I continue submitting a parade of skulls, here, and at another image site. I get few comments, and that's ok. I can work in secret, and try and build my skills before I try to seek attention.
The work I am continuing is anatomical exercises, learning and reproducing the underlying structures of the human body, with special emphasis on the skull and head for now. This is my best effort to follow the advice I took to heart from Ryan Kingslein, a man who for many years has been well known for producing tutorials for ZBrush.
The advice is to know your anatomy, because it is the key to finding your way when you are lost trying to recreate the human form. Know the reasons, the underlying causes, and the names of things, as a aid to identification, as an aid to your memory of the anatomical landmarks you've studied, as an aid to communication with others, so that you can learn where your sculptures are going wrong.
He also provided advice for books, Edouard Lanteri's "Modeling and Sculpting the Human Figure," written by Rodin's teacher, this book echoed the advice that was becoming familiar to me, know the anatomy. Sculpt rough and avoid polishing until after you have every bone and muscle in place. Look at your model and your work from as many different directions as you can, and in every kind of light. Lanteri also advises taking measurements with calipers from prominent central landmarks, usually from the underlying bone. From the notch between the tragus and the antitragus of the ear to the tip of the nose, the brow, the trichion (place on the midline of the scalp where the hair of the head begins growing) outermost point of the chin boss, center of the mouth, and other places.
Kingslein also recommended Elliot Goldfinger's book, "Human Anatomy for Artists, The Elements of Form" which I also bought. I'll tell you that you will never find a more detailed book of the anatomy that contributes to surface form. This is especially true about the muscles of the face, which are not only drawn and labeled, and presented in photographs of a model of a head ecorche, but each muscle of the face is photographed in action, so that its effects can be seen. Every line and groove is labled.
Kingslein advised searching the web for anatomy reference, such as from Gray's Anatomy, or from the diagrams and literature available from plastic surgeons, and this too I have done. I have taken numerous of these diagrams into Supermemo, a spaced-repetition flashcard program intended for aid in memorizing facts for the long term, and I quiz myself on them daily.
Kingslein recommended studying up on the work of Karen Taylor, forensic artist, and I've searched out some information on her, but since her book is more expensive than any other recommended item, even than the one month subscription price for Ryan's workshop website, I have delayed purchasing it, though I am already awaiting the arrival of a less expensive book on the art of facial reconstruction based on the skull.
Feeling like I needed to know the anatomy meant that I wished to have a skull for reference. It is truly disheartening how expensive replica skulls can often be. Most of them seem to be priced to squeeze as much money as possible out of people in the medical profession, or the sciences, but even replica skulls marketed to artists can be very expensive for what you get. One well-known anatomy teaching outlet for example has miniature skull replicas cast in gray plastic for about $60. I thought I could do better than that so I searched around and eventually found a budget model of a full sized skull available for about $30, including shipping. I ordered it around Halloween, and maybe that was a mistake, because it took almost a full month to get here. It has definitely helped me to understand the form of the skull but in many ways it too seems unnecessarily poor in quality. It lacks detail in some areas, such as, it is not possible to identify the squamosal suture leading back from the temporal surface of the sphenoid bone. Even the superior temporal line is not very clear. I have already ordered a full size resin skull from a store on Amazon that seems to be much more detailed but is also under $40. We can hope it fills the need.
And a very important piece of advice was to practice every day. Put time in sculpting, become very familiar with those things that come between you and getting something done each day, and get used to overcoming it. Eat adversity for breakfast. And I'm working on that too. I'm trying to keep it up. I'm doing most of my heads in about 30 minutes now. So I can do two or three heads in an hour now. The skulls are getting better, but with faces, quantity is not yet the same as quality. I've got a lot to learn.
Listening to: Ryan Kingslein
Reading: Anatomy charts
Watching: The world go by