Opening The Eyes In A Life Cast

It is customary to make a head cast with closed eyes. But it will look real only when you can ‘open’ the eyes during the casting process. Expert sculpting skills will stand you in good stead here.

Life casting is an artistic process of making a beautiful likeness of a person. The three-dimensional creation surpasses the images produced in photographs and paintings and gives it an incredibly realistic impression, right down to the natural creases, the usual pores and even the real texture of your skin.

Once the body mold is done and the cast is ready, the finished life cast can be mounted on a suitable base. Adding a brass name plate engraved with your name and other details will be the final touch that gives a professional and gallery-like finish to the artwork.

The results look amazing, but getting there is replete with intricate complications. One of the most challenging aspects of making a life cast is getting the eyes right in the body mold.

The life casting artist will obviously apply the skin safe alginate or silicone rubber all over the eyes. The gooey substance is carefully worked over the lids and into the corners of the eye sockets to capture the contours in detail. This will create a life cast head with closed eyes. After all, it is virtually impossible for a model to keep the eyes open during the life casting process!

However, the closed eyes will make the head cast look akin to a death mask. Opening the eyes is what will add ‘life’ and make it look natural.

Experienced life casting artists have persevered to work out effective ways to sculpt the eyes open.

It is after a lot of trial and error that an artist will be able to make accurate incisions to remove the ‘eyes’ from the face mold. Exceptional sculpting skills are required to carve new eyes as if they are open. It involves shaping fully open or half closed eyelids with clay or plaster. The cavities and the lower lids also have to be sculpted and chiseled with infinite care and patience. Painting and other finishing techniques are used to create realistic eyes in the final life cast.

Alternatively, some artists also use prosthetic eyes to give their life cast a realistic effect. They carve out the sockets in the body mold and fit glass or acrylic eyes into the head portrait. This may seem easy at the outset, but it still requires proficient sculpting to fashion the eyelids and shape the corners in the mold.

Ready eye forms are available in art stores that look natural and add a lifelike appearance to the life cast. They should be chosen with care to suit the shape and color of the model’s original eyes. Some artists even prefer to make their own eye forms with resin and add detailing to the same.

Whatever ‘eye-opening’ method you use, do not forget to add brass name plates engraved once the life cast is ready for display.

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