Sculpture Community - Sculpture.net  

Go Back  Sculpture Community - Sculpture.net > Sculpture Roundtable Discussions > Figurative Sculpture
User Name
Password
Home Sculpture Community Photo Gallery ISC Sculpture.org Register FAQ Members List Search New posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-01-2006, 08:46 AM
mountshang mountshang is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 235
Sculptors and drawing

This topic emerged in the "Abstract art vs. realism" discussion -- and it really deserves a thread of its own.

It's my observation that that drawing is fundamental to the European classical/romantic tradition of sculpture --- but is tangential -- if not completely irrelevant -- to the various kinds of figure sculpture that have emerged wherever that tradition is abandoned .

As I hunt down the traditional figure sculptors of the 20th C., there's nothing more exciting, for me, than finding pictures of their drawings -- because, inevitably, they're very good -- and, of course, they reproduce much better on a computer screen than photos of sculpture do.

Sometimes these drawings are preparatory to sculpture -- like Gerhard Marcks who drew, but did not sculpt, from models.

But usually, they're stand-alones --- flights of imagination -- usually based on models -- that are free from all the concerns of sculpture like armatures, casting, firing, and multiple-views. It provides nearly-instant gratification -- and I think these sculptors are drawing mostly for the pleasure of it.

And, of course, drawing is also a valuable practice for students -- since it's such a convenient way to exercise measurement, proportion, placement, design, and gesture.

Drawing is central to what I would call the 'musicality' of sculpture - and where that kind of quality is not sought, it's irrelevant.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-01-2006, 10:39 AM
Merlion's Avatar
Merlion Merlion is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 3,716
Re: Sculptors and drawing

I take part in life drawing sessions from time to time, mainly to improve my knowledge of the human anatomy. The aim is to help with my figurative sculpture skills.

I have early background knowledge of technical drawing and can do 3D technical sketches. This means generally I am comfortable with drawing 3D objects.

But what is interesting is that when I try to create new sculptures, I rely on my mental visualisation of the new form and shape, and sometimes on additional kneading small lumps of clay. I don't rely much on sketching the new sculpture with pencil and paper even though some of my new realism sculptures are complex. This is my own observation of my sculpting habit. I really don't know why.
__________________
Merlion
www.onesunartist.com
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-01-2006, 01:37 PM
mountshang mountshang is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 235
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Here's a figure drawing from a sculptor I just discovered, Frank Dobson, who was quite famous in his time, until the British art establishment annointed Henry Moore as king -- and all his predecessors were consigned to obscurity.

http://www.ilovefiguresculpture.com/...bson/dob23.jpg

What a great drawing !
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-01-2006, 02:44 PM
dwright dwright is offline
Level 3 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 48
Re: Sculptors and drawing

I almost always work from drawings, although sometimes they are little more than a rough sketch.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-01-2006, 08:00 PM
cmustard cmustard is offline
Level 6 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: CHICAGO
Posts: 105
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Why does it become such an issue when a sculptor does something other than sculpt? Just look at athlete's, they may focus on one sport, but are usually pretty good at several and enjoy them all.
Same with musicians, most are able to play more then one instrument, may be known for or more proficant at one, but able to handle several.

I think if you're making art, you're making it and that can translate in multiple ways..
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-01-2006, 08:18 PM
dwright dwright is offline
Level 3 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 48
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Sculpture has had a sort of bad rap in the last century I think, summed up by Mr.Barnett Newman's statement “Sculpture is something you bump in to when backing up to look at a painting.”
The Public Art Commissioners I have met refer to figurative bronze sculptures as ODWGHs, or 'Old Dead White Guys on Horseback'.
I recognize painting as an extraordinary skill, but when comparing the difficulty of the learning curve in three-dimensions, and the expense involved in creating three-dimensional objects in any medium, the dedication and investment required, painters have a cake walk in my opinion.
All the same 'starving artist' cliches apply, but painters don't have to take out a loan on their house to produce a new painting.
Of course sculptors use all the same methods available to 'other' artists, drawing, photography, etc. They are just driven to take it to a further level.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-02-2006, 08:25 AM
cmustard cmustard is offline
Level 6 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: CHICAGO
Posts: 105
Re: Sculptors and drawing

