Zombie bust primed

Zombie bust primed

Zombie bust – Aris Kolokontes

17th September 2014

Zombie bust unpainted

This large bust is latex over a foam core. I’ve mounted it with a brass tube on an untreated block of wood. Never painted on latex before and I wasn’t sure what paint to use. I got in touch with Kolokontes who advised me to use Textil paint.

First pic shows an undercoating of Textil paint brushed on by hand. The paint is an acrylic type of paint, water soluble, but much more expensive. Painting on the latex was a bit like brushing a sponge (this is foam type latex, not rubbery) and I found I had to use quite a lot of the paint to cover.

I diluted the paint initially and tried some shading with blues, red, black and yellows but I when it dried, I found the paint was patchy. It actually has to be put on quite thickly to cover. My second coat was less varied but it will be a good base.

From research, it seems that I could use acrylics and even inks if I add a medium to them to make them flexible. ‘Rubber glue’ has been suggested (PVA?) but matte medium might be good enough. I’m doubtful about spraying paint with PVA in it. I hope that the Textil paint will provide a foundation layer for other paints because my selection of Textil paints is limited. I might even try oils which should be flexible.

My main reason for tackling this bust now is to try out some new techniques learned from watching YouTube and also from a great DVD tutorial I bought from Stan Winston with Jordu Schell (funny guy!). The techniques are brush spattering to create texture, mottling, veining (which I did with Alex The Vampire) and using epoxy resin glue for eyes, wounds and saliva threads.


18th September

My attempt at veining with an airbrush using diluted Textil paint worked reasonably well. Spattering was a bit crude – I used a toothbrush and the paint was too thick – but I could see how it could work. Looked up Schell’s tutorial and he used inks and a soft brush. I did manage to warm it up a bit with reds and browns

I inadevertantly rubbed off the paint on the eyeballs and had to repaint them but 2nd attempt was much better – I shaded with yellow and red. Demonstrates how weak the Textil paint is though. I would like to do some more subtle shading with inks and acrylics but I think I need to protect the paint first.

Think I’ll use Liquitex Ultra Matte Medium sprayed on. I tried a small area and it seems to work. Once it’s covered I’ll brown the teeth and maybe try to darken it down. May eventually try oil paint at the last stage. Still intend to attach some hair too


23rd September

My concern has been to protect the paint on the bust before I try painting on top of it. Haven’t had much chance to work on it but I did spray it with several coats of diluted Liquitex Ultra Matte and painted the eye-balls and headwounds with Liquitex Gloss Heavy Gel.

25th September

Big learning curve today as I finally found the time to do some more work on the bust after snatching the odd moment in the last couple of days.

Earlier, as can be seen, I darkened the skin quite considerably using glazes of umber and sepia ink, although I tried to leave some light areas on the skull.

I used a glazing medium for this but it made the skin look shiny and I didn’t like the effect. Tried to matte it back but some areas were resistent and I didn’t want to brush them too much – you have to be careful because it’s so easy to rub off the paint if you work too hard

I also browned the teeth with Dr Martins inks but they looked too orangey and I ended up using umber on them and perhaps darkening them too much. (Kolokontes own superbly menacing paint-job has been my model along but, when I checked, I noticed his weren’t nearly as dark as I’d thought.)

Today it was time to try out epoxy glue to create saliva strands. I also put it on the eye-balls, inspired by Jordu Schell’s tutorial. I bought some 4 minute 2 part epoxy glue especially that was supposed to be clear and mixed quite a large batch of it.

Had no trouble painting it on the eyeballs and the teeth. It was thick and blurred the paintwork underneath but that worked quite well with the eyes. Possibly I put too much on the teeth in an effort to get the drool working.

Schell shows a technique of gluing a hair between upper and lower jaw and then training the drool along it. I tried that once I’d smeared the glue on but couldn’t get it to work. Discovered there was a very small window of opportunity when the glue goes like rubber and can be stretched out in strands. I got only one strand in place the first time before the glue became unworkable but felt it needed another – and mixed another batch to achieve it.

For a first time, it all ended up okay – even though I struggled – and I loved the effect on the eyes. It’s definitely better than using a gloss gel and I’ll try it again.

Another first was attaching hair. I tried staining some white crepe hair with inks but it didn’t take very well even with a strong mixture. I attached using matte-medium on little clumps. Sometimes it seemed to go very well and I thought I’d cracked it – but then other times it just formed itself into umanageable clumps.

Obviously a skill that comes with practice. You have to judge how much medium will work with how much hair. I’m glad I’ve made a start towards acquiring the knack. I had to use undyed white hair because I didn’t have enough tinted stuff in the end, so will have to find a way to tint it now and disguise some of the matted bits,

This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while and will definitely try again. Luckily a zombie is the ideal subject to practice on – it can be as messy as you like. Crepe hair is probably far to wispy at this scale to use as proper human hair – a useful discovery too.



26th September

I darkened down the hair with some sepia ink – and took photos to post online.

See the final pictures here