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Saturday, June 4, 2011
Sculpting Verdi in passes
Here's a digital sculpture I did especially for the book. It's a copy of a small sculpture of the composer Verdi I bought last week in Florence. It replaces an excellent example from the great Andrew Loomis, because I couldn't figure out how to get the rights, and decided it was faster and easier to just make my own example. Artistically it's not as good, but for the purpose of explaining, I think it will do.
Another interesting thing you should know is that this is my first attempt at serious digital sculpting (my only other attempt was a silly cartoon hedgehog I did a few weeks ago), and that the only other sculpture I ever did was this one. Why am I telling you this? Because I think it demonstrates the power of understanding the creative process. You can drop yourself into any artistic medium, and start getting reasonable results almost instantly.
The work took about 5 hours and 9 major passes to complete - that roughly half an hour for each pass. Half an hour is a good time-frame: it gives you just enough time to complete 3-4 major improvements, but not quite enough time to start getting carried away with it.
I started with "something to change" - a simple and VERY rough approximation of the figure. Because I knew in advance this was going to serve as an example for working in passes, before every pass I took care to write down exactly what I was going to improve. Below is a numbered documentation of the process, that corresponds to the numbers in the image. It's a rare chance to get an authentic view on how artwork evolves through careful and controlled scrutiny.
*Please remember that this list is NOT a plan of action made before starting to work; no one can know in advance how a work is going to evolve, and what would need to be fixed or improved in each pass.
pass 1: head shape, shoulders shape, chest shape
pass 2: place facial features, place clothing
pass 3: define hairline, define facial proportions, define collar
Pass 4: [profile pass] eyebrow shape profile, hollow cheek, bottom nose connection, chin+upper lip profile
pass 5: [front pass] eyes & pupils, define hair, wider nose, narrower temples, fix around hollow cheek
pass 6:: break symmetry, create expression
pass 7:: basic hair/beard texture, define clothing
pass 8:: detail up hair/beard texture, fix nose
pass 9:: detail eyebrows area, thicken top hair, fix tie