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I spent my first figurative sculpting weekend with Andrew Sinclair and Diane Coates at The Sculpture School in Devon. It was a fantastic experience! The weekend was so much fun and I made new friends along the way.
The two-day workshop consisted of sculpting a full figure, in this case the female form. We explored the human body as a design. Andrew emphasized just how important anatomical knowledge is when sculpting the female figure.
Andrew explained that everything in the human body is connected through dynamic curves. Sound knowledge of human anatomy allows you to ‘start from a point of perfection’. With this sculpture we began with a profile, in part because we see in 2D and starting from a profile makes it easier to be specific regarding proportions and is faster to assimilate.
Dynamic curves are the life of a model. It’s essential to understand that a person is always moving despite a static pose, so it’s vital to capture a sense of imminent movement in your sculpture. When working from a model you should never be too constrained by anatomical processes but rather always be looking for the energy curve.
As an artist you are looking for dynamic beauty in the body. This might be in the form of curves or triangles but they are always interconnected as one, working in harmony with one another.
It is always important to consider three factors when beginning a new figurative sculpture:
Anatomy will never flow correctly if the base design isn’t right. We explored the thirty-four muscles and associated muscle groups of the human figure as well as their relationships with one another.
Some of the notes I took during our anatomy breakdown:
Andrew emphasised that we are not clinical like doctors. Instead we should bring our sculpture to life with real passion for the curves and beauty of the human body.
When working, adding ‘sausages’ of clay is important to laying out raw foundations and structure. A sausage of clay, as opposed to a ball of clay, gives us rhythm and line. This is essential when creating dynamic curves.
We covered a huge amount of ground in just two days. We learned how to ‘sketch’ out our sculpture, with dynamic curves and anatomical structure. Once this is in play (Our sketch), you can then begin to truly sculpt. We were taught so much during the workshop that I will continue to practice and refine what I learnt over the coming months.
Andrew Sinclair is a phenomenal teacher. He is generous with his wealth of knowledge and conveys it so that everyone can understand. It was a privilege to be taught by Andrew and truly an inspiring experience.
Just want to say a BIG thank you to Andrew, Diane, Angela (our life model) and everyone who attended the weekend! I had an absolute blast!! I’ll definitely be back for more!
I’d also like to give Paul and Muriel a quick shout at Nichols Nymet House B&B, good digs and good breakfasts!
Additional Photos from the day:
Really happy with the main forms now. When I return from LA, I’ll work back in on the details more and start refining his subtle facial features. It’s tricky since I have to translate PJ Lynch’s brilliant 2D imagery into 3D. The key thing for me was to maintain the appeal of PJ’s original painting. For those of you who know the book, you’ll know which piece of artwork I refer to! Eye direction was important to, it’s not easy to see from this angle but I have eyes balls in the sculpt that I can rotate and point as necessary. I’ll update this post with a 3 quarter angle soon.
What a weekend! The Draw-In Symposium finally arrived and it was filled with fun, drama, stories, demos and tonnes of artwork and drawing to experience. In fact, the Draw-In event itself had already started a week previous with Matt Weigle’s brilliant painting workshop. Both Colleen Barry and Matt Weigle were flown over from New York especially to take part in and attend the Weekend long Draw-In Symposium event. Some of Matt’s workshop can be viewed here at Julie’s website
Left to right: Colleen Barry, Matt Weigle, Aidan McGrath, Paul Foxton, Peter Cooper, PJ Lynch, Shevaun Doherty and Julie Douglas (Founder of the Draw-In Symposium)
The Symposium kicked off with a fantastic talk by Colleen Barry. Colleen is a phenomenal artist and painter and her growing wealth of experience and knowledge she openly shares with others.
I gave a 1 hour creature sculpting demo, I touched on building a wire armature, the drawing and design processes involved, laying out the main forms and masses of the character and posing the design in dynamic but subtle ways to help bring out the character of the creature. I’ll have an update on this creature sculpt very soon. I had approx 1 hour to flesh this fella out.
The guys in the audience are born sculptors in their own right! After we passed out some Super Sculpey to the audience they got stuck right in, here’s just a handful of what was made during my time on the stage. I’m so impressed!
In between workshops, I’d be doodling 3D creature concepts in the shadows… this was a 3D blockout of the main creature design I was working on during the Saturday. I had lots of invaluable input from some of the artists involved working through workshops of the day. Thanks to their insane enthusiasm and help, I was able to make design decisions much faster than normal to help me along the way.
Also giving demos at the Draw-In Symposium were:
Shevaun is intelligent and fun, she is an artist that explores the botanical world, whether it be plants, trees.. even beetles and micro animal life, her painting work is amazing and her volume of work is growing. The amount of attention to detail that Shevaun employs in her work while painting her subject is phenomenal. In the world of botanical art, every little detail has to be observed fully and recorded. Through having fun conversations with her, I realized just how open and inquisitive she is, she’s always discovering as she goes and this shows in her forever growing volume of artwork. We got into a great chat at one point, about getting high on pufferfish! To see more of Shevaun Doherty’s botanical artwork visit: http://botanicalsketches.blogspot.co.uk/
Finally got the opportunity to meet PJ Lynch at long last. A really good guy, fantastic artist and a professional through and through. He gave an hour long portrait demo whilst at the same time taking questions from the audience as he worked. I’m a huge fan of the artwork he produced for the book Ignis by Gina Wilson, and I had the honor of showing him the creature sculpt I’ve been working on based on one of his dragon designs. Ignis in this case. A great painter and artist, really happy I had this opportunity to meet him at long last.
Paul gave an awesome and thoughtful demo on how to improve your artwork through the practice of exercising various drawing techniques regularly. He talked about developing creative and artistic habits, things like sitting by a desk and drawing straight lines, or even simplier, getting into the ‘habit’ of opening a sketchbook every morning… so that you’re ready to doodle. Value is a key topic of conversation! A very interesting workshop, Paul was articulate in his delivery and made it enegaging and fun. To find out more go to: http://www.learning-to-see.co.uk/
A big shout out and thank you to Julie Douglas. As founder of the Draw-In event, she has steered this from day one and made it happen. It’s been an unmissable opportunity to be involved as an artist and get to meet everyone else who attended. It’s been a humbling and highly creative experience and I hope it happens again in the future. It’s been a blast. Thanks Julie!
Managed to get more sculpting time in tonight and further roughed out Frankenstein’s main forms. In hinds sight, it might have been better to sculpt direct from Boris himself, and add the ‘prosthetics’ afterwards! He has proven tricky, the jaw is a real gotcha, but he’s slowly… coming out of the clay to say, … “boo!”
It’s been fun. Working in Wed is great, allowing the clay to dry is okay, it can be softened again with water. Various paint brushes are handy to paint in water in some smaller areas, like wrinkle lines. Looking forwards to signing off on the main forms and start detailing alittle.
In the meantime, I need to keep him wet!
Getting ready for the Symposium tonight, it’s not that faraway now. Tonight we did a systems check, got the lights good to go, camera setup is good, projector works, computer plugs into University system okay… everything went well. Tools, clay, pots, lazy susan… check…. It’s nice to see Ignis on the big screen!
A couple of eyeballs, that didn’t quite make the cut… aaah, I can see better
Do not feed the animals, especially the Sculpey critters… and especially not potassium, ever! You all know what happens to Mogwai’s, it is debatable whether feeding them before or after midnight makes a difference however.