Saturday, December 29, 2012

I got legs and I know how to use them

The legs are the wheels of creativity
Albert Einstein
Here's a pair of scaly, clawed legs I just finished. Are they for bird or beast? Maybe they'll be combined with these wings - who can say? All I will say at this time is that they are part of my current project.

The paper mache legs are covered with "cloth mache" (as developed and popularized by Dan "The Monster Man" Reeder) giving them texture and amazing strength. Claws are made of Sculpey.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shrink-wrapped for Freshness!

Only the fact that a hummock of heathery sand intercepted the lower part of the Heat-Ray saved them.
H.G.Wells. The War of the Worlds
 I've been having fun with my newest toy: the heat gun! Far safer than open flame, it has a variety of applications (including paint removal).

It's awesome.

Dead Fred has now been shrink-wrapped with layers of plastic sheeting giving him a flesh-like covering. I'll stain the plastic of his torso and follow up with a paint job so he'll looks less like a burn victim who was playing with a heat gun.

Fred's got guts - made of Great Stuff! His head is also filled with foam for greater sturdiness.
I'm especially happy with the way the neck turned out.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dead on my Feet

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.
Abraham Lincoln
You know what they say about men with big feet? They have big shoes!
Here are the partially completed feet (the pinkish ones are mine) after attaching the toes.

As you can see, I made the ankle attachments out of PVC.
PVC pipe is wonderful stuff! It's inexpensive, easily cut and joined, and comes in a variety of shapes.

Will I finish Dead Fred in time for Halloween? It'll be quite a feat!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gettin' Digits

It's a pleasant thing to be young, and have ten toes.
Robert Louis Stevenson

This evening I spent some time rolling joints, toe joints that is, for my zombie. Construction is sculpted paperclay over paper tubes. Soon they will be joined to the cardboard feet and Dead Fred will be able to count to twenty (assuming he's barefoot).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Zombie Torso, Part 2

I'll make a man of my scarecrow, were it only for the joke's sake!
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Feathertop: A Moralized Legend

Here is the torso with the head attached; collar bones and shoulder blades have also been added. He's really starting to look alive - so to speak.

The white color is masony water-proofing paint to make him a little more durable.

Vertebrae are pieces from egg-cartons attached to the PVC spine. I want bumps to be visible once the flesh is added - for that emaciated look.

Shoulder blades are cardboard; collar bones are rolled-up tubes of newspaper.

Lots of work still to be done!:
  • Attach limbs
  • Insert eyeballs
  • Attach back of head; hair
  • Add decaying flesh, internal organs, etc.
  • Painting
  • Clothes (optional)
I got lots of how-to tips on zombie construction from The Devil's Workshop. Check it out for haunt ideas!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Zombie Torso

From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.

Here's the latest progress on my zombie. I wanted to see how hard it would be to make a skeleton (and zombie) from the burial ground up.
Honestly, it's a lot of work! (I'm dead tired.)

The spine is PVC pipe, the ribs are rolled-up newspaper and the pelvis is PVC and cardboard. Yes, I know the rib count isn't anatomically correct.
You can't tell from this image but the spine has a slight 'S' curve - just like in real zombies!

I was fortunate to have some honey-comb cardboard on hand, about 3/4" thick, to construct the pelvis. A little creative use of PVC piping and voila!

Elvis the Pelvis: front view

Side view
 Torso assembly. (Remember those? "All right, kids - report to the gym for Torso Assembly"!)

Hmmm ... the pelvis looks too narrow. I may have to make some modifications.
(Those ain't no birthin' hips!) In any case, it'll all look much better with decaying flesh on it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wings 'n Things

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.

Salvador Dali

 It's been a long time since I last posted, but I haven't been entirely idle. Here are some progressive images of wing construction. It could be for a bat, a devil, a dragon or some other kind of monster. Stop by again to see what they end up attached to!

Wing fingers: clothes hanger wire, paper, masking tape

One down, one to go

Looking more wing-like.
Fingers have been wrapped in white-glue-soaked sheet material for strength.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Does this head make my ears look big?

Made progress on zombie.

Attached jaw - added ears and details. Ears are paperclay over cardboard. Sculpted the face to emphasize that his lips are gone!

Sawed off the back of the skull to facilitate adding the eyeballs when the time comes. My son said I ought to make the irises red. Not a bad idea, but let him make his own darn zombie and give it red eyes; this one's mine!

 A tooth fell out and I decided it looked better without it. It seems to me that a lot of art must happen that way: a "mistake" or "accident" happens, sending the art in a new direction which ends up being better than the original conception.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes; who knows what you may come up with!

Dead - and loving it!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

Progress on zombie hands. Paper, cardboard and masking tape awaiting paper mache.

Being modeled on my own hands they're life-size - so to speak.

Different poses for each hand: symmetry is boring!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Project Zombie

No monster blog would be complete without a zombie! Here are some pics of my re-animated corpse project.

 Starting with a paper mache ball I added a template based on my favorite skull (well, my second favorite).
 A jawbone was also made.

 Here the head is well under way, with teeth added and eyeballs ready to go.

