Friday, April 10, 2009

The Ponape Scriptures: My Edition

With all this discussion of tomecraft I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my own efforts. All of these pictures are from a small run of about a dozen copies of the "Ponape Scriptures" that I did around ten years ago. I thought I'd lost all the pictures I'd taken of them, but I discovered these shots on an old memory card a few months ago. That should help explain both their small size and poor quality.

One of my better cover treatments, featuring hand tooled sheet copper and flame-aged wood. The copper was patinated with a mixture of ammonia and salt water.

A closeup of the cover embossment. The copper was attached to the cover using brass brads.

An alternate cover embossment using un-aged copper. The Cthulhu sigil on the cover was one I came up with while trying to mimic some of the design elements of art from the South Pacific using the tribal-styled Tatooz font. Most of the artwork rearranged bits and pieces of that font to create the dozens of illustrations, such as they were, that I needed to fill the book.

This shot gives you a look at the the alternative binding I used for a few copies.

Interior pages, with a good shot of the Cthulhu sigil. As you can see, the pages had a very light aging treatment. That tendency to under-weather props is something I've had trouble with for years because of my fondness for neatness and cleanliness. It's not quite at the level of suffering from OCD, but it's definitely had a negative impact on my propmaking efforts.

I need to embrace the dirt. Heh.

One of the summoning circle designs.

I believe this was the Dagon sigil.

Another summoning circle.

I can't even remember what this one was supposed to be.

With the distance of time I can see a lot of flaws in these, but I think that overall the Scriptures project was a decent effort. The biggest problem with it is that most of the illustrations are only mildly reworked and recombined symbols from the Tatooz font, something that I'd be loathe to do today. There's a line between inspired and derivative that this project's artwork definitely crossed.

The weathering treatment is also far too light. As I've done more prop artifacts over the last few months I've grudgingly begun moving towards adding more extreme distressing to items. I've even posted a sign saying "More Dirt! More Grime! More Wear!" above my workbench as a motivational tool. I know it sounds weird, but it takes a major effort for me to really dirty things up the way they should be. I know intellectually that they'll look better that way, but my innate psychological aversion to dirt seems to apply even to fake filth.


Christopher B said...

Dude, you suck. Oh, sorry, did I say that out loud? /wink

This is really cool - and something I've been wanting to undertake for a long time, but never seem to have the combination of workspace, free time, and resources in the right balance to do so.

"I know it sounds weird, but it takes a major effort for me to really dirty things up the way they should be."

You're not alone: I have never successfully (to my satisfaction) aged a piece of paper in my life, despite several solid attempts to do so. The end product always comes out too clean. During the process, I'm always worried that it's getting too dirty. The end result is something that never quite looks as aged and weathered as I'd envisioned it.

Propnomicon said...

I think the closest I've come to a good weathering job is the "thing in a bottle" I posted last week. Although the overall grunginess could be cranked up a few notches I was really happy with how great the label came out. Based on that experience I'm beginning to think that most of my "old" paper props could use a good going over with sandpaper.

Rev. Marx said...

Very nice work on the copper. What tools did you use? How did you apply the patina solution?

Propnomicon said...

To tool the copper I improvised with a couple of nails inserted into an adjustable x-acto handle. I applied the ammonia and salt water with some recycled spray bottles.

It's a pretty low-budget operation here at Manse Propnomicon. Heh.