The bust is a traditional sculptural equivalent to portrait painting - popular during the classical and renaissance periods. Figurative sculpture lives on in contemporary art through artists such as Ron Mueck, Patricia Piccinni and Ricky Swallow. The course consists of three projects designed to build beginners' skills through fundamental figurative sculpture techniques. By gradually building observational and modelling skills participants will be granted the chance to develop tangible skills in three-dimensional art making and observation. This course includes:

  • Still life drawing
  • Figure/life drawing
  • Marquette making
  • Clay modelling
  • Plaster casting

Course outline

Project 1 - Structure of the head

  • Week 1: Participants will do a series of drawings of skulls and skeletons. Through drawing, participants can focus on observational skills and a greater understanding of the structure beneath the surface of the head.
  • Week 2-3: Participants will attempt to create a cardboard skull. Using cardboard, hot glue, paper and tape, participants will create 3D structures at a 1:1 scale.
  • Week 4-5: Using the knowledge gained from week 1 and 2, participants will attempt to create a life-size skull by clay modelling.

Project 2 - Anatomy of the head

  • Week 6: Participants will do a series of life drawings with a seated model. Through drawing, participants can build on observational skills and develop a greater understanding of the human form.
  • Week 7-9: Using the same model, participants will create 1:1 clay bust over 3 weeks

Project 3 - Plaster casting

  • Week 10: Using the completed clay model, participants will be shown how to make a waste mold.
  • Week 11: Participants will remove the clay from their molds, seal them and cast a plaster positive.
  • Week 12: Participants will break their molds revealing their completed plaster cast.