Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Tip

First things first for today's Friday Tip. I used Carol Williams' tutorial on hairing - it has great info and pictures. So if you want to give it a try, get the document and print it out to take with you to your work area. Follow the guide, but once you get to the thinning and trimming part of the process try using an xacto knife instead of scissors! This is an old real horse trick that grooms use on horses who do not like having their manes pulled for shortening. You can pull a mohair mane to thin it, but you must be careful to not pull out so much that you wind up ripping an entire segment out. While I did do some pulling to thin Anthem's hair, I mostly thinned it using this technique with a fresh, sharp xacto blade.

To start, grab a section of combed mohair and hold it at the tips. Use your xacto knife to lightly (and carefully!!) "brush" the hair from root to tip. If the mane or tail is already thin enough, you can concentrate your strokes closer to the desired end of the hair. It will start thinning and shortening the hair wherever you brush. The final effect is more realistic (for me) and much less time consuming than cutting the hairs a few at a time. Be careful to not press too hard on the knife or you'll wind up with harsh unrealistic ends! If the hair is meant to lie on one side of the neck, you may want to do the thinning from the underside by flipping the mane over. Similarly for the tail, you can work from the underside. It's a simple process that doesn't even take very much practice to get the hang of. Just remember it's better to go easy and do more strokes than be aggressive and wind up with a problem!

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