We have a guest post today from Rich Helms, who shows us how he made Wilburine. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of the post, and then visit his blog for more details.
Thank you, Rich, for sharing this with us!
©2016 Rich Helms
Wilburine is a teenage girl angler fish. The dominant features are the mouth, teeth and braces. While researching angler fish gills, I made a surprising discovery. The ferocious version of angler fish is female. The male is 1/10th the size and latches on to the female to become a parasite. So, Wilbur became Wilburine.
Wilburine started as a classic paper mache balloon using brown kraft paper towels and a white resin glue mixture.
Inside the Mouth
For the mouth interior, I used a piece of a little girl’s tube top glued to the inside lip, a cardboard tongue covered in a sock, and a mixture of acrylic paint and chopped egg-carton pulp. The cloth was then soaked with a glue/water mixture before painting with a thinned acrylic paint.
Making the Teeth
For teeth, I thought about using Fimo. Fimo is a name for a brand of polymer clay made by the German company Staedtler. My concern was they were too thick for my fish. I had a thought – why not bend water soaked coffee stirs and cut them into teeth?
Once the lower teeth were glued on, I started posting pictures of the progress on Facebook. The fish gained a name, Wilbur, and people commented. A friend said he needed braces for his teeth. As the back story on Wilbur grew, I decided he did need braces, not to make his teeth straighter, but more crooked. After all, he is supposed to be a ferocious fish. I looked up braces and figured I would get some silver cube-shaped beads, wire and glue them on.
Building the Eyes
I did not want the eyes to look cute. I like the conflict in the look of a ferocious fish with braces. Eyes are very important, as they are often the first focus of attention on a face.
The ridge above the eye gave me an interesting idea. The separation between the fish head and the body is the hard bony flap that covers and protects the gills. In my Mahi Mahi paper mache fish, it is just a ridge that I painted. Using the shoe laces, I thought why not build a proper ridge that would represent the operculum?
I tried making fins several times. I ended up devising a way to make them off of the body and then attach them. This made it easier to try shapes and looks without having to remove them.
Angler fish colour is not visually very exciting so the paint job is basic. I used naples yellow for the base with touches of yellow and red oxide.
Details on Wilburine’s construction can be found on my blog. http://richhelms.net/richhelms/category/paper-mache/