Thursday, November 26, 2009

More Christmas Goblins

We have sighted a second "Electric Goblin"...ready to frustrate you with the strings of lights that just won't seem to stay lit. Its going to be a bad year for lights, I am afraid. His friend on the left is the Goblin of the Sick Pet. All pet owners should know about this guy already. If not, read on:

You know when it will happen...the table has been set, the candles are lit,
and the company has been seated. All is quiet as you prepare to say grace. All
of a sudden a guttural heaving comes choking out from under the table as the cat
hacks up a gob of hair and tinsel.

Yep, the Goblin of the Sick Pet has paid you a visit. Friend to the furry
beasts that we call pets, he coaxes them to consume odd shiny items, knowing
full well that it will ruin your festive gathering.

Somebody get a napkin.

Both Goblins are available on Etsy with free shipping thru Nov 30th. Check out the store for more pix of these devious little guys.

The Food Goblin

Let's face it. Holiday meals can be pretty rough. The Food Goblin is here to make sure whatever can go wrong does. He is a very swashbuckling sort, able to come and go quickly. He dashes across the stovetop, changing the heat setting on the oven, making sure the turkey is undercooked and the cakes are burnt. If access to the stove is blocked, he knows how to reset the oven timer. If all else fails, he can dash across the table, giving his long furry tail a swish, dropping hairs in every uncovered dish. If you have a Food Goblin running about in the house, you better have the pizza guy on speed dial.
One of a kind item. Now available on Etsy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Christmas Goblins

Have you ever had a holiday where nothing went right? If so, you may already be familiar with the Christmas Goblins and not even realize it. Allow me to introduce you.

The tall gent in the center is the Stocking Goblin. This particular specimen has the proud responsibility of patrolling the stockings on Christmas night. After they are filled and everyone is in bed, he scrambles up the hearth and drops in any number of particularly nasty items...his favorites being cat vomit, used tissues, bandaids,and q-tips, and if you have been extra nice you might get an already chewed piece of gum.

The nasty little guy on the right is the Electric Goblin. He loves to mess with electric cords, and is skilled in ways to disable strands of lights leaving no trace of what is wrong. He can loosen bulbs, remove fuses, and strip cords in the blink of an eye. He is an excellent climber, and lives in the branches of both real and artificial trees. He blends in well with the green branches, so don't try to look for him. You will know he is there when you smell a whiff of smoke and suddenly are in the dark on Christmas eve.

Last but not least is the Bulb Smasher Goblin. This devious little chap loves the sound of breaking glass. He carries a small wooden mallet, and will clean off a tree in a single evening if you leave him unchecked. It's best to leave a few bulbs down low and just let him have his way, because if you try to outsmart him he might find his way into your good china.

More pictures of the Christmas Goblins on my etsy site!
Stay tuned...more Christmas Goblins are on their way to ruin your festive gatherings.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Winter Solstice, The White Reaper

On the longest night of the year, she drifts through the night on a cold breeze. Her touch is as icy as her gaze. She is the reaper of the winter months, the bringer of darkness to an otherwise festive season.
This piece is one of a kind, and available for sale on Etsy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

props of the past: big momma pumpkin monster

I made this prop in 2007. It was one of my early animated props, utilizing an inverted crank arm, a head that bobs slightly up and down as it goes side to side, and a cable and lever system to move the arms. Even though this prop is just a memory to me, I still get comments and questions on how i got this particular motion. Video can be seen here.
It is not my intention to try to go into detail to explain the inner workings here...if I were to rebuild this prop I would do things very differently now. There were several major flaws with the design.
First off, the head was an attempt at mache using cheesecloth and carpet adhesive. I know many folks swear by carpet adhesive as a corpsing medium, but for me it did not work out. It took forever to dry, it was heavy, and it was never very rigid, easily deforming and collapsing in on itself. I would go with straight paper mache now...lighter, stronger, easier to work with.
Next, the mechanism was not thought out very well. When it was working, the effect was pretty neat...unfortunately the cable system had undue stress and was continually snapping, rendering the arms stationary. I would redesign this using separate motors and cranks for each arm, attempting to balance the weight so as not to over-stress the motors. A lighter weight outer skin would also help to keep this motion reliable....again I used carpet adhesive, latex paint, cloth, and cheesecloth to get the outer was very heavy.
The motor running the head was fine.( for a while) I believe the basic mechanism here was fundamentally sound. I would opt for something more reliable than the rotisserie motor that I originally used. Also, i would design access into the prop so if something did happen to go wrong it was easier to work on. (without looking like I was giving some sort of demented gynecological exam)
Finally, the major flaw is that the overall size of the prop was huge. I had trouble getting her through standard doorways, and she gobbled up the storage space in the off season. I have learned since then to make large props that come apart for storage.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a Bird with no name

It all started in the basement of a delapidated and abandoned townhome slated for demoltion. The previous owner, long ago deceased, was rumored to have been some sort of scientist.The salvage crew had stripped the place clean of boxes of glassware, copper tubing, odd looking instuments, and a myriad of old paper files containing some of the most disturbing drawings ever seen.

