Recently, I have been working on the Mail Man's head. My brother Nathan and I have decided to make two full puppets for the Mail Man character so that we can both work on animating the character at the same time on two different sets. Both the puppets need to be exactly the same so I will me molding the character's head sculpt so that I can cast two sets of heads along with all the replaceable face pieces. Overall the head will consist of four parts, the hair/ears, the eyeball socket, the replaceable mouth and a replaceable forehead.
The head needs to be made from the inside out so to begin I had to make the eyeball socket. I wanted the socket to be made of silicone so that it grips the eyeballs firmly but also allows them to turn.
The aim was to create a silicone version of the grey plastiline shape shown above. The square brass tubing (K&S) will be where the socket locks in place, and the eyes are rough fast cast copies of the beads used in my Mail Man maquette.
This was then molded using plaster using a plastic cup. once the plaster had hardened the grey plastiline was removed along with the square brass tubing. The fast cast eyes stay in the plaster to create the eye socket shape.
After casting out an eye socket in silicone I realised that it's shape was too flat and wide to fit inside the characters head. I repeated the same process with a new plastiline socket shape that saved space and curved to the contours of the face. Below is a picture of this new socket along with a silicone cast version with the eyes in place.
The square brass tubing used to lock the socket in place is also used to slot the head onto the puppets neck armature. The character's neck will be cast in silicone and needed to slot into a hollow area in the head. To achieve this I roughed out the characters neck shape creating a solid tube shape where the neck will slot into the head. I then pushed Milliput (two part epoxy hardening clay) over this tube shape and the square brass tubing and left it to harden. I then removed the plastiline neck leaving a solid, hollow Milliput shape that the neck can slot into using the square brass tubing.
The next step was to start bulking out the head shape that supports the silicone eye socket. It's a socket for a socket!
This was sculpted using Super Sculpey firm. At this stage I baked the sculpt to harden it. I then applied a small amount of vasiline over the front surface of the face and pushed a thin layer a Milliput onto the face and around the eyes. The vasiline stops the Milliput from sticking to the sculpt so that it can be removed once hardend creating a mask. This mask was divided across the eyes creating a forehead and mouth section.
Now the four head sections have been created, but as you can see from the picture above, they need alot of work. The rest of the facial features now need to be added using super sculpey to rough out the basic shapes.
Tune in next time for another exciting edition!