dwright,
Hey, I used that same quote in another thread, although I could'nt remember from whom I was quoting.
You make some good points. There is also an immediacy with drawing/painting/photography. Just from my personal experience, in the past year I've started drawing more than ever. One of the reasons is I can start and finish a fairly large drawing in a short amount of time. All I have to do is roll out the paper and draw.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-02-2006, 08:56 AM
ironman ironman is offline
ISC Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Silver City, New Mexico
Posts: 1,603
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Hi, There's another thread under "art lounge" called "sculpture vs painting" that relates to this one.
I heard that quote as "sculpture is something you walk around to get a better look at the painting.", I. Lassaw.
One of my sculptor friends used to say, "painting is instant gratification!" To a certain extent it's true, a painter can put a brushstroke on, look, decide the the color or value is wrong and change it. That sort of thing can happen pretty quickly compared to what you've got to go through as a sculptor to change a piece.
Of course, a real good painting might take just as long to make as a good sculpture.
I always work from drawings (except for when I do "found object" work) and as dwright says, sometimes they're little more than rough sketches, and I might add, all the work is subject to change.
When interpreting a 2d drawing into 3d, things don't always work out, so for me, I have to remain open to the possibility of making those changes. It helps to keep the whole process "creative" rather than just "manufacturing" parts to be assembled into the complete sculpture.
Have a great day,
Jeff
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-02-2006, 09:28 AM
dwright dwright is offline
Level 3 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 48
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Ironman, you are exactly right about translating 2D to 3D...not matter how detailed the drawings, or how much time you put in, the 3D figure is never exactly the same. You can't let the drawing 'run' the sculpting process.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-02-2006, 12:49 PM
Thatch Thatch is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Dallas,Tx
Posts: 684
Re: Sculptors and drawing

When I was doing my steel rod constructions I always drew up a design on paper, decided on a scale and every piece of steel was cut to before construction began. It really wouldn't have worked out any other way.

Using the removal method with wood I either refine shapes I find in the wood or start with a drawing as a beguining point and reference during the work. It is a tool only as the wood I like the best prohibits sticking to a design on paper.

On the other hand I also like to do drawings that are the artwork. I like oil pastels the best and use a variety and combinations of the techniques I learned on my own and in school.

I enjoy looking at other peoples work no matter the medium, seldom trying to understand technique, often getting inspiration.

Thatch
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-06-2006, 11:09 AM
mountshang mountshang is offline
Level 8 user
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 235
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Just found this link to one of Rodin's sketchbooks -- done sometime between the ages of 16 and 20:


http://www.rodinmuseum.org/492-375.html

It's not hard to see what great ability he had -- how easily he feels the design of the statues that he's drawing -- and even comes up with some nice landscape sketches.

Rodin is quoted, somewhere, as being primarily interested in the contour lines of his figures -- and I can believe it.

You might even call each of his statues a collection of drawings.

I don't think every figure sculptor does, or should, work that way -- but it certainly worked for Rodin.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-15-2006, 09:33 AM
ajoysisk's Avatar
ajoysisk ajoysisk is offline
Level 4 user
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 61
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Yes, Rodin was one for the contour. He built up his forms using "profiles" or wedges of clay from every angle - this is the way I was instructed and informs the way I teach others to sculpt. It is a funny thing about drawing and sculpting - to each his or her own - I've known artists who can do both well or one. I had a student who struggled with the clay but created the most astounding drawings (self-taught) in leaky ball-point pen - such depth and understanding of structure there, but it would not translate to the clay! The Florence Academy of Art firmly expects the students to draw alongside the sculpting. I am interested to see how this impacts my work (I loathe the act of drawing - I paint with my fingers - there is something about a brush or pen that infuriates me. It is a barrier to the material. Yet I love drawing all over clay with needles and my fingernails.). Please keep writing about/showing drawings by 3D artists. I'll stay tuned in.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-15-2006, 10:44 AM
GlennT's Avatar
GlennT GlennT is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,213
Re: Sculptors and drawing

I became a sculptor after training in and practicing architectural design. I took no art classes at the University, but did architectural presentation drawings and working drawings.

