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Great White Shark in Paper Mache

This is a recent paper mache art project I designed. You can see the process from paper to finished project below.

Conceptual Drawings

This is the first phase of the project. Here I draft out size, format, layout, materials needed, and all necessary mechanics.

Initial Wiring Stage

The next step was to build the framework for the ten foot Great White shark. Using fence ties and chicken wire, I set the stage as to the form and shape of the shark. Then I set the teeth into the wire frame. I molded the teeth using Sculpey clay and then baking them to the wire inserts for a highly realistic jaws look!

Mache Process

After molding the shark's form in wire, I then laid the foundation of mache. The first layer was muslin fabric, to give the flexible extensions the mobility they needed, as some pieces of the shark were created to have movement. After this was dry, the paper mache was applied.

Molding Features

To get the realistic forms of the eye sockets and to solidify the teeth into gums, I used a simple modeling compund found at a local art store. Mixed with water, it was a perfect air-drying compound with which to sculpt. After creating eyes sockets, I set the marbles in as eyeballs, then molded around them to set them in. This is best done in two parts in order for the compund dry thoroughly. I used this compound as well to build up the lateral line feature.

Painting Stage

The next stage was to lay the first colors of the shark. I worked with the white on the underside first, and then eventually laid in the first dark grey tones on the top. Using a combination of fine and craft paint (white, burnt umber, mars back and Pthalo blue) I started laying in the colors


The last stages of painting really bring the shark to life. Using a dry brush technique, I blended the grey into the white and then toned the white down on the underside of the shark. I then drybrushed over eye sockets, nose swells and lateral lines. I also added the coloration to the gums and put some last minute aging to this shark to make it ultra-realistic.

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