Tips on How to Make Realistic Living Sculptures - Animal and Human

Human Sculpture

When you start making living sculptures whether it’s human or wildlife sculptures, you want them to look as realistic as possible. Most of the time especially for beginners, it can seem like you will never get them quite right. It really takes a lot of artistic talent to make a horse sculpture, a deer sculpture, a dog or cat sculpture, or a human sculpture that looks realistic. If you want to make fantasy sculptures of dragons, unicorns or other mythical creatures, it can be much more difficult because you are trying to sculpt an animal that has realistic dimensions and proportions yet it isn’t a real creature. 

Learning how to make three dimensional figures that seem to move and breathe is probably the toughest part of learning to sculpt, but for many sculptors that is what makes them feel like real artists. Hence, the best thing that beginners can do when they want to learn how to make sculptures of humans and animals that seem to come alive is to practice drawing. Yes, you read me right – it’s drawing.

The proportions that you will use in your sculpture will always come from the initial drawing that you have done to put the concept of the statue on paper. The better the drawing is, the more detailed and the more realistic the model and later the statue, will be.

You need to earn figure drawing. It really can’t be over-emphasized. Learning how to draw bodies at rest and in motion is critical to being able to produce a great sculpture. You can take classes to learn figure drawing but you can also teach yourself, if you are diligent and creative. Therefore, once you know the basics of drawing and proportion, all you really need is practice, practice and more practice.

To practice drawing people, I suggest heading down the beach, the park or the local café and sit with a drawing pad and pencils. Spend ample time a few times a week sketching different people as they are sitting, standing, walking and doing everyday normal things to help you learn to translate human motion onto paper. Drawing models will help you capture the proportions of the human body but in order to learn how to draw motion you need to observe people in motion and practice drawing the body in motion.

Animal Sculpture

On the other hand, drawing animals is a little harder. You can go to the farm or a zoo and watch the animals that you want to learn to draw. Memorize how they move and what their bodies look like when they are resting and moving. Alternately, a great way to learn how to draw animals is to take a video clip of the animal moving and take it home and study it on your computer. Then you can scroll through the video frame by frame learning how to draw the animal as it moves. This will give you a great sense of proportion and dimension.

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