Thursday, March 31, 2016

I'll Get You My Pretty...!

Ok, this one's another doozy so click your heels and get ready for another stroll down that yellow brick road! To begin, I threw down a quick layout sketch to visualize how the piece would fit into one of my custom frames. I also thought it would be neat to add some lighting elements to the piece and have a functional hourglass that you could remove from the piece and flip to restart. This was going to be a load of work so it was going to take some planning. But when I did my first sketch I made the unforgivable mistake of forgetting the Flying Monkey! After all, every good villian needs their minions. So I rectified this in Photoshop...

To start the build I had a couple of different ideas for the witch's look, as you can see below. In the end, I decided to stick with my original idea and use the long nosed version. The other sculpt became my Bride of Frankenstein from my art piece "Nevesta". (You can view my blog about making Nevesta by clicking HERE). But do that later! We're just getting warmed up!

I sculpted all of the Wizard of Oz tribute heads with Chavant clay. If you want to see the Tinman's process you can check that out by following this link HERE.  Below is a picture of all of the heads being molded with silicone. 

Not sure if I mentioned this, but I was making all of these characters at once. I made all of the other costumes myself, but my helper made the Witch's exquisite outfit for me.

Now here's a test fitting with the costume. The body it simply armature wire with epoxy putting holding the arms on. I filled out the body with foam. The hands are made with Super Sculpey over wire armature. You can also see the flying monkey's hands and armature behind the Witch body to the right.

The rest of the parts were on another table. You can see the cape along with some other elements. I also finished the broom prop, but needed to paint the colored stripes on the handle. The green tape is masking off the areas I don't want paint on. I used an empty glass snowglobe for the crystal ball and the base that held the ball was cast with resin. You can also see the circuit board that would operate all of the lighting elements.

I placed the head on the body to see how she was coming along. Orange hair?!? Are you crazy?

This was the preliminary green paint job. Next to her is the Cowardly Lion in progress. That was a bright green base coat. She's greener than grass! Take it down a notch, Zombienose!

And so I did. I went ahead and finished my initial paint job with a blue nose. I liked it for a few seconds, then wanted to dowse it with a bucket of water. I was unhappy with it so I decided to redo it later after I worked on some other parts of the piece. 

Monkeys are distracting, so I moved on. Here's just a rough sketch and a closer look at what I had planned for the monkey. 

I sculpted the head and cast it in resin. He looks bare without fur, but that would come later. Next I made an armature body for him.

I used epoxy putty to secure the Monkey's head on and gave him some wing forms to glue very small black feathers to. I hollowed out the head of the Monkey and placed lights inside for his eyes (see the wire?).  Anyway, I put a base coat of paint on him, but this little guy was going to need a lot of hair and feather work!

In this photo you can see where I started placing the feathers onto the Monkey's wing. Also, this is a nice record of the early stage of the crystal ball, before it was painted gold. I sculpted the winged monkey once and molded it with silicone putty. Then, when the mold was cured, I pressed more Super Sculpey into the mold and made several more. Look! The crystal ball is empty! ...just like my energy level. I took a break and thought of another idea. 

I thought it would be neat to add some more lighting elements into the piece. Now I planned to place a small green light in the crystal ball to illuminate an image of Dorothy. I sketched out my plan...

Are you still reading this? Okay, here's what happened next: I glued some hair onto the Witch's head. Pay no attention to the cat behind the curtain! (in the background) I went with black and decided to place a streak of orange along the sides.

Here's a better look at the Orange streak and the completed paint job on the broom.

Then I cut an oval from a thick matte board and stared at it. I stuck the broom in the Witch's hand for effect and laid on a temp version of the Monkey's vest.

At this point, I know what you're thinking: How about the castle? Where's the castle, you idiot? These things aren't just going to float around in space and defy gravity are they? 

Well, yes they are. All done. I hope you enjoyed the blog. Til next time...!

Just kidding. But this was an elaborate piece and fitting all of these pieces into this frame was going to be a tight. Let's get back to the Monkey. It was time for this little guy to man up and grow some fur... and a tail. I dyed some synthetic white fur gray I bought from Joann's and began to attach it to the armature. 

