I think.
I think we overcomplicate the ear a little bit.
And then, no ear looks the same.
Try to imitate the model’s characteristic of the ear.
And then one part we didn’t mention, but we mentioned him all the time before is, guess
what, the tragus.
This is the tragus, this little bump here that we want to sculpt a little nicer than
what I just did.
I have seen one time a Russian sculptor—I was taking an anatomy class with him—and
while he was just talking about the ear he wasn’t even looking at what he was doing
in his hand, and I wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing in his hand.
Then when he opened up the hand there was this perfectly shaped ear, so I thought that
If you know anatomy really well, I guess you don’t have to look closely.
You can just make it out of your head.
Okay, this ear is not completed, but we want to keep it that way for now.
Let’s make this a bit rounder.
Let’s just not make it so sharp here in this area.
Soften it just a little bit.
Okay, so that’s enough for now.
Okay, so the next thing we want to be doing is just going over this just a little bit
more, and then we look from the front.
I’m going to step back.
Don’t forget to step back continuously.
I’m pretty happy so far except that I need to bring this out a little bit more.
I need to bring out her cheekbone, not her cheekbone, but the fleshy part that I was
I need to bring that out a little bit more.
Then her nose wing is not that large.
I exaggerated that a little bit before.
Okay, so very soon we will take a look from the front, and then it can be that some stuff
is not in the same symmetry, like the heights need to be adjusted here and there, but we
are not worried about it because we know how to fix it.
Good, let’s take a look from the front.
I’m turning my sculpture, and I’m shocked—no, I’m kidding.
Now, I will turn my model as well.
We haven’t looked at the front for some time.
Now we need to do some width adjustments and symmetry adjustments.
I’m pretty happy with the symmetry, like how it works now.
The right eye could be a little bit higher maybe.
Those are things we’ll be looking at.
Before we go to the eyes and the mouth and the features, let’s talk about the plane
changes of the forehead for a second and unify that little bit.
Therefore, I’m going to use our friend to explain how I want to do that.
On my model, I can see the plane changes really clearly, and so I want to focus on them.
The most important one is the frontal, and that has five points.
We already talked about this.
I will draw it out on the sculpture so you can see what I’m talking about.
It kind of has this shape.
That’s what I’m drawing out.
Now we need to fill it in and unify it a little nicer.
That I’m doing by knowing how it’s shaped, also looking at my model at the same time.
So, I fill in the little holes and bumps and unify the frontal bone by thinking of the
Just be careful that you don’t erase the little bump above the eyebrow that’s a bone.
I feel like, okay, now I’m just unifying forms.
You also can unify, show a little trick with that tool I showed you before that has little teeth.
I made them with a metal file that I like to use to unify shapes a little bit.
Meaning, I go over the form cross-hatching wise.
I go in one direction, let’s say on this side plane.
I use the tool, like I don’t take off a lot.
It’s not necessarily to reduce, it’s more to bring out the plane change.
I’m like just gliding over the form and then using a cross-hatching method, meaning
I go in one direction, and then I go in another direction.
That I like to use when it comes to showing bone.
I manage to show better that it’s hard underneath.
I want to have a really sharp surface.
I did just the cross-hatching, and now I’m going over and filling in holes a little bit more.
And do that from both sides.
And we’ll glide over the form to emphasize the frontal bone.
I have the little scratches in them.
Some people like to keep them as a little bit of a texture.
We will work over them.
Okay, that’s okay for now because we don’t want to finish it.
We don’t want to have a finish.
We just want to show that a little bit more clearly.
Now I’m going over the nasium and let’s work on the eyes for a second.
This here, it’s much deeper on my sculpture, so we’ll have to fill in here and here.
But before I do that, we’ll just quickly see if the distance between the corners of
the eyes are exact.
You could either just visually do that or measure it on the model, but when you measure
that you have to be very careful to not pierce your model’s eyes.
So, let me measure that for a second.
You can close your eyes.
You measured a distance to just make sure that the width is correct.
