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10-Years Of Excellence in Art Education

The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA) recently celebrated a milestone of 10 years in art education. The party was held at the famed Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, CA.  And yes, the band playing in the video is Sean Cheetham’s band, Del Toro.

We have a spectacular line-up of instructors and individual classes this Spring Quarter for our extension students. Take a look at the choices of classes in our Van Nuys location. For students wanting to apply to our 3-Year Program, this is the best time to start your application process. LAAFA is considered a premier choice for students wanting an intensive art program that provides the necessary foundation skills which allow our students to excel and apply these fundamentals to a career in the fine or entertainment art industry.

 

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Online Courses | Bluecanvas Article | Winter Registration

Online “Drawing the Portrait in Charcoal” course by Nathan Fowkes

We are thrilled to announce the release of our latest online course with Nathan Fowkes, “Drawing the Portrait in Charcoal”, now open for registration, starting January 21, 2013.  Space is limited!

This online course is a serious exploration of drawing the portrait from life in charcoal. Over the course of the class, Nathan will provide each student with the necessary understanding and experience to draw the human head with authority.  Watch the preview video and learn more here.

 

Online “3D Anatomy/Ecorché” course by Rey Bustos

A fabulous online course, Rey Bustos’ “3D Anatomy/Ecorché” starting January 28, 2013 is also open for registration for critique and self-study courses. Space is limited!

If you are a fan of Rey Bustos, you must experience him in a classroom setting with students present.  The interaction between Rey and his students adds another dimension to his teaching since the questions posed by the students and the energy of the classroom environment lead Rey to veer off to lecture on topics that wouldn’t normally be covered if he was lecturing to a camera.  Watch the preview video and learn more here.

Bluecanvas Magazine Article

We are excited that Bluecanvas Magazine has chosen LAAFA for their most recent school collaboration article, issue #14. You may check out the full article here.  In addition, Bluecanvas is sponsoring a contest for a $10,000 Entertainment Art Scholarship at LAAFA!  Click here to check out the contest details! You can also order your own copy online or at your local bookstore.

 

Van Nuys & Santa Monica Classes start January 14th

While we are in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we want to remind you to take a breath and think about taking some fantastic art classes with our talented instructors!  Choose from a variety of beginning and advanced classes:

* Portrait & Figure Painting/Drawing
* Figure Construction
* Quick Sketch
* Perspective and Character Design
* Still Life
* Long Pose Painting & Drawing
* Ecorché or Zbrush
* Imaginative Animal Design/Drawing

 

Instructor image by:  Noah Buchanan
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Ecorche/3D Anatomy w/ Rey Bustos – Spray Paint & Varnish

One of the most transformational parts of Ecorche with Rey Bustos at LAAFA was spray painting the baked ecorche.  I was careful to mask the hand and foot that I wanted to remain the fleshy color of Sculpey with aluminum foil before painting.  You can see below how a light coat of off-white spray paint really shows off all the sculpting work that goes into the skeletal portion of the ecorche.

In class, Rey had a “varnishing station’ set up for us. We lightly brushed varnish over our spray painted ecorches. We only applied the varnish to the left side, the side that will remain as exposed skeleton. We left the right side coated with spray paint only, so the clay we apply to represent muscles will stick. The effect of the varnish over the spray paint is fantastic- don’t you think?

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Ecorche/3D Anatomy w/ Rey Bustos – Week 5

I can’t believe we have already reached the halfway point- week 5 in Ecorche with Rey Bustos at LAAFA!  Class number five focused largely on process, as this week’s tasks were to complete the skeletal body and “bake” the ecorche to permanently harden the Sculpey.

In class, Rey demonstrated how to finish the delicate bones of the lower arm, the radius and the ulna.  Rey recommended stringing the tiny finger bones onto the wire like beads. This simple technique creates a sophisticated skeletal model of the
human hand.

For the fleshed out right hand, Rey drew us a diagram of the palm. He encouraged us to make our ecorches’ hands expressive, and to add creases, or flexure lines, for a lifelike effect.  Everyone had more than enough armature wire to support the fingers on each hand.
We just cut off what we didn’t need after
completing both hands.