After my first sculpture, I went to an Atelier to study painting and drawing in the classical manner to become a better artist. It was a new thing to go from 3H leaded pencils with triangles and T-squares to charcoal, freehand pencil, and a paint brush.

I enjoy drawing and painting, love the ability to work in any media, and can do very precise drawings when called for. Yet I find myself rarely using drawings to help me sculpt. Usually I will do a rather loose sketch to get the idea from my mind to a physical image, and I may refer to it only insofar as it helps me rough out the pose or proportions in clay, or if I am working with a model it is just a guide to find the pose, and then that is it for the drawing.

I only create a more detailed drawing if it is needed to show a client the idea. Still I would prefer to do a maquette in clay to present the idea. This allows a sense of changing light, planes, viewpoints, etc.

I would sum it up like this, " The drawing is pretty...the clay becomes alive"

Glenn
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-15-2006, 10:48 AM
Tandigon's Avatar
Tandigon Tandigon is offline
Level 5 user
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 87
Re: Sculptors and drawing

There may be several levels to this thread. So I'll choose the one where trained sculptors were first taught to draw from life.
In my personal experience drawing skills are essential to visualizing your concept, and on the drawing board your form can evolve more. However I prefer to allow the materials I may choose to dictate how my form may evolve further. You could visualize your sculpture on paper from any point of view, but in 3D you may change the form if you feel so.

Tandigon
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-15-2006, 01:34 PM
Denis Denis is offline
Level 3 user
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Eugene Oregon
Posts: 27
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Hi Glenn,

I recommend against drawing.

I also spent many years as an architect and one of the limitations in the field is that architects design by drawing. You can see it everywhere on buildings...the curve of the compass, the square blocky spaces....sometimes I feel like I am walking around in a grid. The great architects would continue to design on site while the spaces were being created and the building came to life.

Instead of drawing I spend 30 minutes a day meditating. During that time when I am conceptualizing a new project I will go over and over it in my mind and after a month or so will I start in clay. Often I will study clay models until my internalized image is complete....then I start. At that point something spiritual most of you can relate to happens...the clay has it's own voice and tells it's story as the figures emerge..

This is a complete journey for me. I wouldn't want to sculpt exactly what I drew any more than I would want to build a structure only from drawings.

Denis
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11-18-2006, 06:11 AM
Robert Mileha. Robert Mileha. is offline
Level 3 user
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Dorset England UK GB
Posts: 34
Re: Sculptors and drawing

I once heard a wonderful remark from a person in a London Gallery. She was studying a very fine marble with great interest. “I wish they would remove that xx blank, blankxx picture it spoils the outline form”. Her companion replied, “They ought to have blank walls”. To be fair to that very fine gallery, they are able to exhibit sculpture in the most dramatic way and often with breathtaking effect. The painting in question was probably in the wrong place; but the remarks made me smile.

I use drawing as an aid to sculpture. It is like practising one’s serve when playing tennis, a way to improve your performance. Some times I have a computer crash in the middle of a really good document I have written. I think the world has come to an end until I have finished the next attempt and realised that my second attempt was much better than the first. The first attempt at a sculpture often has good points, one of them being a freshness which is sometimes lost at a second attempt but as my works get bigger I am finding that maquettes and drawing are even more essential to the creative and technical process. I find that “Planning Drawings” are essential to getting the armature right. I need to draw from life or imagination first and then decide the best armature solution for larger works. I really don’t think I could do it without.

Drawing and sketching from life make for a much better work. First of all I know that the pose is possible and not contrived because I can see it and know how it has come about. It is interesting viewed from all directions because I have sketched it from the “key” directions and have it on record. I am now aware of the weakest and the best view of the pose. Sketches have some advantages on just photos because I have been through the process of observation and recording in the brain and physically reproduced it in another medium. Sketching in both pencil and clay is a great luxury which I indulge in if I can.

