Stone Carving A Nude Sculpture
Many people are drawn to nude sculptures and a good number of my advanced students have taken on the challenge of sculpting a female nude torso at some point in time. It is a very popular subject. Technically it is difficult to teach because it requires a good amount of knowledge about the human form and you also need to be comfortable in your own carving ability.
If you are new to stone carving try something easier than a nude sculpture. I recommend trying a project like the stone koru that is an easy carving to do if you are a beginner. You can download in the sculpture lessons page.
It is best to study the human figure through life drawing lessons or classes. Or at least have a book on the human anatomy.
Once I have gathered a number sketches, I then choose the most appropriate ones that will make for a good stone sculpture. Then I select the block of stone to carve and I make sure that I have enough height, width and depth to handle the design.
I draw the main frontal image on to the face of the block this will determine the width and height of the figure. It also addresses the way the figure is positioned, and if any part of the body is extended like in this case the right elbow.
I now draw the side figure on the side of my stone; I focus on the natural curves of the female form the ark of her back, the position of the arm the size and shape of the breasts and buttocks.
Now that I have the side image and the front image drawn on my stone, I have a good general idea of the full position the body in relation to my block.
I start cutting away my stone but the most important thing to remember is to be careful not to cut away anything that may be needed at a later stage. On the other hand there are going to some parts of the block that can clearly be removed like in this example the full diagonal corner to the right of the image as it is excess stone and it is not any part of the sculpture at all. I then continue cut and chisel away all of the excess stone around the figure.
I now begin with the carving process. I always work on the parts of the body that stand out. In this case I start by carving both the head and the left hand and arm on the picture (which would be the figure's right hand) as they both protrude outward from the front of the block more than any other part of the body. I work on the shape and position of the head as she is slightly looking away to the left.
I roughly chisel around the hand and down the arm and chisel away the stone between the top of the hand and the bottom of the head. As I am removing layers of stone I am being careful not to chisel down to far.
I then chisel the other hand and arm, and around the breasts then work up towards the shoulders. I can then move on to the sides and start to work on them. The bottom half of this sculpture is a lot easier to handle but the point that I am trying to make is when you are sculpting stone you work from front to back working in layers and bringing out the obvious features and the general sculpting process is a little rough, it only has to make sense at this point, all the detail comes later on.
That is the general beginning stage of sculpting a female nude torso. A video of the whole sculpting process will added at a later stage.
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