Friday, March 2, 2012

03 Armature Nº 3

In this post I am going to show some excerpts about making armatures from various sculpture books I have in my studio. It is good to see how different sculptors approach making an armature for modeling a figure in clay, so this should be very educational. Click on any image to enlarge it.

Starting With Sculpture: the elements of modelling and casting.
Robert Dawson.
Watson-Guptill Publications, 1968.

On page 27, Dawson mentions that the back iron should be sufficiently high that, when screwed on to the modelling board, it is at least halfway up the figure.

On page 28, Dawson writes: For an 18" figure, 1/8" or 3/16" is the right weight; for a 24" figure, use 1/4" wire, ....

Pages 28 and 29 have some notes about making an armature, some of which may be useful for making an armature for a doll.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Sculpture,: The basic methods and materials.
Lillian Bass Johnson.
D. McKay, 1960.

On page 22 is a diagram of armature wire sizes. Johnson writes: An armature is easy to make and is very functional, but if it is made incorrectly, it can be quite troublesome. It must be flexible enough to give support without being in the way. There will be little chance for an improper one if you realize that the armature eventually ends up in the center of the clay sculpture. So you must anticipate the final size of the piece.

On page 23 she writes: For a figure a foot high or over, it is necessary to have more support. Commercial armatures are made with such supports as illustrated. If you decide to make your own, you can assemble a good armature support by purchasing the following at a hardware store or plumbing-supply dealer: 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch piping of various lengths to allow for varying heights, since your armature support can be used many times. The pipes must be threaded at both ends. One flange to fit, with screws to secure, the pipe to a board. One elbow, and one "T" joint also to fit. The support will generally enter the body a little above halfway, about the hip area, where it will interfere the least with the modeling and action.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

From Clay to Bronze: A Studio Guide to Figurative Sculpture.
Tuck Langland.
Watson-Guptill, 1999.
ISBN: 0823006387

This is such a good book that I purchased two copies, when it was in print; one for my library, and one to use as a studio copy. This is one of the very best sculpture handbooks that I own.

Pages 28 and 29 show pipe-fittings hardware, as well as a way to twist wire with an electric drill to make a wire armature. This is the technique I am going to use to make the wire armature for my oil-clay figure. Pages 32, 33, and 34 show some interesting ways to make an armature support. Pages 35, 36, and 37 talk about making a wire armature. Two interesting things talked about are making a hand armature and a demountable armature.

I am currently thinking of some ways that I can make a demountable armature for at least the head, and possibly the hands as well.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Modelling and Sculpting the Human Figure.
Edouard Lanteri.
Dover Publications, 1985.
ISBN: 0486250067

Pages 85 and 96 have excellent diagrams of an armature inside the outline of a figure. The Figures show a clay sculpture in progress.

I would like to add that Lanteri's books are also amongst my favorite sculpture books. Besides the one about modeling the human figure, he also has one about modeling animals. Both of them have been reprinted by Dover, so they should be available to everyone at a reasonable price.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Modeling the Figure in Clay: A Sculptor's Guide to Anatomy.
Bruno Lucchesi, Margit Malmstrom
Watson-Guptill, 1980.
ISBN: 0823030989

This book is an interesting anatomy book. Lucchesi makes a figure from the bones up, adding muscles, and finally a covering of clay skin to finish the figure. This is not how sculptor's model a human figure over an armature. I am including this because it looks like a photo of a good general armature on a modeling stand.

I have most of Lucchesi's books, but I must say that I do not find them to be very good tutorials, per se. However, I do like to see Lucchesi's work, and his books are full of photos of his work, so that is why I have them in my library.

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