Working From Life Vs. Working From Portraits: How Sculptures Are Made From These Two Approaches


Commissioned portrait sculptures are often busts, but they can also be full-length, full-body sculptures. There are two approaches that artists take to making any sculpture. The first is to work from real life, with the model sitting in front of the artist, although a lot of the models do not have time to do this old-fashioned approach. The second is to make a sculpture by working from portraits of the person or thing that is the subject of the commissioned art. Here is how these two approaches are used to create the same or similar sculpture. 

Working from Life

Working from life means that the artist has requested that a model sit in front of the artist so that the artist can constantly look at and examine the model from all angles. The result is that the sculpture has a much more realistic look because the artist is able to walk all the way around the three-dimensional model and the sculpture he/she is creating to get a more exact depiction of the work. However, it is incredibly difficult for most models to sit still for long periods of time, let alone open up time in their schedules to be sitting for a sculptor. 

Working from Portraits/Pictures

Commissioned portrait sculpture services are also known as "working from portraits." In this approach, the artist may start working from life, but then continue and finish the work by looking at pictures taken of the subject from multiple directions and views. The artist may also request just pictures taken of the subject from multiple angles, and work solely from the pictures, which is advantageous if you are commissioning the artist to create a sculpture as a surprise for the subject of the sculpture.

While the artist can certainly work from portrait photos, the results are somewhat different than working from life because cameras change the way people are viewed. They tend to portray people as heavier, more oddly shaped or having deformities that are not present when looking at the subject. A really good sculptor can work from photos and sort out the truth of what a person actually looks like versus what the photos depict.

Additionally, more photos are necessary to make the sculpture more accurate. A single profile photo and/or a 2/3 side view of the subject does not give the artist much to go on. It often leads to a sculpture where the artist had to make the sculpture symmetrical by making up what the other side of the face/body looks like rather than how it really is.


27 June 2019

Learning About The Arts

Hi there, my name is Avery Franks. Welcome to my website about the arts. When I was in school, I was studying intensive technical subjects that left me feeling drained and burned out. With help from my college advisor, I decided to add art classes to my schedule. The art subjects helped me unwind between my tougher courses. Through these courses, I learned about the finer nuances of art subjects. I would like to share those nuances with you all to help everyone embrace the beauty of art. Please feel free to visit my site on a daily basis to learn more. Thanks.