|Once our client reviewed and approved the images of Alexander the Great [from a vast selection of photographs of every Alexander bust and full figure sculpture ever done] sourced from the internet and various books, then the sculptor went to work using just a limited number of images - so as not to get confused as to which sculpture to recreate. This would seem obvious enough, but often times too many pictures is worse than too few. So sticking with one or two images, and maybe a third at most, to base the final artwork on, helps everything turn out as expected.
Our sculptor began resculpting the masterpiece by applying flat sections of clay for the chest muscles and trapezius muscles and filled in the neck to get the proportions right for the upper body to match the head - as only a true master sculptor can do through minor anatomical and muscular exaggerations. Usually a chicken wire oval ball is made to attach directly to the armature for form of the head. The basic shape of the face and head is therein formed. Chinese terra cotta warrior style hollow clay sculpting would require the head to be made by rolling clay into long rolls, or strips, and then built them up layer by layer by blending and smoothing each clay roll into the next without leaving any air pockets. The simularity in the two sculpting styles is because the Chinese terra cotta warriors were fired in a kiln after they were sculpted and they had to be 100% clay to keep the sculpture cracking or even exploding during the clay firing process. As you can imagine hollow sculpting is a very tedious process and requires that the sculptor almost be a structural engineer, as much as an artist, to keep their artwork from accidentally falling over, or collapsing, when sculpting such a large statue.
That's why most of your modern sculpting is done with a throw away concept in a inexpensive and easy to work temporary material, that only needs to last long enough for a mold to be completed. Otherwise, most permanent original sculptures are better when carved in marble, or other stones, or using different types of imported hard woods. The advantages of wood or marble carvings is that they immediately avoid the mold making labor costs and associated material costs are eliminated.
Most of the artists in the world don't have access to much in the way of technology so they use what's at hand: wood and stone. The obvious disadvantage is that it may take longer for an artist to carve out of hard wood, marble, granite, or stone, and the cost to ship the heavy artwork from the artist, often located overseas, to the client can add up. Whereas a typical professional sculptor in North America, or Europe, these days uses either inexpensive clay, foam, or plaster to make a quick original artwork out of an easy to work material which is then converted to a mold of the opposite shape using modern chemistry which is thereafter used to cast quick reproductions for our clients.
The complexity and size of an artwork must be assessed before sculpting begins to determine the best medium for the artist to work in. Whether its going to be sculpted out of clay, worked in plaster, or even carved out of foam will be based on the intricacies of the project. Unless it is a repair to a damaged plaster sculpture, plaster may not be an ideal sculpting medium, even if the final casting will be made in plaster. Often a softer material is required to shape a sculpture when you don't want to unnecessarily battle with a hard sculpting surface. That is what makes clay the preferred sculpting medium for artworks in the small to medium size range. However, the moisture level of clay must be monitored very closely to avoid over drying, or the opposite: swelling of the clay medium making it disintegrate and become too soft to hold any shape. Sometimes an artist will allow the clay to dry in stages from the ground up so that the lower, weight bearing portions of the sculpture have time to harden and firm up. Building medium to large sized clay statues without an internal armature is an art, perhaps perfected by the Chinese with their terra cotta warrior sculptures. Only an expert sculptor should attempt such an ancient art technique without ending in disaster; When either the sculpture tips over like fallen tree, by being too heavy on one side, or it can become too soft by excess wetness [or a fatal combination of both].
The base for the Alexander the Great Bust is a regal column with a faux marble finish and gold leafing on the lower ring of the column with gold on the capital's leafing. See the unpainted casting picture next to the faux marble painted reproduction of Alexander. Notice the comparison between the original Alexander the Great sculpture and the resculpted Alexander the Great bust, by our art department head sculptor Karoy. See for yourself the remarkable similarity in the silhouette and profile of the Alexander artwork even before the hair was completed on the clay sculpture.