As regular readers will know, every now and again I try to improve my skill set to benefit my customers, be it dabbling in NMM (Non Metallic Metal) or freehand painting.
And currently I’ve decided that sculpting is a nice area to improve upon, as it adds a little extra to my work and the possibilities for conversions become greater.
It just so happens that James Van Schaik, sculptor extraordinaire and creator/owner of Fire4Effect Studios, is now offering sculpting courses. And even better, he was happy enough to let me review a couple of the basic courses.
And before you start to lose interest because I’ve mentioned the dreaded ‘S’ word, James has a theory “anyone who can paint a mini can learn to sculpt with the right instruction and practice.” And when he says sculpting, this isn’t just about sculpting from scratch (which is a big ask for a beginner), As a quick slice of detail the courses from Fire4Effect Studios cover different levels for everything from converting, basing, all the way to professional level sculpting.
And I was pleasantly surprised to find that there’s lifetime access to the private campus on the forums for students. which is rather splendid and is a huge benefit for those who want a bit more help once they’re done with the course.
First up is a course about sculpting cigars….Yes, you heard me, Cigars. Bear with me though as not all is as it seems with these courses (in a good way, a very good way).
The end result you’re working towards is this.
But its not so much the end result that is the best bit about the course, the best bit is how you get to this stage, because the course teaches you fundamentals of sculpting, from mixing your putty, to making sure you’ve got a good base to sculpt over and techniques to make your sculpting much better.
The course itself is hosted on the WizIQ platform, which is designed for online education and therefore perfect for James’ in depth methods.
each section of the course has an accompanying PDF which details the tools or any tips that you need so you can refer back to it, without having to search through the video.
The videos themselves are of a high quality and clearly lit, so it’s easy to see what’s going on, even with such small subject matter.
The first video details the tools required for sculpting the cigar, and there are some fairly specialist tools required which the average beginner might not have available but these are separated into required and optional tools. On the plus side for this, Fire4Effect Studios do sell these tools.
The second video details the the underpinning of the cigar. They could have quite easily got away with simply saying ‘drill a hole and insert a piece of brass rod into the hole’ instead of having a separate video detailing the process. And I’m glad they didn’t take the easy route, because for a beginner, knowing the little tips like cleaning up the rod make all the difference.
the third and final video details the actual sculpting of the cigar, and again, James goes into considerable detail, with both the how-to and also with the sculpt itself, as it’s surprisingly intricate work.
As this is a course and not just a series of video tutorials, you do have your own assignment to do, which is to sculpt your own cigar!
All in all the course is extremely well thought out, well executed and provides the beginner with some really useful tips that will help throughout their journey to sculpting godhood!
And as an extra impetus, the course is currently being offered for free as a trial, but trust me, you’ll want to sign up for more once you’re done. I’ll post up my efforts in cigar sculpting in the next few days.
Follow the link and sign yourself up here
over the weekend I’ll also be reviewing the follow-up course which is about sculpting mustaches, who doesn’t love a good mustache eh?