If you have any sculpting ambition or love for any monster movies made in the last twenty years, then you should know the name Don Lanning.
Not only is he a gifted craftsman who has worked hard for his place, but he is also a gifted teacher who can help make others better, and he is damn fine fella the whole time he is doing it.
Don has been working away on productions for years as a hired gun on well know movies such as Hollow Man, Ghosts of Mars, Vanilla Sky, Hellboy, AVP, Silent Hill, The Avengers, and Aquman as well as TV shows such as The X Files, Nip/Tuck, Star Trek, The Strain, and Bright.
Possibly though, the pivotal moment which brought his method into the limelight was the Stan Winston School For Character Arts videos such as Sculpture Techniques and Character Design.
We weren’t just treated to a ‘how?‘ class, but also a ‘why?‘ class and looking at the feelings on experiences whilst sculpting.
I often think sculpting classes are among the hardest to instruct largely becasue it is a slow, deliberate act which allows the brain to open up and weep out all the negative things everyone has ever said about you or that you imagined of yourself. It’s all bullshit of course, and it takes someone to help you snap out of it and keep focus
Simply put, you CAN do it if you want to. Maybe you feel like you’re not great yet, but if you enjoy doing it then you WILL improve. If that matters to you, then to hell with all the naysaying. After all, people often say things about themselves that they would never say to another person – and looking at what you can actually do to overcome and improve your shortcomings is what Don does best, especially when you are face to face with the man.
“I was born with no talent whatsoever – I had to fight hard to get everything I got.”
Todd and I took a trip down to his studio to talk with the man himself, and we got into so much dense material, we decided we had to split this one into two parts. In part 1 we talked to Don about:
- How to actually start sculpting
- Dealing with a blank canvas
- Channeling nervous energy
- Looking for what makes good art
- Getting better
- Making the changes for clients
- Looking for what feels ‘right’
- Pivotal moments
- Looking out for scam internships
You’ll also see a love of magic and magic stores crops up again!
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We appreciate your attention!
– Stuart & Todd