Sculpting is a broad term that includes many facets of the three-dimensional art form. Sculptors use various forms of medium to express their vision.
A sculptor may use carving or modeling methods or materials to create a sculpture.
Bronze, wood, marble, stone, pliable clay, and latex are popular mediums to create the desired effect.
Learning to sculpt is a process.
It isn’t just about making art. It’s about understanding the muse’s physiology that artists choose to replicate.
A great way to get an introduction to sculpture is by using soft mediums like water based clay clay and polymers to derive pleasure from manipulating pliable materials into art.
Below is a complete list of 21 best online sculpting classes to match your preferred medium.
1. Learn Sculpture by Francesca Dalla Benetta (Udemy)
In this class, students learn three-dimensional clay or plasticine sculpting methods. This introductory course teaches students the applications in a hands-on approach.
Students must provide suitable material and tools to participate.They’ll apply the learned techniques introduced in class to build a simple human body sculpture.
This course is excellent for beginners.
It focuses on repeating the experience and learning as you go. Students become familiar with textures and tools.
No prior experience is required. Udemy offers many sculpting and related art courses.
Best feature: Ideal for beginners.
11. Introduction to Clay Figurative Sculpture by Cristina Cordova (Domestika)
Domesika also offers various sculpting classes in multiple mediums, including wood, paper sculpture, wheel pottery, and epoxy modeling clay.
The Clay Figurative course is ideal for artists who already understand the concept and want to develop their skills further.
Taught by a renowned clay artist, Cristina Cordova, this advanced course guides students through all facets of epoxy clay sculpture, focusing on prep work and fundamental sculpting techniques.
Prep work is a crucial element in sculpting professionally and creatively.
Students practice on a hollow ceramic bust and define its features for clarity and expression on their subject. Domestika offers a wide range of online courses to learn sculpting.
There are sculpture classes available for all skill levels and interests.
Best feature: Students work on a tangible project.
2. How to Sculpt a Human Head by Alex Oliver (Udemy)
Anyone interested in three-dimensional and realistic portraits of the human head should sign up for Alex Oliver’s class.
This versatile course schows you the whole process. It is great for beginners and advanced artists. The repertoire of this course includes:
- Building from the base up.
- Primary forms to create a three dimensional piece.
- Blocking techniques.
- Tips and tricks of the trade.
The certificate course includes on-demand video footage and full-time access, and how-to guides. This course makes a great follow-up companion to Learn Sculpture.
Best feature: Master craftsman insights.
8. Polymer Clay and Sculpting Basics by Stephanie Kilgast (Skillshare)
Skillshare offers dozens of courses in sculpture. Everything from beginner to advanced levels for artists who are searching for inspiration or mastering new techniques or forms.
Students also can choose classes that range from 15 minutes how-to tutorials to advanced one-hour lectures.
Skillshare introduces students to the art of sculpting something as simple as a fridge magnet butterfly that younger students can enjoy too.
Other options include learning how to:
- Press molds for bronze casting
- Ceramic figurines, ornaments
- Wheel pottery
- Paper clay
- Realistic character sculptures.
Besides class materials, the only tools required are a willingness to try and learn from the video teachers and their assignments.
Best feature: So many options.
12. Clay Portrait: Model a Full-Scale Face by Efraïm Rodríguez (Domestika)
Clay Portraits is a great class to introduce or expand student knowledge and practice in this classic sculpture course taught by professional sculptor and lecturer Efraïm Rodríguez.
Rodríguez prepares and guides his students through seven hours of video curated content on how to sculpt the human body artistically and successfully.
Master sculptor Rodríguez starts the sculpting process by teaching his students his methods from the starting point: research.
Students learn to:
- Select a muse
- Replicate human expression
- Hone their skills to produce realistic features and form before firing
Working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop is required. Access to 33 lessons and 16 additional resources completes this course. Students are encouraged to work at their own pace.
Note: these sculpture classes are in Spanish with English translation.
Best feature: 99% positive reviews and 4589 students means this class is a hit.
3. Sculpting Creatures and Critters by Neal Deschain (Udemy)
This fun class is for everyone who has ever considered playing and creating with Super Sculpy polymer clay.
Instructor Neal Deschain takes his pupils through the basic steps of an idea from concept to a completed sculpture.
While having a basic understanding of form, anatomy, drawing skills, and sculpting tools is helpful, this introductory course is for beginners and intermediate students.
It’s a great course to develop a hobby into a profitable skill.
Best feature: Very affordable.
4. Learn the Art of Fine arts Clay Sculpting: Make a Ganapati Idol by Mandar Marathe (Udemy)
Ganapati idol sculpture is a fun introductory course on crafting a spiritual Ganesh idol.
The class instructor explains all the details of joining body parts and finishing methods to create 3D figurines.
Students should bring;
- air-dry clay
- a cloth
- simple tools (material list included)
No experience is needed. The teacher answers student questions in this affordable sculpture class.
The course uses video lectures and presentation slides. There is a helpful FAQ to get students interested and prepared. The complete lesson takes about 3.25 hours.
Best feature: Fun introductory to clay sculpting.
