Monthly Archives: November 2011

Starting the Sculpt

Now that I have completely finished making and lining the fibre glass support skull cap I can start with my sculpt. I wanted to wait until I had completely finished so that I would be able to see exactly how big the cap would be and how far down and out of the face it would come. This allows me to compensate for that with chavant clay while I’m sculpting so that I can be sure that there will be enough room for the cap underneath the make- up and also that it will not distort the shape of the make-up.

  

The first thing I had to do was to block out with pencil and then clay where the main features and prominent bone structure would be. I found that all of the work that I have already put into research and designs really paid off because I was very familiar with the layout of the Fauns face and found that I automatically knew what features needed to be prominent and what didn’t. Once I had the basic layout blocked out I was ready to start building up the face. The Fauns head and face are quite big so this was going to take some time. I didn’t want to rush this stage because if I didn’t build the foundations of the structure accurately then the details and build would look wrong. While I was working off reference pictures of the Faun from the film, I also had to think about how I wanted my design to be different. I made sure that I also surrounded myself with images and reference’s for the designs I had done of the young Faun. I was generally following the build of the original Faun to make sure that the face shape looked right and recognisable as the same Faun, however certain areas I had to change significantly for the new design. I had to change the cheek area to make them more chubby and less sallow, I made the jawline wider and less angled, made the nose smaller, and the eyes a lot bigger and wider.

  

As I continued to build up the sculpt and started adding more shape I found it quite hard to visualise what the final sculpt was going to look like with the horns, ears, and hair so I decided to quickly make some pieces and build up some clay in the horn area to help me picture it.

 

For more images of the sculpt process head over to my flickr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwhittlefx/

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Lining the Skull Cap

The next thing that I had to do was to line the inside and out of the skull cap with chamois leather. The reason that I am using chamois leather is mainly because it is amazingly absorbent. It will be able to absorb the actors sweat underneath the make-up without affecting it. It was recommended to me by Maria Swindell and without her I don’t think that I would have thought to use it.

I was not certain how to line the cap so I went to Westward Ho campus to ask for some help. One of the tutors, Tanya offered to help me line it which was a big relief. Originally we were going to try to stitch it on somehow but she felt that that would be impossible so we tried using all purpose glue instead which worked really well. The glue stuck to the fibreglass really well and also held the fabric very strongly, while at the same time giving a very neat and seam free finish which I was really pleased with.

Lining the inside of the cap was a lot easier than the outside and I really like the results. Once I had the inside lined I had to think about attaching the elastic to keep the two halves together once it’s on the actor head. I decided to do this on the outside of the cap because I didn’t want to risk losing any more shape than I had to on the inside. I had already lost some because of the chamois leather and was worried that it would affect the fit. My original plan was to use super-glue to attach the elastic to a small area of chamois on the top of the cap but unfortunately the chamois leather was too absorbent and just soaked it all up, and for some reason the elastic didn’t take the glue well either. I decided to try with the all purpose glue again although I was a bit doubtful that it would have a strong enough hold when the elastic was tightened. The elastic glued to the chamois fine but when it came to stretching it and making it stick at first it was not working. I quickly found out though that all I had to do was hold onto it until it was completely dry, and it turned out that the glue had a very strong hold. Once all the pieces were down I used some super glue over the top for extra grip and it worked fine just along the edges.

  

Once the two halves of the cap were together I had to line the outside with a layer of chamois leather to give it a more professional finish and make it a bit more pleasant to handle. Lining the outside was a lot harder and the finish was not nearly as nice as the inside because the chamois picked up all of the marks left by the elastic, the chamois grip, and where the underneath chamois line wrapped round. I also couldn’t take the edges of the outside line round to the underneath because it would affect the thickness of the inside and I really didn’t want to change it any more than I absolutely had to. I left the ends at the edges of the cap and used a thin black fabric lining along the entire edge to protect them from peeling back and also to give it a more neat and professional finish.

   

Overall I’m quite happy with how the cap has turned out, I still think that it looked best when just the inside was lined but the elastic and outer lining are necessary and I am still really pleased with the final result.


