Sculpting Prosthetics: Reptile Skin Textures

SculptScaly reptilian skin is a fertile area to draw inspiration from, and can be used in a lot of ways.

This blog post takes a look at the basic kinds and how you can create them.

I’m going to cover the main kinds, going step by step through each one, and then rough out a makeup design using them in combination to demonstrate how a design can be assembled from them.

Then I also take you through the paint scheme by actually painting directly onto the sculpt so we can see what the final result would look like without needing to make a mould, cast and apply it first.  It’s a neat trick which means you can show off a finished makeup design and still be able to make alterations afterwards to the sculpt!

Check out the video below to see how it was done, and a few other neat tips which will help you make things look cool.

Painted Sculpt

Its important to mention that reference is crucial, so do some digging and take a look at the variety of scales and skin textures, from Ostrich feet, snakes and crocodiles, lizards and all kinds of crazy things you may not have realise existed.

Nature has an incredibly varied palette, and it never ceases to amaze me.  The ostrich feet skins shown in the video for example (which by the way were kindly sourced and photographed by Karl Derrick) look like something out of Jurassic Park. Who knew?

From a sculptural point of view, I have bunched scales and reptile skin textures into 4 classifications which is a hideous simplification, no doubt offensive to any naturalist experts who may see this, and to them I apologise.

1. Granular scales which are basically a rough, bumpy texture which can vary in scale.

2. Keeled which can be like a large scale granular scale, but specifically have a ridge or number of ridges on the surface for added strength.

3. Cycloid the overlapping scales most commonly thought of on fish.

4. Scute plates almost like horn or tortoise shell. Often found on the bellies of snakes and on well protected areas of areas like fronts of feet on crocodiles and ostriches.

So because there are different kinds of reptilian skins and scales, so Todd and I have done our own approaches to this theme to show you different ways of doing it.  We have both created videos, and I have added mine here first as I am still editing the others (a lot of footage was shot, and I don’t want to rush them out).

As soon as that is done I will add them below and let everyone know when they come through. Todd has done a particularly fantastic tutorial on making a Pros Aide transfer, which these textures lend themselves to tremendously well, so stay tuned for that upload soon!

Please do leave a comment here if you enjoy this post, and also remember that we need your suggestions for future posts.

You can email Todd & myself direct through this email:

– Stuart & Todd


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