How to Plan a Sculpture




  • The 3 Key Points we must consider when planning a sculpture

  • Directing ourselves in order to understand our subject

  • Making an idea into something tangible 

  • 2D vs 3D studies. How we move from drawing into sculpting

  • The use of proportions and the famous golden ratio



Click the link to join the LIVE Monthly Equine Anatomy Seminars to become an expert in sculpting equine anatomy!


Get access to my Drawing Anatomy for Sculpture Course by clicking here















There are three key points we want to consider when we're planning a sculpture, these points are understanding your subject, knowing how to measure proportions, and experimenting with drawing. Now, this helps us have direction we are self-directing and in order to do so, we want to ask ourselves some specific questions. One might be, what do I want to gain from this process? what do I want to study? So, for instance, you might have the interest to better understand your subject by doing a life study, maybe a movement study, maybe the study of osteology, maybe studying craniology, or a study of muscles. This might also be a holistic study of the entire subject. Then asking, what outcomes do I want this experience to provide me? This might be like I'd mentioned, a holistic understanding of the entire subject. Or maybe you want to dial in and have a better understanding of craniology or muscle movement.


This would allow us to pull the idea out of our minds and make it tangible. What do I mean by that? I mean, we want to draw the intended outcome in order to be successful in a sculpture. So the first step would be to draw this not from an artistic standpoint, but from a technical standpoint. We would want to draw the desired outcome with very simple lines so that we can create that idea into something tangible simply to show us how we are going to proceed in this process.


But with that said, the better your drawing skills are, the easier it will be to formulate and understand your final piece of work, thus making your journey of sculpting easier and more enjoyable. Now, I personally do not claim to have outstanding skills, what I do have is a clear understanding of how to use the tools that are available for this process and the steps needed to produce a well-formed, anatomically correct sculpture, which anyone can learn. So this process provides us with a structure that, if followed properly, will come out with the skills needed to be able to formulate clay anatomical structures accurately. So as we continue to inform ourselves, we can teach ourselves about the subject. When we take the time to do two things, we make a 2D rendering, which is a drawing of the subject from several different study points such as anatomical, locomotive, and compositional. Then we make what we call a maquette, it is a type of miniature sculpture that allows us to experiment with our drawings in 3-D.


We can move the extremities around and play with movement and composition and different ideas that we have put down on paper. But in clay itself, a very, very helpful process to take us from a 2D image into the 3D aspects of sculpting. Now, in these two helpful steps, you will learn to measure proportions.


This will likely be some form of the golden ratio, which is one, one point six one eight. It's a Ratio found in every corner of nature and even within your own body.


Let me explain. If you are familiar with any of the great masters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dalí, and so on and so forth, then you've been admiring the golden ratio. Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man would also be familiar. This is an illustration of the ratio of one to one point six one eight to identify relative proportions within the human body. Now, Leonardo recorded this in his personal notebooks, most likely for his own reference when painting or sculpting. All this means is two is equal to one.


For example, the first two bones in your finger. So if you take a look at your finger, these two bones here is a bone and a bone here. And then we have the third bone here. These are equal to your third bone roughly in length. Now, this is found throughout the body, making it relatively easy to identify balance and proportions with the naked eye once trained. We find this two to one ratio in the animal skeleton, plants, seashells, the cosmos, and so on, and so forth, and we utilize it to reproduce accurate models in art.


It is also something that is of great benefit when we are assessing equine wellness and physical balance.


So why would we go to the effort of understanding this and practicing it? Well, the more we practice drawing and sculpting the subjects such as the horse, the more we train our eye to quickly identify these areas of balance and imbalance, thus giving us a formula to work with when we're simply evaluating the progress and the well-being of our animals.


Click to Subscribe and Never Miss a Post! 


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.