Alien Fisherman

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The first strips of wet paper mache are difficult to put on chicken wire. They slip off.

By tucking the ends of the paper strips into the chicken wire holes, the first few strips will eventually stay in place. Subsequent strips of paper will adhere to the first ones, so it gets easier as you go.

In this photo, most of the alien is covered with wet paper. The limbs are easier than the parts with finer details, such as the fingers.

In this side view, there is a funny spot where his lower back meets his upper back, but I was happy with the neck, head, thighs and shoulders.

Errors in the chicken wire become obvious once the paper is on, but this time there were no outrageous defects, so I didn't stop and fix anything in the wire.

The fish got a coat of paper mache too.

Back view with spines and shoulders. The shoulders rise higher than his neck, giving him that hunched over look.

The head got a layer of paper, leaving the eyes uncovered and smooth. I will try using glass eyes in a future project, but they might look too realistic when compared to the rest of a paper mache sculpture.

This is the first photo where the alien really has a lifelike appearance.

The accessory pieces were surprisingly time-consuming to build. Here are the stool, book, tray and fish.

I could have used a real book and plastic toy fish, but here too, I thought it would look better if all of the elements had a consistent level of detail, which meant that I had to cover them all with paper mache.


Front view. 

I was really happy with how he looked when he was finally dry. The book slipped into his grip.

Fish drying on a paint roller tray.

If you take the book away, he really looked like he wants to strangle somebody.

A quick trip to the paint store and the alien was glossy sky blue.


Spines jutting out of the back.

Blue fish and book. This was just a base coat of paint, so the color wasn't important.

Just as the paper reveals errors in the wire, paint reveals errors in the paper. The alien's body had little hexagons where the chicken wire was showing through.

The worst place was on the arm. I needed to cover this up.

To remedy this, I put a second layer of paper on the alien, hoping to smooth out these areas.

The second layer dried, and hid some of the honeycomb spots.

I also tried making a thick paste with newspaper puree from the blender. This is what many people think of when they hear "paper mache", but I'd never tried this technique before.

I smeared this all over the alien's skin and allowed it to dry.  This was effective at covering signs of the subcutaneous wire.



Please continue reading the story of the Fishing Alien on page three.

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June 12th, 2003.  

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