Sue Day: Silicone Painting & Hair Punching Lesson

12 Nov

Today we had a session with Sue Day, who works at Madame Tussaud’s. We have been working with Martin from Madame Tussaud’s for a few weeks now on life casting, however Sue came in to teach us about painting silicone and hair punching.

Using a ready made silicone piece (originally of David Beckham), we practiced colouring. We used a silicone/turps/oil paint mix, creating the consistency and colours ourselves.

I wanted to work with a “flesh” coloured piece so I could create a more realistic look, but instead was given a opaque red-pink piece. I instantly gave it  green wash to try combat the horrible colour; though not knowing yet how to use the paint, I did leave a few green dots – oops. Using the flicking technique with a stiff brush and light washes with a small brush, I built up layers of colour to create a human skin pattern, paying attention to where certain colours would lie in the skin, such as more blues for the thin eye skins, where veins would show through.

Colour Build

Colour Build

She then showed us how to punch hair, the actual punching is pretty easy.

All you need is a normal needle; cut the end off the eye so you have a fork-like implement, then mount this in a needle grip handle (the same one used for a knotting needle). Next push the hair into the silicone, the key is the angle and direction. You need to study how the hair grows out of the skin to ensure a realistic growth pattern,  keeping the needle very horizontal if you want the hair to lie on the skin surface, vertical if pushing away from the body.

We were meant to use curled hair (curled by wrapping straight hair around a chopstick and boiling), however I wanted to create old man eyebrows, which often are quite messy and stick out a lot, so I used straight human hair.

Initial piece, next to the finished piece.

Initial piece, next to the finished piece.

Next stage is colouring and punching our own silicone piece… stay tuned!

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