Summer figure sculpture

Multiple views of my summer figure sculpture

It was fantastic sculpting this from life in LARA’s summer intensive sculpture course. The model was amazing; he managed to hold this pose, 6 hours a day for 2 weeks!


We started out with an armature prepared for us, which we then arranged it to suit the model’s pose. We built solid masses for the pelvis and rib cage, carefully checking the key dimesnions against measurements taken and scaled (to half life size) from the model by our teacher.

Major muscles masses

Even at that stage, with just armature and key masses, any problems with the gesture quickly became obvious. Once these were fixed we moved onto building up the muscle masses, checking and correcting  from different angles as the model moved around. This process goes very quickly at first as large changes are made and followed through around the pose.

Specific definition

Having established the limbs and major masses we had to define much smaller and more specific volumes. This was tricky; first observing the form on the model; noting its roundness or flatness or other characteristic, as deduced from how the light hits it and second trying to recreate that on our sculptures by adding, removing or rearranging the clay.

The test

Our teacher gave us this test of our work, isolating a small section she asked if that area was identifiable, i.e. could someone else seeing just that area tell what it was? Look at the small image below and let me know in the comments:

What's this?


I found it easiest to use my fingers for modelling in the initial stages but as the sculpture progressed I needed to use the tools to make smaller corrections than my fingers would allow. The tools seemed to have a mind of their own but our teacher soon demonstrated how to manipulate them. It is always a joy to watch someone working with tools that seem to act purely from intention rather than specific action as they did for her.