Sculpting Project – Dora The Explorer

I am currently undertaking re-assessment of a past module, the assignment I have been briefed on requires creation of two “Dora the Explorer” style characters. This presumably meaning two relatively basic characters with cartoon like features.

I have already sculpted a fairly accurate representation of Dora the Explorer, referring to somebody else’s sculpt for help. Both sculptures are pictures below, mine in grey on the left and the reference image on the right.


For now I wish to begin with sculpting the second character using this blog as a means of recording important parts of the character creation process, from research and development right through to finalizing the sculpt.

Although instructions have been given to create “Dora” styled characters, I still think it’s important that the designs are grounded in reality. So a consideration for real world anatomy reference will be taken. A strong foundation and knowledge of anatomy is essential to figure sculpting; an understanding of how parts of the body work together can help in creating interesting forms.

Gesture, form and proportion are elements essential to a complete sculpture. Each of them in combination should add up and compliment each other making the final sculpt work, without these elements the figure would be lifeless and lack visual interest.

Gesture is the general direction of the action flowing through the figure and Rhythm highlights the alternating direction of shapes that make up the figure. Rhythm and Gesture are used in sculpture to give figures life and make them more appealing, they are even apparent in neutral poses and without them sculptures would lack expression.

Below I have tried to illustrate how the gesture and rhythm of this sculpture appear.

The Form of an object means its physical shape, a sculpture is built up of material which is shaped and molded at various levels. It’s a sculptors job to manipulate this material in order to change the interplay of light and shadow to create expression. This can be particularly important to remember during the final stages of a sculpt when delicate refinements are added and small adjustments to levels of light and shadow are necessary.

Proportion is the relative size between parts. Systems called canons are used to give artists and sculptors a set of rules to help keep overall proportions accurate for example an eight head canon is usually used for large male figures. It’s called the eight head canon as characters created using this are as tall as eight of their heads stacked.

proportion canons
A range of proportion canons artists may use.
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