Saturday, July 31, 2010
Original concept sketch of the gun.
The illuminated barrel.
Friday, July 30, 2010
My version of a letter that plays an important part in H. P. Lovecraft's horror novel, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
The text is given in the story, in as close to 17th century style as Lovecraft could manage on a typewriter, and I have put it into a 17th century handwriting, using a computer font I created that is based mostly on the handwriting of William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony. After setting the text, a list of search-and-replace items were required, as there are several ligated letters (ct, ck,ff, etc.), some letters that are written differently when at the end of a word (s, e, etc,), and several abbreviations ("the" looks like a "Y" with an "e" over it, "Mister" like an "M" with a squiggly tail) in this style. If I had more advanced font software (and later program versions), this could all be done automatically....
Just click through on the link above to download the high resolution version of the letter from Mr. Simpson's DeviantArt page. Once printed and aged it should be quite the effective prop.
Update: Earlier, this work had been credited to Rebecca Kemp because I found it in her "Pickman's Model" gallery at DeviantArt here. That appears to be a aggregator site for Lovecraftian art, but there is no mention of Mr. Simpson on the page and the posting text speaks of creating the work in the first person. Draw from that what conclusions you will.
I apologize to Mr. Simpson for the oversight and would like to thank R.S. Bohn for bringing the situation to my attention.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
This is based on a postcard of Brown University's front campus dating to around 1910. I believe the spot where this picture was taken is in front of the John Hay library, just north of the intersection of Prospect and College Streets. I'm guesstimating it's about 10 meters south of where the H.P. Lovecraft Memorial is located today.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This is another of the background photos I put together for a group tackling Chaosium's "Masks of Nyarlathotep". Yes, the third man in the photo does look strange. The missing portion of his torso on the left side is either a trick of the light or the result of a bad retouching job in the original photo.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Ean Moody sent over a link to his latest project- a virtual sculpt of Nyarlathotep's "Bloody Tongue" aspect available on Shapeways. One click and you can have a copy custom manufactured by an industrial 3-D printer. Here's a video featuring the digital model:
This technology is already having an impact in the miniatures market. As costs fall I can see it producing an explosion of creativity as everyone starts utilizing micro-scale manufacturing for hobby and short-run projects.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Browse around the rest of his site and you'll find even more cool props.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Trioxin 245 was invented by Dan O'Bannon, the same writer and directer that brought us "The Resurrected", a surprisingly good low budget adaptation of Lovecraft's "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".
Thursday, July 22, 2010
"A picture taken (at) the Nicholas Roerich Museum in the late 30's (based on the paintings shown). Apparently the painting on the left was later removed and can no longer be found on the inventory of Roerich paintings."
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
That said, I've been a big fan Fantasy Flight Games, the makers of the "Call of Cthulhu" CCG, because of their awesome "Bag of Cthulhu" accessory. Piles and piles of little Cthulhus, all for a very reasonable price. Mike was kind enough to send over word that they're following up that triumph with a "Cthulhu Domain Statue" that looks like another winner.
Quoting from the website:
The Cthulhu Domain Statue is 2.75" (70mm) tall and is made of resin in dark green with a black wash, illuminating the details of its sculpture, based on the descriptions of Cthulhu and the sunken city of R'lyeh found in H.P. Lovecraft's immortal work of horror, The Call of Cthulhu. The Cthulhu Domain Statue is an immersive accessory for lovers of the Cthulhu Mythos and a game component of distinct quality and detail.
This could easily be adapted for prop use, and the price is hard to beat.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
You can see more of his work at the Hyaena Gallery.
Monday, July 19, 2010
This is based on a mix of the RCA and Imperial "Radiogram" forms in use from the 20's to the 40's. Once you've downloaded the PDF from Google Documents you can customize the message text using the embedded form fields, then print, trim to size, fold, and insert in a coin or business envelope. For best results use a color printer, but everything is legible if you use a monochrome inkjet or laser printer.
This telegram prop was originally created for a group tackling Chaosium's epic "Masks of Nyarlathotep" campaign for the "Call of Cthulhu" role-playing game. The players are keeping a written record of the adventure in a leather-bound journal, an idea inspired by the "Grail Diary" from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". I was asked to produce improved versions of the included handouts as well as supplemental materials like period maps and ephemera. By the time they finish the campaign the journal should be an impressive piece of work, crammed with all kinds of paper props.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Next week I'll be placing an order for the new run of Miskatonic University patches and lapel pins that will be available in August. All the pins I've done in the past have had an antiqued brass finish, but there have been a number of requests for a full color cloisonne pin. I think that's what I'd like to do for the next run. For comparison, here's what the antiqued brass version looks like:
The cloisonne version would be essentially the same, but duplicating the color scheme of the Miskatonic seal with fired enamel in the spaces between the raised brass portions. Here's a rough mock-up of what it would look like:
The antiqued brass version has a classic appearance, with a very understated vintage feel. On the other hand, the cloisonne version is far more eye-catching and really "pops" because of the polished brass and enamel finish. Personally, I think the cloisonne looks fantastic, but I can appreciate the subtlety of the old version.
What do you think? I'm all for going full color, but if you really don't like it I won't tamper with things.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
A wonderful shot taken at sunset in the Sahara that captures the feeling of isolation in the deep desert.
