Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Birds



A series of reconstructed-taxidermy birds, created for the Natural History Museum in Saudi Arabia. Each of these birds is either a modified taxidermy specimen, or a full reconstruction. They turned out really nicely.

Yemen Linnet

 Dunlin

Arabian Woodepecker

Below is a small selection of 'making of' images from this project. If anyone sees this post and has any questions about this type of reconstruction, please do feel free to get in touch!

 Reconstructing the face of a Collared Kingfisher; rehydrating the skin and pinning it in place to dry.
The skull was moulded, cast in biresin, and then the beak was painted and matte-varnished. 

 Partial face reconstruction, with the skin of the eye now in the right place.

 Wing construction for a Bruce's Green Pigeon - using parts of a pigeon wing to construct the wings for this 
specimen. This bird was actually given to me to fix as someone else on the team had struggled with it.


 Lining up feathers in a natural spread on the left, ready for gluing together


LEFT: Top part of wing made with a wire base; I used a fresh pair of pigeon wings, carefully removing all muscle 
and bones before precisely reconstructing the primary feathers.
RIGHT: Wings of this bird before and after it was given to me to fix. The bottom wing is the one I made, using 
hand dyed feathers, individually glued and laid to create a natural wing position. 

 Rear and top view of near-finished specimen - wing position is beautiful, the hand-dyed feathers look so 
natural. I was really, really happy with how this one was saved!


 Making parts of the Arabian Woodpecker - this bird is endangered, so this specimen was made completely 
from scratch. Here you can see how I put together and shaped the wings, the body core, and how the 
feathers were laid on. All feathers were hand-laid, individually, and it really ended up a thing of beauty!




Thursday, 15 December 2016

Scratches in the Dark

I was approached by director Charlie Bentley in February 2016, and asked if I would like to create a mutilated dead cat (in a likeness of his own cat, Jerry) for his upcoming horror short, 'Scratches in the Dark'. Even before I read the script, obviously, I was more than happy! The concept of the short and the film itself, which is just 5 minutes, is absolutely excellent - I'm so happy to have met Charlie, and to have been a part of this production. Below is a bit of a 'making of', and if you have 5 minutes to spare and want to see the film, you can do so by clicking here.

Starting with a pre-made skeleton, I took it apart, hinged all the joints and rearranged

Roughed out muscle structures/positions with ladies stockings

Glued everything in place, padded with upholstery foam, then began fur transfer

Hairs around the eyes were laid individually, to match Jerry's little under-eye 'highlight'


Completed Jerry, on-set - he was finished using a mix of rabbit fur transfer/punching, plus airbrushed markings, which were painted on last

Inside Jerry's tummy....! This cavity was filled with offal for the camera


And, as an extra nice bonus....! It's nice to know that something I've been involved in has made an impression on an FX great!




Saturday, 9 January 2016

Zara Larsson / MNEK, Never Forget You

I had one week to create a walk-around monster suit for the Zara Larsson / MNEK promo, Never Forget You, directed by the phenomenal Richard Paris-Wilson, released September 2015. The monster also had to be 'flat-pack' so that I could take him on a plane for a shoot in Iceland, which was an interesting part of the brief! Stills below, and video link here.
 


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Sebastian and Them

I was asked to create a few props for Benjamin Bee's LFS graduation short 'Sebastian & Them'. A couple of cuddly toys and a severed head.....!

Cuddly toys still

The severed head of Nat Luurtsema still

CU of the severed head of Nat Luurtsema off-camera

 Teddy and bunny toys under construction - the brief was to make the toys look traditional and handmade, not like modern off the shelf cuddlies. The bunny was based closely on a toy made by our director's grandmother.


A Monster Called Charles

Well, I've been pretty quiet since July. I've actually been working SOLIDLY on this little puppy! 'A Monster Called Charles' is the upcoming short from award winning director Richard Paris Wilson (We Are Cowboys). I designed and led the fabrication for an 8ft monster costume, 'Charles', worn by the wonderful Chris Fleming.



