nagulov's sketchbook

Great work here nagulov! Are you doing daily sculpts or just posting a bunch of old work at once? Either way, it’s great stuff - keep at it! :slight_smile:

Mrak radovi!

Thanks everyone! It means a lot.

Hah, these aren’t daily sculpts, I’m not nearly that prolific. The bodybuilder and the gymnast are part of my newest push to better both my anatomy knowledge and basic sculpting ability. Each sculpt took around 8-10 hours, working a couple of hours per day. As I already mentioned, it takes me a long time to get good forms. I find dynamic poses like this quite challenging, but the end result is worth it.

I have one more anatomy piece to post, and I’m working on another (but who knows when that’ll be done). Then I will likely post a few of my observations having done these dynamic poses, what I’ve learned and, especially, what still feels out of reach.

And thanks again for the kind comments!

Hvala kolega! Mogu samo da se nadam da cu jednog dana makar priblizno tako dobro da baratam ovim programom kao ti. Portreti su ti fantasticni, a kud jos sve ostalo. Pozdrav! :wink:

Fantastic anatomy studies nagulov, your female forms are spot on, great thread :+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:

Really like the rough look to your sculpts, and great poses!

beautiful forms and anatomy! :slight_smile:

I’m really enjoying your sculpting. I give a very natural feel to your sculpts. The last one is very powerful!
Thanks for posting the wips, it’s so cool to see theproces that hides behind ‘finished’ piece.


Thanks! The main reason for my posting the WIP images is to demistify the process - namely, to show how you gotta keep sculpting, even if the piece takes a looong time to start looking good. Some masters on ZBC make it almost look easy, but the rest of us know it sure isn’t! :slight_smile:

Here’s the final sculpt of the bunch (for now). It’s from a photo of Greg Plitt. I’ve also posted some thoughts on sculpting below.


A few wips to dispel the magic, as usual: :wink:

And here’s my little essay:


  • Sculpting from real reference immediately gives your sculpts vitality
    they lack otherwise. Ditto for interesting pose vs standard t-pose. The
    flip side of this perhaps obvious statement is that dynamic poses can mask
    the problems I’m having with anatomy, and make it seem as though I’ve
    gotten better, even though I haven’t, really.

  • Greater anatomy knowledge brings diminishing returns, at least at this
    level. Even though I learned new things, it was hardly
    evident in the finished result. When I compare these models with my old
    work, there isn’t as much progress as I’d like.

  • Progress is glacial. The answer to this, of course, is to keep on
    sculpting. And sculpting. And sculpting. Only effort maintained over a
    period of time will yield appreciable results. Otherwise you’'re only
    treading water.

  • My main aim going forward is to speed up the time it takes for the
    initial ‘suckiness’ of my sculpt to evaporate. Some amazing people here on
    ZBC can pull off an interesting form within minutes of starting. My own
    sculpts look like blobby approximations of people for a long time before
    they coalesce, as it were.

  • Learning new things about anatomy is really hard. So hard that I often
    catch myself glossing over yet another knee. It takes effort to slow down,
    look for reference and try to understand the structure. It is so much
    easier to fudge until it looks ‘good enough’ and move on to areas I’m more
    comfortable with. Of course, that way I have learned little, if anything.

  • Something I’ll call ‘vitality’ is more important than anatomical
    perfection. This is what I personally strive for. I’ve seen a great many
    sculpts that are technically perfect, every muscle in place, but are
    somehow dead and boring. Conversely, true artists can imbue even the most
    generic t-pose with life. I’m not sure how and why this is, but it’s true.

  • Even as I struggle with my own sculpts, trying not to give up, my
    admiration for artists who seem able to produce fantastic anatomy in their
    sleep only grows. I have a great many timelapses bookmarked, and I look to
    them often for inspiration. It will take a long time, if ever, for my work
    to approach theirs in quality, but man, what a goal to strive for.

thanks for reading!

Great skills, mate :+1:

Something I’ve learned in over 5 decades as an artist: anatomical knowledge for it’s own sake is a dead end. I’ve studied it plenty and still do. It’s an unachievable goal, a challenge worth taking for life. Nobody ever becomes a master. I consider myself an eternal novice, always learning more…

I ask myself

  • “is this FUN?” about almost any work I undertake, or

  • “what is it I need to share/say with this work?” or

  • “how does this benefit my viewer or client?”

These questions apply especially on my personal projects for the first two questions.

Archie Goodwin, editor at Marvel Comics, looked over a project of mine and passed. His words rang like a bell. “it doesn’t look like you were having much fun on this”. Archie was absolutely right. The story was OK but not fun. Comico published that story in an issue of Primer.

At a later date in 1982, we collaborated on a story for Epic magazine. Archie took no author’s credit for the story. It was highly researched with photo reference of myself and friends. That project was great fun and got me my first and only, to this date, work for Marvel.

If it ain’t fun, why bother? When it stops being fun, I’m gone. Life is too short.

The only thing I can get from other’s work is inspiration. Art is not a competition. it’s Art!

Your work is GOOD! Have FUN with it!

Downtown Willie Brown

Hey, thanks for the kind words!

I realize my little essay comes across as a bit of a downer, but that’s just because I was honestly assessing the situation. I’m actually happy with my sculpts, although I do wish I improved faster. My biggest worry, realistically, is time. I just turned 36. But that’s a subject for another essay.

So yeah, I’m having tons of fun with Zbrush. Way more than in my day-to-day work with 3ds max, which feels so dry by comparison.

Nice work Nagulov.

Oh - and I liked your little essay. I think it’s very healthy to be able to make an honest assessment of your own work that way.

@willbrown1 - keeping it fun is also a very good point. One I’ve had to remind myself of from time to time.

Thanks so much for being honest about how you feel about your own work. So many people speak less, just accept the adulation and don’t reveal their own doubt. I think that newbs like myself can easily look at work like yours and think “Man… someday… a long time from now maybe.” It’s your openness that I find as inspiring as your work, which I happen to think is wonderful and so inspiring to beginners. Cheers.

Man, I was so happy to read your comment. That was EXACTLY my intention when writing those thoughts and posting the wips - to help other noobs like me (perhaps advanced, but still very much a noob) see that ‘artists are made, not born’, as they say.

Anyhow, here’s a new sculpt. I finally got off my lazy butt and slapped together a quick & dirty Vray scene. Boy do I hate fiddling with renders, always have.

It’s based on a photo by mjranum from DeviantART:


Building the fists from scratch was interesting. Not easy, but also kind of exciting. Getting good-looking feet is hard.

Since I’ve got the vray scene set up, figured I might as well post a couple of older works again. Not really sure they look better.

good exercises dude, iv wanted to do a few artistic ones like this myself for a while!

keep it up!

Very nice, Im impressed. This inspires me to try something similar. Good job:+1:

great studies!

I enjoy your insights almost as much as I enjoy your sculpts!
Definitely inspiring :slight_smile: