I am recently back from a week-long workshop at Ubisoft’s Quebec studio focused on portraiture and facial anatomy. The week broke down into three days of facial anatomy lecture for twenty of their artists (animators, riggers, concept artist, character artists) and then finished with an intensive two-day portrait sculpting session in ZBrush with just the character artists.
Friday morning drawing. Up early and browsing BodiesInMotion.photo and found this pretty epic sequence – Aerial Rope. Good inspiration for a bit of figure study. Each image sequence (aka Motion) is a collection of crisp, high-resolution frames (15-20 megapixel) with tons of detail for close up study – hands, faces, muscles, deformation, etc (you can find a composite from the high-resolution images here). I’ve attached the preview GIF so you get a better idea how motions are previewed at Bodies in Motion. This was a two-coffee drawing, done on the iPad Pro so I could record the drawing session, timelapse below.
The Eaton-Houdon Ecorche is a contemporary anatomy figure based on the classic L’Écorché, the 18th century anatomy study by French neoclassical sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. The original écorché figure was used for centuries in art academies and ateliers around the world to teach students anatomy and cast drawing.
This version, produced in collaboration with Michael Defeo, corrects a handful of lingering anatomical mistakes while retaining the gesture, pose, and naturalism that made the original a favorite of mine and of other artists through the centuries. Here it is produced at eighteen inches, an ideal size for desktop reference and study. Each figure is hand cast in museum-quality resin with removable magnetic arms.
Available at: EATON.london
Anatomy study from Bodies in Motion. There are a few interesting things going on here:
Not long ago, I had twelve artists from Natural Motion (of Morpheme and Clumsy Ninja fame) into Somerset House, my home away from home, for a four day anatomy workshop. At the end of each day we would take about 20 minutes to draw from the Bodies in Motion library.
We made extensive use of the timer for gesture drawing. It can be set to 10fps, 1fps, 30sec, 1min, 2min, or 5mins, and ticks down to zero before flipping to the next frame of the motion sequence. We had it set at 30 seconds per image and we were all drawing frantically trying to keep up. Anyone who goes to life drawing regularly knows this is challenging, but it’s great practice to help capture the essence of a pose – balance, gesture, rough volumes – quickly, without being drawn into the details. Here’s a timelapse of my scribbles (Procreate on Ipad Pro):
timelapse of a sequence of 30 second poses
I recently finished a series of three facial anatomy workshops for the artists at Creative Assembly, the award winning, Sega-owned studio responsible for the long-running Total War franchise as well as titles like Alien Isolation and Halo Wars 2. Like most artists designing characters for games and visual effects the bar for creating realistic faces is exceptionally high and a functional understanding of the construction of the face is very important to achieving believably with the form and motion of the face. The goal of the workshops was to help the Creative Assembly artists develop a fluency with the anatomical forms and structures of the face so that they can work more quickly, accurately, and creatively, while avoiding the common mistakes many artists make in their portraiture.
My Hercules XIII tablet stand with the substantially large iPad Pro.
available at: EATON.london
It was my pleasure to recently photograph jujitsu grandmaster Professor Leon Jay for the Bodies in Motion project. I was able to catch Prof. Jay just before flying to LA for an interview and covershoot for Black Belt magazine. It isn’t everyday you get to hangout with a guy who watched Bruce Lee train in his living room when he was a kid (Prof Jays’s father is Wally Jay, founder of Small Circle Jujitsu and an early teacher of Bruce Lee). During the shoot we photographed a range of jujitsu techniques from dynamic throws to joint locks. After the shoot I asked Prof. Jay to demonstrate a few of his techniques on me, and I can certify first hand that they are painful and effective!
You will be able to check out all the high-resolution sequences at BodiesInMotion.photo in September.
Here’s one of my favorites from the Bodies in Motion V shoot. There are still many shots left to develop, but BiM-V was all about martial arts. We had some eye-watering talent on the shoot – a Jujitsu grandmaster, a master of Hapkido, high-level kickboxers, a wushu artist and couple practitioners of exotic, less known martial arts.
A figure study inspired by a sequence from the Bodies in Motion project. For a behind the scenes look at the making of this piece, including a bit of anatomy, a sculpting demo and a complete timelapse video showing the tools and techniques I use, please check out my presentation from the Pixologic ZSummit (the makers of ZBrush, my primary digital sculpting tool): https://youtu.be/Ale6SXXbJMM
I was recently commissioned by the legendary French glass makers, Lalique, to design and sculpt an enormous (in relative terms) crystal angel, an allegory of Music, for Elton John. The piece, know as Cire Perdue (after the lost wax process Lalique used to cast the piece), is a single, unique artwork that will be auctioned off in Los Angeles in February, with all proceeds going to the Elton John Aids Foundation. After a long design process and an even longer time in production, the piece is finally finished and was shown for the first time at Elton’s Windsor estate, to an effusive reaction:
“I don’t think that I have ever seen a more beautiful piece of glass than the big Angel. It is breathtaking!
Elton signing the big Angel
I am excited to show the first images from a recent collaboration with fellow artist Jason deCaires Taylor. I designed and sculpted the four Shire horses with oil-pump heads for Jason’s installation The Rising Tide currently installed on the Southbank of the Thames, right outside the MI6 building (for all you James Bond and secretive intelligence agency fans out there).
The piece is a powerful commentary on man’s relationship with the environment. Throughout the day the sculptures are submerged and revealed as the tide cycle waxes and wanes. As a long-time scuba diver I am delighted by Jason’s epic underwater works, so it was a pleasure collaborating with him on this piece.
My work on the piece involved the design and digital sculpting of the 18-hand tall Shire horses. Interestingly, over the past few years I have sculpted quite a few horses. First my centaur, then work on Mark Wallinger’s White Horse (also installed in London), followed by the horses for Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, and now these petrochemical Shires.