There is this rule that there is one eye length in between the eyes, and then very often it
is like that.
In this case, our model has the eyes slightly closer together, and that means what does
it do as an impression?
It kind of emphasizes the focus.
Remember when I said when the eyes of somebody are slightly further apart, it looks a little
bit more innocent.
When they’re [close together] you have a sense of focus.
I’m filling in.
For that I’m using a round tool to work in the material that I’m using to fill in
the inner eyelids.
I’m doing that on both sides.
In order to make sure that the inner eye corners, one is further in and one is further out,
it’s very helpful to look from underneath and see the distance.
From the sculpture, you go on your knees and you look from underneath up.
Then you check if this plane and this plane is lining up and is on the same height.
That’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to go on my knees, and then I see, okay, on this side I need to come a little
bit further out.
I was already assuming that because you can’t see it from the front also a little bit, but
just to be sure.
Okay, this is like the turn is too sharp.
I am still working on the inner eye corner.
Now it’s good to draw out the, since I filled in forms here, a form here, it’s good to
draw out the eyelid again.
The curvature varies very much from person to person, how the curvature works, but the
highest point of the eyelid is usually the direction that the model is looking at.
Let’s say she’s looking straight ahead, then the furthest up point is exactly on one
vertical line at the direction where she’s looking.
As the eyes take the most time, and that’s true because you have a lot of layering.
You need to make sure that, okay, first eyeballs, then the turn of the eyelid, then the eyebrow
bone on top.
There is a lot of layering, so that’s why eyes need a lot of concentration.
Then you have to make sure that the eyelid is turned around the eyeball.
You always need to imagine that there is an eyeball underneath, and the eyelid is like
turning around it.
It lays on the eyeball.
If you don’t do that, it starts to look a little static or dead.
From the inner eye corner, I’m reducing material here.
Then again, I don’t want to finish the eye, I just want to like place the eyelid better.
So, the upper eyelid I’m sort of happy, like what I’m not really happy about yet
is the way it’s turning around the eyeball.
To make that better you can look one more time from underneath, and also look at your
model from underneath.
Then you will realize that, I have to reduce it here for a second to make that form really
turning around the eyebrow.
It starts here from zero and turns out and goes backwards again.
Imagining that kind of form.
The same thing with the lower eyelid.
If you get that right, and you really make the turn around the eyeball correctly, you
won’t have this kind of dead look.
It looks alive, and it looks like she can really move those eyes.
When it comes to eyes it’s all about movability.
The eyeball moves so fast.
Try to unify the form around it a little bit more so you can see better what I just did.
This line here marked the pupil.
I just marked it to show you guys the direction where she looks.
This is not finished at all.
This is a little bit of an indication.
You have to be a little patient.
I’ll leave it alone for now, like it kind of works for me.
The only thing I want to do is I want to fill in here just a touch.
Then draw out, which she has, like this form goes like that.
Now you can also draw the eyebrow.
We will talk about the eyebrow a little later, but I’m just going to draw it the way she
has it or try to imitate it.
Now you have to have a little bit like a make-up artist’s skills to make that nice and neat.
As a sculptor, ladies are not that difficult at all.
I’m just leaving that as a drawing for now, the eyebrow.
I will give it texture and structure later on.
That will come next session when we talk about finishing techniques.
This eye, I’m kind of happy with it.
I should immediately do the other one, but I’m really so tempted to go to the nose,
so I will do that first and then go to the other eye.
The nose needs work here.
We’re going to give her a little bit of a nose job.
What I don’t like so far is that the bridge of the nose, like the width of it is just
It looks different on her so I need to fix that real quick.
The good thing is now with this technique I know that I don’t have to change anything
on the bridge of the nose because I already said, oh, I liked how it looks from the profile
line, so I’m not going to mess around with that line.
I’m just adding in its width.
What I’m trying to do here is to make the nose a little wider because the bridge of
the nose was too sharp, and the corner is too sharp.
I’m going to look how she has it.