The next lecture topic was Rey’s favorite bone: the scapula.  I have to admit, floating like wings on the human back, scapulae are beautiful bones.  Rey showed us how to mold the organic protrusions that define the scapulae. He also showed us how to attach the left scapula so that only the socket, or glenoid fossa rests against the head of the humerus. As you can see, this was a well-documented moment of the class. 😉

Back at home, I carefully followed the written instructions Rey gave us on baking our ecorches. Behold! Five weeks of sculpting permanently set in polymer clay! Now, before adding the muscles, all I have to do is paint and varnish the bones.
I’ll post an update on the painting and finishing process soon!

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Ecorche/3D Anatomy w/ Rey Bustos – Week 4

Week 4 in Ecorche with Rey Bustos at LAAFA was action-packed!

During the first part of class, Rey led students in bending wire to create five-pronged armatures for the right and left hands.  

The design of Rey’s ecorche features a moveable left elbow joint, so we made the wire armature for the left forearm and hand as a separate piece. I taped mine to my ecorche’s ground for safekeeping.

After a series of neat accordion bends and just one snip with wire-cutters, we had the armature for our ecorches’ right hands in place as well.

With the final armature building behind us, we moved on to the triple topic of the day: vertebra-thorax-humeri. In English, that’s spine-ribcage-upper arm bones.  
Rey showed us his neat technique for representing the vertebra in a believable way as a group.  Rey guarantees that this “grouped” approach poses less of a risk to mental health than attempting to sculpt each vertebra individually. I can vouch for the technique, but you’ll have to take the class to find out what it is. 😉

Rolling out the ribs and building the support surfaces for future “muscles” on the right side of our ecorches filled the rest of the class.

The support clay on the right side of the ecorche does not represent any anatomical structures in the human body. However, for our ecorches, this support will be necessary when we begin to add muscle to the figures in two weeks. Rey made sure each student’s ecorche was on track before dismissing class.


Our homework for the week was to install the support clay, complete the humeri, and finish the ribcage with a sternum. Here’s the result of my best efforts:

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Ecorche/3D Anatomy w/ Rey Bustos – Week 3

Students in Rey Bustos’s Ecorche class at LAAFA started week 3 by covering the wire and nails holding their ecorche upright with clay. This clay was the beginning of the ground our ecorches would come to stand on… after we took care of the small matter of sculpting the 3 bones of the lower leg and the 26 bones of the foot!  Fortunately, Rey’s design of the ecorche “fleshes out” the right foot, so in all we only had 33 bones to sculpt.  Now that class is over, and I’ve completed my homework, I can’t believe how much we learned and got done this week!  Rey kept his lecture brief so we would have time to get started on sculpting those 33 bones!

Rey advised that we start with the feet, and then work our way up to the tibia, fibula, and patella that make up the lower leg.  To create the bones of the skeletal foot, Rey advised that we use top-view printed anatomical guides and “draw” the bones into our clay. The method really worked!

Photo by Ryan Patterson

Soon we had our skeletal left feet completed.  Rey demonstrated how to create toes, toenails, and tendons for a lifelike look on the right foot.  As a final touch, he added red calluses and blue-green veins in watercolor paint.

Rey gave a final demonstration to show us how to “cook” the two small bones of the lower leg in hot water.  The fibula is a very thin bone that we will eventually wrap in “muscle” on our ecorches, so we used a wire for support.  The patella (kneecap), however, is not connected to the skeleton by any bony structure, so we used a wire to show the patella’s “floating” position.  Check out my ecorche’s little left fiblua and patella enjoying their hot bath- aren’t they cute? 😉

Ta-dah! Here is my ecorche’s newly completed lower skeleton! Check back next week to see what we learn in week 4!

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Ecorche/3D Anatomy w/ Rey Bustos – Week 2

 

The hip-bone’s connected to the thigh-bone….

Week 2 of Rey Bustos’s Ecorche/ 3D Anatomy class at LAAFA introduced the two major bones of the lower body: the pelvis and the femur.

To simplify the daunting task of rendering the pelvis in 3D, Rey started with a less-intimidating concept – a square.  Two squares, actually, drawn together in a rectangle. You can see this rectangle on the blackboard in the photo at right.  So far, so good.

Rey then used the framework of these squares to guide students in drawing the pelvis in 2D.  We drew our own maps of anatomical terrain most of us had only previously used… well… to sit on.  Keeping up with the lecture and Rey’s detailed drawing (left) kept us busy!  We learned the five “landmarks” of the pelvis to look for on a live model. In addition, we learned how even the invisible bony bumps under layers of muscle and soft tissue affect the visible parts of the human body.  Good stuff!

