Memorial Sculpting for Grief Recovery 3...

When working from photos in a long-distance commission it is important to understand the limitations of the media - especially cameras. Unlike our eyes and our brain, cameras are not able to understand perspective, distortion and foreshortening. When we look at something from a downward angle we innately correct what we see to make sense. A camera doesn't do that which can lead to errors on film and print that can wreak havoc with your work if you don't consciously think about and correct them. For instance, in this particular photograph that I will be using to make a proportionate armature for a 24" sculpture, the angle of the camera looking at the subject is slightly downward. This results in the  arms appearing too long in proportion to the legs and if used exactly as printed would be a very distorted armature. In this photo the tips of his figures would be down at or slightly below his knees.

Correcting lens distortion in photographs for use in design of armature for sculpting. ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

I have compensated for this camera distortion by cutting up and manipulating the image in Photoshop in order to get a more natural proportion to use as the template for the armature. The average 10-11 year old boy would be 7 heads high. By making a tracing of his head (crown to chin) I can copy and paste that head 7 times to get the proper height ratio. His shoulders would be a bit less than 2 heads wide (if the heads were used horizontally). I can check these measurements by locating the landmarks used in figure sculpting including the 1/2 way point of  7 heads (3.5 heads)

Designing armature template for sculpture of a boy ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Below is an example of how this template can be used to build the armature. The red line represents where the aluminum wire will be to support the sculpture and the clay.

Designing armature template for sculpture of a boy ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

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