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Hello all I began sculpting a couple years ago mostly terrain (which is what I like I have never been good at anatomy so havent even tried actual minis yet) and Im sure a few people have seen things I have posted.  Lately I find myself unhappy with anything I sit down and try to do I had gotten to a point where I was decent but after about a year or so of not really doing much due to no space and moving I notice when I sit down and try to make things Im just not happy with them any more and its putting me off.  I tried to do just a little crate today out of super sculpey  but didnt like the divots my fingers were putting in the middle of the sides and decided to ball it up.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

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As a writer of fiction and a songwriter, I never suffered from block. Ever.

 

It wasn't until I began sculpting that I suffered this phenomenon. I have to say that I hate it. But I have narrowed it down to two main causes. (Or at least, these are the most common two causes for me).

 

1. Too many ideas and can't settle on one.

 

2. When I do settle on one, I am so critical of what I am doing that I have to give up.

 

I think that what's happening is that number one causes number two, in that, when I do settle on something it's subconsciously not what I really want to do.

 

One thing that sometimes helps me, is to realize I am doing this, and ask myself very frankly, what is it I actually want to make? I find that my enthusiasm for whatever that is, helps it to be of better quality, and I can parley that into success doing something else, maybe something I have to do. In other words, a little success can go a long way to helping me get some actual work done. Once I get back to that level, it is easier doing the other work and getting a good result. Feels less like a chore.

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Those are pretty much the EXACT 2 things I am having problems with I have all these ideas in my head but its been so long I wanted to practice but what Im practicing on isnt what I really want to be doing.  And the other is I am always so critical I understand that not all the lines need to be straight and all the sides dont have to be the EXACT same dimensions but it is hard to get past that.  Maybe I should just jump into the projects I want to do instead of the little menial tasks I think I should lol 

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Do what you want to do. Frustrated sculpting, or any creative task really, leads to crummy results.

 

As for not trying to sculpt actual minis... well, practice makes perfect. Not trying to sculpt because you feel you're not good at anatomy is a self-perpetuating cycle.

 

Trying new techniques and new materials is always good too.

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This is a box of my attempted sculpts, none of them past the basic armature stage, all of them fails that I'll have to start over:

 

IMG_0033.jpg

 

IMG_0032.jpg

 

 

These are only the ones I haven't thrown away in exasperation, I've thrown away more than is in that box in just the last 12 months and if you knew how long I have been trying to learn how to sculpt miniatures, you'd find it slightly comical; a fast learner I am not. BUT, just this week I have made a bit of a breakthrough and I have finally at long, long last cracked the technique for sculpting expert-level armatures. I have a smaller box of about 20 armatures I am working on, and of those about 4 or 5 are starting to look good.

 

I think you have to decide whether you are sculpting for serious or sculpting for fun, it's really not worth spending countless hours on a project you don't enjoy if there's no end pay-off, especially if you've got more important things to do.

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Oh I love sculpting and would love to do it seriously it just seems Ive taken a step back with my hiatus.  I really enjoy making terrain pieces and decor more not cause I dont know how to sculpt actual minis but I just for some reason am more drawn to it.  All the ideas I have at the moment are much bigger than the things Ive been trying to do.  Maybe I just need to gather the materials and start on one of my bigger projects 

Edited by Crimson_king_of_the_tower
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  You can't stop something for an entire year and then expect that the first time you pick it up again you're going to be just as good as you were when you were doing it all the time. Just like anything else, if you don't use it, you lose it.

 

 

 Two things I find that help with frustration and having too many ideas...

 

The first is that whenever an idea pops into my head that's making it difficult to focus on what I'm currently doing, I take a short break to write it down or sketch it out and get it out of my head.

 

The second is when I find myself screwing up on something I'm trying to make, I just go with whatever it happens to turn into rather than the original idea. You have no idea how many times I've started sculpting a staircase and ended up with a tree, or tried to make an orc that ended up as a stone golem.

Try this...

 Pick up one of your armatures. Slap some putty on it randomly and then just clear your mind and look at it again. Let the putty tell you what it wants to be. Whatever idea first pops into your head, go with it. When you get to a point where your hands are no longer doing what you're seeing in your head, clear your mind again and then take a fresh look at it. Maybe that really crappy arm gets its wire bent back so it's on the guy's back and it becomes a wing. Make a guy with wings, and leave the arm for another time. If his legs are too long, just make a really tall skinny guy or put an extra joint in there so he has grasshopper legs.

Keep a couple of these guys around for when you run out of inspiration, get blocked, or have extra putty left over or you're waiting for something to cure.

It doesn't matter if you end up with something that has three tentacles for legs, a knight's helmet and one wing, you've still made something and practiced your skills..

 

And remember to take regular breaks when doing anything - before you get to the point of becoming frustrated.

 

Also, remember that nothing is ever perfect and nothing is ever done - there is always something that could be done a little bit better and something that needs just a bit more work. Aspire to mediocrity (lol). Learning to accept when you've gotten whatever you're working on "close enough" and letting it go will relieve a lot of your frustration.

Edited by Mad Jack
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Those are pretty much the EXACT 2 things I am having problems with I have all these ideas in my head but its been so long I wanted to practice but what Im practicing on isnt what I really want to be doing.  And the other is I am always so critical I understand that not all the lines need to be straight and all the sides dont have to be the EXACT same dimensions but it is hard to get past that.  Maybe I should just jump into the projects I want to do instead of the little menial tasks I think I should lol 

It's a good start. Do what you like. The menial stuff can wait until you get your enthusiasm back.

 

Morale is a very important factor to creativity. Don't ever let anybody tell you differently.

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I notice all those rejects are humanoids.

 

Maybe to get back in, sculpt something more forgiving?

 

An animal, some little things like a chest or weapon?

 

I will do something like that, I do need a bit of a break so I might start work on a monster as a side-project or have another go at Warhammer style - aka Kev Adams style - Goblins, those are harder to do than they look!  But I am still fairly well enthused on the human figurines; I've been almost exclusively making female armatures.

 

Here's where I am at now (note the solitary male armature on the end):

 

IMG_0003.jpg

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all of them fails that I'll have to start over:

I disagree with this. If they are not how you wanted them to come out at least finish them. You will get practice with the details and fiddly bits. Just make them mutated humans or zombies to hide the "mistakes".

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I disagree with this. If they are not how you wanted them to come out at least finish them. You will get practice with the details and fiddly bits. Just make them mutated humans or zombies to hide the "mistakes".

I'd say finish them how you originally envisioned them, that way you see the mistakes more clearly and can hopefully figure out how best to correct them next time.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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all of them fails that I'll have to start over:

I disagree with this. If they are not how you wanted them to come out at least finish them. You will get practice with the details and fiddly bits. Just make them mutated humans or zombies to hide the "mistakes".

 

 

My thought exactly.  A sculpt is only ever a fail if the armature is in the wrong proportions.  Everything else can be cut away and re-sculpted. If you guys could only see how often I cut something away and rework it because I dont like some small aspect of it. Very few sculpts ever get finished without getting hit by the scalpel at least once.

 

 

Oh, and animals really aren't that much easier than people. Anatomy is anatomy, mess it up, and it is going to look funny.

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