Life casting is all about working with a live model. Be it casting hands, feet, face, torso or the entire body, having a primed and amenable model is an essential asset that a life caster just cannot do without.
Therefore, unlike clay modeling or plaster casting, where the lifeless ‘model’ is yours to do with as you wish, life casting requires you to properly prepare and instruct the model to avoid any complications or disturbances later on.
Following are a few pointers on the same:
Pre-preparation – You are jeopardizing your own interests if you schedule to meet the model for the first time on the day of the life casting itself. It is advisable to meet a day or two earlier and discuss your requirements and expectations in detail. Gently walk the model through the life casting procedure and clear any doubts. Discuss the pose and what the model requires to feel comfortable. Instruct male models to shave their facial and body hair to avoid painful tangles later.
Clothing – Inform the model about the kind of clothing they should wear for the modeling session. Old and comfortable clothes are always preferable as they can be discarded in case of accidental drips. In case a body part that is normally clothed is being cast (like torso or breasts), you should advise the model to avoid wearing tight-fitted clothes for at least an hour prior to the life casting session. Else indentations are likely to show up in the final cast.
Release agent – While mold making materials like alginate are completely safe, you still need apply an appropriate release agent to prevent messy tangles in the hair. Baby oil or lotion will work well for fine body hair. Eyebrows, eyelashes and other protruding hair need to be protected with petroleum jelly or conditioner. This will allow the mold to come off easily without pulling the hair. It is advisable to cover the head with a bald cap or shower/swim cap even if the face is not being cast. In case the head or pubic area is being cast uncovered, a hair release should be applied from the tip of every hair to the root before combing them carefully into place. The Vaseline or release agent can be easily washed off later.
Comfort – The model will have to stay in the selected pose for at least 45 minutes to an hour. So ensure that he or she feels totally comfortable right from the start. Arrange suitable props to support the pose – like leaning on a ladder for a standing pose. Ensure that the model is breathing normally at all times to avoid dizzying spells or nausea. You can allow the model to bring music, snacks or a companion along, as long as they don’t distract the work. Else, keep the model engaged with small talk while you carry out your mold making tasks.
In sum, prep and prime the model properly for a comfortable and successful life cast.