  Initial drawn designs for Charles - he was to have blinking eyes that light up, eyebrows with expression, and one working hand. The design was based heavily on a sloth and the construction of Ludo (Labyrinth) - the puppeteer would have one hand inside the head controlling the head and facial expressions, the other hand would control one of the monster hands, whilst the other monster hand would be weighted/sprung so as to hang with movement and not noticeably be unmoving, but effectively it was a dead hand. Scale and weight distribution were key in terms of making a wearable walk around suit at this scale.

Left; scale cardboard mockup, Right; translated into sausages and gaffa tape!

The sausages were really important for working out the exact construction of the whole undersuit. Every piece was cut precisely to size according to the original 3D sausage mockup.

Undersuit translated from sausages to lightweight piping - it was flexible, light and really strong so it was the perfect material to use for this part. Left; Chris Fleming in an early fitting, wearing the stilts and partial undersuit, Right; most of the undersuit trannslated to tubing, with suspension between different parts for weight and natural movement of the facade.

Mechanical hand under construction - the monster has 3 fingers and a wrist flex that are controlled by Chris Fleming from inside the wrist of the costume
Left; Muscle construction, with mechanics of face and jaw, right; beginnings of final facade fabrication

Left; inside the suit, right; close-up of pattern cutting, you can see the red bungee chord used to weight the dead arm
Sneaky pic of Charles on-set, but no more of this until the film is out Feb/March 2015.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cloud Boat - Hideaway (Official Video, Official Monster!)




Working alongside David Petch, we created the monster seen in Cloud Boat's latest album single 'Hideaway'.


Pics on location - the man inside the suit is Chris Fleming. You will know his work; among other things, he is the Honey Monster when he's not starring in lovely music videos!



Friday, 27 June 2014

Can't say what it is yet....!


Sneaky pics of the latest project, not allowed to say what it is yet though! Needless to say I'm pretty excited about it. Should be out in the next couple of weeks and then I can put up pictures and a video link!

Clay sculpt for new character, looking lovely!

Undersuit and facade for character costume - the whole costume ended up being hand-sewn, which was a mighty task given our 2-week turnaround!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

He Took His Skin Off For Me at Palm Springs 2014!

He Took His Skin Off For Me will be premiering at Palm Springs Short Fest 2014! Congratulations Ben Aston! Check out the news page on the official Skin site here for more info on the screening. Very exciting!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Chop Chop! **WARNING: Explicit images of realistic fake penis, viewer discretion advised**

Another penis! This time created for Christopher Granier-Deferre's exciting upcoming short 'Chop Chop'. I don't want to give away anything of the film suffice to say the penis needed to be 'multifunctional'! A fun brief and I was happy with the outcome.


Inside the pants; the penis is hollow.

 
Here is the resin insert, attached to braces and a modified cricket box that attach to the g-string with velcro.

With the insert; the angle is mad here, but the actor that will be wearing it is a lot smaller than the mannequin currently modelling it. This leaves lots of room for adjustment on-set.


Here is the flaccid penis, painted and with hair - it has been attached to a male g-string and has a blending edge as the actor needs to look like he's wearing no pants.
Flaccid from the side.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

He Took His Skin Off For Me - REVEALED!

Finally, I can show this to the world! Here's what we did last summer! My wonderful wonderful team Hermes Pittakos, Tom Smith, Dave Felstead, Myriam Tillson, Emily Christman, Ruth Parry, Emma-Alexandra Watts, Alan H, so proud of all of us. Thanks also to Dan Frye over at Millennium FX and to Nigel Booth for early mentoring. Also a huge thanks to Colin Arthur and his wonderful wife Sarah - couldn't have done it without you both! Check out this article on the film in Fangoria and take a peek at the official Facebook for latest news and updates from our director Ben Aston - can't wait for the premiere!