I've been meaning to make a gravedigger every year since 1999, but I just never get around to it. This year, I decided it was time. I'd like to introduce you to Ernster Gräber. The name literally means "grave digger" in German.
Click on the pictures for a larger view.
|I started with one wig head and made several paper mache casts of it.|
|First, I tried some dryer lint clay for building up facial features. It works fairly well, and this is my first attempt at using it. Thanks to Black Cat for the recipe -- recycle recycle recycle!!|
|I even made some ears. These were tricky since my dryer lint is full of cat hair, it stuck to my hands and made it hard to shape the ears.|
|I got 'a-head' of myself (hahaha) and decided to fill them with Great Stuff and a PVC neck before putting the eyes in. I did these just like I did the witches and Frankenstein's monster.|
|So I had to improvise with the eyes. I cut a ping pong ball in quarters and cut a couple of slits in the paper mache where the corners of the eyes would be and inserted the ends of the PP ball pieces which made nice tabs into them.|
Then I spritzed the eye area with some water, and applied Gorilla Glue to the edges of the "eyes" so it would expand and hold them on there.
|I added some irises and used a yellow and red marker to give him some bloodshot in the whites. His eyes are wet with glue in this picture. Then I added some eyelids and built up his lips and fixed a spot on his chin and his ears.|
|I wanted him to look kinda creepy, so one of his eyes is wider open than the other. I built up his brows and his nose, and worked on his mouth some.|
|I added some wrinkles to his neck and face, plus I built up his nose some more.|
|Side view of the new nose.|
|I just coated the whole
head in a layer of Cementex Expired Casting Latex. It dries
clear, unlike the regular fresh latex. He's still wet here.
As of 8/10/07, this is as far as I've gotten on him.
|I coated him with a couple of layers of latex, then a coat of greenish-gray tinted latex to try to figure a color for his skin. I wanted grayish, but couldn't figure out how to get a skin tone gray with the wrinkles showing without having to paint down in the wrinkles separately. I hate doing that because it never turns out right. I'm not good at painting faces at all.|
|I used a tiny detail brush and painted some red around his eyes to make him look a little more on the bloodshot side. I hate doing this because I'm always afraid it will look really crappy.|
|I started to paint in shadows in the grooves of the wrinkles and around the eyes and under the nose and stuff, then I just went ahead and painted the whole dang thing with a very dark gray. I regretted it as soon as I got done.|
|I drybrushed with a medium gray and then a vanilla color to highlight the texture. I used too much on the nose and tried to fix it, but it just never looked right so I gave up. He's still pretty dark, and nowhere near the color I envisioned, but it'll do.|
|The eyebrows were a pain and time consuming. I used gray paint to "glue" them on a small section at a time. I cut a little section of hair, maybe 25 hairs at a time, then dipped one end in the paint and then stuck it to the brow area. I did the same with the hair, only I used hot glue and boy, what a mess. I should have just stuck a hat on him.|
|He looked like an owl when I got done putting on the eyebrows. I wanted bushy old man eyebrows. I trimmed a LOT of the length off of them.|
|Here he is completed. I'll be getting to the body later when I can get my son to sit still long enough for me to DTD him. ;-)|
|Of course, the mouth didn't look right either. The good thing is, it'll be dark.. so who cares? I'm the only one who knows what I had in my head, so if he doesn't look right.. whatever.|
|I picked out some clothes from the closest thrift store for Ernster. I got the whole outfit for like 10 or 12 bucks.|
I made him a basic PVC frame body, with a duct tape dummy made with my son's help. Scary, isn't it?
|His hands were made using the Bic pen method. I didn't bother fleshing them out or detailing because he's gonna be wearing gloves to do his work in the grave yard.|
|And this is how he looked in the display. I think he turned out great. At several points Halloween night, I was startled by his presence out there while taking pictures.|
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