Coelacanth Sculpt

Coelacanths are amazing fish that were once thought to be extinct exactly 65 million years ago! I thought it would be a great addition to the museum that my husband and I are building. *More on that in a later post!

I had a lot of fun with this sculpt. I found a great reference photo (thank you,
Smithsonian Institute) that helped with some accurate proportions of the fish. After a few hours and a glass or two of wine, I decided to spray with water and cover up with plastic. For the days following, I blocked out more details and cleaned up some of the edges.

I am still in the process of making a mold, but will post the final plaster fish once it’s finished.

Big Hands Big Feet!

My husband has been asking me to do another sculpt of a bigfoot hand.  This time I sculpted the backside out of WED clay.  I thought it would be fun to add the different textures as well as hair onto the tops.  I usually aim for the width to be about 7-7.5 inches and around 10-11 inches from tip of middle finger to the base of the palm.  I base all my sketches and sculpts around the hand casts we have accumulated around the house.  These measurements seem to prove true for most if not all of the casts.

One thing I struggled with was the proportion of their fingers compared to the palm.  Much different compared to a human.  It almost looks comical.  The palm is long and about double in length compared to their big, hairy digits.

So there it is!  I had a lot of fun with it.

A Very Important Resource for SFX Artists

There are a ton of worthy, informative tutorials on YouTube.  I have watched countless videos on making realistic wounds and injuries, but I gotta say that Special Effects Guide of Real Human Wounds and Injuries is the BEST resource to have on hand.  Stuart Bray‘s careful selection of the most usual (as well as less than usual) injuries is the perfect guide to get you through your next makeup gig.

Knowing how the body reacts to injury is so important when you’re creating a makeup.  “Once you can better understand the way skin and human tissue behaves – what curls, what swells, what is smooth and what is lumpy, shiny, dry, flaky, clean or messy – then you can recreate and use the appearance of these various states and conditions to tell your story.”  Well said, Bray.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book!!!  Here’s the link!

 

Bigfoot!

My husband is a bigfooter.  He was a cast member on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot.  Each year we get invited to the Ohio Bigfoot Conference run by the amazingly organized, Marc DeWerth.  This year I decided to make bigfoot half masks and my very own pair of Bigfoot Feet.

Half Mask

Here are the Chuck Taylor‘s I converted into my new Bigfoot Feet!

I made a lot of latex paste (liquid latex mixed with flour) for this look!  I sculpted the gnarly toenails with polymorph plastic and bought some ape fur from JoAnn Fabrics.  That’s it!  It was a fun project and a fun addition to my wardrobe at the conference.

Go Go Go Goblin!

I have been playing D&D the past few months and found inspiration to make a hood mask of a zombie goblin, or a Zomgoblin!  Found a few reference photos online and started sculpting with latex paste (liquid latex mixed in with baking flour).  Took a full day to dry before I started to “corpse” the mask then jumped into painting.  May end up adding some hair, but here’s the final look of the paint job:

I Made Monster Clacker Gloves

I constructed clacker gloves in a previous post, but I wanted to add a layer of icky monster flesh to make them a bit more disturbing.  I used the same basic items as I did in the first pair, then added liquid latex and alcohol-activated paints.  Here’s a picture:

Most everything will be available to pick up at your local hardware store.  90 degree connectors (found in electrical isle), washers, gloves and e6000 glue.  There you go!  Just remember to add in the knee and elbow pads and VOILA – you’ve transformed yourself into a haunted slider 🙂

Lone Fir Cemetery Makeup

I had the opportunity to head up the makeup for this year’s Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery Walk!  It was ghoulishly fun!  Had a blast meeting new people and turning them into…THIS!

** Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to education, preservation, and restoration efforts that support this important outdoor historical and cultural museum.  For more information, please visit their website http://www.friendsoflonefircemetery.org.

Latex Mask of Postmortem Alien

I’ve always wanted to make Halloween masks!  I knew that I needed a strong sculpt to begin the process so I decided to start with Plastalina since my husband has a ton of it in the garage.  It can be tough to work with because it ‘s extremely dense and does not dry; which is a problem when your intention is to mold the sculpt with plaster.  Next time I’ll give Super Sculpey a try.

Once I was comfortable with my creation, I decided to go against many YouTube artist’s advice and use strips of plaster instead of pouring plaster over my mold.  Since I have an Ed Head, I mapped out an area for where I wanted to half mask to fit.   Next, I added drippy, chalky strips of plaster onto the clay before realizing there’s a much better way to it.   I have since ordered a half mold armature that I will use in the future.  I will also definitely mix the plaster since you lose some of the fine detail when using strips.

