My first ever sculpt (wip)- Advice needed!
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Thread: My first ever sculpt (wip)- Advice needed!

  1. #1

    Default My first ever sculpt (wip)- Advice needed!

    2nd ever topic! :)

    So I\'ve just started my first ever attempt at sculpting an entire model from scratch, being a bit of an idiot I jumped right in at the deep end and am trying a human type figure, which means that symmetry is being a big problem.

    First things first I need as much advice of all shapes and forms as is humanly possible :), I don\'t care how critical it is or anything like that, as long as it is advice or comments! I\'m here to improve, so any kind of thing that aids me on my way is welcome!

    A few things I\'ve found hard so far:

    1.) How do I avoid little yellow bits in my green stuff? - I\'m cutting out the middle and stuff, and I (think I) am mixing it well, but they keep appearing once I start sculpting :cussing:

    2.)VERY IMPORTANT As I\'m not too good with muscles yet I\'d love any advice on how to sculpt a simple coat/any suggestions of simple clothing for my guy.

    3.) Any advice on how to sculpt boots and trousers would be great, I get the feeling that I\'ve got the posh looking easy bits out of the way being a head and cowl/hood, and it\'s the simple large areas which I\'m going to struggle with, sleeves/arms are somewhat daunting also.

    4.) Any recommendations for a good pose? Not something dynaic or ambitious, but a nice stoic stationary type pose? - (My guy looks a big haggard, so I thought that\'d fit). If it\'s one which will be simple to sculpt/paint all the better!

    That\'s it for now, here\'s my work in progress, so far it\'s about 1.3 inches fro top of green to bottom of green, I thought I may as well start with something not too tiny, I\'ve read the majority of the sculpting guides and they\'ve been pretty helpful, but as this is my first ever sculpt they\'re somewhat scary :):)

  2. #2


    Firstly, good job on your first sculpt! Not too bad for a beginner. :) And first piece of advice - keep sculpting! I think a quote from someone at the GW studio went something like \'Your 30th sculpt will be much better than your first, and your 60th will be better than that.\'

    1. Are they badly-mixed streaks of yellow, or solid lumps of yellow? If the latter, and looking at your sculpt, I\'d guess your GS has gone stale. Might still be okay for bulking, but for detail get fresh stuff. GW can let it sit for ages on a rack, so buy from somewhere else, preferably someone who stores it in a freezer. Since you said \'trousers\' instead of \'pants\', I\'d recommend Heresy Miniatures. ;)

    2. You\'re not too good with muscles so how do you sculpt a coat? Er, pardon?
    Oh, I get it. To cover the muscles. Well, no harm in tips for both. And the best tip for both is reference, particularly photo reference. Since people like to look at photos of muscley men and curvey women, there\'s plenty of it about. The most professional-looking option is probably artist\'s reference books, though. Anything with photos should be good, but two big names without are Hogarth and Loomis (the former in print, with Dynamic Anatomy and Dynamic Figure Drawing, and the latter OOP but free to download from places, IIRC).
    Looking at your torso musculature, I think the problem is that it\'s a little too boxy, although I think a quick google for muscle diagrams could explain it better. I\'ll say that the first set of abs below the pecs could be a little more in line with the others, and that altogether they look a bit stretched. But maybe that\'s because there\'s no pelvic girdle yet.

    3. Clothes. I see a lot of beginning sculptors and converters rolling out a thin sheet of putty in the hope that it\'ll behave like a sheet of cloth over their sculpt. I don\'t know if it could or not. Maybe better sculptors than I can do that with no fuss, but I haven\'t seen any demonstrate it and I don\'t do it myself. Personally I think you need to think about the the bulk and wrinkles that clothes produce and try to sculpt those on a mini, rather than draping putty over it. Again, references are invaluable. And for extra help, Hogarth also wrote a book called Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery. ;)
    For an example, here\'s a link. See how the opening of the hood forms a vague upside-down heart shape as it drapes over the head and is gathered up to be fastened at the neck. Also see how, with the less stiff and padded cloths, wrinkles (large and vague, and smaller ones) radiate from the top of the head, which is a point of tension (scalp pressing against the cloth).

    4. Stationary sounds okay! It\'d suit him, I think, and you might not want to go too complicated first thing.

    One other tip: his eyeline\'s too high. It\'s a common mistake when people start drawing or sculpting people. It should be about midway between top and bottom, or just very slightly higher for the testosterone-fuelled big-chinned fantasy-fiction types. (sounds nuts, but it\'s true) Link.

