The creation of Womannequin
A thin amount of polyester resin was brushed onto the details of the
face to make sure they wouldn't fade away underneath the thickness
of the material.
After coating the waist coupling of the legs with polyester resin and
leaving it to cure, I could place the legs up-side-down to make it
easier to coat the rest of the legs and feet in one session.
After a long time of brushing smelly chemicals onto each part, they
were now completely sealed up for further painting and casting.
A spray filler was applied to make it easier to smooth out the surface
with sandpaper, starting with the underside of the feet.
Eventually all the other parts were coated with spray filler as well.
The surface was once again hand-sanded smooth to remove all the
pits and bumps.
Many layers of red primer were sprayed over the parts as this would
most likely look better underneath the skin colored paint than using
A peachy skin colored acrylic paint was dabbed onto the surface with
a piece of foam to give it a bit more of a skin texture.
With the dark red primer underneath the paint, it was quite easy to
see how much more I would have to fill and sand the surface.
While the surface would never become as perfectly smooth as I would
like it, I eventually decided it was good enough for just a cardboard
mannequin anyway, or I would have to keep sanding it for another
I bought a red Chinese robe to use its fabric for various ball-jointed
doll clothing, but suddenly realized it might actually be the perfect
thing to make the mannequin look less extremely naked when not
creating costumes on it.
And so, this mannequin project had unexpectedly gained its final look
with this lovely robe that I think suited it quite well.
To fill in the remaining small pits and cracks in the surface, I made a
quick-drying filler by mixing the skin colored paint with
Now that the skin would be painted realistically, I also wanted to
enhance the realism of the hands by adding nails to them.
Basically all the nails I picked out for the fingers had to be greatly
reduced in size to fit onto those tiny fingertips.
After super-gluing the nails into place, they were cut down to a fairly
natural shape and length.
The toes would also receive a set of toenails of their own, even if I
may never photograph any costumes with bare feet, but it would
bother me more if they didn't have toenails at all.
When I felt more confident about my control of the airbrush, I started
detailing the upper side of the feet and toes with various red hues.
With a bit more of the red hues in place on the hands, I could start
airbrushing on some subtle blue hues, including some veins here and
Just a bit of brown shading was airbrushed onto the face to heighten
the contrast of the different features.
A few more hues of red, blue, and yellow were airbrushed onto the
parts and creases as described in various special effects tutorials I
had studied for a while before attempting this.
After the final stages of airbrushing to warm up the colors, a pair of
dark brown irises were painted onto the eyes that were then also
airbrushed with subtle shades of red to look more natural.
The eyes were also later glazed with a glossy clear-coat to give them
a natural wet shine.
Many more subtle colors were airbrushed onto the entire body that
are not really that visible in photographs, but are strangely enough
more noticeable in their absence.
Just a strange mix of almost every color made the whole surface of
the skin look more realistic.
With the whole eyebrow template filled in with fluff, it might have
needed a bit of trimming in the end.
While I did place the eyebrows in the right location, their shape made
the face look a bit too angry and annoyed, so a small amount of extra
fluff was added to the eyebrows to make them look more calm and
A set of upper and lower eyelashes were also customized to be
attached to the eyelids.
With all the proper face fluff and a stylized black lace wig in place, the
whole mannequin was completed in all its realistically painted
Since I already had a ventilating needle, I wanted to make realistic
eyebrows for the mannequin out of actual hair instead of just painting
them onto the face.
A fine mesh was pinned down over an eyebrow template I had traced
from the artwork that featured this mannequin's face.
After 2 years of sponging paint onto the parts, the entire mannequin
was covered with the skin colored base coat that was ready for
airbrushing to make the skin look as realistic as I could make it on my
first attempt to do so.
This would also let me easily photograph costume parts on the
mannequin without having to invite the few cosplayers I know to
come all the way to the middle of nowhere for a few photographs.
I decided to airbrush the underside of the feet first since they would
not be visible anyway if I messed things up completely.
A few hues of red paint were airbrushed onto the toes and other fleshy
bits in a splotchy pattern to make it look more realistic.
A matt clear-coat was sprayed over all the parts to protect the
airbrushed colors that were brought out even more by the
I have to say it felt really creepy to have these realistically painted
body parts hanging there for clear-coating, but at least that's a good
sign that my attempt to paint them that way was successful.
This project just shows that a perfectionist can never create anything quick and simple as planned. I didn't even know what this halfway
improvised mannequin project would become while creating it. It just felt like an annoying chore for a long time since I would only bother
filling the parts with paper-clay whenever I felt too bad to work on anything else, but in the end it became something that I really wanted to
finish fast for costume making by shelving all other projects, and creating costumes became significantly faster with this mannequin's help.
Helene Myhre (Zombiemaister) for all the limb reference, wig styling, and many helpful tips that shaped this project.
5 months, 1 week, 3 days - between 14 November 2014 and 31 January 2020.
Corrugated cardboard sheets - 0 NOK - Already available.
Several tons of paper junk mail - 0 NOK - Already available.
Purple cardstock - 129 NOK.
Skin colored tissue paper - 49,90 NOK.
Super-glue - 20 NOK.
Polyester resin and hardener - 179 NOK.
Acrylic paints - 288 NOK.
Spray filler - 79,90 NOK.
Spray primer - 59,90 NOK.
Matt clear-coat - 59,90 NOK.
Press-on nails - 49,50 NOK.
Lace wig - 218,67 NOK.
Total - 1133,77 NOK / $108,18 USD.
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