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Going through an "argghh!" phase.


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Just... gahh! Annoying. I'm focusing on female sculpts in 32mm scale, but I'm struggling to get beyond a wire skeleton. First pic is a typical WIP of mine; below it is the same WIP after I chopped away some of the bulk to try to correct the errors.

 

 

picture 1:

IMG_0053.jpg

 

 

 

picture 2:

 

IMG_0001.jpg

 

 

 

 

And some more, all of which are in need of the same treatment. Bottom right are professional armatures by Kevin White.

 

IMG_0043.jpg

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Ah, yes, I know that phase.

 

To be honest, they don't look that far off.  What are you using for anatomy reference (other than Kev's models)?   When I hit a wall, I find that going back to the anatomy books, remeasuring my armatures, then re-visiting each muscle group typically breaks the block.  Essentially, back to the book and the basics.  

 

Also, how are you approaching them.  I tend to sculpt the pelvis, rib cage, and shoulder girdle first, then work up from the ground (feet, calves, thighs, etc..)

 

Andy

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I can make a rock with green stuff. Not a very good or convincing rock, mind you, but a rock nonetheless. ::P:

 

Thus I have no sculpting advice to give, but I think you're doing some great stuff there, even if it's not turning out the way you want it to, even if you're making nothing but mistakes. You're getting in important practice. I hope that you can see what I can see - that you have moments of genuine beauty all over those practice sculpts.

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Ah, yes, I know that phase.

 

To be honest, they don't look that far off.  What are you using for anatomy reference (other than Kev's models)?   When I hit a wall, I find that going back to the anatomy books, remeasuring my armatures, then re-visiting each muscle group typically breaks the block.  Essentially, back to the book and the basics.  

 

Also, how are you approaching them.  I tend to sculpt the pelvis, rib cage, and shoulder girdle first, then work up from the ground (feet, calves, thighs, etc..)

 

Andy

 

Thanks Andy.

For the underpinning I go: feet  > chest/rib cage > ankles > back of thigh > front of thigh > hips/pelvis >  lower back > upper back.

I also use a couple of Kev White actual unfinished WIP greens for reference and also various photographs from the internet (*cough* porn *cough*).

 

I've gone back to the wire skeleton again and tweaked the positioning of the spine and legs. How many times have I done that? I've lost count. I don't know if it will help but there's no point persevering with an armature that isn't working. Or as Charlton Heston said as Michelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy, "if the wine is sour, throw it away!".

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I think you'd find best to start with a bigger scale, then you'll see better how the muscles fit and work together. There's a book called "anatomy reference for sculptors- understanding the human figure" which is almost like a bible to me. Also there's a lot of image reference on pinterest that will help you.

 

I could probably sculpt something passable in 40mm, but I'm serious about trying to achieve correct 32mm scale which is proving to be a challenge. My biggest problem is "the wire gets in the way" if you know what I mean; because the figure is so delicate, there's no leeway for excess bulk; the less leeway I have, the more precise I have to be about getting the skeleton correct and laying on the underpinning. I've been at this for years, I should have it nailed by now but while I have patience I am lacking in any natural talent.

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I can make a rock with green stuff. Not a very good or convincing rock, mind you, but a rock nonetheless. ::P:

 

Thus I have no sculpting advice to give, but I think you're doing some great stuff there, even if it's not turning out the way you want it to, even if you're making nothing but mistakes. You're getting in important practice. I hope that you can see what I can see - that you have moments of genuine beauty all over those practice sculpts.

 

It's always a relief to me when there's someone I'm better at sculpting than! But I've been at it for 7+ years and if you saw my first attempts.. Picture a stick-man made out of Play-Doh.

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Just curious, but did you take the figure sculpting workshop from Kev when he was in the States a couple years ago? If he has time, he'll critique your work, and give suggestions if you PM him on Facebook. I've bounced a couple things off him in the past. Be prepared for responses like, "What happened? Last month you were great. Today, it's ****. Throw that one away, and start over." ;)

 

At first glance, your anatomy and form are almost there. They still look great. I'd echo others in saying to build up the form by simplified muscle groups.

 

"Struggling to get beyond a wire skeleton" says something else to me, though -- when you're starting these, do you have a final concept in mind? Or are you just wanting to sculpt nudes, and then find concepts to clothe them with later? Or, just wanting to sculpt complete nudes in general, for practice?

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Just curious, but did you take the figure sculpting workshop from Kev when he was in the States a couple years ago? If he has time, he'll critique your work, and give suggestions if you PM him on Facebook. I've bounced a couple things off him in the past. Be prepared for responses like, "What happened? Last month you were great. Today, it's ****. Throw that one away, and start over." ;)

 

At first glance, your anatomy and form are almost there. They still look great. I'd echo others in saying to build up the form by simplified muscle groups.

 

"Struggling to get beyond a wire skeleton" says something else to me, though -- when you're starting these, do you have a final concept in mind? Or are you just wanting to sculpt nudes, and then find concepts to clothe them with later? Or, just wanting to sculpt complete nudes in general, for practice?

 

I did go to Kev White's sculpting class (twice) but a lot closer to home - I live in England and conveniently Kev White held a class 70 miles away in Wales. I'm definitely making progress, I've made several improvements since I started this thread, but my continuing issue is one of over-bulking. I'm constantly having to use reductive sculpting to correct for errors. I'm focused entirely on sculpting nude females to force myself to sculpt correct anatomy. I have rough final concepts, but I'm so far from that I don't need to think about it yet.

