|Character (c) Stanfar, Picture (c) Nautilusta|
I had fun with sculpting the details, those are my favourite parts when making fursuits. I used resin eyes from my earlier cast (the same eyes were used for Lei's head) and hand painted them with acrylic Game Colours. I love the result and the colour! It stands out so nicely from the black fur. ^_^ The nose was a bit harder for me to sculpt, but I think it looks nice anyway. I used Apoxie Sculpt for it - a very handy material that dries in the air. And I also sculpted something I'm really proud of - a realistic canine jaw set! The upper jaw is only partial because the teeth won't be visible despite the front teeth and canines. I think they look really nice and they match perfectly! The brown paint around the gums make them more realistic. I also added some gloss to them for the effect of saliva.
I glued the sculpted parts on the head with hot glue. The ears are not yet attached.
I have now figured out how furring the head is easiest to do, and I thought about sharing pictures of the process in case you are curious how I do it!
1. First I wrap the head in cling film. Many other fursuit artists don't do this, but it makes things a lot easier! It prevents the tape from tearing the foam and when you cut out the patterns the tape won't tangle with itself and all the fur. Remember to leave the mouth open, especially if you are building a moving jaw!
2. Next wrap the head with duct tape. I've found it's the best tape for this since it stays in shape and is easiest to attach evenly. But in this case, as you can see, I run out of duct tape and had to use packing tape for the rest of the head. It works just fine. :) You can also leave the nose and the eyes without tape, but I find it easier to cut those part out later.
3. Draw the fur patterns on the head. I draw lines for different coloured markings and also different fur fabrics (in this the slim pieces on the cheeks are for long pile fur, the rest for short pile). Also draw the fur direction with small arrows. You don't want the fur to go to the wrong direction or the head will look funny! If you're not sure which way the fur should go, look at pictures of real animals. They'll help you out! :)
4. Cut out the patterns! They don't look like anything after you've cut them out, but believe me, this will work out.. :D
5. Now you have to copy the patterns on your faux fur fabric. I usually use chalk for this. Because the base is not flat you will have to make small cuts to the round parts so that the pattern will lay flat. For this head I had to cut the face pattern in half for the best result. Remember to check the fur direction on your patterns and the fur fabric before drawing!!!
6. Check for the 10th time that the fur is going to the right direction before cutting out your pieces of fabric! Carpet knife is the best for this. If you cut with scissors you will damage the fur and get some ugly edges.
7. Time to vacuum-clean! At the factory they cut the fur fabrics and leave a lot of loose hair on them. If you look at the edge of the fabric you can see how damaged the edges are. That's why you don't want to cut your patterns straight from the edge.
8. Next you should sew the patterns together. I know everyone doesn't do this, but believe me - you'll enjoy your fursuit head a lot longer if you sew the parts together instead of just gluing them down. The end result is a hood that you can just pull over your base. I usually leave the hood open from below the jaw so the fur is easier to get on the head.
|Finished hood, all patterns sewn together.|
|I tested the hood on the base before gluing.|
9. Use hot glue to glue the fabric on your base. Be careful around the edges (lips, eyes and nose). By folding the fur just a little bit and gluing it down doubled over makes the edge look nice and clean.
10. Time to trim! I use a simple pet trimmer to get fur on the face trimmed down. I see many artists trimming with scissors, but I don't find the result as smooth as with a trimmer. If you have not trimmed before, you should try it on a small piece of fur first before attacking the head. If your trimmer goes to the wrong angle it might damage the fur and leave bald spots on your fursuit - no one wants that (but it does happen even after some experience with the trimmer..)! The trimmers have different kind of blades for different lenghts of furs, so you can switch them as you trim shorter and shorter. I only have one metal blade with mine and the plastic ones just won't work with faux fur, so I start with a 1-3mm blade right away. It only means you need to be more careful. :D I usually trim the head 4-5 times.
|After the first trim.|
|Trimming in progress. The fur hasn't been glued down around the edges (eyes, lips and nose) yet because it's easier when the fur is shorter. And yes, you'll need to keep your vacuum cleaner close by!|
After this I added the neck piece and the head was finished! I realized the snout is too low and the head is not completely symmetric. I think the head looks more like a wolf than a fox because I underestimated the thickness of the faux fur fabric (again). This means that even though the base looked good, the fur made it bolder and the more delicate look of a fox disappeared. I like the over all look of this head, but there are still many things I'd like to change. Maybe I'll do those little changes when I see the head next time in a fur meet. ;)
If you have some other comments or critique, feel free to write them! I'm always looking to improve and receiving critique is the best way to notice my mistakes. ^_^
|The insides of the ears and the tongue are made from fleece. I dry-brushed them with acrylic colours.|
When the head was finished all I had to do is make hand paws and a tail for the partial fursuit. :)
|Close up on how the paw pads are sewn on. It's not the prettiest option, but more durable than other techniques I've tried.|
|Doesn't the paw look adorable in this picture?!|
|This is the biggest and fluffiest tail I've ever made! I love it so much I wanted to keep it for myself!|
|Olia just had to photobomb this time too. "Rawr! The kitsune has little dogs for breakfast!"|