(Click on the images for a more detailed explanation.)
The method of head construction that I use begins with a street hockey helmet (or any other suitable helmet or hardhat). A frame of tension wire (used in the construction industry) gives the head a rigid shape. A layer of nylon mesh (needlepoint fabric) fastened to the frame with electrical tie-wraps gives it a smoothly curved surface.
The beak is a thin layer of Magic-Sculp epoxy resin molded onto the nylon mesh, then sanded, painted and varnished.
|The eyes are the single most important part in creating the look of
any creature. They must look just right, or the rest of the design will fall short.
The quality of materials used to make the eye give it the illusion of life, and the
cut of the material around it gives it its shape.
For the griffin's eagle eyes, I used half of a hollow plastic ball (from a toy store or plastic supplier). A disc of needlepoint fabric (used to make coasters) is the "white" of the eye. A carefully cut ring of amber mylar, detailed with fine tip red and black markers, is the iris. And a piece of expanded metal mesh from a frying pan spatter screen, darkened in the center with a black marker pen, is the pupil.
|I used reticulated polyfoam for the final shaping of the head,
because it's lightweight and air can pass through it for good ventilation. The foam
and fabric are glued to the helmet with contact cement, then airbrushed with watercolor
dyes to give it the desired look.
The lower part of the beak is movable. Small springs hold it closed (but delicately balanced), and a small pressure pad couples its movement to my own jaw. The hinge point is just an inch or two behind my chin, so the motion is exaggerated proportionally.