Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Scupting the skeleton

Now that I have completed armature it's time to block in the bony structures. The goal here is to claim the anatomy space and landmarks. I'm not displaying a skeleton as my final art so I'm not concerned with making a complete replica of a skeleton, nor will I sculpt every knob, spur or fossa. The purpose of this is to very sure of my proportion and to control the overall line and movement of my sculpt. Tedious though it is to sculpt a plate and a ball and socket, it will pay dividends later.

Using my proportional calipers I am able to compare relationships between skull and other parts of the anatomy to be sure the piece is working in harmony. I may choose to take liberties but these are conscious design choices and not guesstimations or accidents.

This time I also did an additional step of creating removable forearms. I used a rotary tool to cut square brass tubing and then cut the forearms up near the elbow joint. I used a two-part epoxy to secure the square tubing by inserting the upper arm into the tubing 1/2 the length of the tubing. Once the epoxy set I was able to put the forearm in the tube until it meets the upper arm. This will make it easier to remove the arms from the body to sculpt the hands.
 Once I finish blocking in the skeleton, I'll start massing in the muscles and flesh.

For this sculpt I'm deviating from my usual jmac classic clay and trying out Chavant's Clayette in Hard. I love Jmac but it's always nice to try new things. Many clays are good for different reasons - some work better for small works and other for large works. I've used JMac as my go-to clay for a lot of my work and while I liked Chavant's Le Beau Touche but found that it was too soft for my smaller work. That doesn't mean that it's not a great clay - it just means that I may have a heavier hand, or that it is better suited to larger works where the softness is an advantage.

When it comes to clay, you can read reviews and see what other sculptors are using but ultimately it comes down to personal preference and you'll need to get your hands on some to try out for yourselves. And, like me, you will probably find several that you love and have specific applications for.

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