On the day before demolition, the inspector was making his final sweep of the place when he noticed a small niche in the basement wall. There seemed to be something stuffed deep inside.

At first glance, it appeared to be nothing more than more of the scientist's supplies and ephemera shoved into a rusty can. The skull of a small squat bird topped the can. There appeared to be wires coming from the base, but in the shadows it was hard to see. He thought he heard a soft whirring and clicking as he reached in to investigate his find. He touched the can, and was startled to find it was slightly warm. Only when he pulled it out did he realize the true horror of what was hidden in that basement wall.
These notes were found sometime later.

The inspector and the bird with no name were not.

" The skull appears to be from a bird of unknown species. While the receptacle
is rusted and nearly disentigrated, it is still fully functional. Some unknown
source of electricity is held within, presumably the source of this strange
phenomena. A piece of human tissue has been grafted over the left socket. Seated
within is a small ocular device. There is warmth to the tissue, and it responds
to external stimula. I cannot be sure, but it seems that the purpose of this
device is reanimation. I feel its gaze upon me. God help us all."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bird Head Progress

I think I am close to being done with the skin flap. I have added some brownish flyspecking and mottling, intensified the red highlights, and then added some black and brown over the red. This thing looks like it would twitch when poked.

Moving on to "the apparatus"... A small metal can was used, adding in several different sized of bolts and other cool looking things. I painted this with black primer in preparation for a coating of faux rust. This picture show the progress of the rust application. At this point, I have primed, then randomly painted with brown acrylic, sprinkling sand onto the wet paint. When dry, I painted more brown, then a wash of black acrylic. After this dries, it will be on to oranges and reds.

Still no name for this piece. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bits of Skin and Such

Progress on the bird project. I have started the painting of the bone and skin. This is a first draft of sorts. From here I will spend a few days observing the paint job, adding small touches here and there until I have it how I want it.

At some point, a prop usually whispers its name to far this strange thing has remained quiet.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween 2009 pix

Some more pix from my 2009 display. Enjoy!
The Acolyte

Undead Horse Looms Menacingly over the yard

the Funeral of Baby Cotton
One of the Rising Spirits gnaws on a stick
Very Creepy

This is a strange picture. I know the blurred images are just Trick or Treaters, and appear spectral due to the flash setting I used....but check out that ghostly image near the center. What is that large bundle she is carying? That is not one of my props.
Corpse in Blue
Blue skies and a missing tooth.
Fall colors and the effects of rain on a latex corpse. I love the way this prop has turned white.

I STILL don't want to be a fish

Yesterday I posted progress on a new piece that had taken an unexpected turn in the design process. I have decided to follow this piece with progress posts, showing how I work from the beginning of a sculpt to the end result.

This morning I woke up with an idea of a design element that I found fascinating. The concept was to give the eyepiece an accordion style shroud similar to those of old box cameras. This would add a unique texture to the piece, and also give it an element befitting of the steampunk era. I struggled with how to create such an element, folding bits of paper and cloth, but due to the small size I eventually decided it would be easiest to just sculpt it directly onto the piece. Another unexpected turn has resulted.

While sculpting, I had a flash image of a ragged piece of flesh attached over the eyepiece, connected to the overall apparatus of the base with wires. Since I am going with a bone-like surface to the majority of the bird head, this will give a nice contrast of dead and alive. This is going to be one strange, strange contraption.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I don't want to be a fish

While working on the third version of my "Steampunk Fish Head" sculptures, I met full resistance. This piece simply did not want to be a fish. I worked and worked on the armature, carefully planning the fishy details, but the moment I started sculpting the true character of the piece became evident. Some strange amalgamation of falcon and parrot has emerged, altering the course of this piece entirely. I usually work with a very loose idea of the final outcome, but I find it fascinating when a concept changes so drastically during the course of creation.

Monday, November 2, 2009

the night after...more pix

My kids had a party the day after Halloween, so I left everything up. This gave me the opportunity to enjoy the quiet of my yard in the light of the full moon.
( I really wish I had moved my car for that last shot.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009, Dave the Dead

Just a few pix from Halloween night. I will have more to share later when I get some technical difficulties resolved.