  3. #3


    Ever since I stopped using the ribbon and switched to the two tubes of green stuff, I haven\'t gotten any of the lumpy things. I know what you are talking about, and I hate those. Might want to invest in a package (usually about $12 US, and it\'s the equivalent of a 36 inch ribbon. A great bargain).

    The sculpt looks good so far. I like sculpting cloaks. Some advise I can give you for that is to work in layers, just like everything else. Begin with your bulked out area, then let it cure. Add vertical folds with small sausages of GS, using a burnishing tool (sort of like a really small spoon) to blend them. I prefer to use an x-acto blade to \"sharpen\" the edges of the cloak when everything is dry, as well as a selection of files to get it good and smooth.

    If you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend taking a life drawing course. It\'s very cheap for what you get, and you learn a lot. If you can\'t do that, do what Verm1s said and take advantage of the Google search. Remember to reference images, and notice the size relationship of the body (the body is about 7 \"heads\" tall, the gap between the eyes is one-eye wide, etc...)

    Hope this helps :)


  4. #4


    Wow, thanks for such comprehensive advice! :)

    I\'ll check up on the internet for some good UK places to get hold of more green stuff, yeah it has gone stale, I looked at a ball of it I had lying around from when I first got it, and it\'s much ore consistent, no lumps at all :)

    I\'ll try my luck with some sausages and see how they work, I have real problems with visualising where wrinkles will be, so I\'ll be using your google advice lots :)

    I\'ve got an \"amazing comic book anatomy\" book lying around somewhere from when I used to sketch, so I\'ll give that a read and see if I can remember how to do preliminary sketches again, man I\'m going to be rusty!

    I\'m really learning how the layers thing helps, I\'ve forced myself to take my time with this one (after the head that is, I couldn\'t resist doing that in 1 go :))

    Should the cloak be a solid mass if I make one? Does that make things easier? I\'ll invest in a new scalpel to help me sort out the bottom of any material I do at any rate, the hood gave me problems in that region.

    Finally any suggestion of what pose the arms should be in? Will hands be easier for me to sculpt if they\'re around something, like if I put one hand resting on the pommel of a weapon or something? I know Hands are going to present me with some real problems, hands and feet have plagued me throughout my artistic stages!

    How do I sculpt hands? :o

    Thanks again for the advice and the nature of the both of you, I\'ve read it all twice over and will do my best to take it on board as much as possible, which has been made much easier by you putting it nicely in plain English :) @ Verm1s thanks, hopefully I won\'t have beginner problems for too long, and don\'t worry I won\'t let up, I\'ve got about 2 feet of somewhat stale green stuff to go through before I\'ve got a good excuse to buy new stuff :)

    All advice still welcome! I\'ll post up some progress pics if I make any tomorrow.

  5. #5


    There\'s a couple methods for sculpting hands. I\'ll tell you how I do it. I find it pretty easy. It\'s a little tough to explain, I wish I had pictures.

    First, decide what position you want it in. Is his hand in a closed fist, is it gripped around the pommel of a sword, is it pointing?

    EDIT: Forgot to mention that I find hands easiest to sculpt when they are wrapped around something. If the hand is on it\'s own with fingers separated (such as pointing) it will be very tricky, since the putty likes to droop if there\'s no armature, and it\'s very tough to find wire smaller than a 28mm figure\'s fingers.

    First, make the palm from a rough square shape. Add another square shape, about the same size, next to it. This will make the 4 fingers. If the hand is gripping something, figure where the knuckles are and bend it accordingly. Using an x-acto blade, press it in 3 times to make the fingers. Separate them if you want, or keep them together. Use a tiny lop-sided sausage to add the thumb, with the slightly larger side in the palm.

    The tool I find most useful for blending the base of the thumb, as well as shaping the knuckles is one of the ball tools (I don\'t know it\'s proper name). It looks like a needle with a tiny metal sphere on the end. They come in a variety of sizes and you can find them at most art stores.

    If you want to go into more detail and add fingernails, make a small indentation at the end of each finger with a needle or the ball tool while the putty is still workable. Let the hand cure, then take a very small amount of putty and apply it to each indentation. Flatten it out a bit, making sure it\'s not too long.

    Hope this helps :)


  6. #6


    thanks for the advice on hands, it should really help me out :), I\' not quite there yet, but I\'ve finished his torso kind of, there\'s hopefully going to besome type of open material over it, not decided if it\'s going to be a cloak and a jacket or whatever yet.

