Saturday, August 31, 2013

Designing the Elder Things

Philip Obermarck was kind enough to send me a heads up about this excellent article at Slate. Rebecca Onion brings us Lovecraft's original notes on the design of the Elder Things in "At the Mountains of Madness", one of seven pages involving the story being exhibited at the Providence Athenaeum.

After seeing this I have even more respect for the work artist Danny Cruz did on the Dyer sketches.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Horror in Clay

UndertakingFX brings us "The Horror in Clay" from Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu". Bas relief sculpture is incredibly difficult. Being able to capture the details of Lovecraft's description is quite an achievement.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Limited Edition

Artist Gage Prentiss brings us this ultra-limited edition recreation of the Shining Trapezohedron. To get one you'll have to win the Robert Bloch award.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Artifact

MordorLegion brings us this curious artifact recovered from a hidden ritual chamber in 1911. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NecronomiCon Artifacts

Asylum House has been kind enough to post a gallery of shots from NecronomiCon's art shows over the weekend. You'll find some great props, including work from artists Joe Broers and Jason McKittrick. Ultimately I'm going to try and collate shots of all the prop items along with appropriate credits for their creators.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ritual Head

Artist Tim Gore brings us this outstanding preserved ritual head.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stalhrim Dagger

Folkenstal brings us this detailed recreation of the Stahlrim Dagger from Skyrim. His build log has some great tips on using video captures to generate scale measurements for making replica items.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back To School

The back to school season is upon us, and with it an opportunity to get some great sculpting tools.  Just head over to the eraser section of the school supplies.  You'll more than likely find novelty erasers depicting all sorts of odd items featuring some amazing textures.  Last night I picked up a package of sushi themed erasers that are going to be re-purposed into texture stamps.

Here's a closeup of the sushi erasers showing their surface textures.

The erasers are molded as separate parts. The rice cakes have a nice grainy texture.

The "salmon roll" bit has a very subtle folded texture.  Click through to see the larger version where it's a bit clearer.

The "roe" stamp produces a pitted or hammered texture.

Combining stamps can produce some really neat effects. This was a rough ridge of clay stamped with the rice cake and then indented with the cap of a Sharpie highlighter. On the right I used the tail of the fish stampt to open it up a bit.  The result is very Giger-ish.

Keep in mind that this was just a quick and dirty effort to demonstrate some of the possibilities.  The bottom picture required the most effort, and it only took 30 seconds to bang out.  Taking an appropriate amount of care would produce a much more consistent finish than these admittedly rough examples.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Today is a pretty big day.

NecronomiCon Providence is getting underway and the organizers have put together a schedule filled with interesting content.  That includes multiple art shows featuring dozens of Lovecraftian artists.  What makes the occasion notable is that propmakers will have a significant presence not only in the displays, but on several panels as well.  In addition, a number of Lovecraftian collectors will be displaying some of their treasures.

Unfortunately, like many of you, I'm not able to attend the convention. Over the next few days I'm hoping to link to some updates from the event, since I expect there's going to be some very cool stuff to be seen.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crafting Props With Expanding Foam

Svetlana Quindt brings us this tutorial on crafting props using expanding foam.  It's an inexpensive technique that can produce impressive results.  The foam is surprisingly strong, especially when it's finished with a hard skin.  One word of warning- you absolutely, positively have to wear gloves if you're going to work with expanding foam.  You have no idea how nightmarish it can be to get the stuff on your skin.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cthulhu Fhtagn! McKittrick Edition.

In commemoration of H.P. Lovecraft's birthday, Jason McKittrick brings us Alhazred's Cthulhu Idol. The statuette will only be available today, and you can also get 50% off everything else on the Cryptocurium website.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

If Thine Eye Offend Thee...

Makeupbee, a site that normally concentrates on stylish looks, brings us this tutorial on removing an eye. It's incredibly gruesome, and quite effective.

As an aside, horror makeup tutorials are a great source for prop photographs. Just look at that picture up there. Without any context it's absolutely terrifying.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Alien Skin

Back in 1979 it took a huge team of artists lead by H.R. Giger and Carlo Rambaldi to create the titular creature of "Alien".  James at XRobots recreated it by himself using off the shelf materials and a lot of ingenuity.  He also produced an incredibly detailed build log of the entire process.

This certainly wasn't a small project, but the basic techniques are something anyone can do.  It's an inspirational example for anyone considering some Lovecraftian creature building.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Making the Mountains of Madness

Rev. Marx has another installment in his custom Mythos-themed "Settlers of Catan" project. This time he tackles creating the Mountains of Madness.

