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3 Keys to Sculpting the Human Figure in Clay

January 8th, 2011 - by admin No Comments »

learning to sculpt the human figure

There are some basic rules that are important to follow when sculpting the figure in clay. When you follow these rules of thumb, your sculpture will look more realistic.

1. Know proportions – As humans we all know what other humans look like. When a sculpture doesn’t have correct proportions, everyone will know. People who see your sculpture will know immediately that something looks “off”.  So, it’s important to double check and measure the proportions of all limbs, torso, head and every body part before you move on to working on detail.

2. Make sure there is balance – The general rule of thumb for balance is that whether the sculpture is leaning forward, leaning back or off center in any way, one foot always needs to by directly under the pit of the neck. If you stray from following this rule then your figure will look like it is in motion. That’s fine if it’s intentional, but if not, your figure may look like it’s falling. This is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind when you are planning your pose before you even start sculpting your figure.

3. Know the 3 Main Body Masses – It’s important to know the 3 main body masses. The 3 main body masses are head, rib cage and pelvis. Picture each of those as a box. It’s important that each of these boxes are doing something different. If they are all facing the same direction and parallel then the pose of your figure will be boring.

When your figure is in a dynamic pose, but still follows these natural rules, your figure will look more realistic. It may take quite a bit of time to master proportions, but learning proportions is a must when sculpting the human figure.

Adam Reeder is a Professional Sculptor.Learn Adam Reeder’s sculpting techniques by watching his Instructional Sculpting DVDs.  See Adam’s work at

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