    (Advice welcome on my guys outfit :))

    Here\'s where I\'m up to now:


    What should I do with his left arm? the right is going to be resting on the handle of a weapon the end of which will be on the floor.


  7. #7


    Yup, I can\'t knock Matt\'s method for hands. :)

    I haven\'t sculpted free fingers myself, yet. But Ebob has a frankly frightening bit about hand armatures here.

    Originally posted by mattsterbenz
    The tool I find most useful for blending the base of the thumb, as well as shaping the knuckles is one of the ball tools (I don\'t know it\'s proper name). It looks like a needle with a tiny metal sphere on the end. They come in a variety of sizes and you can find them at most art stores.
    Paper embossing tools and/or ball burnishers. I picked up a few different sizes myself, a while ago. ;)

    Onto the latest critiques... That\'s decent-looking chainmail. I don\'t like to think about how long that must\'ve taken you.

    The next thing I\'d recommend is to pop him off the brush(?) handle and get some wire for the legs in there, to help get the proper proportions of the pelvis, legs, and overall body. (Including the arms! Tips of the fingers should be about halfway down the thigh, IIRC)
    For the left arm I\'d say sculpt a belt and wedge a thumb under it. :yes:

  8. #8


    hmmm, all i can think of is the body is a bit long but i wont know until the legs are on! lol othe than that it looks good

  9. #9


    damn. for a first sculpt, that\'s really good :D
    i know if i tried to do a whole model like that here and now, even a simple one, it\'d end up looking less like what it was supposed to be and more like a misshapen blob that looks vaguely humanoid. barely.

    Funnily enough, looking at him, it reminds me of Altair off the Assassin\'s creed game, but that\'s probably just because he\'s got a hood and i play that game way too much lol

    That\'s a great simple Tutorial for doing a hand btw mattsterbenz, that\'s gonna help me a lot too :)

  10. #10


    Thanks for all of the comments guys, I\'m absorbing them to the best of my memories\' ability!

    ***isn\'t looking forwards to (attempting) scaling model correctly!

    How would be the best way to go from an armoured (grr american spellcheck wants to get rid of my U!) top half to _____? Legs?

    What to do with my legs? Never mind sleeves!

    AHHH CLOTHING AHH!? How am I going to plausibly transverse from chain ail upper to material lower? Excuse my capitals but I\'m dilma\'d here :) I\'m going to have to find soething to soften the change between chain mail and whatever (the hell) is on the lower body.

    I don\'t even know what type of person it is yet.


    Empire type?

    Well armoured thief?


    Bare Legs?

    Left arm inside the cloak?

    Too many choices, I\'m confused x 5!

    @ Verm1s thanks for the finger tips-thighs tip, that\'s really helpful, I\'m attempting working-out sketches now, but they\'re awful! :)

    As ever I\'ll update with any changes

  11. #11


    ROGUE!...looks like a rogue. chainmail \"dress\" with a belt, if you have something long on the top, it might beeasier to attach the legs!

  12. #12


    Hi Byronic!

    With my \"bad public school english\" only can say: A good mini start with a good anatomic basis, is very hard do this when your are beginning but with time and patience you can get good results and later very good minis!

    Look how this guy from Rackham start with a anatomical basis and later add the armour, covering the muscles.

    Sorry that i can´t give more help but i hope look more of your work.

  13. #13


    oo that\'s a really useful sequence of pics, thanks Xenos!

    I\'ll be using that as reference for anatomy for sure :)

    Quick question guys, what material should I make a sword from? Green stuff won\'t work, I can make a trip into town some time soon to get something else if needed, however i\'ve only got a small local art store, I think they stock milliput though - is that better for weps?

    Night night :)

  14. #14


    Milliput works great for weapons. It cures much harder and is more suitable for objects that will have hard edges. Sculpt the basic sword shape around a wire armature and allow to cure, then file the edges to get it nice and crisp.

    Alternatively you could use plasticard.


  15. #15


    Originally posted by mattsterbenz
    Milliput works great for weapons.
    Again, I agree.
    Something that might be useful: I have a cheap \'n\' cheerful little write-up here on a few different types of putty. Milliput\'s on page 3.

    It\'s modified slightly from a version where I had a little rant about Milliput yellow-grey. I didn\'t like it much and I don\'t use it anymore. Superfine white\'s much less offensive to me. (And my nose. The stink!)
    Whichever you use, do some experimenting with it to see how it handles for you. For me, I\'ve found that adding a little \'elastic\' putty (e.g GS) tones down it\'s undesirable qualities - particularly yellow-grey\'s - without affecting dry-sculpting too much.

