LAAFAStudentBlog

LAAFA is an accredited private college offering 3-Year BFA Degree and Certificate Programs, as well as 1-year to 18-month Intensive Art Training Tracks. We invite prospective students to come and see our intimate artistic environment and audit a full-time class.  Students can have a glimpse of the personal attention they will receive by instructors and staff during a visit. For our out-of-town prospective students, we encourage a SKYPE meeting.  These are some of the great ways to ask questions and find out more information about the LAAFA experience.

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At LAAFA, you will learn from world-class faculty who work for top animation, film tv studios and gaming companies, as well as exhibit in major galleries around the world.  Our faculty will give you the practical training experience needed to be successful in your chosen career path.

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Artwork by:  Rohini Sen, Katie Lindsay, Christine Vanderkaap and Gabriel Shiguemoto.

 

 

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?

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!

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:

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!

On Saturday, May 19th, Nathan Fowkes has a one-day workshop – Composition: Design for Dynamic Picture-Making.  This intensive workshop will cover fundamentals of effective picture-making, creating mood and environment, and organizing complex scenes.  The workshop includes a painting demonstration by Nathan, as well as time for student painting with instructor feedback. Discover Nathan Fowkes’s impressive credentials on his blog.  Register here.

May 25th-27th master illustrator and instructor Marshall Vandruff presents a crash-course in the classic approach to draftsmanship and animal anatomy.  The workshop will teach students to draw animals from their imagination as well as to interpret visual information when drawing animals from life. Recommended pre-workshop reading is on Marshall’s website.  Register here.

 

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.

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!

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.

Thank you to Mike Butkus and Rey Bustos for their amazing demonstrations at our 2012 LAAFA Spring Open House last Sunday!

Enjoy this sneak preview of what Rey Bustos will be demonstrating at LAAFA’s upcoming Spring Open House on Sunday, March 11 from 12:00pm -4:00pm.  Click here to reserve your spot.

Q&A with Rey and refreshments will follow the demo!

We have just released our Spring Quarter classes starting April 2, 2012! We have a great selection of classes for you to experience. You may view our handy Spring Quarter Summary online and register for your favorite classes.

 All classes are subject to an increase of $50.00 on March 19, 2012.

Open House Events – March 11th

Mike Butkus Complimentary Demonstration

March 11th, 12pm to 2pm

Mike will demonstrate how to draw Vampires and Zombies from his books, using a limited gouache palette. He will explain the techniques used in the books and advise on how to create creatures from imagination. In addition, there will be a Q & A session on producing ideas for the movie, T.V. and gaming industry.
Reservations for demos are required. Walk-ins will be based on space availability. Refreshments will be served.
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Rey Bustos Complimentary Lecture

March 11th, 2pm to 4pm

Rey Bustos is one of the leading artistic anatomists in the country today! We are excited that Rey will be lecturing, drawing, sculpting and showing students first-hand his love for anatomy in a fun and dynamic way. Get ready to enjoy several brief demos, a Q & A session and more. It’s going to be lively!
Reservations for demos are required. Walk-ins will be based on space availability. Refreshments will be served.