Expert step-by-step tuition in portrait sculpture

Engaging demonstration videos, comprehensive downloadable notes and a full set of reference.

  • 3.5 hours of video across 28 lessons

    3-and-a-half hours of video: Step-by-step demonstrations to support you in developing your art. From building up the skull structure to final finishing.

  • Downloadable material

    Downloadable notes, including diagrams. Printable summaries of each video for you to refer to in the studio.

  • Reference photographs and measurements

    A full set of reference photographs and measurements, so you can sculpt the featured model if you don’t have access to a life model.

Achieving a good likeness in portrait sculpture requires getting the foundations right.

Amelia Rowcroft shares her method for creating a clay likeness from life or a photographic sitting with a model. The course will 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.

  • 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.

  • Full access to the course only £199.99!

Course Outline

Want to try before you buy? Click FREE PREVIEW at top of page for sample content.

  • 1

    1. Getting Started

    • 1.1 Introduction & course overview

    • 1.2 Head armature

    • 1.3 Sculpting Tools (Basic set)

    • 1.4 Make your own tools

    • 1.5 Studio Equipment

  • 2

    2. Creating Reference

    • 2.1 Reference photographs (choosing a pose)

    • 2.2 Reference measurements

  • 3

    3. Sculpting foundations

    • 3.1 Positioning armature (& building up clay)

    • 3.2 The profile

  • 4

    4. Blocking out the portrait

    • 4.1 Skull structure

    • 4.2 Nose and mouth (big proportions)

    • 4.3 Three-quarter angles

    • 4.4 The neck

  • 5

    5. Looking for shapes

    • 5.1 Eyes (blocking out)

    • 5.2 Big masses (blocking out)

    • 5.3 Drawing lines on the face (shapes)

  • 6

    6. Choosing a finish

    • 6.1 Artistic or smooth finish?

  • 7

    7. Ways of looking

    • 7.1 Looking objectively

    • 7.2 Key features of the face

  • 8

    8. Full process: artistic finish

    • 8.1 Sculpting an artistic finish portrait (start to finish)

  • 9

    9. Sculpting from photographs

    • 9.1 Reading your photographic reference

  • 10

    10. Sculpting to a smooth finish

    • 10.1 Applying clay for a smooth finish

    • 10.2 What to look for: front and three quarters

    • 10.3 What to look for (profile and behind)

    • 10.4 What to look for (close up vs. standing back)

    • 10.5 Towards a smooth finish

  • 11

    11. What makes a great portrait?

    • 11.1 Being subjective

  • 12

    12. Final Finishing

    • 12.1 Finishing touches

  • 13

    Reference material

    • Photographic reference of our model

    • Measurements guide and chart

    • Lines on face

    • Skull photographs

    • Focal Length Distortions

What others are saying…

“This is the greatest portrait tutorial we’ve ever seen. It’s an incredible step-by-step guide for anyone interested in this type of sculpting. Amelia Rowcroft is a true master of her craft!”

The Shiflett Brothers, USA

“I can wholeheartedly recommend this well presented, comprehensive course to anyone wanting to sculpt more life-like portraits. I completed sculpting the model from the photographs included in the course and I am delighted with the result. Thanks for the great course Amelia, looking forward to the next one…?”

Colin De Klerk, Australia

“The course is well executed and well structured. It was just what I needed. Amelia uses the classical method of sculpting a portrait. I had read about the method in Lanteri’s books. I am art teacher and have used Lanteri’s method when teaching in both high schools and art schools in Germany.

Strong Foundations demonstrates how to apply his method to portraiture in amazing step by step videos.

One last thing: I believe the course teaches the importance of devoting time to learning and mastering something you love.”

Vito Pace, Germany

“Having just completed this course, I can’t wait to put all of this new knowledge into practice.

I took up sculpting about five years ago, just as a hobby. I then started the long and laborious task of finding out how?

I bought several books and watched countless videos online. And to be honest, I’ve picked up quite a lot of info already.So when I heard about the new Sculpting Masterclass, I was unsure whether I would find it worthwhile or not? Well the short answer is, I did.

This course has been so well designed from the ground up. From what tools are available, to building the armature and applying clay. Everything is explained and demonstrated clearly. Amelia shows you exactly how she would go about sculpting a portrait from life and then again from photographs.

As we’re all so busy these days, many artists find it more practical to work from photos. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to use photographic material properly. The course explains exactly how to take the reference photos and how to interpret them.

Each chapter carefully guides you through the whole process. The camera work is superb, it’s like actually being in the studio with them. I so wish I’d had this course years ago, as it would have saved me a great deal of time and money.”

George Damerum, London, UK

“I absolutely love this course. It quickly becomes obvious what a huge amount of energy and thought must have been put into in. The range of the provided materials implies positive obsession with the subject. The notes that accompany each video chapter could be easily compiled into a stand-alone book. The course covers the entire process from scratch, even the creation of custom tools and armature, including dimensions, names of specific products etc., so that it is really possible to follow everything step by step with confidence. For example, the course even mentions the gauge of armature wire that is being used – something that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else.

The course is structured in an unexpected but very clever way. The first half of the course starts with the preparation stages and follows the natural flow of the sculpting process as one would expect. Then the bomb drops. It turns out that for the purposes of the course, Amelia made two nearly identical sculptures. So the same sculpture is now modelled again, a second time. Mind blown. This time a timelapse video of the whole process is recorded. It means you can watch the same piece being created from scratch twice. The first time going slowly step by step, taking a break whenever it is needed to discuss the process. And then the second time seeing the same thing again in a single sweep, focusing on the sequence of modelling stages and the overall progress of the work. This is so clever. But that’s still not all. Then there are several chapters that discuss the intricacies of specific features, various techniques, as well as general thoughts and useful tips.

The videos are very well put together, the camera work naturally follows the action. It feels as if you were in the modelling studio in person.

I must say I find this compact format of the course much better than a full-length multi-hour realtime video that would seeming contain “everything” but where nothing would be going on most of the time.

As a side note, textbooks sometimes make sculpting look almost too easy because they only contain a few photos of the entire sculpting process, skipping the hours of work in between. On the other hand, this course and in particular the chapter on sculpting from photos conveyed very well how time-consuming the process really is, so much so that it felt a bit overwhelming. But I suppose that’s the way things are… 🙂

I highly recommend this course to everyone who is interested in sculpting. It was clearly made with passion.”

Dusan Pavlicek, Czechia

“I have initially gone through the entire course, as I am coming to the end of a current piece of work. I got so many insights into what I was currently doing and implemented several of the ideas. I am now printing off the photos and material, then taking on the challenge of creating my own version of Layla. I will post my progress as I work through each section on my facebook page for anyone to follow. I will be doing my sculpt as a piece that will be fired, so it will be hollowed out and then stuck back together for firing. This is always the scary part for me as I always worry it will not come back together, but if you don’t try you never know.”

Marc Dimmick, Australia