Monday, 25 June 2012

Mummified demon

In my last post, I talked about making a mummified skull out of paper mache.  In this post, I'm going to talk about putting the skull on a body.  Reguar readers may remember the moulded paper skeleton I made a little while ago.  I used that skeleton for this project.

Because I made the skeleton in a mould, it was simply a matter of gluing the bits together, adding some soft tissue, and painting it.  I find it's easier to add skin to the torso before sticking the arms on, so in the first picture the mummified demon has skin, but no arms.

Legs and some skin attached, but no arms or tail yet

You can see how using the moulded skeleton means the ribs and shoulder blades are visible under the skin.

Another reason for using the mould is that I wanted the mummy to be partially skeletized.  In this photo you can see how part of the skull, ribcage and pelvis are exposed.  You can also see why I didn't bother to mould the extremities for this one.  The hands aren't skeletal, and because it's a demon I gave it hooves instead of feet.  I will get around to moulding the extremities at some point.  Promise. 

And here it is, all finished:

Close up of the partially visible skeleton

The skin was painted very simply with a mixture of burnt sienna and raw umber.  Painting the bones was a bit more complex; I used white, burnt umber, ultramarine and yellow oxide to get that colour, with a thin burnt sienna wash over top.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Paper mache skull

After going to all that effort to make a skeleton mould sized to match my existing skull mould, I'm going to make an entirely new skull for my moulded skeleton.  The reason is that my existing skull is human shaped, and I want to make something that's not human.

I start with a little ball.

Then I add eye sockets, cheekbones and a lower jaw.

And now it's time for my favourite part - soft tissue.  I'm making a partially mummified skeleton, so I'll put a bit of soft tissue on the skull to give it a face.

And there you have it folks; a nice, quick, easy little project you can do in your lunch break.  Now it just needs to be attached to a body and painted.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Night light no.1

Happy solstice everybody! 
I’m not religious about these things, I just don’t like short days.  They make me sleepy.  At this time of year the only thing I really want to do is hibernate in a cocoon of blankets on the couch, emerging periodically to top up my blood alcohol levels and shovel more coal on the fire.  Unfortunately I can’t do this because I have a job, and it does not slow down just because I’m feeling sluggish.  Quite the opposite in fact, because 31 June is the end of the financial year.
So I’m always excited about the winter solstice, because it means the days will start to get longer again and I’ll have more energy.  Since today is the shortest day here in the southern hemisphere, today’s contribution to the Seditiosus exhibition is a night light.


As with the death worm, the mouth parts are very loosely based on a Barnacle.  More photos after the jump.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Skeleton mould: part 2

Previously, I blogged about making part 1 of the skeleton mould.  In part 2, I'll be talking about moulding the long bones, i.e. the arms and legs.  Here's the arms and legs mould:

Legs are on the right side of the mould, arms are on the left.  I'll give more details about how I make the bones after the jump.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Mummified fairy

Thanks to Dr Beachcombing for the inspiration for this one.

If you look carefully, you'll be able to see that I gave it tattoos

For the benefit of the pedants in the audience (I know you're there), yes I'm well aware that it is not a tetrapod and therefore cannot be any existing land dwelling vertebrate.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mongolian death worm

UPDATE: to see the death worm in its larval stage, click here.

A while ago, Propnomicon posted this paper mache Mongolian death worm.  Well, naturally when I saw that I couldn’t resist having a go at it myself.  

My death worm

Propnomicon's death worm

I’ve done a death worm previously, but I would like to make it larger (I only had a small jar at the time) and I’m not too happy with the way it floats in the jar. Real specimens don’t float.

Here’s the beta version. It’s all paper mache, including the little teeth, and approximately 40cm long.  I thought it would be more effective as a specimen in a container, so I put it in an empty wine bottle (always a plentiful resource at my house).

If you want to see how I did it, you can after the jump.

Friday, 8 June 2012


[CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED] hot water cylinder [CENSORED] faulty products [CENSORED] heating element!  [CENSORED] useless [CENSORED] [CENSORED]!  What kind of [CENSORED] [CENSORED] craps out after only three [CENSORED] years??  I want my [CENSORED] shower you [CENSORED] electrical coprolite!

Ahem.  Sorry guys, I don’t think there will be an art post today.  I have some stuff I need to sort out.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Skeleton mould: part 1

Being the kind of person I am, I'm fascinated by skeletons.  As I said before, I already have a skull mould, so the logical next step is to make a mould that does the rest of the skeleton.

