Recently, I completely improved my hardware situation for blender, by getting a Wacom tablet and another monitor. I have been using blender for several years and I’d say I’m just now really getting into using sculpt mode, especially after Kent Trammell’s tutorials on Blender Cookie.
Can anyone give me advice on how to sculpt well or point me in the right direction to find sculpting tips? What can I do to make my sculpts look convincing, accurate, and artistic, rather than something a 7 year old would make with clay?
First step is to practice , practice , practice. 2nd step, use reference pictures . initially, concentrate on only one object life if your working on hands, do not work on feet.
Blender cookie has some very good sculpting tutorials.
Familiarize your self with different brushes and level of division (for sculpt).
The simple answer is this: DONT USE BLENDER for sculpting. You cannot really get good or learn sculpting techniques with it. You are limiting your learning capability when it comes to sculpting by relying on Blender in that area.
Your “free” based options are either pick up the free edition of Mudbox for learning purposes (all autodesk products are free for learning on their website), or (if you are adverse to using an autodesk product) use Sculptris which is owned by Pixologic (zbrush). It is also free.
Both can help teach you the best sculpting habits and give you better quality work with more control. Even if you want to stick with Blender at the end of the day, the approaches you can learn in both those applications can carry over to Blender’s sculpting.
I highly recommend graduating into zbrush itself, which is amazing and really cannot be compared to other sculpting applications.
Add: Practice making strokes both adding and subtracting geo (pushing and pulling) followed by smoothing only ONE side of the stroke. The move and grab tools are your friend for getting the basic shape before committing to detail work. Work in levels, save the high detail for last. If masking is present, it will give you a huge boost to capability (mask and pull).
There is method to madness. Watch a few sculpting time laps. They all start from rough model 7 year old would make! And then there are lots of pushing, pulling and refinements. Each artist have their favorite brushes and method.