Sketches and drewings are also added value to the work in terms of selling. I have found clients who commission a work fascinated by the creative process. They love to have copies of maquettes and sketches and a little history of how it all came together. This is true of others who buy works.

Drawing and sketching are not for everyone but for most I believe it will improve their standard and is not worth skipping through idleness.
Robert
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 11-18-2006, 03:55 PM
BobClyatt BobClyatt is offline
ISC Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Westchester County, NY
Posts: 75
Re: Sculptors and drawing

I was curious about Denis' comment that he conceives his pieces in his head without a lot of drawing (or any drawing). I spend a lot of time 'seeing' my pieces finished in my head, too, (though they usually change along the way during the actual sculpting stage). Does anyone else work that way? Like Denis, I have found meditation increases my ability to concentrate and 'see' these things internally, but just assumed that all artists do this. Maybe not. What about others?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 11-18-2006, 06:44 PM
fritchie's Avatar
fritchie fritchie is offline
Sculptor
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 3,456
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Several people have related methods similar to ones I have used. These days, I generally work directly from imagination (strictly on human figures), and so far I have limited the pieces to torso's, from neck to mid-thigh, and with arms truncated somewhere above the elbow. I made this change (getting away from the model) on the basis on long-past advice from my first sculpture instructor, who said it was necessary for freedom, and for learning to internalize the business of sculpting. The poses are strictly frontal, to avoid muscle shapes I know wouldn’t be accurate in stressed positions.

On the other hand, all my earlier work was from the model, and I generally used inexperienced , or even UNexperienced models, whose poses I found fresher than those with posing experience either for 2D work or 3D. With these models, I took basically the contour approach described by Ajoysisk. That is, I had the model move around a bit until I saw something I thought good, and then I had the model freeze while I walked all the way around, to be sure the pose worked from all angles. Honestly, this process partly involved contours, and partly genuine 3D form. Sometimes, I thought the pose would be better if it were “tweaked” a bit, by slight movement of an arm, the head, or some such. Generally, the models were unable to make the adjustment I wanted, because it simply wasn’t a natural posture for them.

Hence, the method became one of asking the model (in a standing pose, for example) simply to move around a bit, on the model stand, and then to “freeze” when I asked. I would walk around each such frozen posture as before, and if I liked the pose, I would sketch it briefly from 3 - 4 views, to serve as memory aid for the two of us. After we jointly had arrived at 3 - 4 such “good” poses, I would show each pose in turn to the model, and he/she would take each briefly as I revisited them in rapid order. I would pick one, ane that would become the sculpture.

As far as 3D visualization, generally I think I am fairly good with that. My scientific career was in discovering or measuring the detailed 3D shapes of molecules, atom by atom. Some of these were quite complex, and generally I had in mind the 3D experimental information as I worked from a totally unknown molecular shape, toward the one dictated by data. I doubt I could have done this work without good 3D visualization.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 11-18-2006, 07:17 PM
Merlion's Avatar
Merlion Merlion is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 3,716
Re: Sculptors and drawing

I do figure drawings at life model sessions to hone my skill and knowledge of the human body on different poses, and of the details of different parts of the human body.

I am aware that many master figurative sculptors make many drawings to help plan their sculptural works. But when I plan my sculptural artworks involving the human figure, I do not rely on drawings and sketches. Somehow I rely on visualising and composing my works in my head, as some of you do.

Often I get inspirations and follow specific details from photographs, but this is another issue.
__________________
Merlion
www.onesunartist.com
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 12-02-2006, 02:34 PM
Multi_Pass Multi_Pass is offline
Level 4 user
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: California
Posts: 70
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlion
But what is interesting is that when I try to create new sculptures, I rely on my mental visualisation of the new form and shape, and sometimes on additional kneading small lumps of clay. I don't rely much on sketching the new sculpture with pencil and paper even though some of my new realism sculptures are complex. This is my own observation of my sculpting habit. I really don't know why.
Because you don't need to. I do the exact same. We can all sculpt from a photograph or a drawing just like we can sculpt from a live modle. We can also draw without a photograph or a live modle. Why? Because we already have the knowledge of a basic anatomy. It isn't wrong to say that we can also sculpt without a reference since we already have a basic understanding of anatomy.

