Making a face casting is about the most complicated technique in the art world. Artists also find it the most challenging aspect of life casting, much beyond making molds and casts of the torso, feet, hands or other body parts.
The main issue in face casting is not the cast itself but the process of making a mold of the model’s face. There are inherent risks too as you cannot afford to harm the model in any manner.
Here’s a look at some of the potential problem zones in making a face mold –
• You have to take extra care to ensure that each and every area of the face is properly covered with the mold making material (usually alginate and not clay, plaster or water glass). Even a minor error or miss will show up glaringly on the final face casting.
• While covering the face you have to be careful to avoid the material from getting into the eyes. Yet the contour of the eyes has to be replicated in the mold.
• You cannot cover the nostrils either as the model will not be able to breathe. Experienced life casters use a cotton swab to gently dab the alginate around the nose holes so that they do not miss any part and yet do not block the nose completely. Remember never to stuff the nose with straws as it can block the airways.
• The bridge of the nose is another problem area. Proceed carefully and ensure proper coverage – especially where the side of each eye meets the nose. Air pockets are most likely to develop here that can create an unsatisfactory mold.
• You have to watchfully capture every minute detail – from the skin texture to the tiny blemishes, moles and pores on the skin.
• Remember to apply an appropriate release agent (like Vaseline) all over the face before applying the mold making material. Else once the mold has set, it will tend to snag in the eyebrows/moustache/beard and even tiny facial hair that can hurt the model.
• Also cover the model’s hair with a plastic cap to avoid unnecessary tangles and breakage.
• Once the mold is dry and has been removed from the model’s face, you have to cast it quickly as the alginate will start to shrink within a few hours itself.
The model has to stay exceptionally still during the entire application and setting process, else you will just have to do it all over again.
The challenge posed by face casting also makes it one of the most satisfying moments of life casting. Indeed, the pleasure derived from seeing a person’s facial features reproduced in all their glory and preserved forever – after rising above the various risks – is unparalleled! And once you become adept at face casting, making molds and casts with clay, plaster, latex, polyurethane, silicone and water glass will seem like a piece of cake!