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From sculpting to drawing and soon painting


I was lucky enough to find Mark's videos on youtube and went to this forum and saw the incredible work done by members of this forum. Bought the portrait video and am stocking up on water soluble oil paints and material now (don't have the space to deal with fumes of normal oil paints). I am currently wrapping up my social science Phd so Mark's systematic methods really work well with how I approach learning - demystifying and learning things one chunk at a time.

I'm from Sweden but will take my wife and two kids with me and live in Austin, Texas, over the coming year (spent this previous spring there also). Really like that in the US you tend to have a respect for figurative art that is hard to come by here in Sweden. I've mainly been interested in learning how to sculpt but due to the increase in living out of home I'm transitioning to drawing and eventually to painting.

I have attached a picture of part of a wip sculpture (quarter of life size) that will depict one of the characters of the play Lysistrata. I also attached a drawing in charcoal pencils of my daughter. I use a divider to get the proportions right and then work freehand from there. Looking forward to start painting!


  • Welcome, Daniel.

    Both your charcoal drawing and the sculpture are beautiful. I believe you'll find Mark's method of oil painting to be very rewarding, and since you already have drawing and sculpting skills, you'll progress rapidly with oil painting. I'm eager to see more of your work.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited June 2013

    Welcome to the DMP Forum.

    Beautiful work!

    Can you give us some idea of material and size (could be life size huh?)

    You have drawn your daughter very well. Such an excellent ear. Not many artists give the ear so much care.


  • Welcome to DMP @DanielS ! Later on I might ask you for advise in regards to sculpture. I recently bought a few tools to start experimenting with wax and polymer clay.
  • Thank you Harrell and Kingston for the welcome and the encouraging words!

    Denis, the sculpture is one forth of life sized and based on a model that is about 156cm high. It is sulphur free oil clay on an armature of steel and aluminum wire. This is the first sculpt that I intend to make a mould of so that's why I chose a compact pose for this first one -- to make it more easy to mould.

    Castillo, I'm not claiming any significant sculpting knowledge but if there's anything I can help with I would be glad to. I started sculpting in wax but found it too much of a hazzle. Polymer clay can be fun and I'm thinking about doing the most delicate parts (like hands) of future sculptures in polymer clay. What brand is it you're working with?

  • DanielS, Is there any particular reason you use aluminum wire instead of using all steel?
  • I had some lying around from when I tried working with normal water based clay. Just so the armature won't become rusty I used aluminum, copper, and brass. You can also get quite thick aluminum wire that is still easy to manipulate. And off course all the different versions of coated steel wire and so on. Anyway, since I went over to oil clay I can use regular steel wire.

    A word of warning about aluminum wire though. I'm working on a standing figure that I based on aluminum wire and the wire, which looks sturdy enough, ended up way too soft to support the weight of the figure around the lower leg and ankles. I do have a fastening device in the back of the figure going to a steel support, but that still didn't help. I'm going to have to push in some steel wire somehow to fix that.

    Forgot to say that the drawing is slightly smaller than life size.
  • edited June 2013
    Okay, Thanks for answering. You confirmed the notions I had about steel being fine with oil clay, whereas the aluminum is normally used with the water-based. Yes, steel is way cheaper and stronger. Is aluminum needed with water-based clay because the steel will rust harming the integrity or color of the clay? Or are there other reasons? I would have thought that the amount of rusting that occurs would have been minor, remained buried, and that after the clay is dry the rusting stops, so I'm wondering what past problems have been experienced that have forced sculptors to use expensive aluminum, copper, and others. I know there is a lot of shrinking when water-based clay dries...maybe that has something to do with avoiding steel?!

    I have an interest in concrete sculpture and have been scrounging all kinds of wire hangers and other sorts of steel suitable for armatures and reinforcement. I'd like to find a good quantity of the wire used in political signs people push into the ground in their yards and along roadways. I wonder what happens to all those signs after elections? It is lot's stronger and springier than hanger steel which is weaker and easy to bend...but both qualities have their advantages and uses.
  • Thanks Robert, I know about some of those ideas, and I have been accumulating some of the items you mention, styrofoam, plaster lathe, wire cloth, fiberglass scrim used in stucco, concrete admixtures, etc. And I already have an abundant supply of small size rebar and other steel, but I found a few pieces of steel that came from election signs and was very impressed with it's strength and spring for it's size and thought it would work wonderfully for small sculpture with delicate protrusions. There are tons of election signs every two to four years and that stuff probably gets trashed or sent to the scrap yard...I just wish to intercept some of it before that happens to fill an empty niche in my supply inventory.

  • Welcome - wonderful work!
  • RonnaRonna -
    edited June 2013
    Your work is wonderful Daniel.
    Prosculpt is a nice polymer clay.
  • Thanks!

    Prosculpt I haven't heard of before, should check it out.

    CharleyBoy, possibly some clays may be more detrimental to steel wire than other? Either way, I don't think its a huge problem with the type of low carbon steel wires that we usually come across. I'm just happy to have moved to oil clay instead of all the hazzle with water based clay.
  • Welcome Daniel, really good work.
  • @DanielS I'm trying out super sculpey and I'm waiting for a batch of Cx5, don't know if you heard of it.
  • Yes, super sculpey is so soft and it is really easy to blend together pieces of it. I haven't done much with it but seem to recall having had some problems baking it. I guess I didn't bake it an exact enough temperature (so it either gets brittle or looses details).

    I heard of Cx5 just a few months ago. Looks like it have some great properties but perhaps it seems a bit too close to wax for my taste.

    I've tried some epoxy putty also (for instance the putty that miniture sculptors call greens stuff). The good thing is that objects in epoxy putty gets pretty strong but on the other hand its a bit of a hazzle mixing and its a bit toxic.

    I'm actually going to try out some of that cernit clay that I used to play with as a kid. Since it is possible to harden it by boiling it should be more difficult for me to mess up.. But again, only for detail work that I need hardened.
  • Cernit is one of the hardest polymer clays so would be great for fingers But, it's hard to work with until you get use to it. Bake it in the oven according to the direction temperature. Lay the piece on top of some batting and lay some batting on top of the piece(like a sandwich). That should keep the clay from getting little half moon spots while baking. That goes for any polymer clay.
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