The teeth came out slightly too big so I left out the wisdom teeth (with no one the wiser).

Tubes of newspaper bundled together make basic bone shapes.

 Smaller paper tubes form fingers; ready to be paper mache'd.

Next to be done: spine, ribs and pelvis. Mmm-mmm good!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Explosive Reading

This is a project I just finished and delivered to my local library for their summer reading program kick-off. As you can see, the theme is "Have a Blast! Read".
"Crazy Harry" is now their unofficial mascot for the summer.

Did somebody say "BLAST"?

There was a lot more construction on this project than usual. Harry is paper mache with PVC pipe legs, Super Sculpey teeth and carved foam tongue. Eyes are ping-pong ball halves. His shoes and pants came from the infant section of the thrift store and my wife did a lovely job making his shirt.

The platform was a small table someone threw out. The sides are covered with faux wood made from insulating foam which I carved and painted.

Don't worry folks, I'm a professional.

That is natural human hair, also from the thrift store!
I tried motorizing his plunger but I'm apparently a better sculptor than engineer.

I'm not only the Hair Club president, I'm also a client.

Hey, why not start your summer reading program today?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

You Ain't Nothin' But a Sound-Dog

At long last the Houndeye or "Sound-Dog" is completed! He's fit, finished and ready for fun. Here he's waiting for challengers in the Three-Legged Race. 


I added tiger-stripes to emphasize his predatory nature. Stripes were made using masking tape and spray paint. The claws were spray-painted for extra shine; everything else was hand-painted with an added black wash to emphasize folds and wrinkles.

26" (66cm) tall at hump

The images don't really do justice to his coloration. You can see some of the flesh-likeness in this close-up of the back leg:

I especially like his profile. It has startled me more than once.

Time for walkies!

What a pleasure to finally uncover the eye once all the painting was done! For extra creepiness I added feelers around the outside of the eye. The feelers are pipe-cleaners which I tapered with a lighter flame.

Indoor lighting

Outdoor lighting

"Her Monster's Voice"
That's all folks! Now where am I going to keep him?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Houndeye Update

Now I'm getting somewhere! With eye attached he's looking close to complete.

Here I've "skinned" the beast with disposable shop towels. This adds protection as well as skin-like wrinkles.

Has anyone seen my blue suede shoes?

White waterproof masonry paint covers the blue towels. Note the wrinkles.

Next up: a custom paint job!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beast Reduction Surgery

Sometimes elective surgery is necessary in order to correct or change one's natural body shape. Fortunately, as I've mentioned before, paper mache is a very forgiving medium.
"Also known as reduction mammalplasty*, beast reduction removes excess beast fat, glandular tissue and skin to achieve a well-proportioned beast size and to alleviate the discomfort associated with overly large beasts."

American Society of Plastic Sturgeons

*This assumes that your creature is a mammal.

My houndeye was suffering from a congenital deformity so I got out my surgical tools and sawed off enough to make her left one more like the right. After applying some new paper mache strips and finishing up she'll be able to appear in public with confidence and a better self-image with no scarring and no one the wiser.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Clawwwwwwwww!

Check out those gams!

"Nature will come through the claws, and the hound will follow the hare"  Irish saying

One of my favorite scenes from the old "Beverly Hillbillies" TV show was when one of the Drysdale's housemaids goes running by with the poodle, "Claude", in her arms crying, "I got Claude!" Naturally the Clampetts misinterpret the situation and hilarity ensues. I love a good pun.

Here's the houndeye after getting a pedicure:

I got clawed!
Claws are made of oven-baked Sculpey over aluminum foil.
Elbow spikes are made of paperclay.
"Sweet dreams are made of this... who am I to disagree?"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A queer eye for the hound-guy

When I began this ("Houndeye") project I didn't know I'd be doing "thermoplastic vacuum forming". Learning new skills leads to other avenues of learning, exploring and creating; it never ends! I've wanted a VF setup for a long time and this was the perfect excuse to build it.

This vacuum former is basically a design I found on Instructables. It's not fancy but it gets the job done, and it's cheap! A birch platen was substituted for MDF to keep the costs down. There's no need for me to go into how to build your own vacuum forming setup since "drcrash" does such a fine job.

The platen
The setup
Fortunately for me it was close enough to Easter that the stores stocked plastic Easter eggs. I went all "Big-Endian" and hot-glued egg halves to a board for that multi-faceted eye look.

(I sure hope there is no "eggs-eyes" tax!)

The "buck" or form
That's not an empty frame; there is a sheet of .060" PETG stapled to it.

The VF setup with buck and frame
My wife is a wonderful cook. She had the oven all pre-heated for the plastic too.

The cookies
First attempt: it's a little hard to see the result of the vacuum "pull" because PETG is so wonderfully transparent. Not bad for a first try, but I need to build better frames. The plastic tended to pull away from the frame as it was heated thereby producing vacuum leaks. So I'll build new frames, plug some leaks, heat the plastic just a little bit more and try to get a deeper pull.

The eye!
Once I have a satisfactory eye, the next steps will be painting and trimming the plastic eye piece for the Houndeye project.