Modelling The Head in Clay – by Melissa Pierce Murray

Artist Melissa Pierce Murray led a series of workshops for AccessArt’s Experimental Drawing Class  in which the teenagers modelled a head in clay. There are four resources in this series, beginning with constructing an armature and making preparatory drawings, then studying the bone structure of the skull before moving on to features.

The work was done over 8 sessions of 75 minutes each, but could be adapted to two or three longer sessions. The workshops took place at over a term at Cambridge ArtWorks.

Part One - Armature

Teenagers construct simple armatures out of cardboard and build a form for their clay heads out of paper and clay. Read More

Part Two - Preparations

This post looks at two preparations for making a clay head: drawing to help us learn to see the form in the round, and taking measurements from life.Read More

Part Three - Skull

In this post we concentrate on developing the shape of the cranium and forehead, the structure of the eye sockets, cheekbones, jaws and teeth.Referring to anatomical drawings or to a model of a skull will help students begin to see this bony underpinning to the skin and muscles of the head. Read More

Part Four - Features

We look at how to form the features: eyes, ears, mouth. We look at ways to finish and embellish the form using hair, clothing or inventing horns. In the class we talked about how the muscles attach to the bones, and how the skin smoothes over the surfaces. Read More


This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1500 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

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