Skeksis Halloween - Making of
What a night. So much fun and got a really good reaction to the costumes. A big thanks to the Halloween committee and a Special thanks to Gypsy for making it all the way to Australia. It so great seeing her again.
A few people at the party showed a lot of interest in the making of the costume so here’s a breakdown of what Aron and myself did over the past month.
Step 1 - Reference.
So important to find good reference. This was particularly difficult as the costume has so many layers and complexity. I always knew ours were going to be a bit more theatrical due to the budget.
Step 2 - Backpack and frame.
We needed a reasonably solid base to build the rest of the form from. Constructed from bent Aluminium, yellow tongue, cable-ties, conduit, Rivets, Elastoplast and rope. The Chamberlain and Emperor had different head placement. Arons view area was from the sides and bottom of the head, whereas mine came from above the head.
Step 3 - Eyes
For the eyes, I created some removable sockets that were glued in later. This allowed me to work much closer and put the resin cast in after. I heat treated some 1.5mm Acrylic and vacformed around a dome to create the clear shell. The resin eye was cast from a sphere. I then lathed the concave pupil with my drill and some sandpaper. This was used to recast multiple eyes.
Step 4. - Building up the forms.
Now we can see things starting to take shape. We built up the shape using plates out of P.E foam and adhered using Neoprene glue. Each panel could then be removed and covered in stretch fabric or whatever we could get our hands on.
The head sculpt started to get further refined and was almost ready for covering. Handy little trick with sculpting the head, a heat gun gently heated the foam to round off thin parts of the sculpt.
More mech related parts (i.e the hands and head) were tested and locked in.
P.S - like my new P.J’s?
Step 5 - Leathering the head
Using Pig skin we bought from Birdsall leather in Botany I began to cover from the beak to the back of the head. I wasn’t too concerned with accidental wrinkles as they provided a more character and highlight for the paint. The eye sockets were skinned separately and attached after. The resin teeth were adhered into cavities using 5 minute epoxy.
Step 6 - Colour and skirt.
A base coat of paint was applied to the head, I knew later I would come back and refine but I wanted to get a bit more of the costume to “catch up”.
With lots of help from Lucy we started to work out the skirt and the beginning of the drapery. We needed to put the costume on quite a few times in order to work out lengths and where it was snagging under my feet. We found that adding a second hoop to base solved the snagging issue.
Meanwhile…at the Aron residence. He seemed to be tracking along really nicely.
Step 7 - Further Refinement and head scenic
I wasn’t happy with the Chamberlains expression, he needed to look more slimy and sleazy. I refined his eyelids further and continued scenic. Painted in Acrylics and given a few coats for Gel medium high gloss. I added subtle touches of gold rub’n’buff.
The arms were gloved with stretch lycra, foam sculpting and bungied into position. I then blocked in his vest, covered in fabric and did a base scenic.
Things were starting to get cramped in the studio. Note to self: need more space.
Step 8 - Drappery
While I was working on other parts, Lucy was busy working out the drappery. The underskirt has two layers, one staggering above the other. The Chamberlain had a light purple shirt which we just sewed some arms and adhered in. His/her coat was an old fashioned open sleeved coat, a deep red Satin was used for the final coat.
In the meantime I was working out a way to hide to performer/me while still giving enough vision to perform in. I stretched some interesting textured black mesh under a tapered sculpt.
Step 9 - Jewellery and trinkets
I could’ve gone NUTS with the jewellery and trinkets. He has so much to him, I just ran out of time. The stone trinket on the left was a stone I found in my garden. I epoxied wire in to create a solid base then sculpted the weirdness with epoxy sculpt. On the Right he had this strange necklace, This was sculpted in P.E foam and covered in leather. All the red jewels I found at Spotlight. I just cut and drilled where necessary. Roughly sticky taped it to the vest until it looked good then fastened it off with contact adhesive and cable-ties.
Step 10 - Last minute touches
The day of the party is here and still so much to do. I had till 3pm until I had to pick up the GoGet van for bump-in. I knew I could do it….Last minute things were - knocked back the red Satin with acrylic washes, stitched in frill to hide the bungie holding up the head, rings and jewellery on hands/vest, frilling on the wrists and adhering wig hair to his head.
There is still so much I want to do but overall it was so much fun to work on and it was a huge success. Everyone was so lovely and it got the exact response I was hoping for.
Not sure if I can top next year but I’ll certainly try…
Thanks for reading.