My good friend Sara Rode, who is also the director/creator of the Nicholas stop motion animation project I am making this armature for, was holding onto the Nicholas armature that I was working on a month ago, since I had to leave for some very urgent business (read: Disneyland with the family). She dropped them off for me this past weekend and I found some time after work to add to it.
Last time I left off, I was adding a bit of clay to the taped wire structure, but had to stop because I had no fleshy color. Sara provided me with two blocks of the regular orange-colored Van Aken plastalina this time, so I combined an equal amount of white and orange to get just the right colored clay I needed for the next step. (The picture below shows only a bit of what I mixed. In hindsight, I should have just made a giant lump of flesh colored clay to prevent having to mix more later on and any inconsistent color mixing.)
I took the fleshy clay and applied it where Nicholas’ skin would be showing – mainly the lower legs (knees and shin), hands, neck, and face. The hands took me the longest to do – about 2 hours total. It is much more difficult to shape small fingers when your own fingers are huge and fat. Good thing I had some tools at hand. And another thing I will consider next time I make an armature is to make one less finger – the pinky was a serious hassle to model without smushing everything else together.
At this point I took a friend’s advice and used a little rubbing alcohol to smooth out all the lumps and bumps on the clay. You can’t see it very well from the pictures I took, but it did help. I used a Q-tip to apply a small amount of alcohol and then smoothed the clay over with my fingers.
The face at this point was not done; I added some clay to the face to give Nick more cherubic cheeks and a cute wedge nose. For eyeballs, I took two pearl beads bought from Michaels, some Titanium white acrylic paint, and a paintbrush and painted the beads white. I waited a few minutes for each bead to completely dry, then smoothed clay over half of each bead for eyelids and plopped them into place.
And this concludes part 3 of Nicholas’ armature. (Look at how alien ish it is! Aww.) In the next installment I will be adding hair, and doing some other things. Exciting!