5. Sculpture for Everyone: How to Model an Eagle in Clay by Leonardo Pereznieto (Udemy)
This sculpting lesson is taught from the ground up. Students learn how to:
- Make a pencil sketch
- A rough clay outline
- A clay stand
- Down to the intricate details of the feathers and beak
The class also introduces students to supplies, clay materials, and how to use the required tools.
The instructor uses video teaching to showcase methods of shaping a lump of clay into a bird of prey in easy-to-follow steps.
The teacher also instructs his pupils in fine arts sculpting basics, which means learning how to draft a sketch on paper and in clay. Students learn to mold the clay into a realistic eagle.
Best feature: Beginning-to-end details taught by a falconer.
6. How to Sculpt the Female Body by Francesca Dalla Benetta (Udemy)
Sculpting the female form is another beautiful opportunity to study with Italian master sculptor Francesca Dalla Benetta. Pupils are invited to learn how to craft the female figure from scratch.
Francesca instructs her students in this highly involved class. Students learn how to:
- Read a photograph
- Make a 3-D plasticine model
- Create realistic proportions and muscular features
No previous sculpting experience is required. However, students need to commit sufficient time to see the result of their endeavor.
To master this class, students need:
- Sufficient workspace
- Willingness to learn, and repeat
- The recommended material is traditional oil-based clay and wireframe technique
Students who persevere through this 7.5-hour video class will walk away knowing how to shape the human anatomy into an artistic yet life-like expression of the female form.
Best feature: On-hands approach to crafting the female body.
7. Learn to Sculpt With Epoxy Putty by Francesca Dalla Benetta (Udemy)
Epoxy putty is a versatile and inexpensive compound used in various applications from sculpture to jewelry.
Students are encouraged to repeat and learn from experience in this class, but no prior sculpting knowledge is required.
Francesca Dalla Benetta guides her pupils through all the stages of working with epoxy putty.
This economical and versatile product air dries and is perfect for small to medium-sized projects.
Students learn the art of:
- Sanding, milling, drilling
- Finishing a project
- Painting and alternative decorations
Projects are formed on wire structuring for stability. Ideal for all levels of experience.
Best feature: Flexible and affordable product
9. Sculpting Basics: Modeling Clays & Materials for Mixed Media Sculptures by Stephanie Kilgast (Skillshare)
Online teacher Stephanie Kilgast introduces her students to the basics of mixed-media sculpture.
More advanced students benefit from Stephanie’s helpful hints and teaching methods using a variety of clay mediums, including polymer, cold porcelain, air-dry, and epoxy.
The teacher guides students through the fundamentals and introduces tools and mixed media concepts.
In this comprehensive introductory course, students practice using 2.5-hour video instructions. Newcomers may benefit from Skillshare’s free trial option.
Best feature: Nature inspired projects.
10. Sculpt Mini Succulent Plants from Clay by Jessica Stunz (Skillshare)
Making mini succulents from clay is all about having fun and is available for a free trial on the Skillshare platform.
Teacher Jessica Stunz teaches students the basics in a 30-minute how-to tutorial that is fun for the novice crafter and children.
This class requires a companion class on how to paint and glaze, which is not included in the video.
However, these instructions introduce crafters to learn other methods of crafting small ornamental objects in a fun and creative setting.
Best feature: An entertaining project for the entire family.
13. “Figuratively Speaking” by Simon Kogan (Tuscan Art Academy Online)
Simon Kogan’s TAAO class is not merely a lesson in sculpture. It’s a class on art.
Students learn every nuance of creating ‘mass and energy, mood and movement’ taught by Kogan in this highly evolved and involved course.
The class is broken into four models spanning nine hours of in-depth video instructions.
Module 1 introduces:
- Analyzing images
- The clay base
- Sculpting and when to walk away
Module 2 helps students:
- Discovering the hidden form in any structure
Module 3 is all about:
- How function finds its shape through the mechanics of human anatomy
Module 4 highlights:
- Showcases the master at work
Students gain insight into how all the previous components come into play and what tools serve what purpose.
Best feature: Learning from the best. This class is #1 for advanced students.
14. How to Sculpt a Portrait Sculpture by Davis Fandino (Stan Winston School)
How to Sculpt a Portrait is for serious students and first-timers alike.
The video format class teaches students the complex pleasure of molding a plain lump of clay into a realistic figure with moving eyes and life-like features.
Anyone who has ever worked with a clay medium can attest that this medium puts life into the sculpture.
One minute, the figure smiles, and it can learn to frown with the subtle pressure of the artist’s fingertips.
Taught by Davis Fandino, an expert in the industry, students learn by watching and applying his techniques.
Working under Fandino’s tutelage, students experience the Pinocchio effect, where a puppet comes to life.
A final bonus to registering for this course is learning a resin cast method. There is also a free 7-day trial.
Best feature: Master sculptor and free trial option.
15. How To Make A Latex Rubber Mask Part 1 – The Sculpture Process by Tim Martin (Stan Winston School)
Master Special FX teacher, Tim Martin, takes entry-level students through his methods of transforming a clay sculpture into a latex rubber mask.
Martin uses video technology to bring his students closer and more personal to his craft.
