Learn Sculpting - Lesson 1 - Clay Modeling

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people have asked me how I started

sculpting and the first design I learned

to sculpt was a design that I'm going to

show you here and it was showed to me by

a little neighborhood boy that was about

six and a half years old and I was only

about four and a half years old so it's

very simple and if you follow along

you'll see how simple geometric forms

can be combined to create a more complex

design so first of all what you do is

you take your clay work it into your

hand several times until the clay gets

softer with the heat from your hands and

then what you do is you form from your

ball of clay you form a rectangle and

you can do that as you can see I'm doing

by the long gating the lump of clay and

laying it down and patting it and

smoothing it over and trying to keep a

nice uniform equal shape kind of like

you're creating a domino chip and as you

do that and keep smoothing it out in to

save a little time here all to show you

you keep working it you create a little

piece like that and this is going to

flatten it a little bit more now that

was the first shape that I was shown to

create this design now the next thing I

was shown was to take in the original

case it was a number two pencil that was

used as a tool to create a depression

in the middle of the rectangle like this

just by kind of pressing down and

rolling back and forth and creating a

nice little depression in that rectangle

now by doing that of course you can see

that the clay has been displaced on

either side so what you want to do is

just take your finger and smooth that

clay back into the straight line of the

original rectangle that you created to

the best of your ability like that and

you can just use your fingers to smooth

it like that your fingers and your hands

you'll find are the best tools that

you'll ever have they do 90% of the work

in creating the sculpture that you want

smooth that down so now you can see we

still have that basic rectangle shape

okay but now it has a depression in the

towards the middle now the next thing we

want to do is we're going to take the

back end of this rectangle we just want

to round over round over that edge right

there like that and again

what we want to do is use our fingers to

smooth it so that's a nice rounded edge

like that it comes down and make a nice

edge there nice edge on the side here

like that

and on the other side we want to try to

keep it pretty similar as similar as

possible so that you end up with now a

rectangular shape on the front the way

it was when you started and in the back

it's going to have a rounded edge going

down okay now the other thing I want to

do is I want to take and I want to round

these edges just a little bit like that

all right

just a little not as much as the back

but round these sides just a little bit

smooth that out so you have a

nice-looking surface there and again

take your finger just round over that

what we're calling or referring to is

the back end of our modified rectangle

and again you want to smooth those

little anomalies out so it looks like a

nice uniform smooth side there we go

keeping the back nicely touched up again

so now we have a rectangle and maybe

some of you are already starting to get

the idea of what this is going to be but

at this stage I want to take you a

little further with focusing on the

simple geometric forms before we

actually disclose what the design is

going to be at the end okay so next we

want to focus on the front end of our

rectangle and again we're going to round

these edges a little more like this okay

that's side edge there and this side

edge here we're going to kind of pull

that extra clay over top like that

there we go back and forth keeping it

nice and smooth like that keeping the

front nice and flat unlike the back

where we rounded this edge the front

we're going to keep straight at this

point all right so there we have now our

modified rectangle that has the

depression in the center a little bit

shifted towards the back the back with a

much more curved slow

edge on the back slightly rounded top

parts here and in the front same way

slightly rounded but in the front we

have the nice flat surface here okay so

the next thing we're going to do is

going to take a little more clay and

we're going to start to roll out little

balls like this and we're going to try

to get five equal portions and to speed

up time I've already done it over here

and I'll show you what we want to

achieve and like I kind of started to

show you can achieve those by pinching

off the right amount of clay and this is

where you start to develop your brain

actually develops a better eye hand

coordination the more you work with

these geometric forms the more you work

to perfect them your brain will actually

start to develop and change so that

you're able to see the little anomalies

the difference in volume that will help

you to create better designs and better

shapes in the future so now what we do

is we go back to our five little spheres

and we take them and we flatten them

kind of like a pill and we don't have to

be perfectly flat on the edges where we

try to make them very similar and

uniform in their shape each one we want

to flatten like this we want to try to

reign or maintain a nice round edge on

that like that

and again flatten round keep the nice

round shape like that number four

nice flatten and round shape I'm going

to go and one more flattened and rounded

like that okay now that we have those

shapes what we want to do is we want to

start placing the little shapes on the

side of the rectangle and just press

them on and I'm sure by now everyone's

starting to get the idea where we're

going here and what the design is what

we're going to be creating and there's

number four and you're probably

wondering well what's number five well

number five of course you in order to

have four wheels on a little car you

need a spare in the back and there we

have that spare is going to be a little

sports car as you can see alright so now

that was the first six geometric forms

that I was shown to create the rector

the larger rectangle with its depression

and then the five little spheres

flattened or little balls flattened to

form the wheels the next thing that was

created was again taking from your nice

original larger piece of clay two little

balls flattened and creating little

seats in the car

there's one and here's number two and

also you could just make one seat right

across if you want but sports cars tend

to have too little seats so we're going

to put two little seats and you just

kind of smooth them down into the

crevice so that the depression there in

the rectangle and those are the seats

then we need smaller little ball that we

flatten now and that becomes the

steering wheel right there for the

driver all right now of course you can't

have a car driving without a nice

windshield so we're going to take a

little piece of clay soften it nicely

and then we're going to flatten it like

that you can see we just flatten that

little piece of Claudia and we try to

turn down the sides here a little bit so

we shape form shape kind of like that

and then we're going to put that right

on a little less a little too much there

and what you can see I'm doing when I

take a piece off that's called

subtractive so we're doing what's called

additive and subtractive sculpting and

what that means is that if I put on too

much clay I can take it away and that by

subtracting that little portion of clay

if I don't have enough then I can add it

on and that's called additive now the

difference between additive and

subtractive sculpting is sculpting that

you would do in a hard material like

marble where you can only chip away

material any material you chip away even

if it's an accident cannot be put back

on so that is completely what we call

subtractive sculpting so now back to

putting our little windshield on our car

we put it on

that and we just kind of work it in

there across the front of that part of

the rectangle kind of looks like a

sports car almost like a little Jeep and

now we have a little sports car five

wheel four wheels extra tire two seats

steering wheel and the windshield and

now we're going to take two other little

pieces of clay we break away like this

and we're going to put them in the front

to form little lights for the car

because if you want to drive at night it

helps to have lights on the car to

illuminate the road so there we have it

right there now this is the basic shape

but you can go even further than this

you can take more pieces a little clay

and flatten them out as you'd like like

kind of like I've done here almost like

the windshield and you can shape them so

that they become the fenders over the

wheels that's a little too much so we're

going to make use of our additive

subtractive technique and we are going

to form a little fender over the wheel

like that you just bend it over the

wheel so it shapes nice and then you

kind of blend it down like that tuck it

over the top and over the edge little

bit and now you have a little fender to

go over top ear wheel and you can do

that on the back as well and I'll just

do the one side so you can see here

and this is where you begin to do your

own creativity with your design because

from here you can do a lot of

interesting little details and there's a

little fender on the back and there's

your basic little design of a sports car

and that's what I was shown that started

me on the path to sculpting which has

lasted for many many years this is the

conclusion of our design of the simple

car next time we're going to do use

simple geometric forms to create animals