Sculpting the Skull Workshop

by Melanie Furtado, Sculptor

The skull is the single most important piece of anatomy to understand in portraiture. It is what gives the head its main planes and structure.

skull diagram

In this upcoming workshop we will first learn about the large general proportions and then focus in on some key anatomical landmarks. The image below illustrates 6 of these landmarks on the skull, and then on a clay sculpture in progress:

  1. zygomatic arch
  2. mandible / jawline
  3. orbit of eye
  4. temporal fossa/ridge
  5. brow ridge
  6. mastoid process

Skull Landmarks

These are key landmarks where the bone structure of the skull is evident on the surface form. By understanding the characteristics of these landmarks, one can begin to look for evidence of them on live models and references to help determine proper placement of features in the overall structure of the head- whether drawing, painting, or sculpting.

We will investigate these key forms by sculpting them in clay, and develop a tactile sense of their relationships and main planes. This will help anyone working in 2D to develop a new framework to analyze the portrait, and be able to render a more convincing sense of volume.

Skull Planes

I look forward to sculpting the planes of the skull with the artists of Mandy Boursicot Atelier!