Figure Modeling: The Neutral Standing Figure

The first real figure assignment for my modeling class was to create a standing figure. I'll admit that I took this assignment way too far, but that's because I was having too much fun doing it. I guess I've discovered a new hobby.

When modeling the human figure using clay, it is important to create an underlying structure referred to as an armature. Essentially, by twisting together a few various amounts of one-eighth inch aluminum wire, you create the basics of a skeleton to with to add clay:

Having done that, you can then articulate the armature, posing it into whatever standing pose you are looking for. This first assignment calls for a neutral pose, meaning that the weight of the body is evenly distributed between both feet, the hips and shoulders being horizontally parallel to each other.

The human body is very good at intuitively counterbalancing itself. For example, try standing with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart with your hands on your hips, your back straight. If you look at yourself in the mirror, you'll notice that you're not really straight, but your pelvis is thrust forward with your rib cage leaning slightly back. You can go ahead and try standing straight vertical, but you might fall over. In any balanced standing pose, the center of gravity lines up directly with your C7 vertebrae, that first real big bump you can feel under your skin going down your spine.

I was only supposed to add roughly the amount of clay I needed for each major body mass. As you can see, I had too much fun and before I knew it, I had come to this:

Truthfully, I have never done any figure sculpting before, but I like it. There are a few things to work out on the above model, but it is going to be turned into a geometric abstraction next week anyway, so most of the details will be gone. That's okay, though, because this is just an exercise.


Elder Max and Sister Pat said...

Amazing again. Grandpa Young would be proud. :-)

Adam said...

If we ever play Cranium, I want you on my team. P.S. How tall is the sculpture and how long did it take?

Brad said...

The figure is about 23 inches tall. It took about two hours once I got going, but it didn't really seem like that long. All I wanted to do was to keep working on it. I got some good feedback from my professor on things to improve on and some things I missed, but overall, not a bad try.