Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Warden's Ribs

A couple of shots of the finished torso for the new “Warden” characters featuring cardboard and papier mache ribs, burlap and monster mud tattered clothes and chain made from pipe cleaners.

The Wardens will also be styled with a whole lot of rusted barbed wire and if everything works they will also be animated.

Fingers crossed.

A Little Branding

Added a graphic to an old 55 gallon oil drum….nothing wrong with a little branding.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Got Your Tetanus Shot?

Completed several hundred feet of rusted barbed wire and a bit of chain that will be used to stylize some props in our 2010 Halloween display; the barbed wire was made from yarn and craft foam and the chain from pipe cleaners or chenille stems as they are now called.

It’s what the best dressed zombies are wearing this year!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes

The moon last night was very eerie…hinting at the horror coming our way in the form of storms and high winds.

Just freaking perfect for yard haunters although my yard isn’t scheduled to be up until Friday I was planning on setting up some of the structural components such as the columns, fence and creature armatures….oh well.

Here’s hoping all my haunting friends have time to batten down the hatches.

Our next two days:

High wind warning remains in effect from 10 am this morning to 9 pm edt this evening, high wind watch remains in effect from Wednesday morning through Wednesday evening,
A high wind warning remains in effect from 10 am this morning to 9 pm edt this evening. A high wind watch remains in effect from wednesday morning through Wednesday evening.
South to southwesterly winds of 30 to 40 mph are expected to develop behind a cold front that will move through southeast Michigan this afternoon.
The potential exists for southwesterly wind gusts in excess of 60 mph immediately along and behind the cold front.
Winds of this magnitude may cause damage to trees and tree limbs. Travel may become difficult to high profile vehicles.
Strong winds will re-develop on Wednesday with westerly winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts in excess of 60 mph possible.
Precautionary/preparedness actions,
A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.
A high wind watch means there is the potential for a hazardous high wind event. Sustained winds of at least 40 mph, or gusts of 58 mph or stronger may occur. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tool Shed Terror Pumpkins

Completed the final five pumpkins for the 2010 display, five pumpkins impaled by things you might find in a tool shed.

The pumpkins still need to be sealed which will help blend the paint job and reduce the value of the bright white eyes.

All the tools were created with recycled cardboard and covered with papier mache strips and papier clay.

Just a couple more things to finish up before everything goes on display this Friday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

WTH-Three Pelvises

So I’m really pushing the deadline this year for Halloween decorations…our yard display goes up next week and I’m still working on three bodies for my Warden characters.

Typically I just build the ribcage, forearms and hands…everything else is cloaked in fabric but for The Wardens I don’t want the fabric, I want you to be able to see the entire skeletal structure.

After laying out the head, chest, arms and hands it really became apparent that these guys needed some additional vertebrae and pelvis…they will be standing behind crates and pumpkins so legs really are not necessary.

The last thing I needed at this point was to construct three more things…but if you are going to do it then at least do it right.

Three stylized pelvises to go along with the stylized rib cages.

When completed the creatures should stand about seven feet tall.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tool Shed Terror Tools

How’s that for a redundant title?

My last five papier mache pumpkins for our 2010 display feature Jack O’Lanterns impaled with items you might find in a tool shed.

Saw blades, hatchets, spears, machetes or hand saws.

It has been a while since I’ve made any inanimate objects and the creation of these pieces was fast, simple and a lot of fun.

Here is the papier mache hand saw and machete waiting to be plunged into the unsuspecting pumpkins.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Scott's Anatomy

I’m not sure what you were expecting to read when you clicked on this post but it’s really not about any of my parts but rather about composing skeletal structures for props.

When it comes to designing my Halloween props I throw the anatomy charts out the window and go for a more stylized approach.

Currently I’m working on three torsos for my Warden characters and something I like to do is incorporate characteristics of the head into the body designs.

An example would be to take the shape of the eye sockets in skull and work that shape into ribcage…in the case of the Warden’s I have incorporated the shape of the teeth into the negative space of the rib.

In my mind this helps make the entire piece cohesive.

