An afternoon study. I’ve been doing quite a bit of portrait drawing and sculpting lately in preparation for my upcoming Digital Portrait Sculpting course (the companion course to Digital Figure Sculpture). Official announcement and dates coming soon.
I’m recently back to London after a long trip to the West Coast (LA, San Francisco). The first stop was Blizzard Entertainment for a four-day facial anatomy workshop. For the uninitiated Blizzard is the juggernaut game developer behind the hit franchises World of Warcraft (WoW), Overwatch, and Starcraft. From their fortress-like campus 100 miles south of LA in Irvine, CA, they run a digital empire built on monsters, magic, and well… fun.
My job was to level up the artists’ facial anatomy and portrait sculpting skills. The workshop broke down into two days of facial anatomy lecture and two days of portrait sculpting in ZBrush. The content will sound familiar to anyone who actually reads the posts on this website (and doesn’t just looking at the pictures, like most), because I ran a similar workshop for Ubisoft very recently. In fact, you’ll recognize one of the heads rendered above. I added a second head (my Blizzard demo sculpt) to the menagerie this time.
Even though we were studying facial anatomy the artists also got a chance to draw and study from the Bodies in Motion site. We drew from quite a few Motions, less for full-body poses but more for examples of skull structure and head/neck articulation and anatomy in dynamic poses. There were some great drawings from the room full of talented artists.
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.
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
Here are a couple images of my first sculpture study from the Bodies in Motion library. The BiM “Coming Soon” page is now up here: www.bodiesinmotion.photo
I’ve heard there is one month’s FREE ACCESS for the first 100 artists to register their interest at the link above, so get on it! I am excited to see what people make with the material when the site goes live!
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.
The Eaton-Houdon Écorché is my update of the classical anatomy figure by 18th Century sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. His original l’Écorché sculpture, produced in 1767 during his time in Rome, has been used by artists studying anatomy for centuries. It is celebrated for its balance, gesture and proportions but, to the trained eye, has always contained a handful of anatomical inaccuracies. Combine this with an overall loss of detail resulting from centuries of re-casting and the piece was in need of both an accuracy update and a sharpening of details. The result is shown above.
I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with legendary artist Jeff Koons on one of his projects – a larger than life-sized sculpture of Lady Gaga. After some absurd deadlines and a lot of sculpting, the piece was unveiled in New York at #artRave a huge launch party for Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP album.
It is amazing to finally see the piece finished and in public. From what I have seen it looks pretty impressive (if for no other reason than the monumental scale). I am still not sure what it means but I guess that is for Jeff to answer.
profile view (with Koons’ promotion)
The White Horse is finally installed in London. This is the project of artist Mark Wallinger and was originally planned as a towering 50m tall horse (as tall as the Statue of Liberty) to be erected in the countryside of Kent and visible from the Eurostar. But around the big crash, arts budgets downsized and so did the scale of the horse. Now it is only a very average ‘life-sized’, but it is still striking in its crisp white finish and realism. About a year ago I worked with the team from Sample & Hold to refine the digital version of the horse, based on a scan of Mark’s actual horse. I spent time adding anatomical accuracy and life to the head, face, legs, and hooves (at the time my horse skills were primed, having just finished Spielberg’s War Horse).
After a bit of massaging the data was sent off for fabrication. Through a combination of 3d printing, CNC machining, and casting, the piece was brought to life – albeit at a scale smaller than originally intended. But if you are in London and want to check it out, it will be on display on the Mall (just off Trafalgar Square) for two years.