Art: Horse Ecorche WIP

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  1. #1
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    Horse Ecorche WIP

    Hello,

    I'm currently working on a plastiline horse sculpture displaying its muscular anatomy. It's about 8" tall and 10" wide.

    Are there any current problems with it's structure, form, proportion, or general use of the plastiline clay? Also, does anyone have any suggestions for streamlining the muscle striations? I'm currently rolling all of them by hand.

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  3. #2
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    Build the muscles as masses, the individual strands aren't important. And I'd suggest using your sculpting tools more so than your hands, clarify the planes before you smooth them out.

    My sketchbook:

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=191977

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    Hi Orochigenocide,

    You are close on the overall form but it might benefit you to build from the inside out (bone structure out). I would suggest picking up some anatomy books and referencing them while sculpting. The following are great references for Anatomy:

    Cyclopedia Anatomicae -Feher
    An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Arists -W. Ellenberger
    Animal Painting and Anatomy -W. Frank Calderon

    For Biomechanics and understanding muscle structure and movement the following is a great reference:
    How Your Horse Moves -Gillian Higgins

    Another great reference would the be TruForm Pro Equine armature systems. They show you basically how the bone structure is laid out and allow you to better understand where the muscles connect and how they produce movement. I recently purchased and human and horse skull from them (1/6 and 1/9 scale respectively) and they have been fabulous study aids.

    I hope that helps!

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    Quote Originally Posted by orochigenocide View Post

    Are there any current problems with it's structure, form, proportion, or general use of the plastiline clay?
    Yes, loads. What are you using as your anatomical reference? Stubbs? Dittrich? Get, or go back to if you already have, some good, reliable resource material, and really make sure you understand the underlying forms and structures before you worry abut stuff like...
    Quote Originally Posted by orochigenocide View Post
    Also, does anyone have any suggestions for streamlining the muscle striations? I'm currently rolling all of them by hand.
    That's exactly what not to do. Build the masses of the muscles first then, if absolutely necessary, worry abut texturing them.


    Tristan Elwell
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    stabby2486: Thanks.

    Rayvin: Thanks, just checked out those books today at my university's library, and just put in a interlibrary loan request for the Higgins book.

    Elwell: Thank you and yes, Dittrich. I got JPEGs of pages from the University of Wisconsin's digital collection and used some of the following while I was sculpting:

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    Worked on these since the last post when I wasn't busy with summer school:
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    This side obviously needs more work.
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    Make sure you understand how the skeleton relates to the forms that overlay it. Also, some of the deeper muscles are more important to the surface forms than the more superficial ones. The real value of any ecorche piece comes in actually building it from the inside out, not in sculpting some surface muscle texture over a competed sculpture.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Another thing, if you can't get the real thing in front of you, you want to find photos of other horse sculptures. I'd suggest looking up Antoine Louis Barye, Pierre Louis Rouillard, and Nina Akamu. Translating from 2D to 3D is super tough, but as much as people will say photos are flat, they convey form much, much better than flat diagrams do.

    Also, don't just scribe lines to indicate edges. Edges are where two planes, that are facing different directions, meet. That's completely different from a line.

    Last edited by stabby2486; June 19th, 2012 at 04:37 PM.
    My sketchbook:

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=191977

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    It looks better but you are still trying to sculpt from the outside in. Try taking things down (or starting a new armature) to just the skeletal elements and building from there. You are losing all of the structure that makes a horse what it is. Especially in Ecorche you need to have those elements for the muscles to make any sense.

    You need to learn how the bones are set up and how they move with the muscles before you will have a very realistic full body sculpture. I suggest looking into those armatures I posted. They will help you keep on target and give you a better idea of how the internal biomechanics of a horse works.

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    When you build from the skeleton out you get a much more realistic form and movement.

    Here are some of my pieces in progress to show you what I mean:

    Horse Ecorche WIP

    Horse Ecorche WIP

    Horse Ecorche WIP
    Here I had lost the skeletal structure and things had warped, so I took it back down to the armature wire and the bone.