Here are some photos of the beginnings of the rib cage, cardboard was used to make a three dimensional shape which will be covered in papier mache strips then textured with papier clay.

Sounds for Building

Contrary to what many of you may think I don’t listen to scary music year round, usually my music choice is rock or metal from the 1980’s…in fact if a project is going well I tend to put the CD player on repeat and listen over and over.

This summer I probably listened to Queensryche’s Empire about 100 times because I found the album to be very motivating in my prop building efforts.

During the few weeks leading up to Halloween I tend to shift gears and listen to horror movie soundtracks.

The tone of the soundtrack I choose usually matches the tone of the piece(s) I am working on and currently I am working on some rather dark humorless pieces so it is only fitting that my auditory choice is the soundtrack to Hellbound: Hellraiser II.

The music was composed by Christopher Young and performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra and is what you would expect from a Hellraiser film…dark, evil and creepy…perfect ambience when working on dark, evil and creepy props.

My media shelves are filled with movie soundtracks but these particular tracks really put me in the mood and help guide my prop building in the right direction….sort of like a GPS unit pointing you straight to hell.

Click here to listen to a sample.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Looks Like.....

The previous post reminded me of a few more suggestions that some of my work has rung a bell with online readers.

Here are a few comments from this past year.

A HauntForum member mentioned that DEMONIKUS looked like Alf…can’t deny it.

A Flickr member pointed out that one of my pumpkins reminded them of Chewbacca from Star Wars….again I don’t disagree.

On HauntForum there was a suggestion that one of my Screaming ½ Skulls looked like Tim Allen….I guess maybe if I squint.

The day my stuff starts looking like Ke$ha or Justin Bieber I’m quitting papier mache for good.

Thanks Logan!

My favorite comment ever received on this blog.

Earlier today I posted a graphic that showed the times for our 2010 Halloween yard display…it took me about 10 minutes to throw together in photoshop and featured three new characters for this year.

Here’s the graphic:

Tonight I got this great comment from Logan which read, “Is it strange that this picture reminds me of the beginning of the music video for Bohemian Rhapsody?”

I think he called it exactly right.

Thanks Logan!

Imagine My Horror....

…when I go to grab some newspaper while working on some props only to discover the bins are empty.

I always have five or six recycle bins filled with newspaper but I guess I haven’t been paying attention because the bins are empty…gone through a lot of newspaper this year.

Luckily I found a box filled with newspaper tucked away in the garage which should get me finished with my props this year but I better start saving the stuff again.

It's Coming

We Have One Rule

Under no circumstances is anyone to rake the leaves from the front yard until November 1st.

Beg all you want but the leaves stay put.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CineMagic And Things To Come.

CineMagic magazine was nothing short of amazing, a small publication that catered to the independent film maker and those that dreamed of working in the world of special effects.

My understanding is that the magazine started in the mid 1970’s and after eleven issues was bought by Starlog in 1979.

Cinemagic featured articles and instructions on everything from make-up effects to technical tricks with Super-8 film.

The information was priceless and offered much hope for those interested in getting their foot in the door of the special effects film industry.

After doing a quick count I have 26 of the 37 issues published by Starlog.

I could go on and on about the sentimental value of these magazines…they represented excitement and optimism and it’s no surprise that I have held on to these and hold them in high esteem.

After browsing through the issues again I can honestly say that they are still relevant, in this world of computer generated imagery there is still strength in the practical effect.

Practical effects are real and something that can’t be duplicated, I guess that’s the reason I’m so in love with papier mache because in my mind there really isn’t anything more practical.

This post also hints at a change coming in the next several months and if you are a regular reader of my posts you will see this change take place around the first of the year.

The change I’m referring to is about my focus, my style and my point of view.

It’s a good thing I promise.

Details to come.

Final Five for 2010

Working on five more large pumpkins for our yard, the new pumpkins are a variant of the tortured pumpkins but this time feature large dangerous items embedded into the jack o’ lanterns.

Here are the beginning armatures for three of the new props featuring a saw blade, hatchet and spear….I know it’s late in the game but this is sort of personal challenge to get these bad boys finished in time.


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