A trade caravan of camels loaded with goods passes through an oasis in Algeria.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
First, an open air cafe. The gentleman wearing a fez just screams "NPC".
Second, an 11th century gate near the Red Mosque. It leads to the bazaar, as the merchandise laden animals would suggest.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"A splendid view of Cairo may be had from the reddish hills which lie to the southeast of the city. In the foreground is the Citadel, with the two slender minarets of the Mohammed Ali Mosque rising high above the wide dome. On the lower level, to the right, are the minarets of the Sultan Hasan and Rifaiyeh Mosques, and the big open square to the right is the courtyard of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, said to be a copy of the Kaaba at Mecca."
Monday, July 12, 2010
As much as I enjoy tabletop gaming I rarely, if ever, have the time to actually participate in one. Like so many of the first generation to grow up with RPGs, I find myself grabbing my gaming when I can between the demands of work and having a family. Being able to take a little time in the evening to tackle a few puzzles and catch up on a developing storyline is the perfect venue for getting my fix.
That's one of the reasons I liked this story from "Wired" involving a viral marketing/ARG project tied into the upcoming Christopher Nolan film "Inception". The other is the impressive craftsmanship that went into creating the PASIV device "Dream Share Manual" that arrived on the author's doorstep.
The article includes high-resolution scans of all the interior pages, which consist mostly of hand-drawn illustrations and redacted text. That makes it easy for fans to reproduce the manual, but it's also handy for anyone interested in re-purposing the material for a modern take on the Dreamlands. Even if you don't embrace the "Delta Green" approach to the Mythos the canon establishes two facts that would make something like this useful- people and creatures can move back and forth between our world and the Dreamlands, and the US government, or at least some elements within it, is officially aware of the Mythos. A Spec Ops team traveling beyond the veil to recruit ghoul intelligence operatives for the war on terror might be a little over the top, but there are a lot of other creative ways to adapt the material.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The 4" (10 cm) patch is embroidered on a tough cotton twill backing that will last for years of use, and the heat-sensitive adhesive makes it easy to iron it on to the garment of your choice. The expedition's "Ab Aeterno" logo was designed using a period font and color scheme to mimic a patch created in 1935. The rayed sun motif of the Miskatonic University seal rises from behind the deep red stone of Ayer's Rock, while above them are two stylized Aboriginal glyphs- the horizontal parallel lines symbolizing a journey surmounted by the concentric circles marking a destination or campsite. Below that is the latin phrase "Ab Aeterno", or "From the beginning of time", the expedition's motto.
The expedition notebook is patterned after the pocket journals used by scientists and researchers in the field to record observations. The front cover features the expedition logo, while the back includes observation instructions and a specimen ruler. The notebook measures 3.5" by 5" (8.89 cm by 12.7 cm) and has a saddle-stitch binding, 1/4" rounded corners, heavyweight cover, and 32 pages of high quality lined paper. All materials are 100% recycled and the cover designs are printed with environmentally friendly soy ink.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Prof. Ashley of Miskatonic with one of the first stones uncovered by the expedition.
The S.S. Lexington being towed into Port Hedland by a harbor tug. From here the expedition would travel overland to the De Grey river, where a chartered steamer with a shallow draw would take them to the edge of the interior desert.
Update: RXGrafix did an awesome take on the Prof. Ashley photo. I shied away from aging it too much because I wanted to keep it generic, but they just nailed it.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
|From Paper Props|
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The sets will include an embroidered patch and brass lapel pin with the Australian expedition's "Ab Aeterno" logo along with a postcard and the usual extras for $19.99. 100 will be available, and once half are sold I'll have the patches and pins available individually, for $5.99 and $9.99 respectively.
As with the ATMOM gear I'll be taking orders all weekend and then mailing out the packages first thing Monday morning. In case you wanted to get a head start on your "Shadow Out of Time" prop collection take a look directly below this post. Lovecraft's story includes almost all the information needed to fill out the passage tickets for the entire Miskatonic expedition, including all the members:
Professor William Dyer of the college's geology department - leader of the Miskatonic Antarctic Expedition Of 1930-31 - Ferdinand C. Ashley of the department of ancient history, and Tyler M. Freeborn of the department of anthropology - together with my son Wingate - accompanied me...My correspondent, Mackenzie, came to Arkham early in 1935 and assisted in our final preparations.
That last would be Robert B.F. Mackenzie, the Australian that originally uncovered the mysterious desert ruins. As for the departure itself:
Sailing from Boston aboard the wheezy Lexington on March 28, 1935, we had a leisurely trip across the Atlantic and Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal, down the Red Sea, and across the Indian Ocean to our goal.
There's a good chance Lovecraft based the ship in his story on the actual S. S. Lexington of the Colonial Line, which served Boston, New York, Providence, and New Bedford during the appropriate time frame.
Monday, July 5, 2010
|From Paper Props|
Sunday, July 4, 2010
If you've ever thought of sculpting your own Cthulhu idol I highly recommend giving it a read. It seems counter-intuitive, but for a beginning sculptor this technique is easier and will produce better results than trying to create smooth tentacles. A flawlessly regular and unbroken finish is fiendishly difficult and takes quite a bit of skill to pull off. Adding texture lets you cover up a multitude of errors and produces a more visually interesting result.