Looking over my photos on my Facebook page I realized I had wanted to do a post about making lips for my masks but forgot! So here goes!
The snaky looking thing in the long moldbox on the right hand side of this pic is my first attempt at a lip for my resin wolf head. I sculpted it pretty straight because that's how I had seen other lips sculpted online. Silly me.
Above, trying to fit a silicone cast of this straight lip on my mask. You can see how it gaps underneath, between the lower edge of the lip and the jaw. No good.
Above, trying to glue the new lip on. I think that pile of clamps might be trying to tell me something....
Making a pattern for a more fitted lip. The green thing above is Frog Tape stuck to aluminum foil. I pressed a piece around the lower jaw, sketched the shape of the lip on it, and cut it out. I then made it symmetrical by folding it in half in the middle and trimming it so the two sides would match. Then I tried out the new shape back on the head (above), trimming and fiddling until I was happy with it.
Here I've built the lip up in Monster Clay. It's built right on top of the pattern thingy, stuck on around the edges with a little more Monster Clay, so I can fairly easily remove and reapply the lip to the mask or adjustments as needed.
Above, the two clay lips next to each other for comparison. The new lip is on the bottom. Very different shapes.
Gluing silicone casts of the new lip in place. Not so many clamps needed this time! (The rubber bands here are actually serving as clamps here too.) I tried using Weldbond instead of hot glue, as Weldbond is theoretically stronger and doesn't leave those lumpy ridges when it dries. Weldbond takes about 24 hours to fully cure, hence the clamps. It did a good job, but I'm not sure it does enough of a better job to justify the long wait time.
And, the new lips freshly installed. Wheee!!
I also wanted the teeth to sit up much higher in the lower jaw than they did in my first head, as they kinda disappeared into lips and fur after I got it assembled. I played a lot with layers of Foamies underneath the teeth to get them exactly where I wanted them, and so far I'm happy with how they look.
As with the previous head, I've been referring to the DVC tutorials online as I work on this head, and much to my confusion they've started redoing that series- when I did the first mask, the lips were applied last, after the airbrushing, and now they're applied early in the process, along with the eyelids. Maybe they were done last in the first series so that airbrush overspray wouldn't get on them, but that's easy enough to paint over with black paint. In any case it was a pain to apply them with fur already there, and so far I like this way better.
I also learned the hard way it's best to cut the cast up right before assembling it. I was so excited to get a good cast I couldn't wait to open the eyes up and hinge the jaw, and then I let the head sit, and sit, and sit.... and the jaw warped, shifting to one side. Now the head has an expression kinda like this: :-/ Nothing that can't be fixed with a Dremel and some epoxy, but still, something I'd rather avoid in the future.
Above, working out how to resculpt the jaw to make it look straighter. I often take a photo of an area I'm working on, print it out and draw on it, to help visualize what I should do. In the printout /drawing to the right, I've decided to dremel off the lip outside of the thick blue line. Another point for adding the lip early on- it gave me a way to tweak the jaw I wouldn't have had otherwise.
(And... one day I went down into the basement to work, and I found my daughter had gotten into my packing peanuts....)
Above, the lower jaw resculpted and straightened out a bit. I think it looks much better. Neatening up the edge of the lower lip helped a bit too.
Above, chiffon added to one tear duct but not yet the other, as modelled by my packing peanut loving daughter. Freaky deaky!
Two takeaways for the next resin base sculpt:
First, make sure the areas in which the eyes will be glued are as flat as possible and in the exact same plane with each other. Any crookedness or unnevenness in these areas will be greatly exaggerated when the resin eyes are in place, and gives the mask a rather wall-eyed, inbred expression. Next base sculpt, I think I'll use metal or rigid plastic discs of the correct size to mark out these areas and leave them there while moldmaking, to make sure those areas don't squish out of shape. I was able to glue the eyes into this base to my satisfaction using bits of resin and hot glue to level them out, but care taken with the next sculpt could definitely make the process a lot easier.
Second, sculpt the next head so that it can easily take a nose with a flat back. DVC noses, and I suspect any other noses that are cast separately and glued on to a base later, have flat backs. I suspect they are made in one piece molds, the backs of which are open so that the casting material can be poured in, which then levels out as it sets. When I removed the nose on this base to accommodate the DVC nose, I was left with an awkwardly shaped hole into which to glue it. I re-sculpted the area a bit with epoxy so that the nose would fit (the thick black band behind the nose in the pics is epoxy for the most part) and so all is well that ends well, but again, this is something to take into consideration for future head sculpts.
Looks like I've neglected my blog for.... two years?? I've been busy though, mostly with my first attempt to build my first fursuit-style mask. Especially since I knew neither how to sew nor airbrush before I started out, it was quite the undertaking. Here are the chronicles of my adventures.
Above left, my freshly ordered mask parts from Dreamvision Creations on Etsy. I didn't want to make any of my own parts this time around, to try to limit the number of variables should something go wrong. Above right, Ezzy and I watching the Dreamvision Creation tutorials online. Ezzy wanted to make sure I didn't miss any important details, he is a very helpful cat.
Above left, a dude who seriously needs to lay off the coffee. Hinges have been added and all the various parts glued into the mask base. Above right, eyelids added. It's so cool how the eyes seem to follow afterwards!
Above left, a sketch of my idea for the color and pattern of the mask; above right, the actual duck tape patternwork for the fur. My daughter called the mask at this stage "Green Anubis". I thought I was so smart to use wet erase markers to draw the patternwork, and maybe it made fiddling with the pattern a little easier, but predictably some important reference marks got wiped off. Six of one, half dozen of the other...
Sewing sewing and more sewing. Top row left, I bravely start pinning pieces together while Isabelle works on a chibi Cthulhu. Top row right, hubby models the front half of the hood. Middle picture, I have finished sewing the face together while Isabelle makes faces too. Bottom row, one ear and the back of the hood sewn on. I later ripped the ear apart and re-glued it, as I didn't like the way the bottom edge was so much thicker than the top edge. Bottom row right, the back of the hood showing the Velcro cover over the zipper, and seams that need picking out.
CRAZY LADY WITH CLIPPERS!!! Shaving down and adding some shape to the mask. This part was almost as harrowing as gluing down the fur. It's very easy to make bald spots with the clippers by accident!!
The mask, fully assembled and modelled by my ever patient husband Brian, loved up by daughter Isabelle. Time to get some paint on this puppy!
However, I could airbrush about as well as I could sew (which is to say, not at all) so I decided again some classes were in order. I took a one day, six hour 1:1 intensive with Sean Avram which helped enormously. He told me that airbrushing was largely troubleshooting, and for the next six hours we would see how many ways the airbrush could be clogged and unclogged again.
And finally... TA DAAAAAA!!!! All done. Looking forward to making the next one!!