Originally Posted by JAZ
I'm taking a once a week workshop at a local art association to work from a live model in clay. It's fun and there's nothing quite as educational as actual flesh. You can see how it reacts when leaning on a chair or whatnot, something no mannekin of any kind will give you. And the positions a person's body takes have many subtleties that a hard model cannot suggest. The pre-made models are great for understanding proportions and musculature, which are very important, but the final element that makes a figurative piece seem "real" is the behavior of actual warm flesh, muscle and bone.
I very much agree with your comments about life model session. On the other hand, as it is very slow making clay models at such life sessions, the life model has to keep the same pose for hours (with breaks of course).
I've tried this once using polymer clay. Now I concentrate on doing life drawings which is much faster. The life model can take on different poses every 30 min or an hour. This means the learning about human anatomy can be much faster.