Monday, October 18, 2010

Notes on Jiwoong Cheh's Approach to Cast Sculpture

Foreword: I've found this method of approach to be equally successful in cast drawing, Bargue drawing, and even figure drawing.

Gen 3.21 by Jiwoong Cheh
Plan your method of attack before you start - It is important to understand your process and how you will begin and complete your cast sculpture copy before you even start. This prevents dawdling and aimlessly pushing around clay (or your pencil while cast drawing), hoping for results.
Plan a time limit - If you place time restraints upon yourself, you will be forced to optimize your workflow and keep your brain running at full speed. On a cast drawing, you might say, "I'm going to render this form in two hours." If you make it a manageable but tough goal, you will continue to push yourself, and you can always put in  another hour afterwards.
Plan an efficient workspace - In cast sculpture, this might entail making sure both your cast sculpture and cast sculpture copy face you will you work, reducing time spent moving back and forth to check each from the same perspective. In cast drawing, this could mean ensuring that there is sufficient light on your drawing, that you have well-sharpened pencils and the means to sharpen them, and a comfortable proximity to your cast.

Try to work as far as you can before searching out critiques. The cast sculpture is your teacher; if your sculpture does not match the original sculpture, then you must fix it. Try to find the errors yourself. For those of you with a teacher: that teacher will not always be behind you pointing out your errors.

Periodically clean and analyze your sculpture. We (humans) view the world in an analog manner, however, cast sculpture is very much a digital experience. For example; which is easier to measure, the volume of water spilled on the ground (analog), or the number of bricks spilled on the ground (digital)? It is impossible to accurately measure the volume of water by eye alone; on the other hand, the bricks can be counted by eye. As you work on your cast sculpture, the messiness and bumps in the clay can deceive us; a messy/bumpy sculpture is an analog sculpture. Once that sculpture is cleaned and smoothed out to a finish, it becomes possible to understand what is occurring in a digital sense. Now you can accurately compare the plane changes and forms and proceed accordingly. Cast drawing/figure drawing block-ins lines' should also be cleaned up periodically; thick or messy lines can trick you to believe that the line is placed correctly. Erase the thick lines down into the correct thin line (this can be disregarded in some cases; while working through the beginning of a block-in, those extra "pentimento" lines can be useful for identifying the correct line without continually drawing and erasing new lines.)

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