Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Cthulhu Seal

From Doktor A at Spookypop, the Seal of Cthulhu. Approximately 1.5" in size and cast in resin. I was surprised how well it reproduces the look of polished ivory. Sadly, the piece is long since sold out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Faking Fossils

In the comments for yesterday's post on Rick Sardinha's fossilized dragon CoastConFan provided a link to a fascinating discussion about the proliferation of fake fossils. It's a major problem for serious collectors who might end up spending thousands of dollars on a rare, high quality specimen only to discover that it's just a cleverly made counterfeit. Worse, there's no recourse. By the time you discover you've been had the check has been cashed and the scam artist is long gone.

While faux fossils may be the bane of collectors, from a prop standpoint the linked article is a treasure trove of information for anyone looking to create their own fakes. Some of the techniques are obvious, such as carving the skeleton in relief and then staining it, but others are surprisingly inventive.

"The techniques utilized in creating PTEROSAUR and BIRD FOSSILS are identical and equally apply to both fossil types. Predominantly, these two methods are employed together:

1. Carving, sculpting, painting portions of the fossil that never were there INCLUDING SOFT TISSUE AND FEATHER IMPRESSIONS!!!

2. Assembling several components of fossil bones from several different incomplete animals into one animal.

3. Utilizing modern bird (or other type) bones arranged and embedded on a matrix slab or artificial matrix rock."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fossilized Dragon

Artist Rick Sardinha brings us this fantastic fossilized dragon, one of many in his collection. It's sad that denialists refuse to recognize the existence of specimens like this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Arkham Sanitarium Variant Logo

This was worked up for a Halloween attraction that features a horror asylum theme. They wanted a callback to Lovecraft's Arkham Sanitarium, but with a more modern design appropriate for an ambulance and incidental signage. Just click through for the high res version.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sea Sprite

The Styles brings us this fantastic Sea Sprite. Click on it so you can take a look at the full-sized picture.

I wish I had just a fraction of the skill on display here. The basic form captures the look of real musculature under the skin, particularly in the tentacles. On top of that you have a simply masterful application of surface texture. And it's all set off with a paint job that perfectly reproduces the look of living flesh.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cthulhu Cane Handle

Dr. Scolopendra brings us this beautifully detailed Cthulhu cane handle. The faux bronze finish is very well done.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Curmudgeonly Ways

I just wanted to make one of my biannual postings about Propnomicon's subject matter.

In general, the blog focuses on realistic depictions of occult or horror subjects, and in particular, those based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft. That includes reference materials for making said props, a catchall area that includes everything from painting tutorials to map collections from the 1920s. I occasionally feature a science fiction prop if I find it particularly interesting.

Sadly, I have little or no interest in anything "cute".* That includes chibi Cthulhu, super-deformed Cthulhu, knitted Cthulhu hats or gloves, Cthulhu plushies, anime-style Cthulhu, smiley-face Cthulhu, and anything along those lines. I'm a crotchety old man and quit finding the ironic usage of the Mythos gut-bustingly funny about ten years ago. I definitely respect the amount of work and talent that go into those kinds of things, but they're not my cup of tea. Which reminds me- add Cthulhu tea cozies to that list.

I love when people send me pictures or links to props they've created. If you can share a little bit about how the piece was created and any special techniques you used I'm even more appreciative. I can't guarantee I'll use everything you send, but if it's similar to the kind of thing I normally feature it's a shoo in. If it doesn't get posted, please don't take it personally. Half the stuff I do never gets shown because I'm not happy with it or I wasn't able to get a decent picture.

*The one exception to this is my annual April Fools day post.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thing in a Jar

James Pocklington brings us this diminutive specimen in a jar. For safety, always make sure you bring their internal temperature up to at least 140 degrees F when you're canning humanoids.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Hand

Asconch brings us this fantastic zombie hand . Anatomically accurate, beautifully posed, incredibly realistic textures...what's not to like?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Audio Hosting

One area of Lovecraftiana I haven't really done much with is audio clips. That's somewhat surprising, since I produce radio imaging and commercials for a living. Then again, after spending a whole day voicing monster truck and concert ads the last thing I usually want to do is more recording and editing.