    Here are the ProForm armature skulls with clay on them for anatomy study. It's very important to see how underlying structures work.
    Horse Ecorche WIP

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    Elwell: Thanks, I will study more of the horse's skeleton as well as the inner muscles.

    stabby2486: Thanks, I will look into photos of those horse sculptures.

    Rayvin: Yeah, those Tru Form armatures look great, but I can't afford one with the budget I'm on. Though, it would be a great reference when working on the horse's skeleton.

    I ordered a Visible Horse model kit so I can have a three-dimensional reference for the skeleton and form. It might not be the greatest reference, but at least it's not a flat diagram (and I got it for $3 through Amazon gift cards).

    I took down the clay so I can start building the horse from the inside-out as per the critiques. However, I realized that the armature I started with might not be ideal for this purpose. The main body and legs are pretty sturdy, but the neck region isn't. (My sculpture professor built the armature.)
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    Should I rebuild the armature like this? Or this? I am thinking of cold-casting the sculpture later. So, I don't know if the "T-pipe" is going to affect the molding process.

    Also, I made a couple of sketches of the legs to understand the underlying structure somewhat. I think I am doing these wrong and there may be a more constructive way to study the anatomy. So, what am I doing incorrectly with these?
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    I personally wouldn't worry about doing the studies in any particular way. Being able to draw something is the first step to being able to sculpt it, but there's so many things in sculpture that drawing simply doesn't prepare you for. For example, in your studies, you have the outline down, but do the diagrams you're referring tell you where the form peaks out towards you?

    My sketchbook:

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=191977

    My page on Facebook, which I update much more often.

    https://www.facebook.com/MarkGrimArt
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  22. #12
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    I would recommend either of the armature systems. The main boon of these is that there are bends where the joints are. This is SUPER helpful to the process. The second link is actually from Lynn Fraley who I studied with. The T pipe does affect the casting process, some don't mind it as you just deal with it in the waste casts. It really only matters depending on what you are casting into.

    The armature that your prof made is very rigid and would be next to impossible to sculpt the proper anatomy on. I can see now why your stifles and hind end was so flat. If you give the wire bends where the movement is, not only will you be able to sculpt better but you can also move the armature from a standing position into any position you want by just moving the "joints". It's a fabulous way to work things and it is really easy.

    The studies are looking great too! It helps to understand what is going on a bit. Also, if you can get out and study a horse in person you should. I just spent the last two days at a Jumping event and a Rodeo to capture references and watch the beautiful creatures in person. I always like poking and proding horses in real life to feel the gooey bits and muscles. It can be very helpful to add that fleshy aspect as most anatomy books are skin ,fat and facia-less diagrams. So you are in affect missing many of the layers that make a horse a horse. Not every human has a muscular defined body like the anatomy books show, we have mooshy bits just like most other creatures.

    For Ecorche you shouldn't need to be as concerned with the mooshy bits but it helps to understand what you are seeing in diagrams vs. photo references/in person.

    Best of luck! You are learning fast.

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  24. #13
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    Hi all,

    Sorry it took so long to update! Been caught up with summer school and what not.

    I finally made a new armature recently, and I wanted to make sure that the structure is okay:

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    The excess length from the leg wires will be cut off eventually.

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    That is a HUGE improvement! Make sure your angles (bends) are crisp and your wires are straight. It doesn't take much to throw everything off but you are on the right track! I hope you do well! You can try scaling your reference anatomy drawings to the size you are working with and printing them as a transparency. That will help you reference as you sculpt.

    Good luck!

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    Progress shot from 3 weeks ago:
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    Progress shot from today:
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    Nice, the new one is a huge improvement. Amazing what a good armature can do eh? Can't wait to see updates.

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    Soooooo much better!


    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!

    "Work is more fun than fun."
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  30. #18
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    This is a great thread so far. I admire how you have taken on board the advice you have been given & used it to start creating what is already a far superior sculpt to the one you started with. You could now teach your Professor how to build armatures! Looks like you're off to a solid (re)start & I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I have a feeling it will be impressive. More power to you

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