Whew! Anachromie is finished! I’m posting the final pictures of her below and she’s up for sale in the gallery now! Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much since the last post. The only thing left to do was grooming the beard, nothing special. I’m no hairdresser, so I just followed some simple tutorials on how to reduce hair volume and that’s it. Now, taking the final pictures and fixing them took me almost two full days of work. If you’re a photographer, you will know how tough it can be to photograph something that’s shiny AND metallic. Even the best shots had to be edited and “frankensteined” together so you could appreciate all details without weird glares and burns. But anyway, it’s done! Anachromie proved to be quite an interesting experience. I experimented with quite a few things: a whole lot of air-dry clay mixes, silicon moulds, the dewlap, adding hair… I learned a lot and it was lots of fun. For those of you who follow me, I hope you’re pleased with the result too, and please spread the word! I want her to go to a good home. Thank you all, I’ll soon tell you about the other project I’m working on now.
THE BEARD IS DONE! My brain started to hurt from thinking about how to proceed with the beard for so long. I really couldn’t find a solution that would work and look good at the same time. But I did in the end and I bring you proof! Prepare yourself, because this is a picture-heavy post. But before showing you the beard, here you have a picture of Anachromie with another layer of paint. It’s still not finished and it needs black washing, but that will have to wait til tomorrow.
So, remember how I prepared the white wig? You can find it on this post if you missed it. What I did was cut off half of the seam line. I could do this safely only because I literally bathed the whole seam on PVA glue, otherwise the hairs would just fall off. I did this so the beard would look as natural as possible, with a smooth and seamless transition between skin/scales and beard. Tough stuff though.
Once the hot glue gun was good to go, I calculated where the middle point of the beard would be, then I started gluing the hair strands to the chin in a spiral.
I put extra glue in the crevices of the chin so it would be a bit smoother. The trick is to dip your finger in cold water, and while the glue is still hot, press it down and shape it to your convenience. I kept on gluing hair in a spiral until I was done. I used a length of about 70cm in total (not the length of the hair itself, I mean the strips).
As you can see above, the result was a very nice full beard. But now I had to deal with that unsightly hot glue. And of course, you can’t just paint it because acrylics don’t stick to it that well and it looks awful in any case. I needed something that would blend into both the skin/scales AND the beard. So I decided to experiment with something quite unconventional that I had never used on any piece of art: surgical tape! This stuff. In case you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically a very thin paper-like tape that’s very flexible, porous and you just put on your skin when you want to avoid an infection on a wound. The thing with this tape is that the glue is extremely sticky and sort of waterproof (it doesn’t fall off your skin even after a shower). And since it’s so thin and paper-like, I thought it would be a good thing to use. After covering the seams and all of the hot glue, I added a few layers of tissue paper. I made it really damp to the point that it broke apart, and smudged it into the strands of beard hair.
It didn’t take too long to dry. I painted the whole thing ochre and then dry-brushed both skin and beard with raw umber until it looked natural. The transition doesn’t look as smooth as I would like (the tissue paper is a bit too wrinkly compared to the smoothness of the cotton fabric), but it’s acceptable. Now I just need to black wash it and it will be ready! I’d love to hear opinions on the beard. Find me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know, or just leave a comment of course.
First of all, apologies for the lack of proper white balance on the pictures below. Yes, you will notice. Sooo, anyway, down below you’ll be able to see the dried “fake” chin (it’s very rigid now), and also the glue on the hair strips dried up. It feels very secure now and they’re not losing hairs anymore, so I went ahead and gave all of the strips a good combing. To dye the hair I just used very diluted acrylics and a hard brush. The trick is to dye them in the front and then the back. If you don’t dye both sides, chances are there will be bits of hair that will stay white here and there. It’s very important to dilute the paint quite a lot too, if it’s too concentrated, the hair will just stick together. If this happens to you, don’t worry, just give it a quick rinse with warm water under the tap and remove the excess paint. It should be alright when it dries!
Above (on the left) you can see what the hair looked like when it dried. On the right is what it looked like after combing it. And finally, below you can see all of the hair I prepared dried and brushed. So silky and smooth! I made some locks a bit yellower than others. I’m glad it’s still noticeable after drying. I think it will make for a cool effect when put together in layers! I guess we will see.
Hair. Perfectly common in humans, not so much in dragons. Anachromie is a gorgeous bearded lady though, so today I’m showing you how I prepared her beard. I had to ask a good (and informed) old friend of mine on how to do it, since my experience with hair in general is very limited, so thank you, o Queen of the Bright Lights.
I was advised to make a “cap” to attach the hair to, and then glue the cap to the rest of the dragon. I’m not sure that’s how I will proceed, but I did it anyway. I took a piece of cloth, dipped it in PVA glue and shaped it to the dragon’s chin with a thin layer of transparent cling film in between. I let it dry in a position where it would hold the shape but not fall off.
Now, regarding the hair itself, what I did was purchase a white wig (long and wavy) with the intention of dying it myself. I turned it inside out, and cut the mesh following the lines of hair sewn into it. Then, I cut and pulled all of the mesh and thread until the stripes of hair became loose. At this point, the stripes of hair were rapidly losing hairs after removing the stitches that kept them sort of restrained though, so following my friend’s advise, I strengthened them with PVA glue. I used a sponge to literally soak the base of the hairs on top of an acetate sheet (so it wouldn’t stick). I did this to enough strips of hair to make the beard…. and a bit extra, just in case. Now to let it dry!