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design process


Mark Strom

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I am interested in what process people work through to reach a design before the actual making begins. I recently went to a Museum show with work from the Lourve. A portion of the exhibit was studies, sketches and patterns. I found it amazing that nothing has changed. There were smudges, scrawled notes, stains (coffee drinkers?) and the drawings were on a wide variety of material. They all looked like they were just taken from somebody's bench.

The photo is of an upcoming carving in my bark series. All the studies are there, the finished work and an enlargement to finished size. The process allows me to make changes as the size increases. I periodically check the work in a mirror (Ford mentioned this also) as the reverse image makes any flaws very obvious.

Do others do more in depth study? Are maquettes made in clay? Do some just start work with just and idea and the material? I would appreciate insights and thanks.

The photo is a little over the suggest size but the small drawings start really getting lost.

 

post-727-1177140008.jpg

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Mark,

 

that's a beautiful and inspiring layout you've shown there. I maintain, as I imagine do most, that this part of the process is vital. I consider that if I'm going to spend weeks carving something then I need to be pretty well versed in it form, structure and the details I will need to reinterpret. Ultimately, no matter how many photos you study, or real examples you observe the only effective way to study your subject is to draw it. By this I don't just mean in the conceived "design" arrangement but in a more general way, to really start getting to grips with the surface qualities and the volumes. I find this is always an evolving process and helps me to refine concepts as well as suggest further ideas in terms of rendering my conception.

 

I want to say so much more but "the Devil drives" this morning, I'll be back though ;) .

 

later then, Ford :)

 

p.s. thanks for starting this valuable thread. I hope we see lots of input and I'm sure a lot of people will gain from that. B)

 

I also found your other post on your journey as an artist/carver to be very interesting as I think it is quite similar to my own development in many respects. I reckon that sharing our experiences in this way may also be of help to many developing carvers.

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This is a thoughtful start to a tutorial. Thank you Mark!

 

When I was doing relief carving in "leather hard" porcelain clay, I did detailed drawings on tracing paper. The outlines on one side, the shading on the other, so that erasure of one element did not require redrawing another element. I could look at how the composition looked frontwards and backwards. (In reality, the line drawing was reversed when it was time to carve, because it was the graphite line drawing that would be pressed against the damp clay surface.) An additional point of view I learned early, was to turn the composition upside down and review the balance and relationship of the shapes, movement and weights from an additional perspective.

 

Now, with doing 3D work, drawing becomes an enormous challenge, because the shapes change with each incremental turn of the piece. Very detailed drawings are not completely productive, but when I am finding myself boxed into a corner, so to speak, I might find a relationship between parts that would have been better figured out before the carving commenced. Occasionally I will try to use Plasticine to plan a piece, but that is frustrating in some ways. That is something I could try to improve upon, as I know it is useful for other carvers of 3D pieces. Sometimes, I can see what needs to be done from the start, and I just begin. It is just trickier to try to plan and draw the 3D pieces and to take time to make the clay models, when I would rather just be carving. For shape, accuracy and detail, I do rely upon drawings of leaves, branches, frogs and other various subjects, and refer to photos of mine, and support from book illustrations and photos.

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Hi Mark,

 

An excellent topic for discussion.

 

My design process varies from piece to piece. Generally, I will start quick sketch, to get the basic forms outlined, and to organize my thoughts. If this makes sense, I like to be able to finish the basic forms in my head before I start carving. When doing somthing complicated, like a heraldic sculpture, I will do a detailed drawing, then transfer it to the block of wood by the grid method, or by projection. If I have difficulty trying to wrap my head around a form, I find that working it out in clay helps.

 

I am currently working on a series of 10 architectural portrait sculptures in stone. In this case, the design process is very long, given that the end result has to be look like the person portrayed. The first stage is research into the person, and getting photographs, followed by a detailed sketch. I use the photos and the sketch to produce a model in clay, which is exactly how I want the sculpture to look. The clay model is moulded, then cast in plaster. The plaster maquette then sits near to the block of stone as I am carving, with frequent measurements and point references being made along the way.

 

I have a series of photos of the process, if you are interested.

 

Phil

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