Monday, 28 April 2014

Mermaid tail and hands

The mermaid hands are made of aluminium foil and paper.  I wanted them to look kind of like human hands, but animal-like at the same time, so I opted for clawed fingers.

If you think those are small, wait till you see the teeth.

Then I turned my attention to the tail.

Remembering how successful my dried lentil scales were when I made the trophy head, I decided to use that method again for the mermaid.   Since the mermaid is much smaller than the trophy head, I used quinoa seeds instead of lentils.  They make nice round scales.  As with most things that can be bought from the bulk foods aisle at the grocery store,  they're also dirt cheap,  so all in all a win.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Torso on a stick

This torso was made using the skeleton mould I constructed ages ago.  I don't need anything more than the torso in this case, because it's going to be a Feejee mermaid.  I love those things.

Using a mould really speeds up the formulaic process of making a skeleton, which I find tedious.  Ribs, shoulder blades, vertebrae - been there, done that, yawn.  I don't need to go through that process each and every time I want a wee skeleton for something, and I have a short attention span when it comes to things I do for fun.  This is partly natural laziness and partly the fact that I spend eight hours of a typical work day programming with no breaks.  Either way, using a mould frees up my time to do more interesting things, such as figuring out how to add fishy elements to a humanoid head.

If I made the skeleton without a mould, it'd take several hours.  Making it with a mould takes just a few minutes, excluding drying time (which doesn't count because it is time I can spend doing something else).

Thursday, 24 April 2014

As I thought, it looks better with a dragon chick inside it

Here's the egg from the last post now that it has a chick in it.  I know it's a little late for Easter, but I was visiting my parents and didn't get an opportunity to upload the post.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The finished Easter egg

Here's the Easter egg from the last post, all finished.  To get it looking like this, I painted it, and then I covered it with a couple of layers of toilet paper covered in polyurethane.  This is what I did with the dragon membranes I made a while ago, and it makes the paper semi-transparent.

I find when I use this technique the key is to use a lot of polyurethane.  It works best if you really layer the stuff on there.

Now, I know I titled this post "the finished Easter egg", but I think it will look a lot better if I put a chick inside it.  Maybe a dragon chick.  I'll show you that next time.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

An Easter project

Since Easter is coming up, I thought an egg-related project seemed appropriate.  I have some good sized hen's eggs too, so I got to work on one of them last night.

I've glued tissue paper to the inside and outside of the shell, and added some veins made from twisted paper.  Covering the shell in tissue paper strengthens the shell, but it also gives a nice leathery effect.  Bird eggs have hard shells, but reptiles often lay eggs with flexible, leathery shells, and it's this kind of look that I want to play around with.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Introducing Dan Baines' DIY mummified fairy kit

I suspect people who read my blog may well be interested in this project, so I'm writing a post about it.

The Derbyshire Mummified Fairy Kit and DVD Workshop is the brainchild of Dan Baines, the artist who created the original Derbyshire fairy.  Dan made the fairy as an April Fool's prank in 2007, and it has since become one of the greatest hoaxes of the internet age.  There are people out there who still believe it was real.

The Fairy hits the news!
Image from the project's Kickstarter page.

People with a different type of mind, like myself, have been speculating ever since about exactly how Dan made the fairy.  In the DVD Workshop Dan will finally share some of his artistic secrets, while the kit will contain all the supplies needed to make your own mummified fairy.  I cannot wait to get my sticky mitts on this thing.

The project is funded through Kickstarter and it has already exceeded its funding goal.  The extra money will be used to realize stretch goals - extra fun stuff over and above the initial scope of the project.  Backing the project through Kickstarter works out cheaper than the kit's anticipated retail value, so if you'd like to get a kit backing the project is probably the way to go.

Stretch goals

Production is scheduled to be completed by August, and then the kits will be for sale at Pyewackett and Pecke, Dan's exciting new online store dedicated to strange arts and antiquities.  There are some really cool things in that store, so do head on over there and take a look.  

As a side note, I think "Pyewackett and Pecke" is possibly the coolest name for an odditorium I've ever encountered.  It sounds like the names of a witch's familiars, and what do you know?  Further research confirms that the names come straight out of Matthew Hopkins' witchfinding pamphlet The Discovery of Witches.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Look at my trophy head!

After a disgraceful amount of procrastinating and general laziness, I finally have the trophy head painted, mounted, and hanging on the wall.

I have yet to find a good source of wall plaques for mounting taxidermy, so I cheated and used a bread board.  I think it works okay.

In the end I spent several hours fiddling with the colour inside the mouth, but I'm pleased I took the time and I'm happy with the result.  It has a nice, organic feel and it works well with the outside of the face because I've used the same base colour.  Yes, it needs to look like the inside of a mouth, but it also needs to blend into the rest of the skin around the edges of the mouth.  

I'm also pleased with the skin colour.  Now that I've lacquered the head those bright blue-green streaks have come up nicely, and they look good with the white markings.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The trophy head mouth

Here it is in all its repainted glory.

The original paint job looked okay in photos with the flash on, but in person it really didn't look that great.  I've reworked the colours, and I'm much happier with them now.  Here's a close up, including a good look down the throat with its pharyngeal teeth and papillae.  All it needs now is a coat of gloss varnish for that all-important wet look.