Making the Fibreglass Skull Cap

Once the second cast was cleaned up I was ready to start making the skull cap. I was a bit nervous about this because I had never done it before and was not sure if I would do a very good job as it it a lot more fiddly and has to be a lot neater. The skull cap will be made from fibreglass and will support the horns underneath the make-up. The cap will cover the whole of the back of the models head and some of the front of the face resembling a batman mask slightly. I used the design that Howard Swindell had done for me to draw on a guideline for the mask in permanent marker on the cast. I then used a lot of wax release and release spray to make sure that the cap did not stick to the cast as it dried. Once I had applied a layer of gel coat and left it to set I started a layer of resin. This was very hard to keep neat because it kept running down the cast and leaving trails down the face. I did my best to keep this as small as possibly but in the places where it did happen I would have to go back and trim it with a craft knife as the fibreglass was green.

 

Once I had a full layer of resin on I started laminating with the fibreglass matting first before moving onto the tissue. I found this extremely fiddly and hard to keep neat. I also found that I had not cut the strips small enough so I had to cut some new strips when I needed to do the more delicate areas. The catalyst in this batch I mixed seemed very weak and meant that the work time was a lot longer. This was good and bad. It meant that I had more time to work in but I was also very worried that it would not cure at all. Once I was happy with the matting layer I applied a layer of tissue witch gave the whole cap a much neater and more professional  appearance.

 

As the layers were curing I consulted my tutor and we decided that the shape of the heads was too much of an undercut and that when it came to removing the cap it would get stuck. We decided that it would be best to cut the cap into two sections and re-attach them later with elastic or something similar. When I first tried to cut the two halves, the fibreglass was still too wet and not strong enough to be cut. So I waited for 10 minutes or so for it to harden up before I tried to separate the two and also neaten up the edges. When the edges were tidy and even, I left it to cure completely before removing it.

   

When I had left it for a couple of hours I removed it from the cast and filed down and sanded the edges so that it would be safe to handle. I cleaned it up and took it to my  model to try on to make sure that it was a perfect fit, which it was so I was very relieved. The next step will be to line the inside and outside with chamois leather.

 


Help from Maria and Howard Swindell

I was having trouble thinking how I would build a support frame for the horns to keep them secure, so my teacher asked his friend Maria Swindell who works in animatronics if she could help me out. When I contacted her by e-mail we discussed different possible ways that I could make a cap for the horns to be attached to. We then talked over the phone about how to make it and things I would have to think about. Her husband Howard Swindell is a concept artist and said that if I sent him some images of my cast then he would mark on then where the cap needed to be.  I found the advice that they gave me extremely helpful and feel so grateful that they would be willing to help me. Without their help I would not have known how to go about making the support and feel that their advice was invaluable.

  


Working with Photoshop

I have started to use photoshop when working on my designs to add colour to them. I am really enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would and think that it is something I will enjoy working with a lot in the future. I only started using it a couple of weeks ago for 2 lessons but have started to work on the open access macs at the college to get as much practice in as I can. I’m only using very simple methods at the moment to add colour,shading and make subtle changes to the original design however I hope that over time I will learn more about it and learn to use the more advanced tools.


Another Cast…

To support the horns for this make-up I am going to have to make a support skull cap out of fibreglass to attach them to underneath the make-up. This with keep them sturdy and hold them securely. The process of making the fibreglass skull cap on the fibre glass cast can damage the cast and make it unsuitable for sculpting onto. I have decided to make another fibreglass cast, so that I have 1 for sculpting on and 1 for making the skull cap on. I found it easier and a lot less stressful making the second cast because I had already done it once before and was familiar with the process. First time round I was really worried that it was not going to release from the mould or that it would come out damaged. This time I was a lot more confident and worked a lot quicker. I was however a bit messier, and didn’t do as good a job with the laminating, but this is not a major issue because it is not for sculpting and as long as it has the right head shape it will be fine. I was rushing a bit towards the end because I was running out of time and did not do the best job on the seam. However once I removed the set cast I was easily able to patch it up with gel coat filler and sand it down.

 


Adding Colour to the Faun Design

Up until now I’ve only been drawing the Faun in pencil, graphite, and ink, so I started to experiment with different materials and introducing colour to my designs. I’ve started using charcoal, ink, oil pastel, and soft pastels to give my images a different feel.  I’m really happy with how the images came out and even though I was worried about adding colour at first I got more confident the more I did.