Sculpture Workshops Worldwide

In addition to teaching out of his studio in Florence, Italy, Jason Arkles, the Host of The Sculptor's Funeral, also gives workshops at various times throughout the year, all over the world. Below you can find a list of upcoming workshops and how you can enroll. (If the link for a location takes you to a venue where you don’t the course specifically mentioned, inquire through that website’s contact page.) If you are interested in hosting a workshop by Jason Arkles at your own studio/facility, contact him here.

Below the Workshop listing, you’ll find a description of the various courses offered, as well as a description of what the Sight-Size technique is all about.


Workshops around the World March - August 2019


San Jose, California March 15-17 Artistic Anatomy with Ecorche

Wellington, New Zealand April 1-5 Figure modeling in Clay from Life

Auckland, New Zealand April 8-12 Figure Modeling in Clay from Life

Melbourne, Australia April 15-19 Course TBA

Sydney, Australia April 22-26 Figure Modeling in Clay from Life

Sydney, Australia April 27-28 Sculpture composition through Wax Sketching

Brisbane, Australia May 3-7 Figure Modeling in Clay from Life - SOLD OUT

Brisbane, Australia May 9-11 Artistic Anatomy and Ecorche

Perth, Australia Dates TBA Course TBA

Ann Arbor, Michigan July 16-19 Figure Modeling in Clay from Life

Salisbury, U.K. Dates TBA Portrait and Figure Modeling in Clay from Life

Workshop Descriptions


Portraits in Clay 

In this five day course, sculptor Jason Arkles leads the class in creating life sized portraits in clay from a living model, using the visual measurement techniques of the Sight Size method. Students will learn how to build clay portraits over an armature, relying almost entirely on measurements taken with the artist's eye, rather than with measuring tools like compasses. The result is a portrait that goes beyond a 'likeness' and towards a record of the artist's visual and emotional perception of the sitter – a true portrait. Instructor Jason Arkles will work alongside students throughout the duration of the course, providing a demonstration of techniques and practices for the entirety of the course. Students will pair up, and each pair will have their own portrait model, though every student will produce their own portrait.


Modeling the figure in Clay from Life

In this five day course, sculptor Jason Arkles leads the class in creating 40% life-sized figures in clay, using the visual measurement techniques of the Sight Size method. Working from a live model posed in a seated position, students will learn how to build clay figures of substantial dimensions without the use of an armature, in water-based clay. Instructor Jason Arkles will work alongside students throughout the duration of the course, providing a demonstration of techniques and practices for the entirety of the course.

Throughout the course, each student will work from a living model six hours a day. Instead of molding and casting the work at the end of the course, these seated figures will be hollowed out and fired into terracotta statuettes, should the students wish. Alternatively, students can take their work home for further finishing or casting, as desired.

On the last day, various finishing techniques will be introduced, and the works will be hollowed and left to dry for firing later.

Exploring Composition through Sketching in Wax

This course is designed to get students to 'think like a sculptor', organizing conceptions and creative impulses in the context of and with the techniques of past masters. In this course, students learn how to design single and multifigure compositions using the age-old practice of sketching in wax. Working without live models, students will learn not only how to quickly build up a small figure in wax using canons of proportion and a few key anatomical points, but also the historical vocabulary of poses in both single and multi-figure compositions, how drapery and objects reinforce the pose and complete compositions, how action, movement through time, and narrative are implied in a static sculpture, and how to develop a compositional idea for a narrative sculpture, from initial concept through to a finished sketch. Each student will complete 6-10 small sketches in wax. This course is more suitable to those who have previous experience in figure modeling, but beginners also do well.


Artistic Anatomy and Ecorche

This course is designed to get the student to jump headfirst into artistic anatomy. Each student will complete an ecorche figure (a figure with no skin, revealing the bones and muscles underneath), muscle by muscle, over a resin skeleton 1/3 life size. In addition, every muscle in the face will be modeled onto a life sized plaster skull. Both the skull and the skeleton are the student's to keep. Rather than pursuing the more common and longer process of modeling a skeleton in clay, then painstakingly adding one or two muscles per class, this course is designed for a 'quick and dirty' approach, enabling the students to think of muscles in terms of groups and functions, rather than as stand-alone lumps and bumps on the surface of the model. Sculptor Jason Arkles will lead the class by discussing and modeling each muscle alongside the students, and with the aid of video and digital presentations.

About Sight size techniques:

'Sight size' is the common name for a body of techniques designed to develop the eye of the artist into a powerful, objective measuring tool. It's origins date back to the early Renaissance, and many elements employed in the technique are detailed in Leon Battista Alberti's treatise of art known as 'Della Pittura' first published in 1436. The method cemented itself into its current form when it became a popular technique in the Parisian studios of the 19th Century, when it was known generally as 'the French Method'. The method was favored by the Romantic and Realist movements, as well as the 'New Sculpture' movement in Victorian Britain, and the 'Beaux-Arts style' in the United States.

Utilizing a plumbline, mirror, and simple optical and geometric principles (no math involved!), a person sculpting using Sight size methods has little need for compasses and caliper measurements, ruler measurements, or compositional canons (like drawing a center line down the torso, dividing the face into three equal parts to locate features, and other non-visual, constructionist methods). The result in being trained in Sight size is that an artist has an improved visual memory, an instinct towards seeing the 'big look' of a composition, and most importantly, it leads to a personal, non-formulaic style in art, as the result of sight size is sculpture which stands as a record of the artist's visual perception of the world, filtered through the artist's consciousness. Sight size is sculpting what you see, tempered by how you feel about what you see. Once the method is mastered, a student can effectively model in clay a copy of anything they see in nature around them.


Whenever Jason isn't teaching travel workshops, he's working in his Florence studio, teaching short term, private and semiprivate lessons. Have something specific you'd like to learn and only a few weeks in which you can get away to do it? Contact Jason and see if he can help.