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academic exercise

Art Class -Drawing For Sculpture-


Jan 20th- Feb 17th
5 weeks/ $225 (+$20 materials)

Monday aft 2-4:30pm
Monday eve 7-9:30pm

*Course Content*
Using a Bargue drawing exercise, we will learn traditional techniques in 2D and then apply them to seeing 3D form using reference casts. We finish with a relief clay portrait study to understand how to use this approach to create accurate sculptural form.

*Suitable for beginners or intermediate*
-excellent foundation course for anyone interested in sculpture
-perfect for artists who want new insights in understanding structure
-ideal for sculptors frustrated with continually 'taking away & adding the same material'

*You will leave this course with*
-a step by step approach to seeing that you can practice at home
-new techniques that you can apply to your own artwork
-drawing studies from 2D/3D references & a clay portrait study in relief
-greater appreciation and understanding of sculpture as a medium

To Register or More Info:
Email info@melaniefurtado.com or call Melanie at 250-813-1607 (leave message)

Bargue Drawing plate

First step of drawing exercise
Example of handout on seeing concepts

Students working :)

Example of a face cast reference we will be working from


Sculpting On Paper- Drawing Basics


 This Sunday was Sculpting on Paper- Drawing Basics: a one day workshop on drawing observation skills as they apply to sculpture. I had a great time with everyone working on our technical drawing skills! :)

We started off the day with a plate from the Charles Bargue Drawing book- plate 59 is a great breakdown of how to see large angles and proportions, and slowly refine them into a more complete rendering.


This is the complete plate- we did the first two stages :)


This is my quick demo of the first stage- we applied some sight size principles.



Some visual explanations of how to breakdown what you are seeing- starting with the large gesture and working to a more defined contour. The handout on the right is talking about using plumbs, abstract shapes, and giving shapes a reference.

The top is a demo of working from a 3d reference- in this case a life cast of a face. You apply the same basic structure as the Bargue drawing to observing 3d form.


This is one of the face casts we were drawing from!



Larger than Life Features- EAR

Here is a recent project- I sculpted a larger than life ear from model sittings... I'm talking about a foot tall!

This is a wonderful exercise for seeing the 3 dimensional quality of the ear- it exaggerates all the angles and shapes. Once you do this exercise, you will never again sculpt an ear flat against the head!

Right now I am molding and casting it so that I can have reference copies for students.

Here is a shot of the clay version:


Wed night Sculpting Sessions

First month of the new class has been dynamic- there are a range of experience and projects happening, and as a student you get to soak up some tips about more than just your project this way.

Projects from January have included maquettes for larger future work, life cast of a their hand as a reference as well as some exercises I made to improve representational understanding and skills.
Check them out below :)


Larger than Life Feature- EYE

Using the skull as reference, we made a large eye socket, sculpted the ball of the eye, and then added the final flesh. (maybe about a foot wide)

Here is my example I sculpted along with them:



Here are some students, working away!



Planes of the Head

A great project to increase your understanding of the structure of the head- useful for sculpting and drawing. Starting with the most basic geometric simplification, and breaking that down to add features.

 Here is my example of the first step:


 The features added, with some of the reference handouts up:


Students during class:


Cast Drawing in Progress

Here is another exercise I have been doing to try and improve my rendering skills.

Cast Drawing

This is a great exercise to study both shape and values, as you have an immobile object that is a solid color (usually white) which allows one to see form clearly without the added details of color or the unpredictability of things that are alive. Plus since its a cast of a sculpture, the form has already been simplified by the previous artist.

Here is my first cast drawing in progress:

1- Blocking in the shapes of the contour and shadow pattern


2- Filling in the shadow with a base value

3- Starting to work in the lights and push the shadows further

4- More work in the lights, attempting to make the form turn a bit, not quite succeeding :)

I have alot more work to do on this drawing, as you can see I am avoiding the complicated hair section :)  I also havent added the shadow on the background on the right, as I didnt want to smear it about with my hand as I worked on the other bits. Here's hoping I have the motivation to pull it to a decent level of completion!

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Here's another little cast drawing I did for fun, in one sitting of a couple hours. It was a paper mache lifecast of a fellow students face.

Blocking it in!

Adding a shadow value!

Defining a bit and adding white highlights. Pretending she might have had hair :)

Master copy #1

The past month I have been focussing on doing drawing exercises to improve my representational skills.

Master Copy

This was my first attempt at a copy of a drawing done by a well accomplished artist. In this case, the artist was Rubens. The idea of doing this is two fold: 1- to be able to accurately transcribe the proportions and values as an exercise in observation, and 2- to glean knowledge and understanding about how the artist approached drawing their subject and solved visual problems.

I was also using this as a test of the sight-size method of drawing (explained here)

Here is my set up.


Amazingly, I did not notice my fantastic error of proportion on the placement on the eyes until I was too far into applying the tones to adjust it. At that point I decided to continue the drawing to a reasonable finish anyways, to combat my tendency to continually leave things unfinished.

It was a good lesson not to trust my own eyes! Sometimes they can trick you into believing what you are seeing is accurate... this is where a mirror can come in handy to give you a different perspective. Next time!

Here is the finished study. I couldnt get as dark as the original, as Rubens was likely using charcoal and I was using graphite which tends to get quite shiny with the softer lead (hence the reflection on the left).