Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Necronomicon, Gontier Edition.

The talented Laurent Gontier returns to our pages with this excellent take on the Necronomicon.  In most cases the cover is the highlight of a prop tome, but he's knocked it out of the park by concentrating on the interior pages. 








8 comments:

CoastConFan said...

That’s got some real curb appeal. I like the fact that the cover is not typically theatrical, although some of them have been quite nice too. The single, subtle cresent moon on the spine is nicely underplayed. It’s more like a personal journal in feeling than a huge classic tome. But the real meat is under the skin, as they say.

The pages have the appearance of hand laid paper and the iron gall ink is glossy and dark, as it should. The pages with faux wood block printing has some uneven inking, showing excellent attention to detail seldom seen in props. As a hint for you prop makers, you can print up your own pages on modern paper and then use a reeded roller to simulate hand laid paper, if you can’t spring for the real thing. Also don’t be afraid to “tip in” content either as a page or an illustration as this occurs on originals and is quite correct.

The pages are a little more distressed and browned than I care for myself, but the damp warped paper and the molding is quite good. An original abused book will look pretty close to the same. Overall I think this book really works well as an understated grimoire prop. Clearly Laurent Gontier has studied old books and documents quite well and it shows in this offering. Kudos.

testponta said...

Dear CoastConFan,
Thank you very much for your comments ! Actually, I've been studying medieval history at Sorbonne and had many paleography courses. This taught me that besides carefully made medieval manuscripts stand a long line of not-so-carefully-made-documents. Scribes could have a terrible handwriting, drawings could also be made by people who could not draw and woodcuts put in color with frenzy by busy and not very skilled workers. Everything should not have to be perfect but should be made with style, commitment and character to feel real. When making a wizard's book, you have to be a wizard yourself for the time.
I've left diary and grimoire making aside for years but I'm now back to business :) The books shown here (binded in 19th cent leather) is now part of the private collection of the person who ordered it from me.

testponta said...

Dear CoastConFan,
Thank you very much for your comments ! Actually, I've been studying medieval history at Sorbonne and had many paleography courses. This taught me that besides carefully made medieval manuscripts stand a long line of not-so-carefully-made-documents. Scribes could have a terrible handwriting, drawings could also be made by people who could not draw and woodcuts put in color with frenzy by busy and not very skilled workers. Everything should not have to be perfect but should be made with style, commitment and character to feel real. When making a wizard's book, you have to be a wizard yourself for the time.
I've left diary and grimoire making aside for years but I'm now back to business :) The books shown here (binded in 19th cent leather) is now part of the private collection of the person who ordered it from me.

Steven Long said...

Absolutely beautiful work! I only wish my gaming prop books -- journals, since I have yet to dare to use my meagre artistic skills on a grimoire project -- were one-tenth as amazing as your Necronomicon.

Todd van Bronkhorst said...

This is the best one I've seen. Nice work!

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is easily the best looking version I've yet seen. Truly a masterwork. If memory serves this has been several years in the making. I remember the posting here of your Nyarlathotep woodcut some time ago, and if the whole thing is of the caliber presented in these images then my hat's off to you god sir. The devotion it would take to cobble together the text body (just the Wilson Turner version or a blend of sources?), compose the illustrations and woodcuts, and then fabricate the book itself is almost as mind-boggling as the content itself should be.

I have a quick question regarding the illustrations. I'm loving the black with red accent inking you used, and the hand-laid paper is a great touch, but concerning the illustrations/woodcuts have they been applied straight to the paper or pasted in as inserts? Looking at real period grimoires and journals seems to return a mixed bag of options. I've always thought of the Necronomicon as being a bit of a 'scrapbook that grows' type of document, so the latter would probably be the case, but as you've said you have experience with old documents like these I thought I'd ask.

Once again, stunning job and presentation. Regards,

CoastConFan said...

@ Testponda I think one of the barriers for prop makers here in the U.S. is the lack of access and exposure to original medieval documents. Photos in books aren’t much help in establishing the texture of the paper and the real colors of old documents once photographed and printed are far different than the original. The printed images are a couple of generations away from the original in establishing important points in reproducing these items. In Europe and in the Middle East most museums have a wide selection of books and documents on display, so directly seeing these items is much easier. Also many shops in those areas also have items for sale, so it’s possible to closely view and touch original works.

I’m glad you decided to return to prop making and your efforts show in you work. I appreciate everybody’s efforts in prop making from the beginner to the advanced and professional prop makers. I especially enjoy the sharing of images and tutorials on the net and on sites like Propnomicon. It’s all part of being a fan.

My first attempt in making a faux page was when I had a school project (a long time ago in the early ‘70s). I had no access to early books and documents as a model, so I used a portion of a brown paper grocery bag as a basis and then wrote on it with India ink with a calligraphy pen. I then proceeded to use instant coffee and tea for aging. The porous paper warped fairly well and it made a very crude simulacrum of a manuscript seen in a grainy photo in a book. Yes, I also slightly burned the edges of the paper too (mea culpa). Although it was poor piece of work, it set me on the road to having an interest in antiques and prop making. Everybody has to start somewhere.

testponta said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks so much for your kind words.
That Necronomicon has been made in ten days for a client who wanted to make a gift to a friend. I've another Necronomicon on the way, that's this one you say years ago.
I agree with your conception of the Necronomicon. To me, as well, it's a sort of compendium, a mix of stuff put together. That's why the woodcuts have been here printed and then pasted onto the pages. I wanted to let know that the author of this book/notebook had collected different sources and put them all together in one place. The long-in-the-making Necronomicon is made from the same idea. It won't be a book but a file, assembled in the 18th or 19th century by someone who had access to different versions of the Necronomicon, torn the pages out (oops) and slipped them into a folder.