I am really excited to be finally posting this, since it's been in the making for a long time - two years to be exact! It's come a long way from its humble foam shell beginnings, and hopefully I've picked up enough skills along the way to allow my next head to be made a bit more quickly.
I picked a coyote for my first head, because I didn't want this to be my personal character in case it didn't turn out at all (I'm a wolf). Also, coyotes are underappreciated in the fandom! There are tons of foxes and wolves, and oddly enough, the "folf"... I would have thought a coyote would be the obvious choice for something between a wolf and fox! But anyway, yeah, coyote head.
The head is built off of Matrices' foam head tutorial, but modified to accommodate a moving jaw. The jaw mechanism is made of two slats of craft wood that I cut with a hand saw, a steak knife, and some sandpaper. These are bolted to two other small round pieces of the same wood, which are glued to the inside of the head. All the wooden pieces are sealed and waterproofed with spray-on primer. The wood and metal pieces are noticeable while wearing the head, but not uncomfortable. However, next time I make a jaw like this, I'll use plastic slats instead of wood. Also, there needs to be something firm under the chin to ensure better jaw movement. The jaw barely opens with the current design. Hopefully the elastic holding it shut will loosen over time and make it easier to operate.
I was going for realism with this mask, so I tested all those techniques on it - detailed teeth, paint shading, foam shape. The one thing I would have liked to add would be taxidermy eyes, or follow-me resin ones. That will be a feature of the next wolf head I make. However, I do like the effect of my buckram ones, which follow the viewer from most front angles. I also made the inside of the mouth fully detailed, and I'm really happy with the way it turned out!
I'm not sure I'd want to do another head with an all-foam base, at least not a realistic one. The entire time I was sculpting the foam, I kept the size in mind and tried to keep it as small as possible. It still turned out pretty big, so I think I'll use a balaclava next time. The back of the neck was built out with more foam to create a more animal-like neck. This also made it a bit more difficult to move in, so I'll try polyfill if I want to do this again. There is a zipper on the back, which is a bit tricky to operate, but it works. It's not a "hidden zipper", but the long fur hides it quite well.
Here are a couple of WIP shots of the foam base. In one, you can see the hole I left in the forehead area to cut down on bulk and add a sleek profile. This worked out wonderfully; once the fur was on, the hole was not noticeable from the outside.
The head is quite expressive, being capable of a range of facial expressions. Depending on the mouth position and camera angle, the coyote can have a straight face, a smile, a determined glare, or a big DERP.
This costume will eventually be a fullsuit that can be converted into a partial. I'm working on a pair of paw-boots for it, and commissioning some handpaws from magpiebones.
That's all, so thanks for reading! Comments and especially critiques are very much welcomed. I want to make future heads even better, so please help me to improve on anything I can!
Oh, and a big thanks to nullv01d for a bunch of this awesome photography.
x-posted to fursuit.
- First head finished!