You remember the post before the last one where I was talking about gesture drawing, how to do it and why. The principle can be used in sculpting as well. All you need is wire.
You make little figures – we made them about 16 inches tall – and then you can “gesture sculpt”. At school we had a live model and every gesture took about 5 to 15 minutes. It takes a little longer than gesture drawing because you have to bend and shape using pliers. As always, with time and practice it becomes easier and the wire sculptures get more complex and expressive.
The added dimension (working in 3D) makes you think much more about the directions that the body parts go, the tilts and twists a body can show. Note in the following picture how the pelvis tilts to the left while the shoulders stay straight.
It’s fascinating how much information one can capture. Is it a relaxed or tense pose? Which way does he look?
When they stand on their own it means you really found the line of gravity that goes through the body – which sounds easier than it is, trying to be fast and accurate at the same time.
I took a short sculpting class over the summer. I chose Intro to Figure Sculpture with Mike Magrath at Gage Academy. The pictures show my very first sculpture produced during the five week class (15 hours). It’s far from perfect but I’m really fascinated with sculpting. It’s a very complex and captivating process – and still so much to learn.
Women Sitting | Clay | 2012
Her face looks a little bit like a figure from Avatar 🙂 unintentional of course, it’s only roughed in. So are hands and feet, for lack of time/skill at the time. I was very busy just getting her posture right – as I said, it’s a very complex process.
As a follow-up to the blogs about “drawing and sculpting” (posted June and July) here is a portrait that I drew during the last class session of “Beginning Portrait – Drawing and Sculpting”. Remember the point of the class was to enhance your drawing skills through sculpting.
Pencil on Paper | May 2012
Now, in comparison look at the following portrait that I drew during my “Beginning Drawing” class during March 2012 (just a couple of months earlier). The nose and in particular the ear in this drawing are not as well developed as in the above drawing. Partly it was a lack of skill but also a lack of “seeing” things and being able to translate it into 2D. The sculpting truly helped to understand the form better and become better at drawing 🙂
On June 26th and 27th I posted sculptures of the nose and ear. Here comes the mouth.
As a reminder: the purpose of sculpting parts of the face (in this exercise) is to understand their shape better – the plane breaks, the volume, the relationships of the parts of the face to each other – consequently it helps to become better at drawing (the face). In addition one can practice drawing from the sculptures – drawing from a 3-D model – e.g. the following photos show how the shape of the mouth can create shadows on the face, it also shows the “hills” and “valleys” of this part of the face quite well. You could also draw the feature from different angles – e.g. practicing drawing a foreshortened view etc.
The following photo shows well that it’s really only a sculpture of the mouth. Neighboring features of the mouth are only developed as much as necessary to understand the relationship hence the nose in this sculpture is really a rather undefined lump of plasticine serving as the “boarder” to the north (casting a shadow) and showing that the philtrum groove of the mouth connects to the nose – although it doesn’t show the details of how exactly it connects to the nose as this information is not needed for drawing the mouth.
Last quarter (Spring 2012) I took “Beginning Portrait – Drawing and Sculpting” at Gage (instructor: Suzanne Brooker). One week we drew (from the life model) and the next week we sculpted (from the same model) one particular feature of the head.
The point is to understand the plane breaks, dimensions and relations (of the features) of the face/head. To achieve this we drew so-called construction drawings that show the breaks and then sculpted this part. Sculpting (since it is 3-D) really enhances one’s understanding of the plane breaks and relations of the features to each other and as a result improves one’s drawing skills.
To illustrate here an example of a simple construction drawing from an artistic anatomy book:
And here are a few of my construction drawings of the model’s nose:
And the sculpture – the focus is on the nose, the other features are not really developed, only as much as needed for reference.
I’ll post other features of the head in the next few days.