A proportion chart is very much like a map showing you where to go. It really makes your life a lot easier when building the armature and can be a very simple sketch like a basic stick figure. The main thing is that it be fairly accurate when it comes to the head proportions as mentioned previously. By creating this proportion chart you will relieve yourself of many headaches later on during the clay stage where mistakes in proportion caused by the armature become very difficult to fix. Things like the armature poking out of the hip area, or an arm being to short or too long, can all be avoided by laying out the armature over a proportion chart beforehand. Be patient with this step and take your time to get it right or it will make your sculpture a frustrating experience later on!

When you draw your proportion chart make sure you draw it the same size as the figure you intend to make. For example a 12" figure will require a 12" tall chart; an 18" figure will require an 18" tall chart, so on and so forth. You will need to lay down the armature wire over this chart so it is important that the chart be of the correct size.

Follow the chart below [see photo] to help you draw your own. Alternatively you could search the net for a proportion chart with equal results. Then simply scale the chart to the correct size (using photo editing software or a photocopier).

For this example we are going to use a proportion of 8 heads tall. This will keep our figure more realistic but not dumpy or too elongated. If you wanted to create a more heroic figure, like a larger then life super hero, then 9 heads (or more) would be even better.

One last thing to mention is that you should make (or find) a proportion chart for a female figure and one for a male figure, as the body structure between the two genders is not the same. If you were to use a male chart for a female figure often you would find that your girl would look a little on the manly side (having wider shoulders and a narrow hip area) when in fact you would want the opposite (females have wider hips and narrower shoulders then men). It helps if you treat male and female figures as though there were two entirely different creatures to ensure you have men that are manly and women that are feminine and graceful. It is good to have a very different mindset when approaching each individual gender.


-1/8th aluminium armature wire
-1/16th aluminium armature wire
-Small gauge galvanized steel wire (18 gauge or thinner is best)
-Wire cutters
-Apoxie putty (Aves Studio)
-A base made from plywood or similar
-A Marker (Sharpie)

AMKR8 months ago

This is great for clay sculptures - but Id imagine Id need a much sturdier armature for a metal / found object type creation right? How would I go about building (or buying) a skeleton to build around for something that heavy? Any help would be appreciated (I also want to be move able/somewhat pose-able as well - and to not be top heavy/etc etc)

Ernext11 months ago

this is awesome for the base, what do you to sculpt the figure? i use cold porcelain

amayer6 years ago
Can you clarify what gauge wire you are using as the "1/8th aluminum armature wire" and the gauge for the "1/16th aluminum armature wire"? Also is there a downside to using another type of non-rusting metal wire for the armature ie. brass or copper?
mnpazan amayer5 years ago
I'm not the author, but I'll take a stab at this-

I'd say don't worry too much about exact gauges. If you can find something that eyeballs at a similar thickness, it'll work just as well.

In my experiece, copper and brass wires have a springyness that makes them less ideal. When pressure is applied to the clay with a tool, a copper or brass armature tends to give and then spring back instead of holding stiffly in position, making sculpting more difficult. Brass is stronger than copper or aluminum, but in armature terms that just means it will flex further than copper before bending.

Aluminum by contrast has almost no "spring", though the trade off is it does actually bend easier (i.e. where copper would flex before bending, aluminum just bends right away), so you sometimes have to use a slightly thicker gauge than you might with copper or brass.

locoxellas6 years ago
could you give me a link where i could download the THE PROPORTION CHART of a woman so i could print it in scale? thanks in advance!!!