Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Unicorn Progress - Construction Begins!

This is a bit of a big update as it comprises almost two weeks worth of work. I missed two days last week and today in fact as I've been choked up with a cold (like most people I know at the moment, lol) so I would probably have done most of this sooner had I managed to get in. Regardless, I've done a lot more than I thought I would in the time.

The last time you saw this little guy he was still unfinished; his mane woefully untextured and sausage-like. Now, he sits pride of place on a shelf, watching me work.

Finished Maquette

Photos of him were taken from the side and front and then enlarged to the size the of the final model as I would be using them as a scale reference. Once printed, I traced the basic outlines and had those copied and scaled too, then the profile was double-sided to a sheet of MDF which I cut out on the bandsaw. The notch at the top is to allow for the horn to be inserted. (assuming I actually get round to making my mind up on what I want it to look like! lol)

MDF base

It is very small, and if I'd realised how tiny it was going to turn out I would probably have re-sized it there and then but never mind. I always imagine Unicorns as being rather petite anyway so it's fine. :P

MDF was glued at the base of the neck at the widest part so I knew where to sculpt to and then I began to add the blue foam. If I'd had my way (and loads of money for resources!) then I'd have wanted to sculpt it freehand from clay and cast it buuuuut that wasn't an option so blue foam it was!

Foam WIP

Here it looks like he's wearing some kind of Art Deco turtleneck jumper or bizarre scarf but it's just a selection of foam chunks hot-glued into place. I was a little apprehensive as it's one thing to carve a relief into foam, like what I did at the start of the year with the fossil, but quite another to excise a three dimensional creature out of it!

Foam WIPFoam WIP

The muzzle started to take shape quickly using a hacksaw blade and some files. I drew on the eyes and rough cheek outlines with a sharpie so I didn't lose track of where things were. (even then I still managed to draw one on squint!)

Foam WIPFoam WIP

Having the images there to refer to was a huge help in getting all the angles right but I found getting the nose narrow enough was tricky. I'd get one side looking good only to find I was off by rather too many millimetres for my liking!

Foam WIPFoam WIP

I think this was the stage where Simon told me he looked fat. XD

Foam WIP

Foam WIP

I think he looks oddly contented there - strange when you think he can't see or hear for his lack of eyes and ears!

Foam WIP

Argh, so WONKY! D: D:

I'll be doing some actual sculpting around the eyes and mouth later on with epoxy so I can sort out the worst of the squint bits hopefully.

Foam WIP

Foam WIP

That's how I left him yesterday after a whole day's work. I still need to add to his neck at the bottom and tweak his eyes a bit but aside from that I think he's ready for a layer of plaster and then I can add in his eyes and hair him.

Speaking of eyes...

Blank eyes

I bought a set of blank glass eyes from as I had a very specific look in mind and I couldn't find anything suitable online. I wanted them to be blue with a horizontal pupil, like a goat or sheep but the only blue or grey ones I could find I didn't like as they were too plain so I thought I'd have a go at painting them myself. This was harder than I'd anticipated as the exact shade of blue I thought I had...I didn't. In the end they turned out different to how I'd intended but it was a good sort of different so I don't mind.

During our Developmental Drawing on Monday I sat with one of the eyes and tried to see what the finished thing would look like by placing the blank over it.



In the end they turned out a lot darker as I didn't have the right blue. I did however, possess some rather nice metallic poster paint that I've had since I was about nine and most of which are still in full working order. As I was painting from the back, I used them first as they catch the light rather beautifully as you can see on the big smudge of it on my finger here. XD


As I was at home today I thought I'd make a start on another integral part of the Unicorn - his ears!

I made a rough ear from tinfoil, covered it in doublesided tape and then wrapped a piece of felt around it to make a pattern.

Ears WIPEars WIP

I then traced the pattern onto some white leather and cut out the ear shapes. I'd dyed some very short pile fur fabric with strong tea earlier on to take away the bright whiteness of it and make it look a little more natural so once it had dried I glued the leather ears to it - the 'fuzzy' side of the leather becoming the inside of the ear.

Ears WIP

While the glue was drying I painted the insides with watered down acrylics, getting darker at the bottom where the ear would fold up.

Ears WIP

Once everything was dried and whatnot, I began to add some mohair. I'd toyed with the idea of just leaving them hairless like that but really, that was just boring and besides, I wanted to make it look like a piece of taxidermy so fuzzy ears were a must!

I teased out some creamy coloured mohair and glued it at the sides - any glue still showing afterwards would be hidden by the remainder of the fur fabric I would fold over.

Ears WIP

Finished ears

Finished ears

Finished ears

(Excuse the odd location for photography - it was the only place in the house I wasn't casting a shadow over them! lol)

Aaaaaand of course, the obligatory looking-stupid-wearing-unicorn-ears-whilst-looking-stupidly-at-the-camera self portrait.

How could I resist? :P


Yes well, I just had to didn't I? :P

Progress will continue on Monday!

EG out!

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