Saturday, February 21, 2009

Characters almost done!

While none of the puppets have hair yet, I have almost finished the puppets, which is wonderful because it is the most time consuming part of building(though, admittedly, the most fun). On to the good stuff...

Oh Victorian Bee lady ... here is her skeleton and mask. I glue all the parts into balsa wood blocks using my favorite adhesive, gorilla glue. Gorilla glue has been many a savior. It expands to fill in all the gaps in my pre-drilled holes, and dries as hard as a rock. Very important since I don't want these limbs jiggling out of place after I sew clothes on.

See that string wrapped around her lower body? I was a dumbnut and didn't use enough wrapped wires to support her upper body weight. This string doesn't work well either, which you will see I had to reinforce in a moment. The build up on all hands is Mold builder latex over plumbers epoxy and wire.

Oh, the heads proved to be particularly troublesome.... I detest the idea of using foam latex(time? money? machinery? I dunno), so in the plaster molds I created masks by building up the latex layer by layer. Many a time I was impatient and globbed it in the mold, only to be punished by it never drying underneath the top layer. Blowdriers are my new best friends.

After they all dried, I pulled out the masks and tried to figure out the best way to attach them to the body... I tried something new and bought this foam insulation spray from Home depot called "Great stuff" that is meant to be used in closing up gaps in your windows and walls etc... It expands and hardens into a hard styrafoam texture. I sprayed this in with the masks face down and the neck wires propped up into the empty head cavity.

Actually, at first I bought the "flexible" kind which ended up being as soft as packing peanuts. I had to carve it out of the heads and spray in the "rigid" stuff. It hardens in 8 hour, but after about 4, I was able to shave away the excess around the craniums to be some sort of skull shape. It was perfect and not heavy. I can move the heads around with ease without the heads coming loose.

I love me some knobbly fingers. This 3nd layer of skin. I mixed acrylic paint with latex and started first with a white layer, then a translucent brown, then a pale greeney blue, which is what you see here, there is another light brown layer I add next for the shadows and dirtying up. but the hands here need more pale color to soften the hands.

this is the reinforcement I was talking about. My mom kept calling her the bobbleheaded bee lady, so I went wild with the wire wrapping and now she is secure and animates more easilly.

aha! the eyes I made out of sculpy (an eggshell color), and posed holes in them before baking with a toothpick. They need some shine so later today I will put a gloss on them. Around the eyes I placed some purplish sculpy I mixed and then painted a layer of clear latex over it to keep it in place and glue it to the face. the eyelids will be in the same color clay when I need them.

fixed the hands

hellooo. She needs hair badly. and her wings have not formed yet. I didnt get a good pick of the outfit yet but it has oodles of black lace and looks quite swell.

here is our farmgirl. The mask with these temporary wooden eyes I tried out. Many a corpse in the background after I put the heads on with that foam insulation stuff.

this is during one of the MANY failed attempts to fix her eye socket area. I did some plastic surgry here and gave her eyebrow implants with some clay and latex. It was bad. looked swollen. But her outfit is done!

these swollen eyes! Ever seen Rainman? "It's bad... it's bad..."

I know you may not be able to tell a difference here, but I can, I punched the sockets in so they go deeper.

now they still look "blackeye"ish, but not swollen. I am considering buying some realistic doll eyes today to separate her from the other world figures. we'll see. the black isn't working for me. I want an unsetling realistic eye.

the praying mother. needs gray hair in a low bun I think.

the father. no eyelids yet. You never see them with their eyes open anyway.

the farmgirl's future legs. The first 3 coats(a pale blue, then a purple, then a white). It already has the next 2 layers, not pictured here(a red/orange, and a translucent layer of yellow latex)

octopus. he needs to be paled down and a layer of transcluent yellow latex to make him look slimy

So, in the middle of all this working, sometimes I need to eat. And on this particular day I wanted pancakes(the crepish kind, but of the swedish persuasion where they are a little thicker and eggier, but with german toppings- lemon and powdered sugar). This is ENTIRELY on accident... but after pouring I noticed they look like two heads back to back. Don't they? see the silhouette?

Pig time man. I made a mask for him, but wanted it elongated, so I ended up adding foam and cotton on top to make it a longer face. no ears or mustache or top hat yet. he will have cogs and wheels on his lower body and will be a bit of a steampunk character.

string fate man- you can see here how I cut holes out in the sockets and have a layer of van aken clay behind the eyes. I put this in before the foam insulation. I like a bed of clay for the eyeballs to have some traction .

dude only has half an upper eyelid, but that's ok for now

I am gonna start updating more often so these aren't in such big bunches.