Friday, January 7, 2011

SATYR (Hands Day 5)

Today we will look at hands. The right hand is simply a relaxed male hand which we covered in the Tristan sculpt. I have had to work very hard to get a relaxed hand. We all want a dynamic hand but more often than not, a relaxed hand looks better on a sculpture.
Lets look at one way of wrapping the hand around the support rod and an object (the vine).
Once again we start with a wedge shaped piece of clay with a bevel on the end.
 The width of the hand, the length of the hand, and the first finger are the same length as the distance from nose to chin of the face. Here I borrowed someone else's face for comparison.
The fingers have been added and shaped to an open fist. Note how the finger curve is made by flattening  straight sections from joint to joint. Keep the thumb off the hand for now.
The palm and wrist of the hand is opened and widened enough to attach to the rod.
A tin layer of clay is applied to the support rod. This is the vine which will be detailed as the hand is done. The hand is pressed onto the support rod and the clay is worked around the rod and seamed together.
The same from the back. (Spiderman wrist pose!)

Insert a small tube of clay into the palm of the hand. This will be shaped like a twisting vine. It emerges out of the hand at an angle so the fingers can be wrapped around it without tilting the hand into an odd position in order to keep the hand around the rod. Shifting the hand slightly this way will make the support seam less obvious than just running the arm, wrist, and hand in the same plane. Add the thumb.
Using the back of the sculpting tool (or any flat tool) the fingers are flattened onto the vine by applying pressure between the joints to keep the planes of the fingers intact as you shape them around the vine.
I decided to extend the first finger up the vine just a bit to make his grip a little weaker. Almost like the vine is slipping from his hand. The thumb mimics this rather than closing tightly against the fingers  I want this to be a playful exchange with the nymph not a tug-of-war over a batch of grapes.

 In this back view, you can see how the hand rests naturally. Without the vine coming out at an angle, the hand would have to twist at the wrist for the fingers to wrap around the rod itself. the ligaments of the hand are exaggerated to show the force required to squeeze the vine. Muscles in the forearm are also more pronounced than the right arm because the muscles to close the hand extend up the arm.
I have poked a small hole into the end of my vine. This will get a small wire which will support the rest of the vine and the grape clusters.
 Next we will look at the legs and feet. Have a great day!


  1. Ah. I was wondering how you were planning on addressing the joint - as the drawing is essentially incomplete (figures only), I had been contemplating how you were going to work out the weird little bit of stuff they're tugging on. Now I know!

    Definitely looking forward to the lower half - the beastie anatomy. Any reference material you can recommend to those of us who are interested, could you put that in the post? Thanks!

    And thanks again for being so generous!

  2. you are so kind posting these tutorials, I used to love working with clay etc but working it around wire armature is a totally different story and your help is definitely needed here. Thank you sooooooo much.

    Amazing work by the way!!

  3. Thank you for posting this Mark. The hands you sculpt are so life-like, thats an area I have alot of trouble with. I am practicing though :)