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I did a life size sculpture based upon Niki de St. Phalles' "Nana"
figures a few years back. It was a lot of work, but rewarding. i made
the armature out of chicken wire, stuffed it with newspaper, and used
plaster in achieving the final form. I had never done anything like
this before, so there might be an easier way. It took a long time to
dry, and was extremely heavy to move. I finished it with brightly
colored latex paint.
it might be easier to make the armature out of wood and wrap newspaper
around it using masking tape. You can use plaster strips instead of
regular plaster, but the finish won't be as smooth so you might have to
sand it down before finishing. It might be worth investigating using
old newspaper clippings decoupaged on the surface. I did this once for a
sculpture I worked on representing the holocaust. I printed old NY
Times headlines and transposed them to newsprint on a xerox machine.
Then I used Mod Podge to fix them onto the body of the sculpture. it
came out great.