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Tribal Back – 2

Posted by goregt On October - 1 - 2009

In the last tutorial I briefly went over how I like to draw out a rough outline of the different muscles. I use this trick on quite a few places on the body and it really helps be understand and build out the individual shapes. For example, I like to draw out the individual muscles when I sculpt muscular arms and very lean abs. The back also has a lot going on so even though my outline is pretty rough it still helps me break down the back into the individual muscles (or shapes).

The first step is to separate my back into two halves. Now you can’t just simply carve a line down the center of the back, otherwise your sculpture will look like it has a canon going down the center of it. To make the back look more natural I will blend the two halves of the large back muscles (latissimus dorsi) into the area of where the spine is located. This task is easily accomplished by carving the center edges of the back until it gently slopes to the spine. I keep working both halves of the back until I get a look that I am happy with.

Once I have a good outline for the center of my back I then start building out the individual muscles in the back area. Separating the back into two halves helps me gauge the size and shapes of the muscles. If this step is not done first then there is a good chance that I will get my symmetry off.

Also, before I move on I want to state the importance of using resource materials. At times I’ve found myself trying to sculpt an arm, back, you name it from what I think it looks like in my mind. Sometimes I can get away with this but most of the time I find that the interpretation in my mind is not actually how it looks in real life. The best way to make something look more realistic, if that is what you are shooting for, is to use some form of resource material (live model, pictures, etc).

The next step is to add small bits of clay and slowly build out the shapes of the muscles as they appear in my resource material. This is a slow process where you add and blend in the clay on piece at a time. I’ve included some pictures below to give an example of what I’m talking about.

Next lesson – Tribal Back 3

Previous lesson – Tribal Back 1

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Nothing special, just a self-taught sculptor having fun with my art and showing all of you the tips and tricks I use to create my own artwork



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