Clay Portrait: Model a Full-Scale Face

A course by Efraïm Rodríguez
Sculptor and University Professor. Barcelona, Spain.
Joined December 2014
, Sculptor and University Professor

Create a three-dimensional portrait with your own hands by working with clay to depict every detail of a face

  • Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 100% Positive reviews (59)
  • 2310 students
Clay Portrait: Model a Full-Scale Face

Create a three-dimensional portrait with your own hands by working with clay to depict every detail of a face

Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 100% Positive reviews (59)
  • 2310 students
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Level: Beginner
  • 33 Lessons (7h 34m)
  • Available from the app
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian
  • Unlimited access forever
  • Certificate upon completion of the course

Sculpting is a powerful form of expression that allows artists to tell stories and capture a moment, an expression, or a feeling with their work. Efraïm Rodríguez, sculptor and university professor whose works can be found at international art fairs, experiments with shapes, empty spaces, and materials like clay to create strikingly realistic characters from everyday life.

In this course, learn how to sculpt a full-scale clay portrait, from choosing your model to the finishing touches. Discover the different stages of modeling and shaping a bust and focus on minute details to craft an expressive face and bring a sculpture to life with your own hands.

About this course

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Preparing our modeling
  • U3
    U3. We started modeling
  • U4
    U4. Modeling in detail
  • U5
    U5. Finishing our work
  • FP
    FP Final Project
View details

To begin, Efraïm Rodríguez introduces himself and tells you about his professional career and family history, both of which are closely tied to the art world. He also shares some of his favorite projects and his biggest sources of inspiration.

Go over a few important sculpting concepts and look to reality for inspiration by studying some of the prominent artists who specialize in portrait sculptures. Select a model for your project following Efraïm's advice and see how to work with reference photos to model your bust.

Next, review the materials you need to sculpt your clay portrait before you get to work. Learn how to assemble your base and work with blocks of clay by modeling the front and profile of your bust. Shape the head and face of your sculpture referring to your photos often to ensure accuracy. Work your way down and define the neck, shoulders, and collarbone while paying close attention to their proportions.

Now it's time to bring your piece to life by adding facial features and other expressive details. Analyze the structure of the eyes, the ears, the nose, and the mouth and start modeling each piece. Understand how these individual features form part of a whole and that they should be modeled in parallel to give your portrait a highly realistic look. Contour the face by carefully sculpting one of the most important features: diagonal lines.

Bring in your model for a live session to put the finishing touches on your sculpture. Create textures and effects ranging from a gleam in the eyes to the natural shape of hair. Finally, learn how to hollow out your sculpture and prepare it for firing in the kiln. The only thing left to do is share your 3D portrait with the world!

What is this course's project?

Sculpt a full-scale clay bust, from choosing your model to the finishing touches.

Who is it for?

Anyone interested in the art of sculpting who wants to experiment working with clay.

What you need

You need to be familiar with modeling and sculpting to take this course.

As for the materials, you need clay, modeling and measuring tools, a simple base for your sculpture, and other items your teacher will cover during the course. You also need a camera, a computer with Photoshop, and a model for your sculpture.


2310 Students
59 Reviews
100% Positive ratings

Efraïm Rodríguez

A course by Efraïm Rodríguez

Sculptor and University Professor

Efraïm Rodríguez is a professional sculptor who earned a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona where he has been teaching sculpture since 2005. As a professor, he's helped hundreds of students tackle their first portrait sculpture projects.

Efraïm has also devoted the past 20 years to creating his own sculptures to sell in art galleries. His work can be found in numerous collections and has been featured in international fairs and industry publications around the world.


  • U1


    • Presentation
    • Influences
  • U2

    Preparing our modeling

    • Reality as inspiration, the bust as a fragment
    • Model search and bust projection
    • Prepare the photos
  • U3

    We started modeling

    • Materials
    • Assemble the frame
    • We begin the modeling: profile, frontal and skull perimeter
    • Face and head
    • Neck and clavicle 1
    • Neck and clavicle 2
  • U4

    Modeling in detail

    • Nose
    • Eyes
    • Mouth
    • Diagonals
    • Ears
  • U5

    Finishing our work

    • Photo retouching session 1
    • Photo retouching session 2
    • Photo retouching session 3
    • Photo retouching session 4
    • Photo retouching session 5
    • Photo retouching session 6
    • Retouching session with photographs 7
    • Retouching session with live model 1
    • Retouching session with live model 2
    • Retouching session with live model 3
    • Retouching session with live model 4
    • Touch-up session with live model: the final touches 1
    • Touch-up session with live model: the final touches 2
    • Last details 1
    • Last details 2
    • Draining and baking 1
    • Emptying and baking 2
  • FP

    Final Project

    • Clay Portrait: Model a Full-Scale Face

What to expect from a Domestika course

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need for completing a specific final project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the instructor and other users, thus creating a dynamic course community.

  • The course is 100% online, so once they are published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

  • The courses are divided into different units, each one includes lessons, informational texts, tasks and practice exercises to carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You will also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the instructor and other students, and share your work and your course project, thus creating a community around the course itself.

  • You can now redeem the course you received, just access redeeming page to enter your gift code and redeem it.

  • You'll get your personal certificate as soon as you complete the course. You can see all your certificates under the Certificates section in your profile. You can download your certificates in PDF and share the link online. Learn more about certificates

Clay Portrait: Model a Full-Scale Face. A Craft course by Efraïm Rodríguez

Clay Portrait: Model a Full-Scale Face

A course by Efraïm Rodríguez
Sculptor and University Professor. Barcelona, Spain.
Joined December 2014
  • 100% Positive reviews (59)
  • 2310 students