Anubis – Ears

For the jackal ears, I started off by looking at a number of tutorials & inspiration sources for ears and horns – since I wasn’t sure if I wanted soft ears, or if I wanted ones that were hard.

Inspiration and resources

Some of the tutorials I looked at included:

  1. Bison ears and horns: This tutorial uses pink insulation foam to create the horns – by carving the horns, covering the foam in paper mache, and then painting the horns. The ears are soft, and made from felt and faux fur.  Both are mounted on an elastic headband.
  2. Industrial Anubis leather mask: This is just a photo of a mask that someone made. I’ve done leather shaping in the past for a mask, and I wasn’t really all that happy with the result – I think that the leather that I was using wasn’t the right stuff – and I don’t really have a form to shape the leather on. Still, it’s a great inspiration image! Oddly enough, by the same artist I actually like the ears on a rabbit mask more than the Anubis one. These ears are taller and I really like the curves.
  3. While I was wandering around the internet, and found this sketch to use as the basis for the shape of the ears.


Ok, so I came up with a few different options for the materials to make the ears:

  • soft foam (open-cell foam) (like upholstery foam) – an acquaintance made ears this way for a rabbit costume and they looked great. She told me she basically carved away at foam, and then spray painted them.  The bonus is that they’re super light weight and mildly flexible – meaning fewer bumps to wreck them. The downside – the paint flaked off. So – If I wanted to do this I would either need to find a paint that was foam-compatible (might be hard) or cover them somehow before painting. I would likely need to glue these onto the mask or a head band to make them stand up.
  • craft foam or cardboard to support the shape, covered in tape, paper mache and wood filler, then painted. With this method the result will be a lot more firm (and thus more delicate against wear) but they should hold the paint a lot easier.  They’ll likely be a little bit heavier as well. I could either glue these onto a mask or headband, or paper mache them on (after glueing) to make the transition a bit smoother too. I do like that with this idea, the final version can be quite thin, like a real ear.
  • carved hard foam or carved expanding foam. Like the horns in the tutorial above I would carve the ears, cover with paper mache, then likely wood filler, and finally paint it.  Like the option above the result will be pretty firm, should hold the paint well, and will apply the same way. I could likely get a bit more three-dimension out of this option, but the end result will likely be a lot thicker.
  • faux fur – This option would really be the easiest for me to do – assuming I can find the right fun fur.  Like the example above in the tutorial, it’s a pretty simple shape and a pretty simple construction.  A bit more complicated would be if I could find some long pile fun fur, and make something like Baarak’s ears which are long fur which is shaved and airbrushed. These look amazing!  But… I don’t have any super-long pile white fun fur (and when I looked at the fabric store the other day, none jumped out at me either… Plus, I don’t really think I want these to look that “animal” like – rather I think I want something harder and not as realistic to the animal, but more to the funerary masks.

Choices, choices…

Pattern for the ears

I started out with a paper pattern to figure out the size and shape of the ears, as well as how to get the curve that I wanted out of them.  The paper pattern actually worked out really well, and I decided to just go with the thinner option and cover the ears with paper mache to stiffen them a little.

  1. I cut the pattern out of card stock to start with, and tried them on the mask blank in various ways to see how they would look.

    Previewing the ears on the mask

  2. Next, I started to cover the ears while taped to the mask with paper mache.  I first papered them unfolded, then while the card was damp with glue, folded over the tab and curved the damp paper.

    Paper mache on the ears and mask

  3. From there I moved onto the nose… (more on that to come…)


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