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!
Please check out my friend, the wonderful artist Leeann Kress! See her work at Charmed Confections online: http://charmedconfections.blogspot.com/
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