Figure Sculpting in Clay


Learn the fundamentals of sculpting the human figure in clay from start to finish.


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Curious Beginners 

Do you enjoy working with your hands? You will discover the possibilities of clay as an excellent medium for expressing your creativity.


Visual Artists

Are you a painter or a 2D artist? You will discover the 3D structure and anatomy of the human figure through clay (plus improve your drawings + paintings!)


Sculpture Students

Are you already sculpting? Let's take your figurative skills up to the next level and help you to create a new sculpture from start to finish.

Learn to See like a Sculptor  

Sharpen your observational skills with clay

Learn strong foundations in traditional methods

Learning to sculpt the human figure provides a strong foundation in clay modelling techniques. The methods you will be learning have roots in classical Greece, the Italian Renaissance and the academies of France.

Sculpt a female figure from a life model

In this course, you will be sculpting with the inspiration of Zoé, a French female life model in a classic seated pose using photographic reference. 

The scale is quarter-life size (approx 40 cm), making it easy to work at home on a tabletop, or in your art studio.

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Learn to See Like a Sculptor


Sharpen your observational skills

Meet Your Instructor


Hi there, I'm Melanie Furtado. I've been sculpting for over a decade and have helped hundreds of people just like you to begin or to improve their sculpting journey.

Learning the fundamentals of traditional figurative sculpture will empower you with the skills and knowledge to find your own creative freedom. 

I created this course to help you avoid the struggles of going it alone and to help you advance further in your own artistic path.

The sculptors journey is better when shared. I look forward to creating sculptures together!

Melanie's website

Melanie in Studio
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Create a figure sculpture from start to finish  

Learning to sculpt is a journey! It is an opportunity to slow down, look and create with your hands. With good instruction and fellow artists, you will enjoy the process each step of the way. However, without guidance, it can be difficult to get started, or you might get stuck.

Right now you may be:

  • Not sure how to even get started with supplies and setup
  • Lacking motivation or inspiration to get yourself into the studio
  • Frustrated at your current results or even doubting your own abilities
  • Struggling with understanding proportions or capturing likeness of the model
  • Wondering how to train your eye to see and self-critque your own work more clearly
  • Lacking access to life models and good references
  • Needing a sculpting mentor to boost your progress

This course will help you:

  • Know exactly what materials you need and how to create a simple armature
  • Jumpstart your motivation and get you in the studio creating with your hands in clay
  • Provide helpful instructor feedback to move forward in your skillset
  • Learn to use proportions from the life model that can be adapted to any scale
  • Practice specific techniques to train your eye to see more accurately
  • Learn to work from a photographic reference of the female figure (provided)
  • Know how to prepare a clay piece for kiln firing to create a permanent sculpture
You will learn the process of creating a figure sculpture in clay from start to finish.

We will be creating a small-scale seated female figure at quarter life-size on a simple armature. This is an easy size to begin with and is accessible for most people working from a home studio. 

After the course, you will be able to use this process to create your own sculptures.

Course Syllabus

The entire process is broken down step-by-step into 7 Modules.


Set Up for Success

Gather all your supplies and learn how to get yourself ready for a successful sculpture:

  • set up your working space (home or studio) 
  • how to use water-based clay for beginners
  • set up your reference photos of the model
  • do a quick + effective figure sculpting exercise 

Proportions & Block In

Build strong foundations for your sculpture:

  • learn when to use canons of proportions vs. model measurements
  • build a simple removable armature
  • create the initial Block In of the figure and the base using clay


Simplify the Structure

Learn key anatomical landmarks that reveal the underlying structure of the body:

  • simplify the skeleton into easy-to-understand geometric shapes
  • learn key landmarks of the body to help you identify the anatomy 
  • train your eye to analyze the photo reference accurately  
  • create a strong structure of the figure in clay 

Sculpting Organic Forms

Learn key principles to help you sculpt the organic surface forms of the body. 

  • 6 Key Principles to improve your working methods for better results 
  • 3 Ways to see the model to train your eye for accuracy 
  • how to use your sculpting tools effectively to create interesting shapes 

Sculpting the Portrait

Learn how to sculpt the features of the face with proportions and likeness: 

  • How a Canon of proportion will improve your portraits 
  • Using Measurements from the model to check your work
  • Sculpting facial features effectively on a small scale

Sculpting the Hands & Feet

Learn how to simplify the anatomical structure of the hands and feet:

  • Hand Proportions for sculpting in any position
  • Essential Structure and anatomy of the foot
  • How to see the forms in three dimensions

Finishing Touches

Learn how to complete your sculpture and prepare it for kiln firing:

  • How to know if your sculpture is "finished"
  • Finishing techniques and tool use for a harmonious surface
  • Step-by-step of the complete hollowing process to prepare for kiln firing

What Past Sculpting Students Are Saying


Melanie is very informative, knowledgeable, and kind. Learning to see is very valuable- my painting of figures has improved and I am more confident. I am now interested in a whole new world of art!


You learn and have fun at the same time. You leave the class wanting more - and most importantly, with the confidence that YOU TOO can sculpt.


I find that I am looking at everything with fresh eyes. I will be able to apply this to my drawing and painting, and will also be able to look at and appreciate sculpture in a different way.


Words from Students 


"I learned more effective ways of measuring, sculpting gestures, how to really look at the model, how to correct mistakes, how to prepare a sculpture for firing, among others. I'm getting closer with the face. It was a very fun project!"


"I learned to trust the process more and in so gained some confidence. Thank you Melanie for all your pep talks and insights into the process as I work on my piece I keep on hearing your advices 😊 you are talking to me!"


" wonderful it is to use a system that I've learned here to actually work toward creating a likeness. The last module on the face, with the step-by-step individual videos is in my opinion BRILLIANT. Thank you for the immense amount of work you did for us to learn so well."


Join Figure Sculpting in Clay

Register today and join a group of like-minded creatives to improve your sculpting skills, train your eye to see more accurately, and create a figure sculpture in clay from start to finish right from your own home. Let's get sculpting!