Sunday, May 27, 2012

04 Modeling Nº 65

I have been reading my books and watching videos about modeling a portrait head in clay. In most of my references, the measurement point at the ear is the notch between the Tragus and the Antitragus. The point where one of the tips of the sculptor's calipers lightly rests is highlighted in red in Fig. 20 below. Click on any image to enlarge it.

A very nice online copy of Modelling: A Guide For Teachers and Students, Vol. 1 by Edouard Lanteri (1902) has a plethora of information about modeling and sculpting the human figure.

In the Jim Gion Sculpture Series videos, the first step is to make some marks on the model with a make-up pencil. He uses five marks. There is a mark at the pit of the neck, one on the chin, one in each of the ear notches, one at the brow, and one at the hairline. Because he does a static sculpture bust, he also makes a measurement from the acromion processes on each shoulder, as well as at the widest part of the deltoids in the arms. These last two measurements are not as important when modeling a doll head.

When measuring marks on a model, accuracy is more important than precision. Be consistent.

Without a live model to work from, photographs and drawings can be used. It is always a good idea to take many photographs from many angles. This is a measurement chart based on the one in Daisy Grubbs' book, and modified for use in making a doll head, instead of a static sculpture bust. I am using the front and side view drawings of the head in my working drawings.

1. Chin to hairline
2. Chin to ear notch
3. Chin to middle of brow
4. Ear notch to middle of brow
5. Chin to bottom of nose
6. Ear notch to under nose
7. Chin to middle of lips
8. Tip of nose to ear notch
9. Chin to brow (arc)
10. Outside corner of eye to ear notch
11. Ear notch to ear notch
12. Ear notch to hairline
13. Ear tip to ear tip
14. Ear notch to outside corner of mouth
15. Width of mouth
16. Width of nose
17. Outside corner of eye to outside corner of eye
18. Inside corner of eye to inside corner of eye
19. Width of cheek at widest point
20. Width of jaw at widest point

These are some other measurements that I remembered after I made the above chart.

From left to right:
21. Pit of neck to ear notch
22. Pit of neck to chin
23. Tip of nose to the middle of the back of the head (depth of head)
24. Chin to top back of head (long diagonal)

The two measurements from the pit of the neck are mainly useful when modeling a static bust in clay, and may not be needed when modeling a doll head. I do not know how useful this set of measurements will be, but I am going to try them and see if they work.

Experience is what you get while looking for something else.
~ Federico Fellini

I found these very beautiful photographs of Natalie Portman with a very short haircut which may be useful for checking overall head proportions.

In any case, measuring a two dimensional photograph or drawing, and using the measurement on a three dimensional figure requires some adjustments, as illustrated in the diagram below of the top view of a head. On a three dimensional model, calipers measure the long leg of the triangle which is always longer than the front-view or side view of a two dimensional photograph or drawing. The final work must always look right in the end. Measurements are helpful for getting started, and for maintaining symmetry.


Modeling A Likeness In Clay: Step-By-Step Techniques For Capturing Character.
Daisy Grubbs.
NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1982.

Modelling: A Guide for Teachers and Students.
Edouard Lanteri.
London: Chapman & Hall, 1902.

Jim Gion Sculpture Series

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