Monday, June 16, 2014


Hi All,
Well, if you've been reading, you will know I'm currently OBSESSED with the movie "MALEFICENT". Recently, I've done some research on the costumes she wears.

Maleficent has a total of 9 costume changes in the movie. There was a core group of people involved in designing her look, called "Team Maleficent". Angelina (who also produced the film) hand picked the artist to collaborate on how she will look. There was Rob Goodwine, who's responsibilities included shoes & accessories, Manuel Albarren who built Maleficent's collars and jewelry, and Justin Smith who was responsible for all of Jolie's headgear.

Costume designer Anna B. Sheppard headed the team, overseeing all of her costumes.

And, famous special effects make-up artist Rick Baker designed her prosthetic cheeks, ears, and nose. Plus, a set of sharp molars. And, he designed the horns, made of light-weight resin, which were attached with magnets (so the horns could come off between takes). Baker also designed her contact lens, which were hand-painted in iridescent colors.

"Team Maleficent" met with Jolie for many days before shooting, discussing designs, looking at samples, and doing fittings.

Angelina describes Maleficent's look as "Savage Elegance".

The first time we see grown-up Maleficent (played by Angelina Jolie) is as a fairy in her forest, (complete with wings). Designer Sheppard used hand-dyed silks in natural shades of brown.


For the famous "Christening" scene, we see Maleficent as the evil fairy, after having her wings (and her heart), torn off by her true love (who is now the king, and Aurora's father).

It was this look that resembled the iconic cartoon costume. It was made of hand pleated China silk, with large "bat wing" sleeves.

--Notice the cool STAFF she carries (the stone is the same colors as her eyes!).

She also sports many rings with her costumes. Since the character is burned by metal, all her jewelry was made of wood, stone, or bone. Here's one made of a bird skull:
Along with her rings, Maleficent wears several accessories and collars, made of an assortment of materials, including fur, feathers, shells, animal bones, and teeth. 


But, for me, the most interesting part of Maleficent's costume were her headdresses. (Later in the movie, we find out they are her "crowns"). She wears 7 different wrapped and pleated headdresses. Again, only using organic materials, they were made from leather, ostrich skin, cobra, python, and sting-ray!


Here's a sample board of some of the materials:

In the final scenes of the climax, we see Maleficent reunited with her wings (saved by the king in a locked cabinet), stripped away from her heavy cloaks and ready to fight! She wears a leather jumpsuit adorned with feathers, and high-heel boots:
Well, thanks for indulging me.

Next, my final "Evil Queen" doll.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Okay, here's some more "work in progress" photos on how I made the Evil Queen candlestick doll.

First thing I do, after sewing and stuffing the torso, head, arms, and hands, is to pin the whole thing together to figure out the pose.

I try to finish the arms as much as possible BEFORE I sew them to the torso. Here, I've painted the fingernails on (with SCRIBBLES dimensional paint) and glued on some braid to the wrist (to hide the hand-sewn seam where the hand and arm connect).
By the way-- I ALWAYS match the fingernail color to the lipstick color.

It's at this stage that I decided to make a "slip cover" for the torso, using a stretch velvet embroidered with sequins.

Now, here's a problem I've encountered before with resin candlesticks -- they tend to break at "weak spots" when traveling or mailing them. So now, if I see a narrow point in the candlestick, (like the 2 spots right under the torso), I try to re-enforce it by hot-gluing braid onto the candlestick.

Here I am, in the middle of gluing braid in the weak areas with hot-glue.

Now, to finish the costume. I sew some "angel" sleeves in black taffeta scattered with sequins, with a dark magenta with silver metallic thread for the linings.

I slide the sleeves on the arms and stitch them down at the shoulder. And, I make a hood out of a black stretch fabric. I pin the hood to the head, and stitch it in place.

