Bodyparts: ThoraxJanuary 2008
When I was done with my anatomy studies, the next step was to transfer the knowledge into form. This sounds quite easy. When you know where the muscles and bones are, it should be no problem to sculpt something that looks correct. So I started sculpting and put in all the muscles, bony landmarks and everything I have learned. When I was finished, I stepped back, examined what I have build and was happy with the result – for a few seconds. Then I was really shocked. Although every anatomical part was on the right place, the model looked “death”. I moved on to the next sculpt, but same problem here. It was a stiff something that had similarity with a torso, an arm, a hand or a head but it had no life in it. It was a boring accumulation of body parts.
Knowing the name of muscles and bones, their origin and insertion, is something totally different then knowing how they expand in three dimensional spaces. I think you need both to solve the task of building a working figure. I’m still trying to bring these two worlds together. To reach perfection it would take more than one life (except you’re the next Michelangelo). If you are able to use your anatomical knowledge and the knowledge about shape together during the sculpting session and doing that kinda intuitive, then the door is open to express yourself through the sculpture (at least I think so, I’m still far away from that point).
I’ve deliberately left myself time for many speed-sculpting sessions. I jump from hands to feet, from thorax to face features and back to hands again. When I wasn’t able to sculpt a part decent, I went back to my drawing table and the anatomy books.
Sometimes a shape can be that complex that you need days to understand how it works. For example, the bones of the pelvis are twisted a few times and it’s everything else than obvious how they are connected. Now you’ll say that you never see the pelvis of a human figure because it lies deep under muscles. Let me tell you, that’s a false conclusion. You can’t model the outside if you don’t know a little bit of the inside, too. And it’s not true that you can’t see anything from the underlying structure.
The only way to improve your skills is training. Do as many of these quick sculpting sessions as you can. The models don’t have to be perfect or ready to be published. Do it just for your one. If I browse through my speed-sculpting folders I can see that I became slightly better from one model to the other. But there’s still a lot to be done.