October 13, 2014

A Zombie Wedding

(Originally posted on 6/16/14) I have a large pool of fantastic friends around this area, though with awesome friends comes a certain level of unconventionality. Or just plain weird. No shame in it, I'm a pretty weird dude. I've seen, heard and done many weird things in my life; not much surprises me. Until last month when some friends of mine that are getting hitched soon wanted me to do the cake topper for their wedding... A zombie cake topper. Who the hell ever gets asked to do that? No one, that's who. So below is a brief explanation of the process I used to turn an odd cake topper into the stuff of nightmares.

So here's the "before" picture. Clearly a good starting point for zombifying:

First I did some carving:
Found a metal rod in his leg; that was annoying.. Other than that I carved out the jaw so it would look like the bride kicked the jaw bone out/apart. Took out the eye socket to add a swinging eye later. Cut out a portion of the skull and an ear. Carved out a portion of the arm and leg. And I cut out a section around the side of his back, leaving grooves that would later be ribs sticking out. Finally I scarred up the sides of his face, because if your jaw has been kicked off, your cheeks probably didn't fare well either.

Next was some sculpting. I tried getting a tongue to fit into the scene, but after seven or eight tongues that I still wasn't happy with I gave up on the idea:
As you can see I made "lip meat" hanging down where his jaw used to be. It didn't look quite right so in the end I scarred it up a bit; turned out great. I drilled some grooves into the brains popping out of his skull and got the eye swinging from the socket so that it's aesthetically gross, but also stable for transportation.

Next up was paint-on primer, which I had never used before:

And finally the paint. I started with the blood because...well, I got excited. I did mixtures of dark red and black in slow transitions with a gloss so the blood will stay looking fresh. The most horrifically damaged parts of his wounds got the darkest reds and the outlining areas got the brighter reds. I also did up the eye with a mix of flesh and a mossy green if I remember correctly; that eye ain't fresh:

At this point the skin on the zombie looked way too fresh and new, this is where it got frustrating because I'd have to redo the blood if I was going to work on his skin. Live and learn. So I darkened the skin with a thin, watered down, layer after layer of flesh tone mixed with a hint of brownish green. The result was good, but the blood-effect I went for on his right eye didn't look right:

So I changed it up a bit:

Next, I added some Secret Weapon brown pigment to their feet and a few choice areas to further the visual of a struggle and touched up all of the blood on the zombie/added a bunch to various areas on both models:

Lastly, as a final touch I wanted a bite mark on the bride. So without carving (because I didn't think about a bite until this point), I carefully painted out a bite mark with dark blood. I added some bruising with some equal parts dark purple/dark red around the bite mark as well as some veins spreading from the bite to suggest infection (same mix as before with a little more purple than red). Lastly, some brighter red for blood dripping from the wound. In the shot below you can also see the hand mark I attempted on her back (I think he was trying to get revenge for the space missing around his ribs!)
There were several times I thought about changing her face to something more horrified, but I think the irony of her having a smirk as she's getting dragged away by her zombie groom fits perfectly and fits an inside story with the friends of mine getting hitched.

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