First Steps-Proportions

I received photographs from Nancy and wanted to describe one of my first steps in this process. One photograph was of her with Dick and the other was a recent one. I had requested that she take a picture of her with a ruler under her chin. Remember all of this part of the creative process is about comparisons. As I precede you will begin to understand my motives with these photographs.

Who would think that a sculptor that works in clay would have to know such things as Photoshop or computer programs? I do use digital images quite often and having the knowledge of different programs can make my job a lot easier.

Nancy said her face has changed some since the wedding photograph was taken. I know that the space between the eyes is going to be the same between the old photograph and the new photograph.

First, I scan both photographs and make them the same size, matching Nancy’s eyes. After doing this I have reduced the photograph of Nancy with the ruler down to match the size of her in the other wedding photograph. Now I have a ruler that can be used to take some measurements of Dick (notice wedding picture has ruler over Nancy’s head).
Of course this only gives me very few measurements on one plane. If I had the real person in front of me I would take several measurements for the sculpture. On the face many measurements begin with the crock of the ear, for example from the crook of the ear to the chin, the crook of the ear to the nose the crook of the ear to the forehead and there are others like the width of the face. (Below is an example of my measurement chart for portrait sculpture.)

On Dick Hathaway’s body I will want several measurements. Ankle to knee, knee to hip, the length of the arms, shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist. I’ll also need to figure out how tall Dick is when he is sitting. There are many unknowns and many guesses I’ll be making, but the input from photographs like these will help.

Not having the person in front of me makes my job much harder, so I try and find comparisons to other people and objects. When I sculpted Patsy I had a picture of her on the bench with her husband, Howard. I had a picture of myself taken on the bench with Howard and compared the shape of all of our bodies and faces together to come up with Patsy.

I also found and old photograph of Dick standing next to the shelves in the Noble Reading Room, at Vermont College. I called security at the college and asked them if they would check the photograph to be sure that it is from Noble and asked if they would mind measuring the shelves. I can see the knee in this picture and the bend in the arm, something that I could not see in the wedding photograph.

I am certain of the measurement of forty-six-inches to his chest. While at Vermont College I measured the podium. I had a few pictures of Dick standing behind that same podium.

I have included my sketch of proportions and measurements. It is a mess of doodles and thoughts but this is great progress and from here I can actually begin the process of creating an armature for Dick Hathaway.

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