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Monday, 5 March 2012

How to make a mummy's head

Skull painted.

How to make a mummy's head!

Heads usually start off with a skull. This is important to achieve a high degree of realism. It also makes it an art of finding. Because the head is made by multiplying several layers of "tissue" over the skull, it is near impossible to predict what the head will end up looking like.
This skull is a vynil anatomical which was purchased on the cheap on ebay (Where else?)
It had originally been painted with horrid red and white marble effect. 
After stripping the marble effect with Stypit, which turned it orange, the skull was then repainted bone colour (Titanium White+Yellow Ochre)
Ears come next. 
For this, I started sketching customer's ears at Crobar (obviously with their consent... Drawing peoples ears without their consent could potentially lead to embarrassing situations!)
I used DAS to model the ears, but then switched to FIMO Ultralight for the face, hoping that it would be easier to work. This turned out to be a mistake. It you have to do it, DAS is the way to go! It is just as hard to work as Fimo, will come off and apart like Fimo, but will not crack...Unlike Fimo.
Before proceeding with the facial construction, the ears and eye sockets are filled with textiles, just like a real one. This will make building up the nose and eyelids a lot easier.
The facial construction is then operated is several phases, to allow each layer to dry before applying the next.
Painting then requires a good 4 to 5 layers, starting with the lightest to the darkest. Paint needs to be applied thinly in order to allow previous layers to come through. In this case, the fist layer was Ochre Yellow and Burnt Umber (mostly yellow) followed by Burnt Umber and Cadmium Red (mostly red) with shadows accentuated in brown (Burnt Umber and Ultramarine), plus a splotch of white here and there for good measure. The outer layer is super watered down Burnt Umber and Ultramarine.

All rights reserved. All content is copyright of Fabrice Arfi.

Skull, side view.
Note traces of the marble effect on the back.

Ears are selected for the skull.
It's better to draw as many ears as possible to give you the option
 to find the best type to suit your skull.

Ears stuck to the skull.
Ears are fitted on and checked for alignment. 

Teeth repainted.
Evostik probably makes the best ear glue to date. Highly recommended!

Nose and eyes filled with textiles.
Ears in position with nose and eye socket filed with junk textile...
just like a real one!

Beginning of facial construction.
Phase 1 of facial construction completed.

First layer of facial tissue.
Phase 2. Much work is still needed on the nose and lips as well as to improve
the overall texture of the skin.

First layer of primer before painting.
After completion of the facial construction, the whole head is primed.

First layer of paint.
Second layer of paint. Note how the first layer shows through.

first layer of paint side view.

A second layer of paint is applied.
Shading over the second layer of paint. 

Side view with a 3rd layer of paint.

Last coat of paint.
A few layers later and the head is pretty much finished.
Note how the eyes and nostrils are filled with new textile which has to be
dyed and painted.

Finished head front view.

2 heads.
Family portrait!

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