Sunday, January 29, 2017

How I made the Count's head prop

So I have wanted to post photos of how I made the Nosferatu head prop for a while now. I made him towards the end of summer in 2015. He was one of my most ambitious projects I ever done and I was surprised at how well he turned out. If any one is interested in trying to make their own character head prop, vampire, human, or other creature, it is way easier than you think.  

My inspiration.......
Artwork by Chris Westen
 I started out with a plastic skull that I bought at Target. It had a movable jaw. Origionally, I wanted to make a puppet head with a moving mouth. I thought it would be cool for Halloween to hide behind the coffin somehow and have him turning his head and opening his mouth as trick o treaters approached. I ran out of time and end up building it so the eyes can be repositioned during photos shoots. Above you can see how I built up the shallow parts with Crayola air drying clay.
 I have a small collection of crocodilian teeth and tried to find two of equal size for his fangs. Gators and crocs shed or drop teeth like a shark and will go thru thousands in a lifetime. I find them while raking or cleaning pools. One of the perks of the job. I carved out the plastic teeth and glued them in.

 I took the time to paint the gums even though when I was all done, they were not visible. So Crayola air clay tends to not stick to some surfaces, especially in humid environments. After the nose dried, it fell off and I had to glue it back on.

 I then sculpted the Brow, lips, and chin area. Sculpting the lips was really difficult for me. The fangs kept making dents in the bottom lip but I eventually liked the way it looked. Like it is a result of fangs pressing on once human lips for hundreds of years.

 I was going to sculpt ears but then bought some elf ears at a nearby party/ costume store. Cheating? Maybe. A lot easier? oh yeah.
 So here is where I started to add skin by latex. I used Mold Builder latex from Michaels. Sponge, dab, brush. Whatever is easier to do. I even remember using paper towels and latex on some parts. Around the eyes, nose, and lips I sponged on a thin layer to keep the detail of the clay underneath. I covered the elf ears too to help blend it all together.
 I ran out of mold builder and didn't have time to get more. I had a can of  black Flex Seal rubber sealant left over and tried it on the ears and neck, which was a thin yellow foam cushion hot glued to the base of the skull.  It coated just like liquid latex and way easier to apply. I saved time and money by not wasting sponges or chip brushes this way. I ran out of the black Flex Seal, and eventually got some more in white.

 While I was letting layers dry, I worked on the hands. Michaels Halloween props with witchy fingers glued on. Old school at its best. I covered them with Flex Seal too.
 Here he is with white Flex Seal. It really is a handy way to coat a prop and make skin. And it comes in different colors now...
 You can see the paper towel texture around the neck above. Oh well.
 After I felt I had a nice thick layer of skin, I used black acrylic paint to do a wash all over and on the hands.
 I never took pics of  how I made the eyelids and bags. Just some puffy t-shirt paint over thin Crayola clay. I was going for a look inspired by some artwork  by Chris Westen.  The rendering had a Nosferatu with almost no eyelids.  Bug-eyes. Creepy. That's what I wanted to go for.  An "Up all night" look.
I switched out the green eyes for blue. I got them from Schoepfers Good service. Getting eyes in the mail is fun...
 The furry eyebrows and ears kept giving me a Henson puppet vibe but I kept it since Halloween was a day away. The same with the ascot that came with the coat that I bought online.  Meh. It looked better in the dark.

For the 2016 Haunt, I removed the furry eyebrows and ascot. Spray painted over the red fabric in the collar, and gave him some fingerless gloves. I like this look much more. And a coffin helps too.

So there you go. I hope this helps. I am going to try the spray rubber technique again on more projects. Try it!