Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sketch-Sculpt: Part 3 — Time to be brave

If you keep investing time and effort into a piece, you'll see it develop, evolve, and improve as you go along, but only if you're prepared to make some brave choices.

As I kept on, with giving my sculpture it's 3rd, 4th, and 5th passes, I kept noticing that there were recurring problem areas. As I found these areas, I would spend my time trying to correct them, but the more time I spent on them, the more I realized that these problem areas would not be easy fixes.

This is when I realized that my sketch-sculpt had moved away from the relative safety of being: "just a sketch." I had hit a cross-roads. Should I end it here? Maybe start a new and completely different sketch-sculpt? Or, should I continue on with this piece and push myself toward having something more than just a sketch?

I decided that it was time to be brave and see how far I can take this sculpt. So, that meant that it was time to tackle the big fundamental problems: Armature, Scale, and Anatomy.

If you take a look at the picture above (ignore the horns), you'll see that the sculpture is in a very general state, with no definition to any muscle groups, or great attention to scale (her head is huge,) or anatomy. This may be fine for a sketch, but now my goal was more realism. So, I started by gathering more anatomical reference, and taking a much closer, and analytical, look at my sculpt, and then I started in on making the changes.

In some cases, the scale/anatomy problems in the sculpt were because of the armature underneath the clay not being in the right place. Fixing the armature would be a pain, especially since I used a coat-hanger instead of actual (aluminum) armature wire, but after assessing my options, I figured that there was nothing for it. So...

... I ripped off her head and tore off her right arm, and adjusted the armature as best I could . I also decided that I would try using a firmer grade of sculpey for the re-sculpt of her head. My thinking there was that it would be easier to get finer detail (for the eyes, nose, and lips) at that scale with a firmer clay. After those big changes were made, I kept on with trying to get her anatomy, scale, and other details to look right. After a few more passes ( 6th,7th 8th, and so on), she looked like this...

As I reached this stage of the sculpt, I was happy that I had made the decision to push forward.

This latest level of detail, although still somewhat stylized, brought this sculpture up to a new level of appeal and interest. It seemed that she had more presence. Even as she stood there in silence, she was saying more. She was now expressing something, maybe not a lot of something—but something none the less. Well, at least to me she was, and for me, the sculptor, that was a very good payoff for being brave.

~Tony Preciado.