I started by basically carving downward from the peak and getting the very rough stack of blocks into a more conical, or pyramidal, shape. I knew I would need some practice to get the look I wanted, so I made about three times the number of block stacks that I would eventually need. Hey, styrofoam is cheap, and this was recycled packing material. I wanted crazy looking twisted angular crags, so I let the wire cut deep crevices and sharp chunks out of the blocks. After making about six or eight of them, I started getting ones I really liked. When it came time to glue them to the hexagonal bases, I just picked the ones that looked best together, and through the rest away.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Arkham, 1775

"Riq1977" brings us this detailed map of Arkham, Massachusetts circa 1775.   I certainly hope he's planning on making prints available.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tools of the Trade

Vampire killing kits and related prop sets are a frequent topic here on Propnomicon. They're all fake, of course, but making them seem real is part of the artistry. With that in mind, you may find this long running discussion at the Pyracy pirate re-enactor forum of interest. Their interests are in reproducing period medicine chests, one of the primary historical influences on our modern conception of the vampire killing kit. The discussion includes details about instruments, construction, design, and even what kind of bottles were used in chests over the centuries. It's a goldmine for anyone looking to create a Blomberg-style set.

Even if you aren't interested in those nifty historical tidbits the thread is filled with antique case porn.  Dovetailed wood, neatly racked bottles, felt lined's glorious. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Broers Edition.

Joe Broers returns with this wonderful Cthulhu idol. It builds on Lovecraft's original design and takes it in a new direction that I really like. The patina is another nice touch.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sigil of the Three Lobed Burning Eye

This was originally done as a banner symbol for a friend's tabletop army, but it's equally useful as a sigil for padding out all sorts of mythos tomes and such.  Open it up in another tab for the full sized version.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fetal Development

Inspired by "The Devil's Backbone", the artists at Sinister Rouge produced this creepy little preserved fetus prop.   It's a nice sculpt, but it's the translucence of the body that really makes it work. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Steampunk Spacesuit

I've been pretty open, if not strident, about my disdain for what I call "steamjunk". Sadly, far too many steampunk aficionados seem to think that gluing gears to something or epoxying a bunch of brass junk together is the height of the genre's artistic achievement. It's embarrassing how prevalent the mentality has become.

Then I stumble across something like this steampunk spacesuit and my cold, bitter heart warms up to the possibilities of retro-futurism once again. The picture was taken at the Gaslight Gathering 3. I haven't been able to track down the artist yet, but as soon as I do it will be my pleasure to give proper credit for a job very well done.

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Today I saw the first Halloween product displays of the year. Say what you will about "Christmas Creep", but I'm totally cool with early August being the start of the Halloween season.

The Honeybee Mk 1

Strangeness & Charm brings us the Honeybee Mk 1, a leather and brass steampunk mask.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

URU Guild Of Maintainers Lamp

David Pirkle brings us another Myst-inspired creation. This time it's a Guild of Maintainers lamp, based on the iconography of the faction in URU.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ivory Cthulhu

Russian artist Alex Kuznetsov brings us this wonderful carved ivory Cthulhu pendant.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Halo Sniper Rifle

Bill Doran brings us this detailed look at how he recreated a Halo sniper rifle.

The finished prop is certainly impressive, but it's the build technique I really wanted to draw attention to. Mr. Doran uses multiple layers of cheap and easily worked MDF to build up the shape of the sniper rifle. This kind of construction is ideal for making any kind of prop.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mask of the Dark Druid

SylvanSmith brings us a bit of that ol' time religion with this Mask of the Dark Druid.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Innsmouth Taint

Makeup and special effects artist Joel Harlow brings this denizen of Innsmouth alive.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Christian Edition.

Artist Colin Christian brings us this impressive Cthulhu sculpture. The piece is cast in resin and measures 17" high.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mythos Magnets

Jason McKittrick brings us this set of Mythos magnets, available in bronze or silver finishes.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Risen From the Dead

There's some good news for backers of "The Doom That Came To Atlantic City".  The Kickstarter project turned into a massive clusterfutz thanks to the dodgy antics of Erik Chevalier, but now a white knight has stepped up to make things right

"Cryptozoic Entertainment is going to produce "The Doom That Came To Atlantic City"… And send it to the backers free of charge. If you backed the game, Cryptozoic will be providing you with as many copies of the game as you were due to receive. They can’t fulfill all of the rewards that were promised by The Forking Path, but they are going to evaluate the rewards and see what else they can do. If you’re a backer, expect to hear from Cryptozoic in the next few days with more information."

Cthulhu Ring

Sophie Klesen brings us this silver and garnet Cthulhu ring. It's a companion piece to the ornate necklace she released back in 2004.