How to make an armature for a sculpture

In this video I show you how to create an anatomically correct armature for a scale model.

If you are interested in learning to sculpt, you might like to check out my online course in portraiture: ‘Strong Foundations’ –

About Strong Foundations –

Achieving a good likeness in portrait sculpture requires getting the foundations right. In Strong Foundations, Amelia Rowcroft shares her method for creating a clay likeness from life or a photographic sitting with a model. The course will you take you through the whole process of sculpting a portrait to a very high finish, with an emphasis on getting the anatomical structure correct at the beginning. This is key to achieving a likeness. Amelia will show you how to train your eye to see objectively, so you can learn to trust your own judgement.

Strong Foundations provides you with demonstration videos, downloadable notes and a full set of reference. You will begin by understanding how to see your model’s bone structure and blocking this out in clay. You will then build onto this skull-like form the big shapes of the face. Once you have the whole face blocked out, you can begin looking for smaller shapes, before adding final detail and completing your portrait to a high level of finish.

In this video, I demonstrate how I create anatomically correct armatures for smaller clay sculptures (up to half life-size figures) using the references in ARTISTIC ANATOMY by Dr Paul Richer. This classic book is available on Amazon:

About me…

I have been sculpting professionally for 20 years. Through Facebook, Youtube and my blog I share sculpting tips and techniques. I also share sculpting demonstrations, especially of celebrity waxwork portraits – earning me the tongue-in-cheek moniker ‘Sculptor of the Stars’.

After graduating from Wimbledon School of Art in 1998 with a degree in Technical Arts, I immediately started working as a freelance sculptor and prop maker in the film industry in and around London.

After a few years I realised that I wanted to specialise in figurative sculpture, and discovered an amazing realist art school – The Florence Academy in Italy. Through a combination of working on films between terms, winning first prize in an online realist art competition (ARC Salon Scholarship Competition), and a scholarship from the school itself, I managed to study in Italy for two years – graduating from the sculpture programme in 2004. It was an incredible experience, and I learnt so much, working entirely from life models, and studying anatomy in great depth.

After returning to London, I started working as a freelance portrait artist and figure sculptor for Madame Tussauds. This felt like an extension of my education, as I learnt how to work effectively from photographs, as opposed to life sculpting – and alongside some of the finest sculptors in the world. I worked there on and off for ten years, creating dozens of life-size figures and portraits of every kind of person you could imagine, including historical figures, for all of their museums across the world. When not working at Madame Tussauds, I continued to work on films – as well as sculpting for some of Britain’s most successful contemporary artists (realising the ideas of artists who cannot sculpt). I continue to take commissions for hyper-realistic portraits and figures for museums, working from my studio in Lewes, East Sussex.

In 2014 I was commissioned to sculpt the portraits of all four members of Abba for their own museum, in Stockholm. I travelled to Sweden to visit each of them for a sitting, which was very exciting – as I am a huge fan.

In 2016, I became one of six sculptors to be shortlisted for the new Emmeline Pankhurst public sculpture in Manchester.


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