What we really like is that we want to also react to a little asymmetry that models have
because it makes it interesting.
She has a little bit of a turn in her nose her that is kind of interesting.
It makes it alive and real, and we want to react to it.
What I mean by that is the bridge of the nose here, the bone, let’s bring our friend here.
That top part, there is also bone that continues here, but it’s not attached to the skull.
Exactly at that point, where the nasal bone ends, like the process of this, and then before
this little bone would start where it’s not attached, here we have a little bump.
Everybody has it.
Even if somebody has a super straight nose, if you look very closely there is a tiny little
bit of a bump.
That thing, you want to mark it where the model has it, and sometimes it happens that
this bone is not straight there.
Our model has it slightly to the left just a tiny bit.
We want to be aware of it, and we want to make it.
So, where is this bump that I was talking about?
It’s right here, and here is where we want to turn.
I know this is here.
Can you see what I’m doing?
While I’m doing that, in this stage, I’m adding forms.
I’m adding volume, but at the same time, I’m starting to unify a little bit more
so the surface is not so icky.
We work ourselves lower down to the tip of the nose.
Okay, very well.
I’m still working on the nose here.
Okay, let’s take a short break.
it’s still in the block-in stage.
I’m going to re-draw the center line with something sharper.
That is going to help me to see if the symmetry is working.
The inner corner of the eye on this eye, by turning the eyelid, I lifted the inner corner.
Now on the other side it’s too low.
I need to, you kind of like make a line, you make a—you think of where the nasium is,
and you make a straight line to the other side.
Then you lift up the…
Now, the symmetry of the eyes is a little bit tricky.
You cannot just copy this information to here.
When she’s looking straight ahead, this eye doesn’t look like the other eye.
You need to be aware that it behaves differently on that side when
she’s looking in that direction.
What also helps is when we drew the eyebrow here, let’s draw the eyebrow on the other side.
That’s going to help me to adjust the symmetry.
You need to draw out the highest point of the eyelid because this is where the eyebrow
is going to look at, like the direction of the look.
Okay, let’s bring, the lower lid needs to come up higher a bit, and then the whole thing
needs to be unified more, too.
When you feel like you need to erase something, don’t be extreme.
Just push it up, but do it step by step.
That way you don’t lose all the information you already found.
Also, remember what I said about the turn of eye, that’s something you can see from below.
It’s good to look at the model from below and then look at your sculpture from below.
Then you can see where you need to have a little bit more turn.
I will keep it in a blocking stage.
How we will finish the eye, we will talk about that later on.
It’s still about placement of the eye.
You will have to go back and forth to both eyes to adjust them.
Now I’m thinking the height is working, but it’s not the same size yet.
Okay, I’m going to leave the eyes alone for now and just make sure that maybe the
eye orbit is good.
I’m noticing that from this side to this side of the forehead is like a little larger
on this side than on this side.
I’m adding a little bit on that sight, too.
Let me just unify that for you to clean it up a little bit.
I’m just unifying the outside shape.
I added here so that needed some unification.
Then again, the eyes are not finished yet, it’s just that I needed to get the volume
in and place them correctly.
What do they need more?
They need more definition.
They need more—I didn’t show yet how the eyebrow behaves really.
The eyebrows have no structure yet.
I could be way more precise about the eyeball and everything.
We will go back to that later.
Now, we will think a little bit more about the mouth area that we haven’t sculpted
in yet at all.
Okay, so what’s not clear on the sculpture now is where exactly are the corners of the
mouth, so I need to draw that out more clearly.
Really, it’s the information of where exactly is the corner of the mouth.
Where is the lip?
Underneath the lip we have this very strong bump.
I will talk about the chin in a second because when we talk about the lips, you cannot not
talk about the chin because the lip needs to look like it’s included in the face.
You cannot just work on the lips while ignoring the surroundings.
What’s important now, remember that we liked the profile line.
I don’t want to change the profile line, but we didn’t make the philtrum clear.
