Steven Perkins Head Écorché Sculpture Lab
Using the Ecorche method of anatomy study, students examine the bone, muscle and cartilage structure of the head and neck and move on to the morphology and surface form and end with the animating nature of facial expressions. With the aid of models, we will build a life size skull and cervical column down to the level of the first rib. Those forms will be worked to the level of detail. Following this, the muscle and cartilage forms will be built up, starting from the inside and working outwards. In essence, it is a reverse dissection. In this way, a true sense of the makeup of the forms is accomplished. The surface form or morphology will be added to one side of the head and neck to show the connection of deep form to the exterior. The last step is the animation of the forms. For this, the groundbreaking research of Dr. Paul Edman is utilized through his very pertinent book “Unmasking the Face”.
The class attempts to give the student an anatomical, structural and expressive understanding to take to their portrait and figurative work.
1 life sized head armature; This can be found at www.sculpturehouse.com. The good one is $75 dollars I am afraid. It is metal and will not break. The one with the wood blocks should be fine in the short term and as they are shorter, the clay can be supported by the base. They are half the price.
modeling tools: These can also be found at www.sculpturehouse.com. I recommend #402A, #217, #221
Clay: There are two kinds of clay. There is oil based plasteline which will not dry out and generally takes less care but are harder. With plasteline, you have to get the right clay as most are too hard. Two however are quite good. They can be ordered from www.chevant.com. That is Chevant clay company. There are two choices:
DaVinci “firm” grade plasteline
Chevant Professional plasteline “SOFT” grade
Either of these are good, The DaVinci is slightly softer and I would probably go with that.
The other choice in clay is water based clay. It is softer and much quicker to use but requires care as you have to keep it wet and wrap it up at night. When you are done with the class, you will need to store the clay in an airtight bucket. You will need one or two cotton T shirts, a spray mister, a five pound plastic bucket with a lid.
There are different water based clays but the one I recommend is: WED clay, available from www.lagunaclay.com. They have local distributors as well as shipping.
You may have all of these things already in which case just use that.
Books recommended; When it comes to artists anatomy the best overall book is Dr. Paul Richers classic “Artistic Anatomy”. However, here we are dealing exclusively with the portrait head and so there are two other books that are more in depth in this area.
The first is Stephen Peck’s “Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist”. This deals with the forms of the head from the bone structure to the surface and deals thoroughly with the forms of the features.
The second book is Dr. Paul Ekmans “Unmasking the Face”. This is a small and relatively new book but it is an amazingly informative look at the effect of human emotions on the face, It shows you how to create emotion through the face in a very specific way. Ekman is the leading scientific authority in this field. The books are not required and I will have one of each to show you so that is up to you.