After sculpting so many figures in your life, you get a feel for it. Every other sculpture turns out pretty much the same, just a different size and position really. So you don't really need a reference anymore to help you (unless you're doing a specific person, but if you've always sculpted that person, then you don't need a reference anymore really because you know their body so well).
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 12-13-2006, 03:02 PM
Ethan Houser Ethan Houser is offline
Level 1 user
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 1
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Being a better draughtsman will make you a better sculptor. The two absolutely go hand and hand.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 12-20-2006, 04:35 PM
WeiMingKai's Avatar
WeiMingKai WeiMingKai is offline
Level 6 user
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New York, New York
Posts: 110
Re: Sculptors and drawing

1) Everyone is free to choose the creative path that best suits them
2) Drawing is a means of visualizing and exploring ideas that is IMO much faster, cheaper, and easier than grabbing your sculptors tools and then starting to fool around with ideas
3) If you draw with any frequency you can keep a sketch book of ideas that is portable - it can serve as a library of visual notes that can move between your studio, on the commuter train, the subway, the doctors office waiting room, on your lap during TV time, it can go anywhere and be available to you when an idea hits - try that with maquettes, armature wire, plaster, paper mache, or a block of stone (chiseling away at a fat stone block on the subway would be awkward).
4) The more ideas you explore, the more ideas you will have - the creative mind doesn't squeeze out just one idea a day and then say "phew! - i'm done" which is why IMO drawing is a hugely important tool for any artist - it lets you jot down ideas fast and helps you step through to implications/repercussions for a project you can't always 'see' by trying to imagine it all in your head - it helps artists work smarter and get into the nooks and crannys of their imaginations (there might be some good stuff in there)
5) 3D visualization and 2D visualization are not exclusive 'talents' in the artists skill set, they influence each other heavily. Most 2D visualization is of 3D objects anyway so how could it hurt or detract from 3D visualization to become skilled at it? Drawing helps you sculpt because you are forced to think about things like volume, light, and shadow in addition to foreshortening and proportion (and strictly 2D-->3D stuff like perspective and juxtaposition).

6) You are free to disagree with me (but I'd say you are wrong and tell you to start drawing more, a LOT more, if you want to sharpen up all of your art powers).
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 12-21-2006, 10:51 AM
ironman ironman is offline
ISC Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Silver City, New Mexico
Posts: 1,603
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Hi, I draw all the time, life drawing, drawing out ideas for sculpture, landscape drawing, whatever. I think that learning to draw is a fundamental part of being an artist. As I've said before on this web site, "life drawing teaches you to see as an artist sees!"
I make non-objective steel sculpture yet still find the ability to draw to be an invaluable tool.
Have a great day,
Jeff
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 01-08-2007, 02:39 PM
JasonGillespie's Avatar
JasonGillespie JasonGillespie is offline
Level 10 user
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 429
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Someone, not sure who, said that drawing is seeing.

The mechanical processes of rendering a line or form correctly can with some effort be learned...it is the perception of them that is not so easy. The latter must come before the former. We can only create what we see...whether in our minds or in our environment...and we can't what we don't.

If perception is the key to creation, drawing is means of sharpening that most important of tools.

That isn't to say it can't be skipped, but I look to art history to see a far greater testimony of those masters that were great draftsman than those that weren't.
__________________
Ancora Imparo
Still I am learning

Michelangelo Buonarroti
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 01-08-2007, 04:27 PM
Todd Harry Lane Todd Harry Lane is offline
Level 5 user
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Montgomery Village, MD
Posts: 85
Re: Sculptors and drawing

Yup. Learning to draw (and therefore learning to see) is probably the most valuable set of tools that you can put in your toolbox.

Being able to see with "uncommon clarity" will help you whether you're work is abstract or realism.
.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Sculpture Community, Sculpture.net
International Sculpture Center, Sculpture.org
vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Russ RuBert