Sculpting is a wonderful art form and one I have wanted to pursue my entire life! My father was a sculptor, so I grew up surrounded by sculptures crafted by him, plus new projects on a small wooden lazy susan covered in a damp cloth. I often sat nearby playing with dad’s extra sculpting tools and a chunk of clay.
I also did a lot of drawing while a teen but somewhere along the way, I lost my confidence and quit drawing and sculpting. I didn’t understand that you aren’t just born naturally able to draw, paint or sculpt. It’s hard work and you have to learn the principles and techniques in order to develop your skills.
Last year, I was inspired by my very artistic son Matthew, and a talented artist and friend, Shannon Mucha, whose art you see on this site, to start learning to draw. I had always been able to draw to some degree, but I felt like it took too much time and seemed ‘hard’ to me. I thought the art gene had skipped me. 🙂
Two Keys to Learning a New Art Skill: Diligence and Learning to ‘See’
I learned a very important concept from that year of drawing. Learning an art skill, like any skill, takes a lot of work! It’s not about talent–it’s about determination. I was so surprised!
It took a substantial amount of time–at least a few hours a week–for each lesson, for me to learn to draw well. It took tools and space and commitment.
Most importantly, I learned to ‘see’ the way an artist does. That book helped me break my habit of seeing from imagination and instead start to pay attention to details and draw what was actually there in front of me. We tend to draw from memory instead of from what our eyes see.
These two things–the character required to learn a new skill, and the ability to see and then refine your drawing accordingly, are also foundational keys to sculpting!
It takes time, commitment, tools, a willingness to learn and attention to detail. You also must learn to see edges, planes, bumps, cavities etc.
Good artistic skills, I discovered to my great joy, require patience and diligence, much more than innate talent. So don’t assume you can’t do it because you aren’t ‘talented’. That simply isn’t true.
Your First Step – Find A Source to Learn From: Book, Youtube, or Class.
Your first step to begin your own sculpting journey, is to get a good book or two, the clay and tools, and perhaps find an online teacher, youtube videos or like me, you could sign up for New Master’s Academy. I ordered a lot of books from Thriftbooks.com and Amazon to gather more background knowledge. But watching teachers live on videos really helped me understand the concepts the books’ instructions were trying to convey.
I’ve only been sculpting a very short time, but already, I’ve learned some amazing principles and have learned to sculpt. There is so much still to learn and I plan to spend lots of hours over the next two years learning more.
If you haven’t learned to see, then I suggest you search for ‘Learning to See to Draw’ on youtube. Then, as you begin to sculpt, you will notice the details that define your sphere or object and recreate them.
In my next post, I’ll give you a list of resources for tools so you can start gathering them. I discovered that much of what I needed, I could not find in a local hobby store. They mostly carry the small tools for small scale modeling. I certainly did find some of what I needed and I’ll share those links too.
I’ve just ordered about eight sculpting books and when I find a good one to recommend, I’ll share that too. For now, check out youtube or perhaps invest in a month of New Masters Academy. Their first few videos teach you what supplies you need, how to build an armature, how to design homemade tools if you can’t afford to buy them, and how to build your first sphere. You’ll learn how to use bigger tools and the main sculpting methods you need to learn. More about that later this week!