When we were ready to start adding the clay “skeleton” to our wire armature, Rey lent a hand and gave a brief demo to get us started.

Then we were on our own!

Moving on to the femur, Rey gave another brief lecture. Since we all now had at least part of the pelvis completed, Rey’s approach to the femur emphasized its connectedness to the pelvis and the rest of the skeleton.  Again starting with a simple concept, Rey showed us how to form the head of the femur from a clay “worm” wrapped around our wire armature.  Rey left us on our own to work for the rest of class, but was always on hand to answer questions and provide help.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow’s class! Here’s my completed Week 2 homework.

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Ecorche/3D Anatomy w/ Rey Bustos – Week 1

Rey Bustos is the wonderful kind of teacher who makes you feel like you are getting your money’s worth out of his class – down to every last penny! Last Sunday, April 15th, Rey’s Ecorche/ 3D Anatomy class at LAAFA started with students arriving 30 to 60 minutes BEFORE the start of class so that Rey could help us all get the main portion of our armature wire bent into shape.

Rey expertly turned yard after yard of straight wire into the basic frame for a 16″ replica of a human statuette or ecorche. In French, ecorche means “flayed” and refers to the fact that a finished ecorche sculpture looks like it has had the skin removed so you can see the muscles and bones.

Our ecorches were only just beginning to take shape. All along the way, Rey guided us in measuring, bending, and wrapping our wire.

After the wire supports for the arms and legs were bent into place, the next task was bending wire to support the clay ribcage we will be building in future classes.  Rey guided students through the first four ribs and assigned the remaining eight as homework for students who couldn’t get them done in class.

Rey provided illustrations of the human ribcage from all angles to guide our wire wrapping and bending.  Even though I thought I knew what a ribcage looked like, looking at the diagrams showed me the human ribcage in more detail that I imagined it could possibly contain.

I realized that there is a big gap between knowing enough to merely identify a ribcage, and the intimate understanding that comes from a tactile experience of its form.  Like an eager student aboard Ms. Frizzle’s Magic School Bus, I can’t wait to see what part of the body Rey will introduce us to next week!

We finished class by securing our wire armatures to 12″ wooden boards with double pointed tacks.  Students with time to spare were able to start rolling their Super Sculpey into sheets to allow it to firm up a bit for next week’s class.

Week 1 of Ecorche/ 3D Anatomy was a lot of work, but the results were satisfying.

We went from this:

        To this:

           
I’ll be posting every week as the Spring 2012 Ecorche/ 3D Anatomy class with Rey Bustos progresses, so stay tuned!

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DRAWING CLASS OPPORTUNITIES AT LAAFA!

Don’t take our word for it, listen to what Impressionist master-painter Camille Pissarro says about drawing:
“It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character. – Camille Pissarro.
This Spring, LAAFA offers students abundant opportunities to take Pissarro’s advice. Click on the LAAFA instructors name below to learn more about each teacher’s instructional approach.

DANNY GALIEOTE
RON VELASCO
REY BUSTOS
PAUL WEE
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Help Your Artwork Spring into 3D with LAAFA’s new Spring Quarter Classes!

Does your artwork leave you feeling flat?  Pick a remedy from LAAFA’s exciting Spring Quarter schedule!

LAAFA instructor Rey Bustos recommends that students seeking improved drawing and painting skills start their study of anatomy with his 3D Anatomy/ Ecorche’ class, and then follow up with his class in Drawing the Figure.  Bustos says that a tactile, hands-on experience in 3D Anatomy or figure sculpting is an essential basis for convincing figurative work on flat surfaces.

David Simon’s Figure Sculptingclass starts April 18th, and provides an accessible approach to sculpting the figure for students of all levels.  After starting with a one-week pose sculpted on a small scale, students in the class will gradually work up to creating larger pieces based on longer-duration poses.

For students who want to capture dynamic poses on paper, Paul Wee’s Figure Drawing: Action & Form is the key. Paul’s approach emphasizes both speed and accuracy.  Paul strives to give his students “techniques to tackle anything that comes your way!”


Danny Galieote will be offering two drawing classes as well.  Danny’s Analytical Head & Portrait Drawing class examines the drawing technique of Renaissance and Golden Age illustration Masters. Students then apply the Masters’ knowledge to bring three-dimensional form to their work from a live model.  Similarly, Danny’s Analytical Figure Drawing class helps students bring a sense of life and depth to works on paper.