Tutorial: 3D Sculpting for Beginners - Sketch your own Bust in Digital Way

by Daniele "Found" Trovato

Sketch your own Bust in Digital

(Introduction to Digital Sculpting for Miniatures Lover)

by Daniele "Found" Trovato

Hello mates,
this is Daniele :-)

This article and video is designed to all who never have sculpted something in digital and would like to start doing it. I'll explain you the basics of ZBrush and how to create your own sketch as a bust.
My idea is to give you the essential info to get started.
No philosophical approach, no excess words. Simple and direct. :-)

Let's begin :-) :-)

Why digital sculpting

Let's start from the beginning: I am a traditional, non-digital sculptor.
You can find a big article about "how to become a miniature sculptor" here:

Daniele, so, why do you want to explain how to sculpt something in digital?

First of all, this is a personal consideration, let's try to clarify: who is a sculptor?

Definition from Merrian-Webster Dictionary:

sculptor (  noun  ) sculp·​tor  | \ˈskəlp-tər 

an artist who makes the action or art of processing (as by carving, modeling, or welding)
plastic or hard materials into works of art  with his hands

I'm sure that probably, I will raise a big sensation with my sentence, but it is only my opinion, nothing else. If you make a 3D sculpture, in my opinion, you are not a sculptor: you are a Digital Artist. 

Sculpting manually, or digital...it doesn't matter: this is art!

The proof of this is that many 3d sculptors can't sculpt something traditionally.
Conversely, a traditional sculptor knows well how to sculpt in 3d. 

It doesn't mean to diminish talent, nor is it a provocation.
They are two very similar processes, but also very different.

Try to learn traditional sculpting before digital: the process is similar!

Let's see together the advantages and disadvantages of 3D sculpture compared to traditional sculpture:


  • Very easy for beginners, you have "only" to learn the software to get started.
  • You have SIMMETRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY !!!! Very easy approach!
  • Faster than traditional sculpting
  • You can print your model on different sizes
  • You don't need to study hours of human anatomy (it helps of course)
  • You can use mesh pre-sculpted from other digital artist
  • You can use reference WHILE you're sculpting
  • You don't have to frustrate yourself in "which material use to sculpt" :-)
  • You don't dirty your hands
  • You can create your sculpture BEFORE posing it (symmetry helps) !
  • Less mess on your desk (not mine)
  • Cheap, until you print in 3D your models
  • Infinite Levels of details compared to traditional

  • If you're not able to sculpt traditionally you're not a sculptor (my personal opinion), you're a Digital Artist.
  • More expensive when you print your model in 3D.
  • Less engagement during the sculpting process
  • You don't "feel" your sculpture under your hands
  • You don't dirty your hands :-)
  • You can't imagine the real sculpture finish until you print it!
  • If the 3d printer is not high quality printer, you'll have a blurry sculpture, not good. (unfortunately high quality printer are so expensive, also if you use a service)
  • You need to buy Zbrush/software in order to create something
  • Your sculpture is not handmade, you created it with your computer
  • Less originality?
  • Boring sculpture?
  • Less fun?
  • Flat sculpture? 
Let's discover the Video Tutorial for Super-Newbies :-)
In this video i want to introduce you in ZBrush.
What is Zbrush and why is the most used software in digital sculpting.
We'll explore:

  • The User Interface and Brushes settings Let's explore the basics of ZBrush UI . You'll learn how to customize it in a faster way and what are the most important Brushes to sculpt something.
  • What are the most used and important brushes
  • Playing with Brushes Explore the different brushes you can use and discover the different results.
  • Understanding Dynamesh
  • Understanding Brushes
  • Let's Sketch So let's start to play with your imagination

The Video Tutorial:

Traditional or Digital? 

(personal opinion and personal consideration)

Can anybody sculpt  in 3D?

Even if you don't have the human anatomical knowledge, with 3D you can already get some good results.

Obviously, studying anatomy is never wrong, but this is true in any figurative art.

Many people think that 3D is more simple: this isn't completely true!

Is it easier to sculpt in 3d?

Although many digital artists will never admit it, in my opinion, yes (compared to traditional of course).

And I repeat: it is not a way to reduce talent.  
There are digital artists who are real masters.

The only thing is that, to be a complete sculptor, you have to be able to sculpt something traditionally.

In these period, many traditional sculptors, have moved to 3D. 
But they are really sculptors, they only changed the medium.

Otherwise, if a guy starts playing with the tablet and Zbrush, and creates something in 3D, just ask him "ok, buddy, now could you do the same with your hands?" :-) if the answer is no, it means that he is not a "complete" sculptor.

In the last period somebody  hired me to teach in a School for Digital Artists, because the school wants their students to have a traditional sculpture base: this is another proof of what i said and there's no great satisfaction for me.

If a 3D sculptor is not able to sculpt traditionally, it's like a digital designer could not draw with a pencil. Is it plausible?

Could an illustrator not able to draw using a pencil??

Final Thoughts

Obviously, this is only a little video that introduce you in the 3d sculpting world.
If you have question, don't hesitate to ask me, i will help you fast if i can.
If you liked this video, so give me your feedback and i will create other videos like this one, specific into other parts of Zbrush Features.

Just remember.... HAVE FUN!

Keep Sculpting


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