Up until now I've kept my professional work and hobby separate, but I have a few ideas for some produced clips that would be useful for game use. If you have any suggestions for a free hosting service I'd love to hear them.

Update: My thanks to everyone for the very helpful suggestions. Hopefully I'll have something for you to listen to by the end of the month.

Fossil Wyrm

DeviantArt artist "Tabbicatt" brings us this intriguing excavated fossil. I'm amazed that so-called "experts" continue to deny the existence of dragons when confronted with evidence like this.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Feast

Evan Campbell brings us this disturbing entrée. It's a brilliant idea perfectly executed. The "roast" was cast in gelatin from a plaster mold thrown from a plasticine master sculpture. Can you imagine the possibilities using this technique with food grade silicone and dessert gelatin?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fetal Specimen SN 275-A

Brian Demski brings us this wonderful mutant fetus. The mottled finish creates a great sense of corruption. I believe the white membrane was created by applying a layer of liquid latex and then gently rubbing it off the prop.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Mask of Hastur

Jason McKittrick brings us another artifact from the Killian collection, the Mask of Hastur. Just click through for more pictures and an eBay link.

"Confiscated by Dr.James Killian in 1844 after a near fatal encounter with an isolated Hastur Cult in South America. It is not known if the mask actually “belonged” to the entity known as Hastur, however the item was used in rituals by the cult that were said to cause the wearer to become possessed by Hastur. These rituals often lead to the death of the wearer once the possession had ended."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Monster Hunter

Purebred Photo teamed up with artist Alex Pardee to create a series of "Monster Hunter" portraits. While the final images look great, I found the construction details of the swamp creature and the set far more interesting. The portrait page has links to the various stages of prop construction and is loaded with interesting details.

The teeth of the monster were sculpted from Crayola Model Magic , a very lightweight air drying compound. It has a very soft, spongy texture and is ideal for adding details to larger projects. The wonderful finish on the teeth is the result of multiple coats of paint, florists tint, and gloss varnish.

The skin of the beast was formed from a light fabric applied over a chicken wire armature. The result is very lightweight, and I suspect it's comfortably breathable. At least until you start adding all the texturing details.

The set buildup is filled with useful techniques, from building trees out of cork bark to creating reeds with bear grass. The one detail that really jumped out at me was using mylar film to recreate the look of water. Just brilliant.

Via Boing Boing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Worm Thing

The gifted Phil Bolton brings us this impressive toothed worm. The coloration is just perfect, particularly the fleshy pink mouthparts.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dr. John Watson's Service Revolver

Literary props are relatively rare creatures, far overshadowed by the more popular film-based replicas in the prop community. That's why I was so impressed when Mike Jenkins emailed me a link to this amazing recreation of Dr. Watson's service revolver by "Deck5" over at the Replica Prop Forum.

Follow the thread and you'll discover something even more amazing- the gun and display case were made from dollar store items. Here's a work in progress shot of the blister-packed cap gun that served as the base.

If you haven't, you might want to pick up the Mythos/Holmes crossover anthology "Shadows Over Baker Street". I finished it over the weekend, which no doubt accounts for part of my enthusiasm for this prop project. Like most anthologies it's a mixed bag. Around sixty percent of the stories misfire, either because of a tenuous connection to the Mythos or meandering plots, but the other forty percent are pretty solid. The real gems of the collection were "A Study in Emerald" by Neil Gaiman and "The Weeping Masks" by James Lowder. A PDF of Gaiman's story, complete with wonderfully period layout, is available at his site .

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Faux Rust Painting

Dave Lowe brings us this quick and dirty tutorial on painting faux rust.

You can see the transformative effect of that painting technique, along with some of Mr. Lowe's inventive craftsmanship, over at his blog.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Alexander's All Seeing Eye

I'm not a jewelry person. That's probably because there aren't more jewelry artisans like B. de Corbin, creator of "Alexander's All Seeing Eye" It's a beautiful piece of work made even more interesting by it's intriguing backstory.

"Gaspard deserted the French army somewhere East of Luxor and made his way back to France. Soon afterward he began appearing in public wearing a turban, claiming to have extraordinary psychic powers. Exactly what he claimed to be able to do is unclear, but he somehow amassed a great deal of money, and, for a guy who smelled like boiled sweetbreads, he was remarkably successful with the ladies.

