Monday, October 17, 2016

~ The Witching Tree ~

Hello Readers!

Welcome back to another fun filled account of the inner workings of Zombienose -  the zombieworks if you will. I apologize for the delay, but Halloween is a very busy time of year and I've spend a lot of building a new line of work. In this exciting issue we'll be creeping into a very dark & dreary path to illustrate the creation of...

It all began with a quick sketch...Yeah, yeah, I know this looks nothing like the finished piece, but it was just a germ of an idea at that time. 

Anyhoo, I marched forward not knowing how silly the final product would turn out. I started the build simply by mounting a couple of pieces of armature wire into a wood base bought at the local hobby store.

Next I used Great Stuff spray foam (from Home Depot) to coat the armature and build up some tree trunk mass.

Near the top of the first armature stems, I attached more wire to represent the tree limbs using epoxy putty to ensure its strength. I know, it's pretty self explanatory so far, but stick with me and I'll try to be more entertaining.

I added a few more limbs branching off, using epoxy putty to attach them and then wrapped a thin gauged wire to help hold the foam that I will be adding. And check out those roots!

Yep, that's more spray foam I've added. You can also see where I've started cutting slices off with a razor blade to shape it. Try to ignore those other heads laying in the foreground. They became different characters.

Finally it's starting to look like a tree!! You can see I've added the thinner twiggy branches by using an even thinner gauge wire.

Around this time, I carved away some of the foam where I planned to put the face on the trunk. I had the idea to place lights inside the tree to illuminate the eyes in the final piece, but I hadn't quite planned that out ahead of time. Oops. Don't worry, I made it work.

So.... After adding a lot more smaller branches I laid a string of non-LED battery powered lights across the limbs and bunched them in the hallowed out area in the trunk. I used invisible tape to temporarily hold them in place.

Some of the wood base had to be removed in order to recess the battery pack so that new batteries could easily be replaced from the top of the base. See below!

Now I went ahead and added some puple crayola sand to the top of the base. I watered down some Elmer's glue and mixed the sand in, then applied it to the wood base. When it dries, it is solid! You can also see that I've begun adding a portion of the tree bark using Magic Sculpt epoxy putty. It still looks like a mess below, but I was hoping the "witching" part of the tree would happen soon!

Because I'm scatter brained at times, I neglected to take photos as I bashed out a lot of  the sculpture. I left the lighted face area on the trunk open for now. I would still add to it, but I decided I wanted to work on some of the accessories instead.

Every haunted tree needs a murder of crows, right? I sculpted some bird forms using super sculpey and painted them black. Their legs have firm wire to support them on the branches. Some of the birds would have lights in their eyes, but for these I used red seed beads.

I glued black feathers to the forms I made. Sorry for the fuzzy picture. It was late and I was tired.

Returning to the tree, I rolled out some noodley worms of Magic Sculpt to create the face. It looks pretty goofy at this stage, but give me a break - it was just the beginning!

Got the face sculpted and crows attached! I spray painted the entire tree black then dry brushed a base coat of a reddish brown color. The teeth are gray because they are still soft and freshly sculpted. I sculpted layers of teeth to hide the wires for the lights in the eyes. I also dry brushed the sand on the base to appear more moss-like. I made a few stones out of magic sculpt and painted them.

Then I made a jack-o-lantern to act as a cover for the battery pack. The pumpkin was cast in resin and screwed into the plastic cover with sand coating. The light switch is also located in this area directly  against the tree trunk,

When switched on the eyes glow an orange color, hence the reason I did not use LED lights. Because I didn't do enough preplanning and basically ran out of time, only two of the crows have glowing  eyes when the tree is switched on. It looks impressive nonetheless.

For a final detail, I added some stringy moss consisting of fiberfill and Fabri-tac glue. In the photo below you can see I hung clips on each end to weigh down the hanging "moss" until it dried so they would appear like gravity was affecting them.

After all of that, the Witching Tree was ready to cast it's gloom upon any onlookers. Here are some shots of the final piece, which measures about 16 inches tall.

I hope this gives you nightmares!

