Monday, April 30, 2012


Have you ever had one of those weeks?

Tomorrow the band "Hurt" releases their new album "The Crux". It's already getting some impressive pre-orders on iTunes, and by all accounts is a great piece of work. But one of their fans noticed that the cover art seemed a bit familiar...

...since it was almost identical to his tattoo...

...based on this artwork I posted back in 2009.

I'm waiting to hear who is credited with the cover design.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

There Will Be Some Slight Delays

I'm still catching up on my email and posting from last week, so if I haven't responded please don't take offense.

To make a long story short, on Thursday I thought I was going to die.  Over the course of about twelve hours some minor abdominal cramping steadily escalated, accompanied by a soaring fever, nausea, and vomiting.  By the time I finally went for professional treatment I was literally out of my mind with fever and pain.

The source of my trouble?  Not some insidious growth or exotic condition, but a urinary tract infection.  Something roughly half of the female population have to deal with at some point in their lives, but relatively rare among men.  Thankfully, it can easily be treated with antibiotics.  I'm home now, but I'll be recovering for a few days.

On the bright side, I now have a real appreciation for the term "fever dream".   Right before I headed off to the clinic I was reportedly having a half-awake conversation with my home theater PC.  'Cause, you know, there were messages encoded in the blinking of the hard drive LED.  For someone who doesn't do drugs, much less drink alcohol, that's some scary stuff.

Moiety Sickle

"Mystriven" brings us this amazingly detailed reproduction of the Moiety Sickle from the Myst series of videogames. The easy way to do this would be to sculpt a master and then cast the sickle from resin. Instead, this was machined from a steel blank.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Steamtech Battle Mask

The "It's a trap!" collective brings us this tutorial on crafting a steamtech battle mask. Sadly, there are lots of steampunk props made out of junk that look terrible because the creators are lazy. This demonstrates that there's no excuse for that kind of work. If you value craftsmanship and creativity you can get good results from the humblest of materials.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cycloptic Fetal Skull

Justin Bailey brings us this cycloptic fetal skull, from his new blog Obscura Reliquias. I'm looking forward to seeing more of his work.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mayan Cthulhu Idol

Fox Henderson brings us this interesting Mayan-style Cthulhu idol. I love seeing the sleeping god through the eyes of different cultures.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Etching Copper and Brass

If you've seen Julian DiMarco's projects before you know how integral etched copper and brass are to his work. Now he brings us a tutorial on etching your own designs. It's something anyone can do, and the results speak for themselves.

"There are some special materials you will need for this particular method, most of which can be found in your local art store, hardware store, or online. One of my giant pet peeves with internet tutorials is that no one ever tells you where to get specialized materials, and no amount of googling or dark rituals can turn them up. As much as I can, I have provided direct links to online retail sources for the special tools used in this tutorial."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Corpsing A Skull

Chris Ellerby of Vex FX brings us this outstanding tutorial on corpsing a skull. This is one of the clearest explanations of the technique I've seen. With a relatively small investment in materials you can create an outstanding prop. More importantly, once you're familiar with the basic concepts you'll see how it can be used to produce everything from mummified sideshow specimens to aged leather book covers.

"Corpsing is a technique for transforming a skeleton or skull prop into a corpse by adding tissue, ligaments, veins, or other anatomical details. This tutorial will cover some of the basic techniques we used when corpsing several skulls for one of our projects.

First you need to decide what style of corpsed prop you want to create. This usually depends on cause of death, timeline, and environmental conditions. A skull that has been soaking in a swamp for 3 months will look quite a bit different than one that has been mummifying in a desert for 20 years. Once you have picked a basic style you can determine color pallet, textures and materials."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bookbinding Tutorial

Rhonda Miller of My Handbound Books brings us this excellent bookbinding tutorial. The video demonstrates the steps involved in mounting the cover on a text block, something that can be a bit confusing if you're relying on a written description.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Book of Tzeentch

"Meliadhor" brings us this nicely done tome, The Book of Tzeentch. The embellishments are aged Chinese silver, mounted with brass studs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rue d'Auseil Street Sign

"I have examined maps of the city with the greatest care, yet have never again found the Rue d’Auseil. These maps have not been modern maps alone, for I know that names change. I have, on the contrary, delved deeply into all the antiquities of the place, and have personally explored every region, of whatever name, which could possibly answer to the street I knew as the Rue d’Auseil. But despite all I have done, it remains an humiliating fact that I cannot find the house, the street, or even the locality, where, during the last months of my impoverished life as a student of metaphysics at the university, I heard the music of Erich Zann."
- H.P. Lovecraft, "The Music of Erich Zann"

Keith Sutton brings us this very cool marker for the Paris street where Erich Zann's unfortunate end played out. It's a wonderfully subtle prop that unobtrusively draws upon a major plot point from the story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Hand

Richard Garriot is, without a doubt, the ultimate geek success story. He turned his interest in fantasy gaming and computers into a massive fortune, and then used that money to join the short list of people that have traveled to space. He's also amassed an amazing collection of unique collectibles, including this occult artifact- the preserved hand of a prisoner. Given his wealth it's possible this isn't a gaff. Heh.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Trophies

Nick DeRosa brings us these very nice shrunken heads. The tribal tattoos are a nice touch.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cthulhu Fhtagn! McKittrick Edition.

The talented Jason McKittrick brings us this excellent Cthulhu idol. It's available in a limited run with two different finishes.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Mountains of Madness Project Update

All of the artwork for the Mountains of Madness Project is essentially done.

