FROM THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
During the process of sculpting, I always find there is a moment that reminds me of a scene in the 1991 movie “Hook.” A little boy squishes up Peter Pan’s face and finally recognizes the little boy inside him. I have these moments when I’m pushing the clay around and “feel” I have the face of the subject. Sometimes I even say that line of the movie out loud. I’m definitely feeling comfortable about Booker T. Washington’s face. He is on a toothpick stuck inside of a block of clay. I love to be able to turn him upside down and around. I’m getting much closer. You can see some video of my Booker T. Washington sculpture in progress on this Feb 12th Instagram and this Feb 14 Instagram post.
Teachers and Students
We learned about all of the cool math in the body, and about Leonardo Da Vinci’s obsession with proportions. I have sculpted many faces, and it always fascinates me about the proportions. Sculpting and drawing are really about comparing one thing you have drawn or sculpted to another. I used to teach Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and would talk about this all the time. Here is a cool video on how you can check the proportions of your own face using string.
As a portrait sculptor, I have studied many different aspects of the face. One of my favorite things is the facial action coding system by Psychologist Paul Eckman. Paul has studied emotion in the face and can tell when people are lying just by watching their face. I have a very freaky story to tell you about my experience with that research, but it is too long to go into here.
Creating real expressions in animation is hard. Animators have been using Facial Action Coding to create realistic faces. This video from the University of London talks about Animation and the Facial Action Coding.
Animation studios also use something called Motion capture or mo-cap. They have actors wear optical markers that capture the motions in the face and body. Disney created the movie A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in this way. With a head-mounted camera, the animators can capture the expression and transfer it to their animations. I wonder how hard it must be for an actor to act in these costumes and without the visual props.
Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon