Sculpting from wax – portrait in relief with Vincent Gray

Modelling, casting and other techniques

Ref: S1D11171

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About this course

Sculpt a portrait in relief from an image of your choosing in wax.

Course Description

You will be shown how to set about modelling the portrait in relief, achieving a likeness using various modelling techniques and processes. You will need a good eye for observation and a dexterous hand to render a detailed likeness of your portrait. Relief sculpture requires observed information to be relayed in a uniform and logical manner, and your tutor will give you plenty of guidance on how to achieve this. Observation, discipline and the ability to identify form from a two-dimensional image will give a good outcome.

You will work from your selected image in profile to be modelled in relief. This could be a self-portrait, a friend, someone from history or someone admired, it could also be an animal but should be in profile.

The size of the portrait image to be modelled should not exceed 6 inches (15cm) due to the amount of material supplied and the time restraint.

You will work by making a duplicate image of the portrait. This will be attached to a baseboard and the modelling material overlaid. The original image will be used to refer to whilst modelling the wax. Using metal modelling tools, you will carve the details into the wax using various processes and techniques demonstrated by your tutor. You will be given one-to-one support and guidance by your tutor who will also inform you on the history of relief sculpture as a reference for your work.

By the end of the course, you will have produced a relief portrait sculpture in wax of approximately 6 inches in size and will have gained a knowledge of the history of relief sculpture during the Italian Renaissance.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all tools and materials needed for the course including 2 x 500g blocks of terracotta NewPlast modelling wax, a base board and some spray fixative.

What students need to bring

  • You should arrive at class with a selected image in profile of the person to be modelled in relief. The size of the portrait image to be modelled should not exceed 6 inches (15cm) from lower chin to top of head.
  • Please bring any metal modelling tools or calipers should you have any.


Vincent Gray

With wide industrial experience including television, theatre, design and manufacturing, Vincent Gray MAcert MRSS, has worked alongside some notable names in the arts, engineering, military, and entertainment, both in the UK and Scandinavia. Vincent has taught in a variety of institutions in both the UK and Scandinavia as well as providing private tuition for all abilities.

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