After getting the bulk of the coverage on, I still needed to blend the fur onto the hands, as well as fill out the neck. Then after all of that I would dress the fur onto the head. Grooming a monkey is hard work!

Then, with a rebel yell, I gave him his mohawk! I also dressed his neck with fur and attached his hat. This soldier was shaping up quite nicely! But where's his costume?

Oh, there it is... I made the vest by pasting fabric over a cardboard pattern I made for the little fellow. The slits were needed to fit it onto the Monkey's body, since I already attached his large hands before his costume was done. The red and yellow trim is string that I glued on in a pattern.

I layed all the pieces out to see what I had thus far and placed the frame I sculpted over it. For the bricks on the wall, I wanted to make life a little easier. The colorful chucks you see are glass pieces that I planned to mortar into place as bricks. The brick shapes you see are actually styrofoam pieces I formed and coated with resin. 

So I began to build it, brick by brick, using plaster as mortar.

One that was done I spray painted it to a uniform stone gray and dirtied it up with some black because a witch's house should have a cold and dark feeling, like her heart.

Once that was done, I had to figure out how to mount the electronics. My brother helped with this. I also cut a thin piece of plywood to mount the wall and window onto. The white panel in the middle of the photo below is a blue light panel that will illuminate a background scene just outside the window. Pretty snazzy!

I marked out where I would mount the various parts of the electronic stuff...

About this time, I purchased an actual miniature hourglass and made the handles. I only sculpted the handle once, then molded it with silicone and cast the three handles in resin. Then I inserted magnets into the top and bottom circular wood pieces so that the hourglass would lock to the table when in the frame.

Then I was back into painting mode. I added some reddish orange to her nose and set her hat on her head. This combo seemed to cast a spell on me...Hi, I'm corny. Note that the photos in the middle row she's wearing my Scarecrow's hat with a feather.

Next up, I did some paint tests for the frame... green or red?

Maybe it would be easier to judge if I layed out the other parts of the piece. Damn, now I have to figure the rest of it out!

GREEN!! Emerald City was saved! Near the bottom of the freshly painted frame you can see the small square area I cut out. This is where I will place the toggle switch to turn the lighting elements on and off. 

Who rang that bell ?!

My next step was to mount the set pieces onto the wall. I drove a drywall screw through the back and slid a piece of brass tubing over it, using 5 minute epoxy to permanently secure the parts. You can see the wires for the crystal ball are sticking up through the base.

Oh, Auntie Em! It's a full mock up!

Initially, I wasn't sure how to approach the crystal ball at first, so I went ahead and mounted the light into the base. Then I glued a semi-transparent picture of my Dorothy sculpture. 

All of the lights worked! I then secured the background image into the window frame. About this time, yet another lightbulb went off in my head (pardon the pun) and I wanted to add red velvet drapes to the background as well. But I'll get to those in a second.

These things must be done delicately... or you hurt the spell. So I moved along, using fiberfill and spray painting it a yellowish green color to simulate smoke also accentuating the green glow of light within the glass ball.

How about a little fire, Scarecrow?

The toggle ON/OFF switch also lights up.

Before securing the frame around the piece I checked the positions again.

The Witch looked good... The monkey was good...

...but I wanted to add drapes! 

If I only had a brain I wouldn't have almost forgotten about was the letter "Z" I placed on the bottom right of the frames of the other Oz pieces (the opening of the frame itself being the "O" in Oz). So I cast a resin "Z" from my Oz mold and took care of that. I attached it to the frame with epoxy and Magic Sculpt epoxy putty. Then a paint job and you'd never know it was separate.

Yes, let the joyous news be sung! The wicked old Witch at last is done!

Going so soon? I wouldn't hear of it... Why, my little party's just beginning...

Ding Dong,  the Witch is done!!

I'll get you my pretty.... and your little blog too!

And now, my beauties, something with poison in it...

Oh, what a world! What a world!

Oh, there's no place like home!

Once again, I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Zombienose Inner Workings. Please check out some of the links below and add me on social media so I know that somebody actually reads these blogs. Thanks!


Please also check out the neat stuff at Circus Living! 

Join Zombienose on Social Media!