The next session of the Digital Figure Sculpture Course is getting ready to start on so I thought I would post this image from the culminating exercise and also talk a little bit more about the philosophy and goals of the course.
Simply, the goal of the course is to teach students how to create more naturalistic figure sculptures. Too often artists struggle to breathe life into their figures and are left scratching their heads as to what went wrong. There are many stages where things can go off track but most often it is inexperience with anatomy, planes, volumes, and proportions. Everyone wants to jump straight in and put muscles onto their sculptures but in their zealousness they forget the critical construction and proportions that hold things together. The course guides artists through the entire process.
The course leads artists through the figure sculpting process by showing my work at every stage and then I critique students’ work to keep them moving closer and closer to a naturalistic result. The first half of the course is dedicated to isolated studies of the body, what I call “fragments”, where students can study forms and anatomy without having to worry about the complications of the rest of the figure. The fragment exercises are practice sessions for the latter half of the course where students tackle the grand challenge – the full figure.
The software for the course is ZBrush, a fantastic digital sculpting tool that I have used on many projects. The course, however, is not focused solely on the tools and techniques of ZBrush (though I cover every tool and technique I use). The larger focus is on helping students observe and understand the volumes, silhouettes, pose, balance, proportions, and anatomy that create the essence of the figure. When all these elements come together and are executed with good technique, the figure sculpture approaches a magic place.