Sculpting hair, beards and other furs by Gregory Girault

Sculpting hair the PRELUDE

As our collaboration with figurines.mag continues we are proud to present here in English for the first time a short tutorial that Greg did for a recent issue. We hope you find it useful either as a full sculpting project or just as a exercise in conversion or adding extra details to a stock miniature. So here  we are:

Hair, beards and furs are not to be neglected on a figurine, as this can generate a lot of movement (visual) even on a “rigid” and static figure. I always model my furs and beards on a separate piece, so as not to damage the already completed work on the face or on the clothes that will receive the hairy part, with a clumsy stroke of our sculpting tool. To your tools!

Example 1 – Beard

Here is the creation of a beard for a fantastic bust. I used bees putty, but the fimo or supersculpey would also have been ideal material. Initially, I place here and there “clumps” of different sizes and lengths. With these pieces of “dough”, I try to simulate the movement and the direction of the “hairs”.

Then using a tool, similar to a painter’s palette knife, I make here and there “commas” of direction but still in a basic manner, creating general shapes.

For novices, I advise that to create good models/figures to use image references of beards or hair, as visual support. It is vital to use reference in this kind of exercise  to obtain a realistic and satisfactory result, do not improvise. With experience you will be able to improve step by step, little by little.

Then, using a needle and an eraser brush, I refine my layout in order to give a sharper appearance to the beard.

Finally, using the brush soaked with turpentine, I smooth all the beard and hair.

Once I am satisfied with the exercise of sculpting I must wait to 2-3 hours for the gasoline to vaporise or for it be absorbed into the mix with the dough, before I can cook the beard.

Example 2: Hair and finer fur

This is not the only technique I use.

I regularly use greenstuff, for it’s very elastic properties, but I proceed in the same way as the one explained above, namely: the laying of “clumps”, then modeling of these with different tools. In contrast to example 1, to smooth this paste, I use some petroleum jelly.

In order to simulate a fairly fine fur, I will not make it “clump by clump”, but I will affix a layer of fairly thin greenstuff and then work it with fine needles of different diameters.

Example 3 – Thicker Fur

On the other hand, to create a thicker fur, I will proceed with the same technique as the hair, described first.

Sculpting hair can be rewarding and there are a host of different styles and types depending on the subject matter. To simulate very curly hair or a fur with a shaggy appearance, I place here and there conical beads of greenstuff (thin tips towards the outside) that I stretch with small tweezers, then I smooth them.

Finally to simulate a short hair, I apply pieces of paste, but this time “flat” with different sizes and shapes, then using a brush eraser I begin to draw “commas”.

Below you can see a short gallery of further examples of this type of work, this was not intended as an exhaustive account but just a short write up accompanied with some images to lay bare some basic techniques. I hope you may find it a little interesting and maybe useful for your own works. Thank you for reading and thank you to and figurines.mag!