In this two-part lesson, students learn valuable methods. Students can apply what they learn to further their interest in creating their own spooktacular masks.
The course guides students through:
- List of materials
- Blocking the form
- Sculpting ears
- Building facial features.
Martin also teaches pupils how to use tools to create a special effect.
Part Two discusses mold making and casting. What’s really cool about this class is that students can recognize Martin’s work from Jurassic Park 3 and The Thing. For those interested in sculpting in a professional way, this is a great online course.
Best feature: Introduction to latex and casting. This class is #1 for latex and mold prep.
16. Sculpt Characters With Epoxy Modeling Clay by Francesca Dalla Benetta (Domestika)
Francesca Dalla Benetta teaches her sculpting methods in step by step instructional tutorial exploring the versatility of epoxy putty and modeling clay.
Benetta’s class includes form and structure and painting details and practices.
Benetta uses her industry experience to teach students the art of modeling and how it correlates to specialized methods used in prosthetics to create high fantasy creatures.
Using a two-component mix, she teaches her students her method, which allows the product to harden with just air.
Best feature: Learning to use epoxy.
17. Strong Foundations by Amelia Rowcroft (SculptingMasterclass.com)
For beginners, this class is inspirational.
For experts and intermediated artists, this class is motivational. Master sculptor Amelia Rowcroft guides her students through the entire process of sculpting a portrait from a live models to a beautiful finish.
Each anatomical feature becomes a lesson in the 3.5-hour long video class spread across 28 lessons.
This class takes commitment. Students learn from step-by-step demonstrations how to build up the skull and finetune each characteristic, facial expression, and flaws to make a realistic portrait sculpture.
The course also includes individualized instruction, downloadable class material and diagrams.
Best feature: Students learn from a certified master.
18. Sculpting A Human Series in Clay by Barney Joseph (Ipassio)
Studying ‘A Human Series’ is ideal for students who want to sculpt and learn the art of sculpture to pursue professional careers or enjoy it as a hobby.
The highly personal course teaches students the complexities of creating the human figure in clay.
Taught by a self-taught master sculptor, students explore every challenge that involves creating a realistic reproduction of the human form.
Students use versatile Super Sculpy polymer clay and a handful of necessary tools.
This course is very interactive and personalized. Students learn techniques and methods to achieve desired effects.
Best feature: Personalized lesson.
19. Sculpt a Realistic Human Figure Course With Kit Available by Andrew Sinclair (The Sculpture School)
Students in this course learn invaluable lessons taught by world-renowned sculptor Andrew Sinclair. He introduces students to groundbreaking methods in easy-to-follow demonstrations.
Perfect for beginners and advanced students, this class is a foundation and refresher on human anatomy.
The first episode of the class is free and includes a starter pack of all the necessary tools. Out-of-country delivery fee is extra.
Best feature: Access to recommended supplies.
20. Handbuilding & Glazing Masterclass by Kate Malone (The Ceramic School)
While many people believe sculpture depicts human or animal form, it can also imply decorative arts like vases, bowls, globes, etc.
Kate Malone MBE is a legendary British Studio Potter with decades of experience. Her work is on display in many museums and art destinations.
Her signature pottery includes grand sculptural vessels which she adorns in vibrant glazes. In her 1 hour & 45-minute masterclass, Kate introduces students to:
- Her studio
- Her fundamental methods
- Preparing her clay
- Building forms
- Her glazing technique
This class is ideal for artists who want to deviate from sculpting figuratively and explore ceramic pottery.
Best feature: Decorative pottery class.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many online options available to learn how to sculpt. The challenging part is deciding what medium and genre you want to sculpt.
Simonds, B., 2013. Blender master class: a hands-on guide to modeling, sculpting, materials, and rendering. No Starch Press.
Or, M.B., 2010. Clay sculpting of mother and child figures encourages mentalization. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 37(4), pp.319-327.
Curtis, P. and Curtis, P.J., 1999. Sculpture 1900-1945: After Rodin. Getty Center for Education in.
Krauss, R.E., 1981. Passages in modern sculpture. Mit press.
Getsy, D.J., 2003. Encountering the Male Nude at the Origins of Modern Sculpture. Rodin, Leighton, Hildebrand, and the Negotiation of Physicality and Temporality. Ed. Antoinette Roesler-Friedenthal. Berlin: Gebr. Mann.
Lookup the following famous sculptors for inspiration:
- Pablo Picasso
- Auguste Rodin
- Constantin Brâncusi
- Andy Warhol
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Marcel Duchamp
- Salvador Dalí
- Henry Moore
- Alberto Giacometti
- Antonio Canova
- Lorenzo Ghiberti
- Alexander Calder
- Edgar Degas
- Louise Bourgeois
- Étienne Maurice Falconet
- Umberto Boccioni
- Benvenuto Cellini
- Jean Arp
- El Greco
If sculpting has always been a dream of yours or a hobby you’d thought you never had the time or money to afford, the classes listed above surely will make learning to sculpt a much easier task. There is no shortage of teachers, mastery levels and style of sculpting you can tackle.
It all now depends on your desire to learn and take hands on deck with whatever course you fancy the most.