Monday, 22 October 2012

Halloween how to: severed ear

Today's tutorial is all about making a severed ear out of paper mache.  I know ears are kind of a complex shape, but don't let that put you off.  This is a Halloween prop: we're not looking to recreate Michelangelo's David here, we want something that looks like it's been hacked off with a weed whacker.  The trick is to look at where the ridges are in a human ear, follow the line of those ridges with some twisted paper, and paper mache over top.  As always, Google image search is your friend.

I find with ears it's good to start off with the cartilage.  In this picture, you can see how I've glued a sausage of paper mache on a piece of tissue in the shape of the cartilage.  I've made the sausage my smearing glue onto a piece of tissue and twisting it up.  I've used straight PVA glue here, because anything more watery will cause the tissue to disintegrate.  It is important to use tissue and not, say, newsprint, because tissue is soft and makes a nice skin-like texture.

As you can see, the shape is simple, but it already looks like an ear.  In the next two photos, you can see how I've paper mached over the "cartilage" to put skin on the ear and help form it into an ear shape.

By now, it's probably going to be quite soggy and fragile, so I'd recommend you put it aside to dry for a while before you finish working on it.

Next up, you want to use the tip of a pen to gently poke a hole in the tissue where the earhole should go.  The hole needs to go in behind the "cartilage" lump you made at the beginning, as shown in the picture.

As you can see, it's already starting to really look like an ear.  The next thing is to turn it over, so you can add a curved ridge of gluey paper around the back of the earhole like this:

After that, all you need to do is tidy up the edges and make an earlobe out of a lump of glued tissue:

Next time, I'll talk about how you can paint the ear to make it look both realistic and incredibly disturbing.