Now for the horns. I stitch the horns out of black spandex. I stuff the horns, and sew the opening at the bottom closed. I could leave them as that, but I decided to add a bit of dimension to the horns by wrapping some red-plastic covered wire around the horns -- very simple.

After the horns are stitched to the head, I start thinking about the bottom edge of the torso - where the candlestick starts. Usually, I glue beaded fringe from this point - sort of a "skirt"- to bridge the transition from the bottom of the torso to the candlestick. But, while sorting through my large boxes of "BLACK" fabrics, I found an old piece of netting with sequin fringe stitched to it. So, I cut a rectangle of it, gather it slightly, and glue it to the bottom. Over that, I glue a black beaded trim with a braid around the top edge.
(At this point, my entire work table is COVERED in black sequins!!)

Now for the cape and collar. The cape is black satin, lined with a dark metallic magenta/black print. The collar is cut out of two pieces of the same black satin.

And, just for fun, I gave her a magical staff. It's just a wooded dowel with a marble on top, held in place with two-part AVES APOXIE. After it dries for 12 hours, it's sanded and I paint the staff a dark gold.

Now, all the pieces are in place.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Hi All,
Okay, today I'm going to show you how I color the face of my Evil Queen.
As you can see by my last post, I don't to much needle-sculpting. I like to do a lot with shading and coloring to create a face.

My tools are my colored pencils (Berol Prismacolor, 72 color set), my chalks (Inkadinkado blending chalks, soft tones & bold brights), and my gel pens (Gelly Rolls)

First, I start with the shading. Since her face is a pale green color, I'm using a medium grey colored pencil to start my shading. I shade all around the eye socket, down the side of the nose, under the nose, the outside of the cheeks, under the mouth, and the smile lines.

I also block in the eyebrows and mouth line.

I want to give her an evil, menacing smile, so I've decided to define her "smile line" with needle sculpting. Starting from the side of the head (at the eye line), I bring my needle out at the nostril flair, just above the nostril. I take my thread down along the line to just below the mouth line, insert my needle and take it back to the side of the head. I pull tight on the thread to pull the mouth up and out, accenting the bottom of the cheek.

To make the cheeks more pronounced, I go in (at the neck hole) with a little more stuffing. I try to put more stuffing in the cheeks, ON TOP of the threads inside the head.
At this point, I've also blended the shadow color into the fabric with a Q-tip to soften the lines.
Now, I add some white color for highlight. I'm using my chalk for the highlight, as white chalk is more intense than pencil. I highlight down the center of the nose (this helps hide the center seam line), the nostrils, the chin, the cheeks and the brow bone just below the eyebrows.

 Okay, now it's time to paint the eyes with acrylic paint. I'm using Scribbles dimensional paint, as it's thicker than bottle acrylics (so, less coats).
I outline the lips with red pencil.

To outline the Iris (the colored part of the eye), I use a circle template. You can get these at any art or craft store (I've even seen them at the office supply store) in the drafting department. Using a template will insure the circles are perfect and the same size.
I've also painted the lips at this point (using Wild Raspberry and Iridescent Plum). At this point, I've given the eyes and lips 3 coats of paint.

Now, I paint the iris brown, and add more color to the face.
(Ever notice that all female Disney Villains have vivid eyeshadow and dark lips??)
I've used a purple/magenta colored pencil above and below the eyes, and a small amount of pink chalk to blush the cheeks. Again, after applying the color, I go back and blend it in with a Q-tip.

 (Don't make the mistake of putting the blush in the center of the cheek. For whatever reason, it always looks like a bruise!)

Notice that you only see half of the iris? Because I gave her eyelids, the rest of the iris is under the lids. Most beginning doll makers forget to add the eyelids.
Now it's time to use the gel pens and define everything. I outline the eyes, and the eye lid crease, the eyebrows, the lips, and the mouth line. And, I draw in the nostrils and the eye pupil. I'm mostly using a black colored pen, with some brown and purple around the eye. I draw in a small wrinkle line under the eyes. I also draw in some eyelashes at the outside edges of the eye. (NEVER put lash lines on the inside corners of the eye!)

