Short Courses

  • Portrait Sculpture Masterclass with Giles Lester - Giles Lester

    Portrait Sculpture Masterclass with Giles Lester

    Giles Lester

    TBC | 10:00-5:00 | Max: 8


    This intensive sculpture workshop will be taught under the "Atelier" method with all standards of students working together from the same model throughout the day.

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    course information

    This class will focus on a constructional, additive approach to measuring and sculpting the human head in clay. It will engage the student in a process-driven technique of measurement by which a deeper understanding of the form and anatomy of the human head may be reached. Accurate proportion, strong construction, and recourse to the underlying anatomical structures of the head and shoulder girdle will be stressed throughout. Above all the student can expect to gain confidence in controlling and structuring observations accurately within three-dimensional space, and develop a systematic approach to drawing and modelling in clay. Concerns both aesthetic and process driven will be contrasted in the resolution of a considered study of the human head.

    To enable maximum time to work solely with the clay and without distraction, the pose will have been chosen by the tutor. A corresponding armature will have been constructed for each student before starting the project. The figure will not be cast at the end of the project, if you decide you want to keep your sculpture we will recommend professional mould makers who will make a casts/mould. As this course replicates professional sculpting practices it is important to reiterate that it is not possible to keep sculptures without having them cast. Clay sculptures are not 'finished' pieces but a step towards further moulding and casting. LARA aims to teach students the modelling of a figure to the very best of their ability and feels this is the best approach and use of time in such a limited period. Please note that casting and moulding after construction can be costly and this should be considered if you wish to keep your sculpture after the course.

    A minimum number of 4 students is required for this short course to run.

    The course will address:

    • Armature building and planning the portrait
    • Measurement as a primary means to control and inform sculptural process
    • Drawing in three dimensions
    • Formal qualities: mark-making, sculptural 'colour', composition, accent, line, transition
    • Modelling and manipulating clay
    • Interpreting and applying anatomical knowledge; the topography of the skull
    • 'Sighting' information and validating visual observations within a structural framework
    • Interpreting organic form and visual appearance within a sculptural medium

    The Facilities

    Each class is limited to 8 students working from 2 models in Sight-Size. The workshop room is located within the main school of The London Atelier of Representational Art. Each model is lit with individual professional photographic lighting, which provides a steady, unchanging environment from which to observe all elements of portrait sculpture.

    The End Result

    You will have created a carefully observed and realistic portrait sculpture from life. You will be familiar with the fundamentals of portrait sculpture. These are transferable skills which you will be able to apply to your personal work.


    Materials are included but you will be sent a suggested list of tools that we recommend you bring with you in order to get the most from the course.

    About Giles Lester

    Giles Lester is a British painter and sculptor based in London. He graduated from the Florence Academy of Art's painting program in 2009, and has since established himself in London. His work in all media revolves around direct observation of the human figure. In recent years Giles has expanded his practice to include sculpture; he received the Talos Prize for best newcomer in The Society of Portrait Sculptor's FACE2014 exhibition and was shortlisted for the Tiranti Prize and the Founders' Sculpture Prize in 2015. His teaching method is centred around deconstructing and rationalising the process of observation in painting, drawing and sculpting from life, and is supported by his own experience as an artist and student of Art History.

    Photography credit Angelo Plantamura