Monday, January 31, 2011

The Parasite

Artist "Missile Me" turns the dial on Cronenberg-style body horror up to eleven with his "Steampunk Parasite". This is, without a doubt, one of the most disturbing makeup appliances I've ever seen. Something like this would be the hit of a live-action game.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kantara, 1922

A steamer passes down the Suez canal past the outpost of Kantara. Just a few years earlier this was mostly empty desert, but the town exploded in size when it became the central supply depot for the British Army's Palestine force.

Another snapshot for the "Masks of Nyarlathotep" project.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The End Times

FComin's statuette is the fourth Cthulhu idol this week. Frankly, that's amazing. In the three year history of Propnomicon the blog has highlighted an average of one a month, making the number of new sculpts over the past few days a veritable explosion.

The unenlightened might assume that so many different versions showing up in such a short time is the predictable result of artists finishing up projects during the winter doldrums following the holidays.

Those with a clearer vision see something quite different.


Ha ha.


Cthulhu Fhtagn! FComin Edition

Artist FComin sent over these pictures of his new Cthulhu idol sculpt. The patination treatments for both the blue and metallic versions are some of the best I've seen.

You can check out his digital art gallery over here, including this very nice Innsmouth-inspired piece.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Necromancer Case

I quite like this necromancer case from Andrea Falaschi. The twisting, gnarled texture of the various implements contrasts nicely with the the regular right angles of the neatly divided compartments. The only thing I'm not crazy about are the mesh inserts. They jump out as being too new compared to the well worn decay of the rest of the piece, but that's really a minor quibble.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Deirdre Edition

Artist "Deirdre" brings us this nicely done Cthulhu idol with a very convincing finish reproducing the look of old limestone. Click through to the large version and you'll see the mossy spots aren't a monochromatic "green", but a subtle blend of multiple shades ranging from earth to an almost yellow green. That's one of the secrets of a believable faux finish. By bracketing the base color with at least one brighter and one darker shade you start to capture the random variations in color found in nature.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Miskatonic University Project Update

Things are moving along quite nicely in regards to the Miskatonic University project.

The patches are already finished and in hand. The design is identical to last year's order, so the manufacturer just had to load up the same digital file and let the computerized embroidery machines go to town. The same company is doing the cloisonne lapel pins and those are currently in production. So far, knock on wood, the production time for the pins is on target.

The notebooks are finished and currently en route to me.

The pennant is...doing something. I've submitted the design and paid for the run, but I haven't heard back from the manufacturer since making the order. That probably means that everything is going just fine, but I always get paranoid when doing one of these projects.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Illstation Edition.

Artist "Illstation" brings us this naturalistic Cthulhu idol. I really like the sculpt, but I think it would work better with a natural stone finish rather than a miniature-style approach.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Great God Pan

Dave Carson is one of the most prolific Lovecraftian illustrators, but he's also an accomplished sculptor. This fragment of the "Great God Pan" manages to pay homage to Arthur Machen while evoking the sculpture of Clark Ashton Smith.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! McKittrick Edition.

Artist Jason McKittrick brings us this wonderfully corroded Cthulhu idol.

“Among the many strange and curious artifacts in the personal collection of Dr. James Killian this small idol is possibly the most enigmatic and peculiar. Discovered in Rome in 1830 by Killian it appears to depict the mysterious tentacled god Cthulhu.

According to Killian’s journal the idol was unearthed among pottery shards from the 1st century A.D. and is cast in bronze, typical of ancient Roman artisans of the time. What is not typical however, is the idol’s subject. Killian had never encountered a depiction of this particular deity before and noted that it had a strange effect on certain people. Killian’s journal does not elaborate any further on this “effect” however the crate that Killian stored the idol in had the words “DANGEROUS: HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE” stenciled on the side.

Modern examination and analysis on the idol have produced inconclusive results.”

The piece is available for purchase on Ebay.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vintage Mugshots

A kind reader emailed over a link to these evocative portraits of Australian criminals in the 1920s. The entire collection is a goldmine for anyone in need of character portraits, particularly ones with a touch of madness.

Friday, January 21, 2011

They Bite

Carim Nahaboo brings us these outstanding bottled specimens. The creatures were sculpted out of Fimo polymer clay and colored with an ink wash.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mormon Props

A reader was kind enough to bring the intriguing realm of professional propmaking for members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons, to my attention. The firm of Maskery and Lund produces a variety of items based on the rather unique LDS historical doctrine, including this wonderful brass recreation of the Liahona, a religious artifact with some interesting similarities to a spirit compass. Given the relative obscurity of the Liahona outside of the church I can see this being adapted as a stand-in for a variety of occult items.

