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FAQ: the anatomy of an estimate

 The most common question I get is how much does a sculpture cost? And the answer is always the same: "It depends.” In the same way that it's difficult to answer the question “how much does a car cost?” there is no one price!

The number one influence on a project's cost is the number of hours required to finish it. To figure that out, the sculptor evaluates a few key factors:

  • The subject.

Who/what are we sculpting? Every character has its own level of difficulty, especially when considering likeness. Perfectly capturing your beloved aunt in sculptural relief, or really nailing that heroic bust of Mr. Bean takes more precision than a lovely but non-specific Venus for the garden. ​

  • The pose.

A simple seated figure is very different from a whirling dancer balanced on one toe. Planning, specially constructed armatures, and complexity in general greatly influences the amount of time needed to finish a sculpt. ​

  • Size. 

Very small or large work will always take more hours to create than a moderately-sized piece.​

  • Level of detail.

A design with the detail of a department store mannequin needs only minor surface treatment before it's finished and on its way to the client. A hyper-realistic portrait of exactly the same size could take weeks of detailing to sculpt a convincing likeness, render individual locks of hair, and sculpt stitching into the clothing.​

  • Materials.

Many sculptures begin in a medium that will not be the final product: they are sculpted in clay or wax, then cast into a permanent medium such as plaster, resin, or even bronze. There can still be a long process after the sculpting is done...luckily, there are many options to suit any budget!​

  • Changes during production. 

To keep a project within budget, the design is chosen before production starts. Julia makes a project plan that insures that the sculpting and casting process will be efficient and on deadline. Since the project estimate is based on this plan, changes may lead to additional labor or materials cost, and could also alter the project delivery date.​

  • Surface finish.

There are many options for finishing a sculpture: from simple wax, to a super-realistic paint job, even chrome! Whatever you have in mind for your finished work of art, Julia can help you choose the best option for your vision and budget.

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