Portrait Sculpture | Workshop

This intensive sculpture workshop will teach a combination of observation and accurate measuring from the model.

Date & Time

28th Oct-1st Nov 2019 | Monday to Friday | 10.00-17.00


LARA London
371 Clapham Road
London SW9 9BT
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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 portrait 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 cast/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 the head 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.

This course requires a minimum number of sign-ups to run.

Aims of this Course

Teaching will focus on the following elements:

  • Taking caliper measurements from the model
  • Building a matrix of points in the clay based on these measurements
  • Using imagination to simplify forms
  • Accurately observing profiles
  • Techniques for manipulating clay and using tools effectively

By the end of the week 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.

The Facilities

Each class is limited to 8 students working from 1 model. The Workshop Room is located within the main LARA London studio. The model is lit with individual professional photographic lighting, which provides a steady, unchanging environment from which to observe all elements of portrait sculpture.


Please bring the following materials with you. Items marked with an asterisk are stocked in the LARA shop. Please call ahead if you would like to reserve items to ensure availability.

Sculpture tools & modelling materials:

  • 30 cm. aluminium calipers from Tiranti.  Your calipers need to be able to tighten sufficiently at the hinge, so as not to move when set down, and should have sharp ends for making accurate measurements.  Plastic calipers are therefore inadequate.
  • B5″ and B10″ (Tiranti)
  • M6″ and/or H7
  • M8″
  • K10:
  • Set of Kidneys – rubber, wooden (serrated and flat)
  • Wire loop tools


  • A piece of fine sandpaper for reshaping / finishing newly purchased tools
  • A sharp point – either a sharpened pencil or carpenter’s bradawl


“The teaching and the structure of the week was excellent” – Jayson Singh, Portrait Sculpture Workshop student 2018

Learn from the best tutors

Jethro Crabb

"Everyone can develop artistic ability through training and practice: it is not a special gift."


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