    Also, the Rackham sculpt is good, but be wary of using other people\'s work as reference. You don\'t want to follow their style or mistakes too readily. It\'s a photocopy-of-a-photocopy kind of thing. ;)

  16. #16


    it\'s been a while since I\'ve had time to work on my piece, but thankfully I got 2 work-free days, so here\'s what I\'ve got so far :)

    So, since my last picture my guy has gained legs, one arm, and a second belt across his chest (stiill not sure about second belt, it may have to go)

    Despite the advice I\'ve had trouble with my first hand attempt :), I wanted it resting on the pommel of his sword, but for some reason I just couldn\'t seem to make a hand small enough! Seriously; no matter how much green stuff I used the hand ended up with huge spreading fingers, I\'ll give it another attempt from scratch tomorrow after work hopefully.

    I\'ve put in a picture of my first attempt at a sword and shield, I\'d really appreciate any advice on what shape to make the shield, I mixed some green stuff into my milliput, so it\'s quite durable, but it can still be sanded etc, the shield was left to dry on a cork, so it\'s got a nice realistic and even shape to it.

    Secondly what on earth should I do with the left arm? It\'s not glued yet, so i can experiment with various positions and angles, but I\'m at a loss.

    I think My guy is going to have greaves, some type of trousers, and aybe a mail skirt, but I\'m not quite sure where I want his cloak to be, how much I want it exposing (or covering :)!), I was thinking maybe going over the left arm nearly entirely, and thrown back over the right, but that\'s just a thought.

    All advice and thoughts welcome as ever :), it\'s just really hit me how hard sculpting something like this is for a complete novice! Thanks again to all of those who\'s given advice so far! :)

  17. #17


    I\'d suggest making the second belt a belt around his waist (roughly at the level of the lower end of the slant on its existing position). That will break him up -in the middle - so you can work out where his hips.groin should be and then the legs etc will fit a bit better.

    Unless you want him to look quite thin, you might want to add some bulk to his legs, especially if he is going to be wearing hose (thats how he looks like he should headto me anyway) - similar to a Robin Hood with chainmail on.


  18. #18


    Thanks for the advice Fizl, I\'ve removed the second belt, I\'m just trying to figure out how best to ake the transition from chain ailed chest to (whatever he has on his) lower body. The idea of an armoured robin hood is a nice one, that\'s going to be at the back of my mind all the way now :D

    Update: removed belt and added cloak, MY GOD HOW MUCH WORK ARE CLOAKS!?!?! This took me like 40 minutes of prodding, and now it\'s drying jammed at the right angle on top of my radiator with a pair of balled up socks (I presume this is the professional way to do things, none of these vices etc), I\'m going to have to decide how show that it\'s attached also, clasp/rope/another buckle etc.

    Also my gone-off green stuff has left a couple of lumps which are quite obvious, Hopefully I can deal with these at a later date with some smoothing over; fingers crossed!

    quick question before it dries, should I make holes in the cloak to make it more ragged? It\'s quite thin so they would go through all of the way through, which I fear would spoil the effect - opinions @ all?

    Lastly, any general advice on working with \"free-flowing\" material sections on models would be really appreciated, I think it went quite well for a first attempt, but obviously I need to work on my knowledge of material in general amongst other things.

    Chain mail skirt? Breeches? Leather Boots? Greaves? Light Plate? What shape shield?

    Decisions!Your thoughts welcome on all of them :D

  19. #19


    Ok - my opinions :)

    What my imagination was going for -

    but with hose and leather boots (knee high not higher) rather than plate legs.

    I think the cloak doesn\'t need holes and wear, just good old dirt when it is painted up! I think it looks ok to me, just remember anything else that may be flowing should flow in the same direction.

    If you put a shield on him I think he would look like the grail knight from indiana jones :D

    Have a look here -

    toy grail knight


  20. #20


    I love opinions :) - that\'s what I post here for:beer:

    I\'d like him to have a shield, still not decided on what shape it\'ll be yet, I was thinking of something getting narrower towards the bottom, like an extended kite shield, but still not sure.

    What\'re hose by the way? I\'m confused :)

    My main concern now I\'ve got the cloak on is making the legs more anatomically correct, then clothing them, thanks for the pic, I\'d like my guys bottom half similar to that, but less fancy and a bit more worn.

    Lol, if I\'d given him a clothing upper half he\'d be a clone of that knight figure, they stole me idea!

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