Monday, January 26, 2015

Making a Mummified Dragon Skull

Here's something you don't see every day.  Kim Beaton brings us a detailed tutorial on creating a mummified dragon skull using Pal Tiya outdoor clay over an aluminum foil armature.  This isn't Mrs. Beaton's first time at the dragon rodeo.  You may remember her impressive work when she was Kim Graham.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Rule of Three

Here's a quick and dirty tutorial on painting up a casting.  I'll be using one of the copies of the small Cthulhu icon I first talked about back in November

I like using a a three tone approach to painted finishes.  That means the final intended color, in this case green, is actually a blend of three different shades.  First comes the basecoat.  It establishes the color foundation of the piece.  Next comes the midtone, a slightly lighter version of the base that helps build dimensionality.  Finally you apply the highlights using the lightest shade of all.

Here's what we'll be working with today.  The three shades of green on the right are my base, midtone, and highlight, respectively.  The two paints on the left, brown and a dull green, will be combined to give me a weathering wash that blends the other three together.

Here's a closeup of the basic black casting.  Since it's matte black on a white background I've tweaked the contrast a bit to bring out the detail.  That had the unintended consequence of highlighting specks of dust as well.  The piece isn't nearly as dusty as it appears.  Heh.

First we lay down our base coat with a very heavy dry-brushing of the darkest green.   Since it's not much brighter than the black of the casting we don't get much "pop" from this layer.

Now we apply the midtone.  It's dry-brushed on with a slightly lighter stroke than the base coat.  You can see how it really starts to resolve some of the details thanks to the enhanced contrast.

Finally, we apply the highlight coat.  This is what really brings out the details of the casting.  You want to use the lightest of strokes to dry-brush this layer on.  You want just enough paint to bring out the fine, high ridges of the sculpt.  At this point things can look a little cartoony because you've intentionally built up a finish with a high level of contrast.  Now we'll knock that back a bit...

...with the dulling wash of dark green tinted with brown I mentioned earlier.  This blends the other three colors together and lightens up the flat black of the base casting to bring out the fine recessed details the brush couldn't reach.  Once the wash is dry hit your artifact with a coat of matte fixative.  One of the drawbacks of dry-brushing is that the paint can easily flake off with handling.  Friction is responsible for depositing the pigment, and it's equally good at removing it.  A protective coating will keep the paintjob in place.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Fallen

I was extremely disappointed to read this message from EmptySamurai on DeviantArt.  I've become a huge "Fallout" fan, and he was responsible for recreating almost every single product in the series.

AS the title says, I quit. After years of working at making money with my skills (and trying to launch a screen accurate fan film) the abuse from redditors, the faux interest in buying items from DA members, and the poverty that comes with trying to make it happen I quit. I quit the fallout community, I quit commissions, I quit making papercrafts to be printed by fans.... I'm simply done. there has been a tiny handful who have actually supported me. Thank y'all for your patronage and I hope you enjoy the items purchased. Will be deleting this page soon most likely. just making sure I have backups of my images here first. already ripped the widgets off the front page of my profile save for this announcement. Adios.

It's a real shame he's calling it quits, and I hope he reconsiders.   He's an amazingly prolific prop-maker, as just one of the shots in his gallery demonstrates.

That said, I can see where he's coming from.  Diehard fans, be it of the Mythos, Fallout, or the NFL, can be difficult to deal with.   Even in our little niche I've had to field complaints about the expense of some items.  Mind you, this concerned a one-of-a-kind specimen on Ebay.  It wasn't the auction winner that was complaining, but another bidder who thought it wasn't fair someone else was willing to pay more than he was.  The idea that something crafted by hand in limited numbers doesn't have the same price point as a mass-produced good seemed like a foreign concept to them.

If you think that requires some chutzpah, imagine having to deal with people complaining about free stuff.  That's right.  People have sent me angry emails because the stuff I give away wasn't quite what they wanted.  Pointing out that they can change it any way they like only exacerbated the problem, since I was being "selfish" by not customizing it to their needs.

That kind of thing rolls off my back, but it can be a real hassle for anyone that hasn't developed a thick skin.  Luckily, Mythos fans tend to be older, or at least more adult, so that sort of behavior is relatively rare.  For something like "Fallout" I imagine the fan base is a lot younger and more reactionary.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Helm of Theoden

Mike Iverson has a detailed build log for his recreation of Theoden's helm from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.  Based on the final product you would never guess it started life as a cardboard pepakura form.  The decorative details were built up using bondo and cast resin pieces. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Beast

SylviusArt brings us this well done LARP monster mask

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Eyebot Build

Brazen and Bold Productions has posted a complete gallery of their Fallout Eyebot build.  It's constructed from foam and found bits, with only a few purchased components.  One of the things I love about the Fallout universe is how the design concept of a "sputnik-bot" can produce so many interesting variations.  Not to mention one of the best characters in the series.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Cthulhu Artifact

Jason McKittrick returns with a new version of his original "Cthulhu Artifact" piece.  The included shadowbox really ups the presentation level.