Working With a Model
Life casting is inherently different from clay modeling, plaster casting or latex masks. The former requires the artist to work with a live model which necessitates a great deal of care and caution. On the other hand, clay modeling and other art forms involve inanimate objects and this makes all the difference.
This is why quality and cooperation is considered imperative for the success of life casting. Following are a few helpful tips for working with a life casting model:
Find the right model - It is tough to find a model for life casting, especially when making a torso or full body cast. Modesty can be an inhibiting factor or the dummy may shy away from having all sorts of gooey materials applied on the body. You can ask around in family and friend circles before scouring professional agencies, actors, college students and other sources.
Prep the model - Hardly any dummy is ever prepared for life casting. You will have to be upfront about delicate subjects like being unclothed and having mold making materials applied on them. Explain the entire procedure and clarify that you will need to apply the material by hand on the body.
Be sincere and aim to inspire confidence in the model about the procedure and materials being entirely safe. Reassure that you do not intend to harm them in any manner. Talk about the attractive remuneration you offer and how the model will be 'immortalized' forever in the life cast. And do not forget to get a model release form signed to safeguard yourself.
The pose - Modeling for a life cast requires the model to be immobilized for an extended period of time (half hour or may be more). Discuss various poses to ensure that the model can stay stationary and hold the pose while you go about your mold making tasks. Provide adequate modeling stands and props to support the model in holding the pose until you remove the mold from the body. Be perceptive of the model's uneasiness at all times.
Adequate preparation - You need to prepare the model before applying the mold making material. Apply a release agent or petroleum jelly on the body to ensure that the mold does not pull at the fine hair when de-molding. Cover the hair with a shower cap and apply release agent on the protruding hair, eyebrows and so on. Ensure that a bathroom is available for the model to wash up post-modeling.
Application - Once the mold making material is ready, apply it carefully but quickly in thick layers so that it takes the shape of the body. While you are at it, keep talking to the model to keep them engaged and involved. This will also help keep any anxiety pangs at bay.
Demold - Once the mold has cured and is ready, carefully remove it from the model's body.
Now the model's job is done and you are assured of a quality life cast!