Behold! The broke artist’s Venom!
There were 4 failed attempts at this mask over the course of about three weeks, but I’ll just take you to the successful run.
We begin with a head-to-neck life cast and a boat-load of grey Plastilina clay.
I used a variety of reference images from the comics and eventually realized a design that would work best on a real face.
One of the most important things being making sure I essentially had a Venom eye shaped bowl for his eye. This eye will be multilayered and to fit everything in comfortably, you’re gonna need this eye bowl.
I had attempted to make an affordable mold using plaster of Paris, frozen alginate, plaster wrap. The best mold however ended up being the most affordable and least messy - hot glue.
Yeppers, 26 hot glue sticks and 40 minutes later…
After the glue is set there’s a routine I have for prepping the mold.
- Remove the glue mold from the clay
- Clean out the leftover clay trapped in the mold
- Clean the mold for an eternity with alcohol on brushes, q-tips and rough rags
- Check for holes (I promise no matter how hard you try there will be holes) by pouring a couple tablespoons of water in your mold and looking for drips
- Take some Vaseline on a stiff brush and completely coat the inside of your mold with baseline. The bad thing about hot glue molds is you will inevitably get tiny cracks/ridges on the inside due to each strand of glue drying so darn fast, the Vaseline does more than acts as a mold release, it also gently fills in these hundreds of tiny cracks.
- Once cracks are filled gently wipe away excess Vaseline
Now for the FX gelatin!
I made 3 different colors but the base recipe is completely the same with the color tinting being super cheapo acrylic paints! Do NOT use oil paints, if you do the pigment settles while the gelatin cools and the surface of the gelatin stains everything it touches, including your hands. Acrylic paints give you intense pigment, no staining, and it permits the gelatin to keep it’s delicious shininess and flexibility.
- Knox unflavored gelatin powder
So this this super easy yet delicate. When making smaller amounts of FX gelatin it’s easier to use a microwave, but for this much I find it’s vastly easier to control the final product if you use a stove top.
Use roughly equal amount gelatin, glycerin and water and put the pot on medium-low heat. The goal is to just dissolve the gelatin crystals. I always use a whisk to mix the ingredients because, again, thanks to the amount of FX gelatin we’re making it gets tricky. Your gelatin crystals are gonna want to ball up in gross jelly balls so you’ll need to aggressively whisk the mixture smooth.
Once you get the mixture smooth (there will ALWAYS end up being a layer of semi-foamyness on top, don’t worry, this won’t show in the final product,) you can begin to introduce some of your pigment.
I decided I had put enough pigment when I could rest my whisk into the mixture and the whisk wasn’t visible below the surface.
Don’t worry about the mixture cooling and setting, you can reheat FX gelatin almost indefinitely, and if stored properly you can reuse the same mixture for months!
Filling the mold is another case where it’s super simple, yet delicate.
The following screenshots are from the parts of live streams on http://Mixer.com/PTBarpun where this mask was made!
I warmed up my gelatin and poured a small amount into the mold, I did this so I could slosh around the gelatin in my mold and make sure that every nook and cranny was covered with gelatin. I did this because in my previous masks that I had ruined, I dumped the entire batch of gelatin into my mold and bubbles/air pockets against the mold had set.
I poured the rest of my gelatin into the mold and I lightly tapped the side of the mold with my palm. You will ALWAYS get some tiny bubbles in gelatin, tapping the mold will make any bubbles rise to the surface so if you do have any unwanted foam or bubbles it will relocate to the inside of your prosthetic.
Remember that gelatin sets VERY quickly so you have to move FAST.
I took my lifecast and gently placed it inside of the mold.
Since hot glue molds (large ones at least) are very floppy no matter how thick you make them, I used pieces of clay to press against my mold and keep the lifecast as tightly against the mold edges as possible.
I then placed the mold and lifecast into the freezer for a few hours. Typically you would only need half an hour for gelatin, but keep in mind how large this piece is.
Teeth and Eye
While that was setting I made teeth using Instamorph thermoplastic.
Thermoplastic is small plastic beads that, once placed in hot water, go clear and become easily moldable.
I removed the gelatin from the mold and placed it back on the lifecast to continue working on it.
I shaped the teeth so that the part of them that would be inserted into the prosthetic would be very skinny and sharp. If you have the base of your tooth be thick and flat it will cause your gelatin to tear and separate (you can see in the above image where the base of one of the back teeth on the top row was too thick and caused the gelatin to separate. I managed to patch this hole later with pros-aide cream)
I mixed together white gelatin using the same recipe as before. For the eye I made a small eye-shaped sculpt, made a mold out of hot glue, and filled the mold with white gelatin. I also mixed together pink gelatin for later use as the gums.
I noticed that the eye was missing the transparent quality that I had hoped for, so I mixed together a very small batch of third-degree silicone and covered the eye with that, giving it an excellent transparent layer. I also added more black gelatin around the silicone so the eye appeared more as a slit and more menacing. This also served to further secure the silicone.
The teeth were far too bright white, so I used a combination of coral, green and dirt tones from the Skin Illustrator flesh tone palette. I then used a very thick mixture of deep pink/nearly red fx gelatin for the gums.
Let us not forget the teeth! Don’t worry friends, this process is way less intensive and extremely affordable. All you need is cotton balls, liquid latex, pink, red and black paints of basically any kind (I used alcohol paints but really you can get away using acrylic or your body paint!) and modge podge glue.
I used my desk for this. First I laid down a layer of liquid latex using a makeup sponge in the general shape of the tongue I wanted. Then you begin basically a lasagna of unrolled cotton balls in a tongue shape, liquid latex, cotton, latex, cotton, latex etc all the while shaping it using a metal spatula or any tools you have lying around for shaping.
Notice that I made sure that my tongue base had some excess liquid latex around it. This is because you’ll be gluing this to your cheek/inside your prosthetic and I wanted good surface area to stick them together.
Spend a few hours painting/shading/highlighting and end with several layers of craft glue/modge podge. Allow to sit overnight.
It’ll peel right up in the morning!
Now the most exciting day of them all! Application day!
I decided since I wanted to go whole hog with this that I would make application easiest for myself by shaving my head for the first time in my life, just one side, but still!
If you don’t want to go the hardcore route then I recommend smoothing down your hair with a ton of mousse, pinning it back, then put down a couple coats of washable glue stick followed by a layer of prosaide cream. Even with that in place I would likely try to place a black headband or other means of securing cleverly in the mask itself.
I enjoyed being able to just swipe on prosaide cream onto my head using a q-tip.
For my heavier prosthetics I vastly prefer using prosaide cream over regular prosaide.
Put a generous amount of prosaide onto your face and head, as well as your prosthetic. Allow to dry until clear.
Once you have the prosthetic comfortably on, apply a little prosaide to the base of your tongue, then press on, it’s a little awkward working it between the teeth but not difficult!Now for the paint job! Get your favorite black body paint and covered the desired area. I decided I wanted my paint to be reminiscent of the new Venom poster, so I tried to make a wispy/creeping effect.
I opted for beauty makeup on my non-Venom side.
Pop on your favorite black fake nails and we are done!
PTBarpun is a special effects makeup artist, body painter and partnered live streamer for Mixer.com
PT has done mixed media art for 10 years, and body paint/SFX for 2. When she isn't busy mommying she is working 4 jobs and creating familiar characters on stream.
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