Uhmum – A Monster, Once a Boy

Uhmum... the boy who became a monster after drinking some bad tea.

Uhmum is a creature created from foam, fur, latex and polymer clay. He’s no puppet – he just sits there looking cute. I wanted to experiment with creating a detailed, textured face using latex casting and latex painting (which is just cheap artist acrylics mixed with liquid latex), but have simple features that weren’t quite human and not quite beast.

Start with a clay sculpt…

uhmumsculpt

Cast in plaster and remove the clay to make a plaster negative.

Pour some raw or coloured latex into the mold, swish it around and pour the remainder back into the bottle. If you’re using a thicker latex like I am, use an old clean paintbrush to dab and smooth it into the mold.

You can cast raw latex if you want, which is stronger, and then just paint over it. At this point I wanted to create a pale orange base colour for the latex, so a little yellow and red acrylic mixed in with the liquid latex works well to create a base skin colour. Be sure to keep the latex content of the mix at least 50% (more is stronger). It depends on application – if this were going to get some wear (a boot or glove, for example) you’d want a higher latex to paint mix. But as a sculpture not intended as a toy, it’s just fine around 50%.

uhmumlatexcast

A shaped block of foam is good to lay the dried cast over, as you can pin it into place for painting. Here I added a little fur around it so I could get the colour of the face to match the fur as I painted.

uhmumpainted

Here I have almost finished painting. The colour and most of the contouring are done, using latex acrylic paint blends, sometimes with thick blocks of paint, but with a high latex content you can effectively dry-brush features.

After this I cut out his eye holes and glued down the eyes, fur around the face and body, then made some appendages – fur covered foam and wire core with polymer clay sculpted hands and feet.

uhmumarm

With enough hot glue you can stitch together just about any dodgy cut of fur you can do!

And here he is, finished, looking perpetually worried and, I think, terribly cute.

Uhmum-complete1

Uhmum-complete3

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