You'll find some other interesting items at the Maskery and Lund website that would be equally useful. I generally shy away from using religious paraphenalia as props, but since these are sold as historical reproductions my normal unease is assuaged.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Chem of the Golem of Prague

The talented Julian DiMarco has relaunched his Able Workshop website with a beautiful recreation of the Chem of the Golem of Prague.

"Traditionally, the Golem is given life by writing a portion of one of the true names of God on piece of paper, and placing the slip into it’s mouth. This becomes it’s CHEM, the instructions and laws that it must obey. This then in the CHEM of the Golem of prague."

Tomorrow I'll have a few more recreations of religious artifacts from the surprisingly vibrant selection available to Mormons.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vintage French Museum Label

TonTon COPT at the French prop site Cré'à'Vapeur brings us this nicely done vintage museum label. The PDF is fully customizable.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Metropolis Helmet

It's not Lovecraftian in the slightest, but this Metropolis firefighter's helmet from Jacob Petersson is a beautiful piece of prop work. The construction is impressive, but it's the worn metal paint job and the film-inspired decals that really brings it to life.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lovecraftian Labels

The Red Crown Emporia is a legendary boutique vendor noted as much for it's mysterious management as for it's unusual selection of goods. Lee Barber was kind enough to send over a recreation of their period labels, along with some letterhead samples from the infamous Thule Society. You can find the high resolution PDF over here. The labels use some of the wonderful fonts available from the HPLHS.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Glowing Spine Worm

Laura Harris created this giant glowing spine worm for an art installation. The finished piece is very reminiscent of the otherworldly creatures in "From Beyond". She doesn't include any buildup information in the Flickr gallery, but I think it was made using electroluminescent wire, hot glue, and clear acrylic spars.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Bridge

An expedition heading into the African interior poses with a native-built suspension bridge, or "yanketti", crossing a ravine.

Another vintage photograph re-purposed for the "Masks of Nyarlathotep" project. The original dates to 1921 and was taken in Liberia. Click through for the high resolution version.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Miskatonic Project Update

Things are rolling along with an almost scary smoothness. The payment from Kickstarter and Amazon has cleared, the notebooks and patch are already in production, and the lapel pin and postcards should go into production this week. The only bump in the road has been me, and this damnable flu.

Here's the layout for the Miskatonic Pennant. With the exception of the red background this is a snapshot of the actual template that will be used for production.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Taint

I've been suffering from a hellacious case of the flu. For the past 48 hours all I essentially did was sleep, waking up only to get some soup and some fluids inside me. Now that I'm feeling a little better I'm catching up on the posts I should have been making. I'll have the final design for the Miskatonic pennant up tomorrow, but probably not until later in the day.

The Mountain of the Black Wind

A train of porters makes it's way across the African interior, climbing steadily to the peak known as the Mountain of the Black Wind.

Another journal stuffer from the Masks of Nyarlathotep project. The original dates from 1921 and shows an expedition from the British Museum crossing a ridge above the village of Bihanga in what is now Uganda. Click through for the high resolution version.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Old Cairo

Another day begins in old Cairo. This street passes beneath the Aksunkor Mosque, called el-Azrak, or "the blue", because of it's vibrantly colored tiles.

Another prop photograph for the Masks of Nyarlathotep project. The original picture and location spelling dates to 1922. Just click through for the high resolution version.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Crystal of Focusing

Bradon Challies created this giant internally illuminated crystal for the Requium LARP group in Massachusetts. The construction is pretty clever and uses readily available materials. The outer shell is made from glued sheets of plexiglass, while the interior holds strings of battery powered LEDs. Sheets of crumpled cellophane inside the crystal help diffuse the light.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Miskatonic University Project Update

The orders for the Miskatonic patches and pins have been placed, so they should be done by January 24th. I'd add " the latest" to that, but I don't want to tempt fate.

Based on your feedback the design of the Miskatonic journals was tweaked to use the black cutout scheme from the Arkham notebooks. Here's a rough mockup of how they'll look. The order for these will go in later this week.

Here's the artwork with a small bleed. If you're lucky enough to have a pass-through large format printer this should be enough to print your own using an off-the-shelf moleskine notebook.

