Saturday, 22 November 2014

Time for a new project

I like anatomical specimens, and with that in mind it's time for another dip into the fertile imagination of Eddie Topsell.

I want to do a dragon skin.  Just the dried skin, not the innards, because I want it to look like something from Topsell's time.  Explorers who encountered strange new beasties often just kept the skin and left the soft parts behind because they couldn't preserve the animal for the trip home.

I've built a mould out of screwed up paper and duct tape, and used it to shape the inside of the skin.  Remember, this is just the inside of the skin.  That's why it doesn't look like an animal yet.

Head end on the left, tail on the right.

Once I add feet, it looks a lot more promising.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


I finished the Red Serpent with a coat of lacquer to protect it and bring out the colours.  This makes the speckled markings stand out a lot more, and shows off the contrast between the mostly reddish-coloured body and the green spots.  I think the result is quite lively.

  I'd like to mount it or frame it in some way, but I'm not sure how I want to do that yet.

Monday, 17 November 2014

That's better

My previous attempt at painting the Red Serpent wasn't a great success, but attempt number two was more productive.

You can see the contrast here between the old paint job and the new one.

This time the colours are blended a bit better and I've added faint green speckles.  The speckles contrast with the main colours and make the whole thing more interesting.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Painting screw ups

I had a go at painting the Red Serpent last night, and this was the result:

Not a success, really.  I think the overall idea is sound, but there's just something missing.  There's not enough depth and I think a few yellow and green tones might be a good idea.  It needs a bit of contrast.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Back to the Red Serpent

Now that Halloween has been and gone, I'm back to the red serpent project I started in September.  Yesterday I finished up the fins underneath its body.

It still needs pectoral fins, but other than that it's really just a matter of painting this thing.  Not sure when I'll get around to doing that though, because I want to make some clothes.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween everybody!

I put a final layer of paint on the zombie head last night, and now it's sitting on a windowsill ready to greet the trick or treaters this evening.  Here's hoping the rain passes over by then.

I mounted the head on a table lamp, which means I can do this:

Sure it's cheesy, but hey - it's Halloween.  In Old Norse you'd call this a draugljotr: a zombie lamp.  Sometimes zombies in Viking sagas are associated with strange, supernatural lights, so I thought why not?

The skin colour looks a lot like a bog body, with some nice blue undertones.  I've also put gloss varnish inside the mouth and on the scabby areas to contrast with the matte finish on the surface of the skin.

Thursday, 30 October 2014


How's that for a blog post title?  With a title like that, you know there's going to be something entertainingly disgusting coming up.  I'll try not to disappoint.

I wanted some crusty, scabby texture in places where the zombie's skin is torn, and spent ages trying to figure out think what would be the best way to achieve that.  Then I remembered an old episode of The Simpsons: Lisa pranks Bart and Homer by pasting fake scabs on their skin while they're asleep, and when they wake up they think they've caught some horrible disease.  The fake scabs are made with oatmeal.  

It's very simple to do this.  I just glued oatmeal wherever I wanted a scab and moulded some ripped skin around the scab using paper.

I've painted the scabs with a mixture of black and red, plus a little bit of yellow and brown, and the same goes for the muscle in the zombie's neck.

After that, I started on the skin.  I covered the lot in blue-brown undercoat with a bit of black.  In Scandinavian traditions zombies are typically a blue-black colour, so Thorolf  here is getting a dark skin with plenty of blue tones.