Portrait of Grandpa With Oxpeckers




Introduction: Portrait of Grandpa With Oxpeckers

- Head and bird bodies carved from Ethafoam
- Forms covered in polar fleece and airbrushed
- Bird wings and eyes cut from sheet rubber and hand painted
- Bird beaks carved in wood and hand painted
- Eyes formed from Sheet Styrene, airbrushed and coated in a gloss finish, white glare highlights cut from vinyl



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    14 Discussions

    Ya that really helps out. I thought you used some type of rod, but that makes more sense. Excited to start a project!

    When you first start carving the head how do you connect the foam pieces so you can form the shape of the head, before you finally glue them together

    1 reply

    I just use small dabs of hot glue near the middle. 3-5 dabs should do it, allowing it to be strong enough to hold together while you carve, but not so strong that you can't pry them apart afterwards. Does that answer your question?\
    I also have a step by step coming up for another mask, should be up in a week or two. Stay tuned!

    This is so crazy great! How did you attach the fleece to the styrofoam? What sort of adhesive did you use?

    1 reply

    Thank you!
    I carve the forms either out of an ethafoam or insulation foam found at the hardware store. The fleece is attached to it with 3M spray glue. I do that part either outdoors or in a spray booth.

    Thanks! I can see how that tool would be useful in shaping the head

    What's a surform? Thanks for all your help so far. I'm excited to start on it soon

    1 reply

    Thanks for the response. I'm really big into Halloween and I'm going to try to make a character head. I have a art degree but I mainly have done 2d art. Do you sand the foam at all to get it smooth? I made a lego man costume last year and u briefly worked with foam to round the top and the bottom if the head and discovered that it could Easily be sanded. So do you sow the fabric on to the head?

    13, 6:16 AM.jpg
    1 reply

    Your lego man costume looks fantastic.
    I don't sand the foam but rather use a Surform to get rid of those uneven edges. It's not really necessary if you are covering your head in faux fur though.
    I apply the fabric with spray glue at first (usually the 3M brand), and sew all the seams. There is no simple way to explain this process. It's a lot of trial and error. I have by no means mastered that technique. It takes a lot of patience.

    Good luck with everything and let me know if you have any more questions.


    Where can you get that ethafoam? What tools did you use to carve it?

    1 reply

    I am based in Montreal and am sometimes lucky enough to find small blocks of ethafoam on the streets, but there is no main supplier here. There is one that I know of in Toronto: http://www.engineeredfoam.com/

    I am not sure where you are located, but a google search should be able to help you find some.

    I use various forms of box cutter blades to carve this foam.

    My usual alternative is to just buy the pink and blue insulation foam that you can find at a local hardware store.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.



    I am not sure how clear it is even to me. I came across some pictures of animals being covered in those birds. So I started researching them. Oxpeckers are cool because scientists seem to struggle with whether they help or hinder an animal. They eat parasites that live in an animal's flesh, but also create bigger wounds in doing so, and sometimes drink a little blood.
    I wanted to use them on a human so I chose my grandfather, who is a pretty big guy. At the time there was a lot of drama in my family surrounding him and his 6 children and this was my way of representing it.

    I've had people ask if it was an ode to Hitchcock too, which kind of works. : )