Please check out my YouTube channel for a video of "The Witching Tree"!

The Witching Tree is presently available for purchase along with other items on the Zombienose Etsy Shop.  Click below for more!

I also hope you enjoyed this edition and will stay tuned for more!

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Gal on Wire...

Have I got a treat for you! With this edition of Zombieworks I'm gonna lay down the steps I took to make yet another art piece based upon a character from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I dub thee, "Tight Rope".

For starters, I began with sculpting the frame. I used Chavant, an oil based clay, to carve out the base form. And because this tribute was based on one of the stretching portraits at the entrance of the Haunted Mansion I vertically stretched my frame design to accomodate the piece. 

Beneath the alligator's head was a simple wire armature and I used Sculpey Firm to sculpt it. At the same time I was making a flying Monkey for my Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch piece (note the thin black feathers on the right side of the photo). If you're interested in reading my post about the Wicked Witch build click here! Also, the head on the lower left side of the picture would soon become my Bride of Frankenstein piece, Nevesta. (You can see here build here: It's Alive! The Bride of Zombienose)

Anyway, back to this project. I quickly added some form to the alligator's head...

After a little more detailing I added the alligator's teeth. You can see the black bandaged arms to my Bride figure and the flying monkey in progress again. Sorry for the distraction.

While I sculpted the Allygal, I asked a helper to help make the costume and hand-stictch the patterns on the dress. It turned out great!

To make the umbrella, I started by bending some wire around a ball to get the shape. The wire would serve at the spines for the umbrella. I secured the wire with some epoxy putty, then removed the ball after the epoxy hardened.

Next I stretched some pantyhose over the wire to serve as the fabric. Then I finished by brushing some resin over the pantyhose so it would never rip or wear out. Some lace trim was added and an inner lining was glued in before I painted it  the final Pink color. Later, I would add some metal trinkets to create the decorative handle.

Next, I went ahead and began attaching her hair in a style that was reminicent of the original character. I also rolled fabric over her hands and glued it into place so she would have gloves. 

Then I went ahead and began painting the alligator.

The Allygal's hair was coming along, but not done yet. I bought some little flowers & ribbons for her hair, then painted the umbrella and gloves to match.

This photo was taken when a friend of mine was visiting my workshop and brought his character along to visit. The figures are sitting in the sculpted clay frame, which I molded with silicone then cast in resin. 

After I painted the resin frame, I set the figure into it to see it come together and attempt to calculate how much more work I had to do. You can also see that I've added the umbrella's handle. Our little lady also got her eyelashes attached. In addition, I finished painting the alligator and temporarily attached near the bottom.

Then I tried to figure out how I would incorporate the tightrope and poles into the piece. Below, I used a wire to work it out and get a sense of the space.

Originally I planned to make her legs invisible and just show her slippers and ribbon. Below you can see them in their infancy.

Here is that concept, which I abandoned because I thought it might cause people to look up her dress. Pervert. And for the rope, I basically twisted string around a wire and saturated it with glue, making a mini rope. This way is would remain stiff and wouldn't move around at all.I also went ahead and secured some plastic plants along the sides of the frame and poured in some clear resin for the water that the alligator lives in. Lastly, I added a rock here and there in the 'water' for fun, too.

But back to the issue that was bugging me. What else could I do but give her legs? So I made them from Super Sculpey and decided that this must be the way to go.

I painted the rough forms a light blue shade like the rest of her skin, but still wasn't completely satisfied. It needed something more...

You can see another angle and get a better idea of how she's balancing. She's slightly leaning forward. Also, next to her in the picture is my other Haunted Mansion Tribute piece from that same time, "Buggy". 

I covered one of her legs with black nylon pantyhose and this was looking better.

Ok, with the ribbon I was satisfied. Very close to the finish line now!

Got her other stocking on and tada!

 And now here's some closeups!

Here's a video on my YouTube channel so you can see the piece from more angles:

I hope you enjoyed this trip through the creative process. Stay tuned, I've got more coming!

The Last Tidbit:

Please check out my friend, the wonderful artist Leeann Kress! See her work at Charmed Confections online:

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