 After her face is complete, I spray it with 2 LIGHT COATS of Krylon Workable Fixative. (This helps the color from rubbing off. Artist use this product to protect their chalk drawings.)
 I sew the head to the body, and add her black hood, her horns, and trim around the face. Here's the finished head: 

 I've also added some more color to her face. There's more pink in her eyeshadow, and some yellow highlight on the brow bone. Also, a small dot of white highlight in her eyes.

Hope you enjoyed that.

Next, I'll show you how I made the costume.


Monday, June 2, 2014


Hi All,
Okay, like I promised, here is a face tutorial on how I made the Evil Queen.

The first step is dividing the head in half from top to bottom. I place a pin on the center seam.
This will become the eye line, and the placement of the bridge of the nose.
Next, I measure out from that pin about 1/4 inch and put a pin on either side of the center pin. This is the placement of the BRIDGE OF THE NOSE.


 Now, I'm ready for my first needle-sculpting stitch. (I remove the center pin now, as it's not needed.)
I start at the back of the head and tie off my thread. I bring the needle out to the front of the head at one of the pins. I bring the thread DOWN about 1/4 inch and take a stitch to the other side of the nose at the exact spot opposite the seam. I take the stitch UP to the other pin and take a stitch, back to the original point.

I continue to stitch back and forth from one side of the nose to the other, pulling the fabric together.  After I stitch back and forth twice, I take the thead to the back of the head and tie off.
This stitching will pull together and form the bride of the nose.

Next, I move on to the NOSE NOSTRILS.
Again, I place pins to mark my stitch points. I place a pin at each nostril hole (1/4" from center seam, under the nose), and a pin at the top of each nostril flair. (While stuffing the head, I've added small craft pom-poms on either side of the nose to help show the nostrils)
Again, I start at the back of the head, and bring my thread out to the front of the head at one of the lower nostril point. I take a small stitch where the nostril will be, and bring my needle DIAGONALLY UP to the point above the other nostril flair.
Next, I take a small stitch at that point and bring my needle straight across, (under the seam) to the other top nostril flair (opposite to where I just stitched).
I take a small stitch at that point, and bring my needle DIAGONALLY DOWN to the opposite nostril hole. I take a stitch at that nostril hole, and bring my needle to the back of the head and tie off.

It sounds confusing, but all I'm doing is stitching an "X" at the nostrils.

Okay, now I'm ready to needle-sculpt the EYES.
First, I cut out my EYE TEMPLATES, and pin them at that same center line where I stitched the bridge of the nose. I move them around until they look right.
 I very lightly trace around the eye template with a gray colored pencil. (Don't use a graphite lead pencil-- the graphite never comes out of fabric. The colored pencil can easily be wiped off.)
After the eye shapes are on the face, I start stitching at the corners of the eyes. 
From the back of the head, I bring my thead out to the front, at the OUTSIDE corner of the eye. I take a small stitch at the corner, and bring my thead to the back again. Repeat on the other side of the face to the other OUTSIDE corner of the eye.

Next, I bring the needle from the back to the front, and take a small stitch at the INSIDE corners of each eye. This will pull your eyes back into the head.

And, that's all the needle sculpting I do, at this point. I will add the cheek line later on, after I have the mouth drawn in.
In my next blog, I'll show you how I color the face! Stayed tuned.
On another note, I saw "MALEFICENT" today (in 3D), and thought it was MAGNIFICENT!!

Angelina Jolie is WONDERFUL! She's good -- she's evil -- she's strong -- she's vulnerable. She does not play a 2-dimensional cartoon villain. Rather, her character is completely believable and extremely complex.
I won't tell you the plot, as that's the best part. It's full of surprises (especially the ending).
I read that this is director Robert Stromberg's first time directing. He was an Art Director, so this movie looks beautiful!