I've been wanting to make myself at least ONE suit sometime. I always contemplate it, and doodle a bit, and I never move forward out of fear of failure. I'm sure this is something that eats at a lot of new suit builders, but problem is I have no interest in the standard furry designs.. and it's go big or go home. If I can't make something I actually want to pour the hours in to and wear myself, it's not worth it to me. I don't doubt I could pull together a nice looking canine head, but I'm a fan of reptiles, and... let's just say I'm incredibly picky about accuracy even in caricature.
I really want to suck it up and do my first project now that I have a solid "fursona." Just a partial, sleeves, feet, and a head. Sounds simple right? Except it would be a partial of an African Fire Skink.
Anyone care to help me figure this puzzle out? I've started designing and I have a good idea of what I want. I will probably have to go prop free. I could never make the hat, but I might be able to make glasses, I dunno. Anyway! Several questions and concepts beneath the cut!Head:
Please pardon the dust here, as its been a long while since I drew with a standard tablet (I usually use a tablet PC) so my shaky hand is showing really, really badly. Skink's head is not really human. She has a much flatter cranium, different spacing to the eyes, and a far different neck. There would be a lot of foam padding to create the right shapes in the neck alone. I'm actually tempted to make the throat a cavity to put a fan in, but that is a design stage that is long off at this point.
Foam padding and shaping is something I understand well, so no worries there. However, I don't know what kind of foam I should use. Would piecing together thin upholstery foam be preferable, or would a carving block be better? Where do you even GET a carving block of foam?! I've looked many times and never found one.
So far I am planning on a static expression, just because a moving jaw miiight be too much trouble for my first time around. What do you think? Would something this shape be easy to give a moving jaw? I do want to keep the cheerful expression.
I'm curious as to how I should do the eyes. She has mostly black eyes, save for the thin ring of iris. She has very, VERY small brows. You can barely tell there is any brow there. Its really only defined by the sink of her eyes in the drawings, unlike the old 3D heads. I don't know if follow you eyes would be appropriate for this head shape, but I don't want mesh eyes that will make her look wall eyed! If you have any suggestions on how to handle this, I am all ears.Visibility:
There is one more issue with the head.
AAAAH WHAT DO WHAT DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEE - oh yeah! Also I wear glasses
. I am unable to go without them, I have a very strong prescription, so I need to make sure I have room between my face and the inside of the mask to wear my glasses while wearing the head.Arms and Feet:
I did not bother making a concept sketch for the feet just yet, as my drawing ability really
is not with me today and they are what I have pretty much the most figured out. The tail and the arm, however, present some big problems. I'm tempted to just make the arms long gloves, or just to the elbows, because that part of her arm is almost solid black. The upper arm there are several color changes, especially on the shoulder where sewing would need to be the most precise. I live in Texas, though, so being able to wear short sleeves would be great. I also like the idea of having a "seamless" appearance without much worry.Tail:
Her tail is very thick and long, and I don't want it to have an awkward pinch top. Its not as simple as a how a mammalian tail connects, since for reptiles the spine is something everything comes off of rather than the top line. I'd want to give it some amount of support, maybe a pool noodleish type faux spine, so that it would be flexible but not dragging. It could get a lot closer to the ground than I drew it, though. Her tail has a lot of complex coloration to it, with changing spots and colors on a dark background. I wouldn't mind putting up with an awkward attachment beneath the butt to keep the appearance I want, though I have to be careful - I'm a big girl, so my thighs touch.Materials:
One of my biggest hang-ups right now is what material to use. I really, really do not want to use faux fur.
She isn't fuzzy by any means and even short piles would look too fuzzy. She is a skink, not a hairy dragon troll. Let's take a look at the concepts I have thus far.Fleece
has always looked really nice to me when it's well sewn on a toony suit! However I don't know if it would be wise for me to tackle such a complicated pattern on my first go at this. maybe on one of my characters with less round markings, and fewer of them, but not Skink. I could likely easily find fleece that already has a black-with-white-polka-dots pattern for the neck and tail, at least. There's also painting white fleece, but most fleece paint jobs I've seen look excessively matted or dirty rather than nice.Minky
is an option comparable to fleece which is considerably more expensive and while it is technically a really low-pile fur it seems matte much like fleece, but is softer to the touch. Painting the surface of minky would make it crusty and unappealing, so sewing in the markings would be the only option.Spandex, cotton
or a comparable material with a smooth, workable surface (that isn't vinyl, pleather or a cheap faux leather blegh) have been a consideration for two different materials. -Puff Paint
has been a consideration of mine to do gentle scale textures and then paint over all of it. It would be one of the cheapest, easiest methods to obtain the look I want.
-Liquid platinum cure silicone
could let me get even more hands on with the sculpting process. With many hours of work this could have amazing results.. but it would be VERY EXPENSIVE to coat the entire suit even though it's a partial, and budget is unfortunately a limit I must observe.
Any help, suggestions, experience, tutorials, advice or what have you that you might have to share, please PLEASE do! I am a research nut and I don't like the idea of charging in blindly even if your first fursuit build is invariably a "just do it" project! Anything you arm me with will help this go a lot better. If I do well here, I have other suits I'd love to make, all of the reptilian variety, and good, accurate reptile suits is something the fursuiting world is sorely lacking... Maybe in my efforts to learn, others will too, and we can help make that change.