I waited for the plaster to dry before adding more layers.  Once I had about 7 or 8 layers of plaster, I felt that the mother mold was strong enough to begin separating the mold from the clay.

Next was the latex phase.  I used a generic brush to apply layers to the inside of the plaster mold.  I let each layer dry completely before adding more latex.   I also made sure there were no bubbles, which would totally ruin the look of the mask.  After I was sure there was enough latex, I left it outside in the sun and 100 degree heat for the day.

The final phase was definitely the most fun and rewarding!  Paint!  I took the advice of Stiltbeast Studios and made a mixture of 1/3 latex house paint, 1/3 latex and 1/3 distilled water to paint the mask with.  I also used the “dry” brush technique.  I was happy with the outcome.

Here’s my postmortem alien mask:

 

When You Have a Head Wound and Can’t Wash Your Hair

The other day I was in a Fred Meyer parking lot loading groceries.  I was fully aware that someone wanted my parking spot, so I rushed and ended up slamming down the hatch of my SUV onto the top of my head.  It hurt so bad, but I was more embarrassed so I ran to the driver’s side and sat down.  I had to take a minute to make sure I wasn’t dead.  Moments later, I was bleeding.  I panicked and called my husband.

I ended up in the ER of Kaiser Permente where the good doctor cleaned and repaired by head gash with glue.  I was so relieved I didn’t have to get staples in my head.  The only bad part about the glue is that I have to wait 5 days to wash my hair.  This brings me to the main topic of this blog….how amazing R + Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo is!

My first exposure to this hair miracle was in a Birch Box about 6 months ago.  I immediately fell in love with the scent.  It smells clean and light, not like the usual granny smell others leave behind.  I also love the desert, so the picture on the bottle was another factor of my approval.

This product brings lifeless, greasy hair back to life.  I’m on day 3 of unwashed hair and I still look freshly shampooed!  There’s none of that chalky residue that seems to linger with other dry shampoos.  I love it so much, it’s now a definite staple in my hair kit.  Adds quick volume and texture to fine hair when you’re in a time crunch on set.

If you’re in the market for dry shampoo or if you slam a door on your head, definitely try R + Co Death Valley!

 

 

Working TV Production Tips

When I started out in TV production, I had no idea how important set etiquette was or even how to speak “walkie.”  With that in mind here are a few tips on working production for anyone out there who wants to begin this extremely tough, but rewarding career path.

Getting a foot in the door —
You do not necessarily need a college degree/certification in film to get hired.  Apply for jobs on Craigslist.  There are jobs listed under Film/TV/Video, Gigs, Crew, Event, etc.  There are amazingly helpful sites like “StaffMeUp.com” where they post film production specific jobs and it’s easy to apply.

Go get experience, even if you don’t get paid.  Experience will get you in the door to work other shows/films.  If you make contacts with people who are impressed with your hard work and dedication, they may suggest you for other projects.  Most everyone in the industry started out as a PA, it’s a first step and an important one for making those first impressions.

If you’re hired as a PA on a traveling reality show, things can be a bit more hectic.  Even when you feel 110% prepared, someone will ask for something you may not have available.  It happens, don’t sweat it.  Try to have everything and anything on hand.  Since you are practically traveling every day to different locations, be crazy organized and be sure to know where the cast/crew is every moment during the day.

I carried a go-bag everywhere I went.  If someone wanted gum, I had it.  If someone cut themselves, I had a bandaid.  Someone will always forget their headlamp or gloves, so have some extras on hand.  I plan on publishing a list of items for your go-bag in a future post.  With production, there are always a bunch of moving parts; be prepared, be relaxed and try to enjoy the road life!  You are being paid to see the country.  How cool is that!?

A few behaviors that will get you CANNED!
You landed the job, now let’s make sure you keep it! Don’t be the PA who is on their phone taking selfies to post on Instagram.  Indeed it is important you have your cell on you at all times, it’s not cool to use it for social purposes on set.  You’re a professional, so act like it.  Keep it tucked away on vibrate mode in your back pocket.

Another really important thing to remember is to keep your walkie/headset turned on all day.  Make sure you’re on the correct channel and have plenty of hot bricks (fully charged batteries) on you at all times.   People have been fired on the spot for not having their walkie on and/or being on the wrong channel.  I will be publishing a post about how to use a walkie and some of the most common codes associated with it in the future.