The famous poet Pierre Chatmondeaux joined Gaspard’s growing band of followers around 1810. A period sketch of a strange amulet to which Pierre attributed Gaspard’s strange powers still exists, and, of course, there are these lines from Chatmondeaux’s well known poem The All Seeing Eye -

What foot is this which stirs the earth
Of Alexander’s long forbidden tomb,
And drags from ancient burial dust
This eye to pierce such violent storms?
(Chatmondeaux, 1812)

After D’Cardigan’s remarkably tidy death (in 1814, his dismembered corpse was found divided between seventeen magnum Champagne bottles, carefully corked, arranged in a meandering line along the Champs D‘ Elysees), the Amulet, which had by then become known as Alexander’s All Seeing Eye, vanished."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Embryo

Artist Jesse Lee Lechok brings us this alien embryo, cast in latex from a clay master. The rich coloration and variable levels of translucency are quite nice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Allison M. Edition

Miniatures enthusiast Allison M. brings us what is probably the smallest Cthulhu sculpt ever . At 6mm in height anything tinier is probably going to require a microscope.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

...Are Better Than One

Doll artist Kamila Mlynarczyk created these wonderful Cthulhu sculpts. The fine detailing of the tentacles is particularly impressive at this small scale. Art dolls aren't really my thing*, but it will be interesting to see how the finished product looks.

* And by "not my thing" I mean "are incredibly creepy". The doll artists I've actually met are, without fail, some of the nicest people around. It's just their handiwork that I find squicky.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Ookami Seishin brings us this intriguing tableau of vampire hunting accoutrements. It's a great shot, and the items are surprisingly mundane in origin.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Necromancer's Pen

As you would expect, a normal pen won't do for those that traffic with the dead. Daniel Halligan brings us this creepy little necromancer's pen.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Herami Font

It's always a struggle to find an interesting fantasy font for ancient scrolls and tomes. There are plenty out there, but after a while they lose the air of mystery required for an occult item and become too familiar. Luckily, there are people like Hermes Saucedo who create new alphabets and languages as a hobby. His Herami font seems ideal for prop use, with visual cues from recognizable ancient scripts, but enough strangeness to make it unique.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Quick and Dirty Corpses

Having experienced the tedium of creating a corpse with liquid latex and cotton fiber first hand I found this tutorial extremely helpful. It uses a cheap plastic skeleton, plastic dropcloths, and a heat gun to produce a surprisingly realistic final product. The one in the tutorial took about an hour and looks pretty good, particularly when compared to the latex treatments that take days to finish.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It Floats

Brian Demski brings us this nasty little preserved specimen . And by "nasty" I mean "awesome".

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Final Repose of Rascar Capac

Pierre Emmanuel Kaas brings us the mummified remains of Rascar Capac, from a storyline in the TinTin comic.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Necronomicon Project Update

It's not technically a project yet, but based on the very positive feedback I'm going to start moving forward with this.

There were several suggestions about using more than one artist, but I'm not comfortable with that for a few different reasons. First, I think having a consistent feel to the Necronomicon is important, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to have a single hand doing all the work. Second, it complicates the logistics. Ideally, this is going to be a fire and forget project. Once an artist is selected they'll set up the fund drive, collect the donations, start cranking out the artwork, and handle mailing off the original artwork to the premium donors.

Speaking of artists, if you have a suggestion for someone you think would be good for the project I'd love to hear it. Longtime readers of the blog are aware that I'm a huge fan of Francois Launet's work. I adore the style he's adopted for his "Goomicronicon" and would love to see him expand on that, but I'm open to other styles as well.

I also wanted to clarify my own part in all this. I'm planning on laying the groundwork to get the project launched, but after that my role will solely be as a cheerleader drumming up support. Conceptually, this is just a commission for some artwork, albeit one being paid for by hundreds of interested patrons. Once an artist is chosen and the fundraising begins I'm just another donor.

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Arnold Edition

Mark Arnold was kind enough to send over some snapshots of his wonderful Cthulhu sculpt with a patinated bronze finish.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Flying Polyp

The talented Daniel Ritthandondh brings us this amazingly detailed Flying Polyp. Browse the rest of his site and you'll find all kinds of delightful goodies.