Introduction: How to Sculpt a Zombie Face
My first Instructable! I've seen a lot of great information on how to make full masks and Halloween prosthetics but not a lot on the sculpt itself. This Instructable is intended to show you how to create realistic zombie features on a mold or life mask using Sculpey. This particular sculpt will eventually be used on some gelatin zombie appliances for Halloween.
Step 1: Assemble Your Gear
The first thing to do is get all of your stuff organized and ready to go, in this instance that means a plaster of paris life mask, a few cheap sculpting tools, a couple of plastic baggies, (both regular and freezer bags for their different thicknesses) and some Sculpey (not pictured).
Step 2: Lets Smush Some Clay
Start adding a thin layer of clay to your life cast, about 1/8th of an inch or so. Try to roughly follow the facial features that are there; cheeks, nostrils, that little depression-thingy under the nose. Remember that this is a zombie sculpt and you are also wanting to emphasize the skeleton under the skin, so add a little extra around the eye sockets, cheeks, and jaw so as to show those bones. I'm adding a little extra across the bridge of the nose at this point to show the bone there and beginning to add some of the folds for the cheeks along the mouth. The skin would begin to sag around these areas once this poor fellow begins to zombify. Very rough at this point, we are just getting an idea of where we are going!
***Hint*** Work the Sculpey around in your hands for a while to warm and soften it up before adding it to your mold. It may make your hands a bit sore at the beginning but it will help a lot with moving the clay around on your sculpt and with adding details later.
Step 3: Begin Adding Details, Starting With the Bigger Stuff...
Refine your facial features such as lips, brows, etc. using your best tools, your hands.
Now for the fun part. Start adding your more gory and zombie-like features, including digging out some rotten cheeks, losing skin on the chin, rotten skin on the forehead, and lots and lots of wrinkles!! (More on that later)
To make the open pored, rotten skin on the forehead I take my homemade tool, push it straight in to the clay, then scoop the clay out to one side. Repeat this a few times and viola! Old, withered, open pores...or perhaps a stray shotgun blast?
Wrinkles are added by laying a piece of plastic on top of the clay then using a sculpting tool to swipe across, making a surprisingly realistic wrinkle. Again, more on this in a bit.
Use another tool (or the same, whatever feels best to you!) to sculpt the rotten skin from the cheeks, chin, nose and forehead.
Starting to look like a zombie now...
Step 4: More Wrinkles!
Zombie skin is old and leathery, at least in my world it is. To get this effect, add wrinkles using clear plastic and a sculpting tool with a rounded narrow point. You do not want an edge on this tool because it will only cut your plastic. They make many tools for sale that will work great, but I made mine using an old paint brush handle, a paper clip bent into shape, and some duct tape. It's what I had.
Lay your plastic on the clay and use your tool to make a line, pressing it through the plastic. This is why clear plastic is used, so you can see exactly where your wrinkles are being placed.
You can make different sized wrinkles by using differing thicknesses of plastic and varying your pressure. To make a thicker wrinkle, either fold your plastic sheet over once or twice or just use a heavier plastic then do the same as just described. The heavier the plastic, the thicker the wrinkle. The more pressure you use, the deeper the wrinkle. Get these in first, then use progressively thinner pieces of plastic to make finer wrinkles.
I would suggest viewing pictures of some of our more, ahem, experienced fellow citizens to see what aging does to the skin. Pay attention to the crows feet around the eyes, the forehead, folds of the cheeks, and around the mouth.
If you make a mistake or your wrinkles aren't looking right it's ok, just smooth it all over and try again. Have some fun with it!
Step 5: Last Details
Finish detailing your wounds as much as you feel necessary. At the very end I recommend taking a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles and lightly brushing the entirety of your new zombie face. This is to remove any fingerprints or other small pieces that may be left in the clay and should not change the appearance of your finished product.
Again, please note how the brow, nose and jawbone are emphasized so as to give the illusion of the skin wasting away and the bones underneath. Use any of your tools to chew up the wounds on the cheeks, etc., but these features really don't need as much detail as the rest as this is where all of your gore and blood will be so it will mostly be concealed when the makeup is added.
That's it, this one is now ready to cast and make some appliances. I hope that you all have enjoyed this Instructable as much as I did making it, now get out there an make your own zombie horde!