How To Critique A Sculpture: questions to ask when sculpting the human form

edited October 2015 in Sculpture
An open question to the Stan Winston School Of Character Arts form community.
I am looking to put together a checklist for myself which I can refer to as I do my sculpture studies.

The checklist contains "ideas" I want to, and should be, keeping in mind as I work.  The goal is to develop my mental abilities to make better judgement calls to know when to say a work is finished and finished right. 

The list (shown below) is made up of topics I have heard other sculptors mention when talking about their working process.

If it was important enough for the sculptor to highlight and mention I make it a point of adding it to the list.

May I ask, would you add anything to this list?

1) Requirements, goals, experience
2) Real, idealized
3) Proportion, scale
4) Anatomy, category, character
5) Body Language (Laban), physiognomy
6) Bend, Lean, Tilt (Rubino)
7) Position, Proportion, Planes (Rubino)
8) Armature
9) Foundation
10) Spatium and Extensio (Heidegger)
11) Form, geometry, shape, volume
12) Planes, light and value, colour (Lanteri)
13) Transition, line (lost and found, hard and soft)
14) Subtle subtlety  
15) Balance
16) Tension and release
17) Movement, gesture, rhythm and force
18) Weight, strain, and fat
19) Negative space, positive space (inclosing and excluding border)
20) Silhouette  
21) Texture
22) Finish
23) Focal point
24) Eye movement and rest
25) Step back and assess the sum of the parts
26) Application, response, assessment 
27) Notice what you notice
28) Peer review
29) Rest and repeat 

Thank you,
John Vukelic

Post edited by John Vukelic on


  • Options
    Looks like you have pretty much everything covered there. 

    Here are three things that are less bullet points to review, but steps I try and take during the sculpting process that have helped me a lot in the past:
    1. Stepping back to get a look at your sculpture from a distance.  I love details, so I can get a bit of tunnel vision when I sculpt.  Stepping back really helps me keep the "big picture" in mind.
    2. Taking a break (when possible) and revisiting the sculpt with fresh eyes.  This is a luxury we don't always have, but it's amazing how different things can look with just a few hours or a day away from the sculpt.  Even stepping outside for a couple minutes can help.
    3. Have a friend you trust take a look at it.  Specifically one with sculpting experience so they can offer more constructive criticism or suggestions.  We don't all have local resources for this, but there are great communities online (like this one) where you can post progress shots for peer review.
  • Options
    Thank you Mr. Ellerby.
    Good points.
    Items added.
  • Options
    Portraits are fun to sculpt :)
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