Step 9: Finishing the top lip

I started on the top lip earlier but put off finishing it at that stage because of the difficulty. Aesthetically and mentally for me, I really wanted to see my frame actually look like a lion to give me the motivation to keep on going.
But this stage, I had already made the eyes, cheek and nose and all I wanted to do now was to finish that mouth!

And there it is! My base frame almost complete.
Hard work finally paid off to have something faintly resembling a lion.

Step 8: The Cheeks

Another one of the more harder parts to do and much more fiddly especially involving the support structures for the cheek.
This part was much harder to replicate from the original as by this stage, a few of my dimensions were already different from the original and there was no way for me to correctly get the angles for the cheek supports.
In the end I just went with the curve of the bamboo and my eye as a guide to make the cheeks look round and full.

Step 7: The Eyebrows

It finally looks and resembles more like a lion now!
I deviated away from my model completely here and adjusted the height and size of the brow according to how I wanted the lion to look. I was hoping to get more of a “baak wan” lion look with its eyes being more wider set so I made the brows quite wide.
I also adjusted the front of the eye so that the side of the eyes are more forward facing than having a streamlined look (as you might find with jow gar lions)

Note: I added the fins and spirals and other wire work at the end

Step 6: The Eye Sockets

This part was quite tricky because despite getting all the dimensions right, there was still a bit of guess work involved with the positioning of the actual eye socket. There was no  surrounding structures to use as a reference point. so with a bit of hand eye coordination, I think it worked out alright in the end.
Another facial feature which made this lion one step closer to a face!

Step 5: the Nose

This was one of the more fun parts to complete. I used a combination of bamboo strips and rattan for this area, and it turned out quite well. Because the joints were much closer together, the nose felt quite solid and strong and it gave the lion an identifiable feature. One step closer to becoming a lion!!!

Note: It was a bit tricky trying to get the dimensions of the certain parts as I was juggling to fit in my measure tape and measuring sticks into the model’s nose. I’m starting to become less anal about having exact measurements. Little imperfections don’t matter too much and give the lion a real feeling.

Step 4: The first part of the top lip

My first hurdle, this is where I started having difficulty getting it right.
Now there are smaller pieces to contend with and curves in shorter pieces of bamboo strips (more pressure on the strip).
In the end, I decided to only attach and make the main sections of the top lip that would be involved in structural purposes.
I’ll revisit the top lip later on

I wasn’t good with my photo documentation of my progress. Here you can see the bit of the top lip which I started plus the main bit of the nose which I enjoyed doing much more.

Step 3: The gills

I chose this section before the top lip because in some ways, I was quite scared of progressing to the lip. The process of having difficult bends and multiple smaller pieces was daunting so I put it off for now.

For the gills, I was tossing up between whether I should have rounded gills or proper crescent gills with fins attached to them. I really like the style and beauty of lion heads with the double gills and sphere attachment but I was a bit too afraid of it being too difficult and fiddly with all the little parts so I opted for the round gills instead.
I diverged a bit away from my model with this part. I wanted my lion to have much large prominent gills so it would stand out more as a particular feature so I elongated some of the  dimensions on my pieces.

This is also the part where I introduced rattan strips into my head. I didn’t think I would have enough bamboo strip to complete the rest of the bit so I thought this area wouldn’t detract too much from the heads stability if I used the rattan. It’s much softer and pliable compared to the bamboo and the support isn’t as good but these bits don’t get beat up too much when the heads shaken.