Let’s make the philtrum first.
On my model it’s very prominent and clear.
To make the philtrum, I also need to shape the nose a little bit more clearly.
The tip of the nose needs to be…first I’m giving the mass, and now I’m drawing out
Okay, I need a tool to make the philtrum more prominent.
Remember this little reduction tool that I showed you before?
We tried to use it here.
Now I’m drawing the corner, like the shape of the lip.
Trying to imitate the model’s shape of the lip from the outside.
I won’t leave it like that.
It’s just that I need a drawing first to know where the plane change needs to happen.
This is really like, it’s a plane that comes down.
And then where the contour of the lip is, it changes direction so I’m drawing that
Then I can work with that.
Okay, I drew the lip out.
I drew the philtrum out.
It’s not precise yet.
I just need to place it correctly.
Let me tell you something about how the anatomy of the chin, I will draw it out quickly for
We have this kind of mess on the left and the right, like wing kind of shaped mass that
comes toward the chin.
And then underneath the lip we have a little bit of a bump, like a hole.
The chin comes together forward.
I would like to—this is what I was just drawing out here.
It has this form here.
I was drawing that on my sculpture, and then on the other side.
The bone comes together to a pointy kind of tip here.
We see that on the model too.
Not as sharp, of course, because there is cartilage on top and flesh on top, but from
its principal, it forms, like here is a plane that shows upwards.
It forms this little triangle shape.
That’s what we try to do here.
And then around the mouth corners, here and here, we have a little bit of a volume.
One time I heard a Russian teacher say it looks like a kidney bean.
Around the lips we have this little bit of a mass, and
it’s important because it’s going to show how the lip is integrated into the face.
Just talking about lips would be a whole session by itself, really.
To repeat the anatomy of the lip, we have on the lower lip two tear drops masses that
touch it, like they come together on the front.
Then on the upper lip there is a teardrop in the middle.
Everybody has it where it points together kind of where the two upper lips merge together.
I need to unify that for a moment.
You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here.
I was just unifying forms again.
That’s just something you have to keep doing while you go.
Otherwise, the forms get too messy.
I’m still unifying forms, and now I’m stepping back two steps.
Just look at the overall contour line of my sculpture.
I’m quite happy except that on this side I feel like it’s a little, not enough built
out, so I will add a little bit here.
Then I’m wondering when I was making the width of the nose, I think I’ve gotten a
little bit too wide here.
I will just reduce on the left than on the right a little bit.
While I’m reducing at the same time I’m unifying.
Then I’m stepping back again to see the overall proportions.
There is still a little bit on this side that needs to be added.
And a little bit, the shape of the chin is a little asymmetrical, still.
Okay, let’s call it a day.
So, today I feel like we got a lot done.
We started to introduce the features, and we started to build up the features, meaning
we built up the nose, the eyes, the lips.
We started to introduce transition planes on the bony parts of the zygomatic arch, the
We started to fill in the forms.
We started to think about the surface because so far we weren’t worried about that.
Then in the second half of the session today we started to talk about compositions since
our model is wearing a turban.
We needed to think about how high we want the turban to be and how big the volume should
be, also how far we want to go down to the sternum.
The composition aspect we chose in the second half because as soon as you have the features,
you get a little bit of a feel of the portrait, and it’s easier to decide how you want the
composition to be.
So, this is what we did today, and I’m looking forward to the next session, when we’ll
be starting to create a little bit more details, make a little bit more transitions.
Starting to make the eyebrows, make the nose, make the transition in the eyes.
This is what we’re going to do next time, and I’m looking forward to the next session.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview51sNow playing...
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2. New Day, Fresh Eyes: Taking Measurements and Making Adjustments25m 43s
3. Unifying Shapes and Surfaces, and Further Defining Features24m 48s
4. Plane Changes of the Forehead and Nose; Intricacies of the Eye21m 1s
5. Matching the Eyes, Finding the Philtrum, Identifying Volumes of the Lips & Mouth31m 2s