I have the template for the pennant in hand and I'll post the, hopefully, final design either tomorrow or Saturday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Moses Edition

CoastConFan posted some pictures of this wonderful piece from sculptor Michael W. Moses. It's a very stylized departure from the anthropomorphic, anatomically detailed depictions I normally like. The flowing lines and aquatic motifs really capture the kind of strange and curios artifact you would find in a Lovecraft story. The sort of thing that would be on display at the Arkham Historical Society without any real understanding of it's true significance.

Mr. Moses was kind enough to provide some details about it's creation:

The Chthonian Staff piece was free-formed from fine-grained commercial clay similar to 19th century pipe clay. The fineness of the clay allows for a great deal of detail and reduces shrinkage to a minimum. One side features a Chtulhu figure and the other side has a chaotic design (not of this world) with the jewel as the main focus.

After working the clay to the proper consistence it if formed to the desired shape and left to dry under controlled conditions to avoid cracking due to uneven drying. The opening for the jewel was made taking account shrinkage due to drying and shrinkage during firing taken into account. This type of clay has a shrinkage rate of less than 10%. Once the piece dried to a stiffer state, it was again worked to achieve pebbling and texture. It was left to fully dry under the same stringent conditions until it was quite dry.

In this drier state it is still possible to do further detail work and clean up. The piece was fired at 1800 to 2000 degrees. After the piece cooled it was in the bisque state and could only be worked with a dremel. The staff head was painted with commercial quality under glazes such as made by Duncan. A combination of bronze, gold and copper was layered to give an effect of a bronze artifact. Michael used overlapping layers of semi translucent glaze to blend the highlights into the piece. This piece was not over glazed so that it would not be too shiny.

The piece was fired a second time at the same temperature to set the glaze. Once it cooled down, acrylic paints were subtly added to give the object the appearance of old bronze. A wash of green simulated verdigris or the vestiges or the remains of removed patination. The 1940s aurora borealis jewel was selected for the weird colors and the light refraction and reflection. It was set in with industrial bond, i.e. Liquid Nails.

A stone base was added to display the staff piece. The base was a found item, I don’t know what type of stone it is. The overall piece without the stand is nine inches overall, four ½ inches wide and about an inch thick. The base of the staff piece is stamped “Michael Moses original”. It is a one of a kind piece. The print Still Life at Solstice is available for sale as is the original staff piece.

Head on over to CoastConFan's blog for more pictures, and you can find more work from Mr. Moses at his Myspace pagec or Flickr account.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Heavy Metal

Artist Joe Broers brings us these cast pewter amulets featuring a variety of Lovecraftian designs. There's much to be said for the clink of real metal.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Miskatonic Pennant Design

Here's the latest iteration of the Miskatonic University pennant.

The logo was adjusted to take better advantage of the available space, while the font was tweaked to capture the look of the vintage Harvard pennant without looking too much like a circus banner. I'll be talking with the company doing the production later today to check the template proportions and try and get a better approximation of the actual shade of red. I'm still not altogether happy with the perspective on the text, but I don't want to fiddle with it too much until I have the master template to work with.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Miskatonic Project Update

I'm in the process of getting the Miskatonic pennant design into shape and should have a close-to-final version tomorrow. I'll start placing production orders for all the other items tomorrow as well, which should speed up the project completion time significantly.

From the Ice

DelRio sent over this teaser shot of his "At the Mountains of Madness" presentation case. It's a work in progress, and I can't wait to see how it develops over time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Strange Brew

Michael McCarthy sent over a shot of his nicely done Elder Sign pint glass. I was surprised to learn he engraved it by hand instead of chemically etching it.

"I've tried the etching paste before but I didn't care for the results, the image was too light/foggy and the pasted didn't etch very deeply into the glass. Instead I used a silicon carbide grinding bit for etching glass and ceramics. After that I wiped Folk Art wicker white enamel paint into the etching (which requires you to bake the glass to set it) to make the image pop more as the image disappeared with cold drinks or light colored drinks. The paint can be found in any hobby store. The whole process was really quite simple and the end result is very nice. Unfortunately, it only works well with designs like the elder sign. I wanted to reproduce the extremely rare Chessex Arkham Pale Ale pint glasses but that type of detail would require a laser for etching."

I've tasted quite a few brews that probably should have been served in a glass with a protective sigil on it.