 

I don't think I need to get advice from Kev White at the moment because I can see my own mistakes almost immediately; my recurring problem is that the wire gets in the way; I can see that a part of the figure needs to be cut away but I can't cut any deeper because I'm already down to the wire. I've tried various reconfigurations of the wire skeleton - mostly the spine. I recently bought several of Kev White's abandoned WIP armatures which are proving to be very helpful as a reference guide; you can't see the stage-by-stage layers in a completed miniature but on the WIPs I can take a super close-up look at the seam lines and see precisely where he has added bulk and where he hasn't.

 

BTW, those armatures at the top of the page, I've chopped them all down again twice since then! :-D

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The over-bulking -- something I learned from Jason Wiebe is that when you take the amount of putty you THINK you need...

 

...cut it in half.

 

And then cut THAT in half again.

 

And then use THAT tiny piece. That should be the size you need.

 

That method really helped me, but it takes some time to get used to. You'll spend a couple sculpts constantly thinking you won't have enough bulk, or worrying about the giant lump of unused green stuff sitting in the corner curing, but when you come back a day later worrying about what you did the day before, you'll think, "Daaaaang. That lady's got some nice ankles."

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Speak_Centurion,

 

how many heads are you going for?

 

And by heads I mean:

Kev's professional figures are a certain number of heads tall (without taking calipers to your photo I am going to guess 5.5 or 6)

 

The anatomy book samples you have are probably 7 or 7.5 and real photos of actual female Homo sapiens from Internet... (ahem) ...sources, are gonna be 7 or 8 heads tall.

 

That is the largest proportional difference I see between your figs and Kev's. I don't have an opinion on what is the right and proper number of head-heights versus total height for the 32 sculpted figure.

 

I just know that there is a major difference in this when 1:1 scale people are compared to their 32mm counterparts.

 

Wondered if that is a big part of what is giving you the "something ain't right" twitch when you review your work.

 

So, how many heads were you going for?

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Speak_Centurion,

 

how many heads are you going for?

 

And by heads I mean:

Kev's professional figures are a certain number of heads tall (without taking calipers to your photo I am going to guess 5.5 or 6)

 

The anatomy book samples you have are probably 7 or 7.5 and real photos of actual female Homo sapiens from Internet... (ahem) ...sources, are gonna be 7 or 8 heads tall.

 

That is the largest proportional difference I see between your figs and Kev's. I don't have an opinion on what is the right and proper number of head-heights versus total height for the 32 sculpted figure.

 

I just know that there is a major difference in this when 1:1 scale people are compared to their 32mm counterparts.

 

Wondered if that is a big part of what is giving you the "something ain't right" twitch when you review your work.

 

So, how many heads were you going for?

 

I hadn't thought much about "head height", but I'm basically trying to copy Kev White - although his more modern resin-cast sculpts (expensive, but bloody hell they are soooo nice) have smaller and finer faces than the armatures he made back in the mid-2000's. Mine don't really have heads yet, just a little bulking to sculpt the heads on to.

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The over-bulking -- something I learned from Jason Wiebe is that when you take the amount of putty you THINK you need...

 

...cut it in half.

 

And then cut THAT in half again.

 

And then use THAT tiny piece. That should be the size you need.

 

That method really helped me, but it takes some time to get used to. You'll spend a couple sculpts constantly thinking you won't have enough bulk, or worrying about the giant lump of unused green stuff sitting in the corner curing, but when you come back a day later worrying about what you did the day before, you'll think, "Daaaaang. That lady's got some nice ankles."

 

 

Yes, I remember that advice and I've said the same thing to other people. ^_^

I might be wrong but I suspect that my over-bulking problem is because I'm not setting the wire skeletons correctly so this weekend I'm going to make another batch of wire skeletons (four or five) and see if I can't make a wire skeleton that allows me to put the putty where I want it to go.

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The over-bulking -- something I learned from Jason Wiebe is that when you take the amount of putty you THINK you need...

 

...cut it in half.

 

And then cut THAT in half again.

 

And then use THAT tiny piece. That should be the size you need.

 

That method really helped me, but it takes some time to get used to. You'll spend a couple sculpts constantly thinking you won't have enough bulk, or worrying about the giant lump of unused green stuff sitting in the corner curing, but when you come back a day later worrying about what you did the day before, you'll think, "Daaaaang. That lady's got some nice ankles."

 

 

Yes, I remember that advice and I've said the same thing to other people. ^_^

I might be wrong but I suspect that my over-bulking problem is because I'm not setting the wire skeletons correctly so this weekend I'm going to make another batch of wire skeletons (four or five) and see if I can't make a wire skeleton that allows me to put the putty where I want it to go.

 

 

Yeah, that is good advice.  Very true of my experience as well.

 

As for getting armatures right: I use (and a lot of us do as well) Patrick Keith's armature card when making the armatures.

 

 

The other thing I would recommend, is to make darn sure that before you start posing a mini, that all the proportions are perfect. Measure, measure, then measure one more time.  Go over each distance (joint to join and reference point to reference point) and check it in a neutral state before you start posing your model.

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Update: My new skeletons are definitely better; by changing the shape of the spine I can now get a more natural shape in the under-pinning stage. Big improvement.

 

Thanks TaleSpinner, I double checked the legs in particular this time before I started posing the skeletons to make sure the legs came out the same length - that's an annoying problem I've run into lots of times, they seem to change length on their own. This time everything looks good.

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