The first thing I have to do is make a skeleton, since the skull I used previously is a bead and didn't come with the rest of the skeleton.  This is the part I don't enjoy.  If I wanted to be making fiddly wee skeletons I wouldn't be making a mould in the first place.

Sigh.  So much more to go.

If you're making one of your own (and if you are, I'd love to see it), you may prefer to use a plastic skeleton.  I'm going to be here all day, and if you make one from scratch so will you.

Next it's just a matter of pressing the skeleton into polymer clay.  You can see how I've flattened it out, and put the shoulder blades off to the sides.   I'll make the limbs separately too and join up all the bits later.  This mould won’t make a perfect skeleton - it’s not designed to.  Instead, it will make a blank that can be further customised so I get a slightly different skeleton each time I use it.

So, let’s road test that mould!

All I have to do is press glued paper pulp into it, wait until it dries, bend the ribs and pelvis into shape, and add a wire to shape the spine.  A bit of paper pup makes a good sternum and hides the joins in the ribs.  In the next installment, I’ll show you how I make the long bones, and the extremities.  To be honest with you I’m not yet 100% sure how I’ll do the extremities. All I know for sure is they will be far too detailed and a lot of foul language will probably be used.

There it is: a moulded skeleton

Monday, 4 June 2012

The beer ghost

Today is fan art day here at Seditiosus.  No, your eyes do not decieve you.  That is the beer ghost from Scandinavia and the World.

You're not getting any of my beer, you little bastard!
For bonus fun, I made the beer ghost glow in the dark and gave it eyes that follow you around the room.  Woooooooh!  It wants your beeeeeeer!

Turns out it's quite hard to photograph things in the dark, but hopefully you can see the faint purpley glow there

The ghost is made of plastic and silicone, and its overall shape is fairly obviously based on a jellyfish.  Jellyfish, being amorphous and translucent, are quite a good model for a ghost.  Getting it to hover in the jar is an old movie prop trick.

One of the nice things about working with the SatW comic (or any other comic) is that the drawing style allowed a lot of room for creativity when I interpreted the beer ghost.  I could do some interesting things with it and still have it look like it might be what the image represented.  

Yes, I was drinking when I made the beer ghost.  Why do you ask?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Feejee mermaid

The Feejee mermaid

The original Feejee mermaid was exhibited by P.T. "there's one born every minute" Barnum in the 19th century.  It probably originated in Japan, where they have a tradition of creative taxidermy that deserves its own post, and was apparently made from a monkey torso stitched to a fish tail.  Barnum wasn't the only one exhibiting marvels of nature that were really marvels of art.  Sideshows and dime museums often had similar attractions.  

Close up of the tail

Here’s a fascinating video showing how this kind of mermaid was made. Thanks to Dark Artifacts for posting the link!

You’ll see in the video that the mermaid is largely made out of paper mache and wire; my version is too, except that I’ve used aluminium foil instead of wire.

David from Dark Artifacts made his own version of the mermaid, and you can find it here.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Fun with moulds

Moulds are, in my view, one of the best inventions in the history of sculpture.  Every sculptor finds they need several copies of the same thing at one time or another.  If, like me, you are lazy and have a short attention span, the prospect of having to make a whole bunch of identical things does not appeal.  Today’s post will take a look at a couple of things I’ve done with moulds recently.

...such as these test tube stoppers with Mayan hieroglyphs on them

In honour of the fact that it’s 2012, I decided I wanted to make a signature in Mayan hieroglyphs to put on things (for a crash course in Mayan hieroglyphic awesomeness, see here).  Well, you’ve seen how intricate those glyphs are and it was going to be a cold day in hell before I made each signature by hand.  Enter FIMO brand polymer clay.  Any brand of polymer clay works, but I quite like FIMO because it is stiff and holds its shape well with nice crisp edges.  I made one signature out of paper pulp, and took an impression of it with the clay.  The finished signatures are about one inch square and perfect for test tube stoppers. 

The Mayan glyph is on the left.  On the right is a mould made from a bead shaped like a little skull.  At some point I decided I wanted to make a cover for the Ars Goetiaand if ever there was a project that requires lots of little skulls it’s the Ars Goetia.

The Ars Goetia

Ars Goetia front cover

Both covers

Coptic binding detail

I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to books.  There's nothing quite like a physical book with a nice binding, and I have a real soft spot for bookbinding.  This binding is in a Coptic style, meaning that it has no spine as such - just covers stitched directly to the pages.

I had the good fortune to learn bookbindnig from the excellent Yoka Van Dyke.  If you haven't seen her website, please do.  It's very good.