Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Clutch of Cthulhus

I spent last night laying the basecoat on a dozen Cthulhu tokens.  I'm aiming to have these ready for sale by next week.  That will give me enough time to apply the midtone, highlight, and unifying wash to each piece, replicating the work I detailed last month.   Initially I was considering a metallic finish, but in the end I just didn't like the way it looked.  You really need a piece with a grainy or roughened texture to pull off corrosion with metallic highlights. 

As you'll note from the links, this is a project that has been ongoing since last year.  It's a pretty good example of why short run, fan-driven projects are expensive.  By the time it's all done I'll probably have around 50 hours invested into the whole process.  That includes everything from the initial sculpting, through pouring the mold, throwing the first castings, experimenting with finishes, producing the working castings, and applying the final paint job.  After all that I still have to package up the tokens and extra goodies for shipment, get them posted off, and hope that none of them go a'wandering.

Multiply all those hours by minimum wage, add in about $100 in materials costs and it's a pretty hefty tab for a dozen pieces.  I'm aiming for a $25-$30 price point including shipping.  I'll be able to amortize some of those costs over time with a few additional copies on Ebay, but it should be obvious that "making gobs of money" isn't the primary motivation behind a project like this.  This is exactly the economic reality faced by every artist making the Mythos pieces featured here on Propnomicon.  Realistically, most projects are money-losing propositions once you factor in opportunity costs. 


David Kirkby said...

I'd chuck in a quick painting method I've used before to make things look weathered. Spray the objects the base colour and then when it's dried, rub the whole thing over with black fire grate polish. Buff back the polish and your left with a nice blackened finish with the paint showing through. It works really well for metals, silver especially as it looks like cast iron. You don't have to use it just on paint either as I use it on my cold castings.

I'd also suggest try selling blanks so people can paint their own. I've seen people sell them on Etsy as well as their painted versions.

Propnomicon said...

@ David Kirkby

Thank you for the very helpful technique advice. I've always used an additive paint technique and never even considered a subtractive one.

Now if you could just loan me some of your talent I'd be most appreciative. Heh.

Jeff said...

You are doing great work. Very inspiring and fun to look at. You make a very good point on pricing that so many people do not understand.. As an artist that sells resin cast journals plus other works I face this problem at every show I do.. I wish more people understood.

David Kirkby said...

To be honest, I think you've got plenty of talent of your own.

My old workshop technician told me about fire grate polish at uni and it's something I've stuck with as a useful tool in my kit. The downside is it tends to get everywhere when you use it and makes a right old mess.

Anonymous said...

it should be obvious that "making gobs of money" isn't the primary motivation behind a project like this.

I had assumed that your motivation was the Old Ones' promise to eat you last.