Both the period map of Antarctica and the Dornier Wal blueprint will by roughly 18" by 24" and printed on 100 lb. acid free uncoated paper. That was the best stock I could find for reproducing the look and feel of the real thing.

The flyer for the expedition's departure ceremony will by 9" by 12" and printed on 100 lb. paper with a matte finish. That's a bit heavier than a period handbill, but it should make mounting it easier for anyone that pursues that option.

The Hobart, Tasmania postcard will be, well, a postcard. Standard postcard size printed on 13 point uncoated cardstock.

With the core items finished things are almost ready to go. If there's anything else you'd like to see included now is the time to chime in.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Maw

Keith Burruss brings us this immense work, "The Nightmare of the Orifice". Click through and take a look at the high resolution pic so you can see all of the impressive texture work. It's a revised version of a piece I featured last year.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Grasping Beast

Hajime Emoto brings us this amazing mummified specimen. This piece, like his other works, is made from paper and bamboo. I'm continually amazed at how the truly talented can use the humblest of materials to create work like this.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Teeth

Wesley Remory brings us this toothy terror. Despite his modest opinion of his skills it's a great sculpt with some excellent texture work.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

From the Black Archive

Russian artist Gleb Trjemetskiy brings us this specimen recovered from the KGB archives.  One can only imagine what other hidden bits of history are to be found there.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hail to the King, Baby.

Mike Iverson brings us this amazing recreation of Ash's mechanical hand from "Army of Darkness". The detailed build log goes into every step of its creation, and he even has templates for the parts available as a download.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Serpent Journal

Michael Stueber brings us an idiosyncratic investigators journal mixing the Mythos with primal mythological themes.

"I made this a few years ago as a just-because project. It started out with an idle idea of linking H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos to the chaoskampf myth tradition, and became a much more involved project. I dug up primary sources (trying to keep them all earlier than the 1930s), and hand copied many images from Wikipedia. I don't care to speculate on just how much time I invested in this thing."

It's a cool little project, and you should really click on through and check it out.

I'll take this opportunity to mention that journals are a great way to tell a story using props. If you need proof, just read Bram Stoker's "Dracula". The entire novel is a series of written documents- letters, journal entries, telegrams, and other reproduction friendly ephemera.

If anything, the epistolary tale is more effective today than ever before thanks to the massive amount of information indexed on the internet. That not only makes it easier to do your own research, but allows you to make a story even more interesting by linking it to real historical events. One example from my own work is in the two postcards I've done featuring the Arkham Sanitarium, one from 1920 and the other from 1928. The absence of the massive flags on the front lawn is a very subtle difference between the two, something almost no one would notice unless it was pointed out. If I used those cards as inserts for a journal the images would be a perfect set up for the revelation that a freakishly powerful storm hit Arkham on August 26, 1924. Now all the historical information about the storm becomes part of the narrative, grounding the story in reality while tapping a wealth of meta-content.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Making a Clay Tablet

"Game Writer Guy" brings us this detailed tutorial on making a cuneiform clay tablet. The results make an ideal artifact for both live action and tabletop games. This would be a great weekend project, particularly if you have kids. They'll learn a little bit about ancient history while you exploit their innocent enthusiasm to get a cool little prop.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pewter Elder Sign

Mark Goodwin crafted this...unique...pewter Elder Sign. It's a beautiful piece of work and the craftsmanship is impeccable, but I have to admit that this picture cracks me up every time I look at it. All I can see in my mind is Groundskeeper Willie standing firm against some gigantic Mythos horror.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Bowen Legacy

Jason McKittrick brings us another wonderful Mythos prop collection. This one is based on "The Haunter of the Dark" and recreates the materials gathered by Enoch Bowen during his expedition to Egypt.

The complete collection in it's presentation case.

A tableau of all the props. The ephemera really helps build up the story around the main pieces.

The mummified finger of Nephren Ka. The detail work on the joints really makes this. That might seem like a minor detail, but it's one of the first things your eyes will scan. You've spent your whole life staring at the pressure ridges formed by an unflexed finger joint, so any inconsistencies pop right out.

An Egyptian-style statuette of Nyarlathotep. Fear the Black Pharaoh!

The Scroll of the Black Pharaoh, made from real papyrus. The aging treatment is outstanding.

The complete set is available on Ebay.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Last Remains of Abendego Saltash

"Grimvisions" brings us the mummified head of the late Abendego Saltash. It was sculpted from paper mache clay. The surface treatment is what really sells this, from the dry, dusty flesh to the mouldering wrappings.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Gomez Edition.

I don't think I'm being too presumptuous when I say that I'm a a connoisseur of Cthulhu. Over the years I've had the pleasure of collecting dozens of depictions of the sleeping god here on Propnomicon, but this is truly an unimaginable gem. I can think of only two other Cthulhu idols that even come close to this paragon of the art.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a truly magical masterpiece- the dread Cthulhu of Victor Gomez.

What makes this sculpture really stand out isn't just its sense of playfulness, but the incredible craftsmanship. The first time I saw it on Etsy the effect was like I'd been smacked upside the head with a board. Not one of those flimsy modern boards that they laughingly call a "two by four". No, this was vintage lumber. A big honkin' piece of seasoned hardwood that was cut true to size by rough men who wore un-ironic flannel shirts and smoked unfiltered Camels. Men with nicknames like "Stubby", because blade guards were for candy asses, by God.

Words simply can't describe the thoughts that were running through my head as I tried to grasp just what I was seeing (a sensation I'm sure other visitors to Etsy-land have experienced as well). The sculpting. The paint job. The gobs of epoxy. By the time I was able to process it all I knew one thing for certain.

I had found the perfect idol for today's post.