Saturday, January 16, 2016

Grimlock Manor Home Haunt video for 2015!

Hi Frightners.

Better late than never!

Here is my 2015 Home Haunt video. Hope you enjoy!


Grimlock Manor 2015 Haunt Video.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Starting Madame Leota

Hello Fright Fans!

So I just posted about over analyzing your art and in that post I spoke about a project where I did just that, my Madame Leota Sculpt which is going to be used for my Madame Leota Tombstone prop this year.

I wanted to post some pictures of the beginning stages of the sculpt so you can see the process. You will see where I started then kind of peeled back and re-started and where I am with it right now. The 2 biggest issue I was having with it were the eyes and the hair. I eventually went out and bought some wooden balls from a craft store to place in as the eyes and work around and I have found it has helped tremendously however, the eyes are still slightly too close to one another. I pretty much left it as is and continued to push forward with the sculpt.

The hair was my other issue. I keep looking at it from all angles and am trying to get it to match the reference picture the best I can. I think I left it in a place where I am starting to like it but I still have some ways too go with it.

My set up is not the best but I am learning a lot with this one as I move along. I was hoping it was going to make it into the 2015 display but I started it a bit too late. The goal is to finish the sculpt and mold and cast this in a lightweight resin which I can mount on the tombstone I make for her.

Leota's stone has moving eyes at the actual attraction but my prop will just be a static prop. I may fool with the idea of creating a projection of moving eyes because it's within my comfort zone to give that a try but with many other prop build on my list for 2016 it may have to wait.

If you have any questions with what you see please let me know and I will do my best to answer them. I am no prop and simply at a novice level but I am happy to share what I have done to this point and what has worked and not worked thus far.

I hope you enjoy these initial pictures and as I progress up to the final look I will continue to share all the progress.

Back to work!


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Over analyzing your art.

Hi Frightners!

Today I wanted to write a little about over analyzing your art because I find it to be something I have done way too much of in the past and it is often the reason I find myself with a million projects that I start and stop and often times never finish.

I supposed I can put this either in terms of being and artist in general or in terms of being a home haunter because I think both will slightly vary but for today I will focus on the home haunter aspect of over analyzing what we create.

Most every home haunter starts by purchasing props to create a scene with at their home for Halloween and each year we add a little more then a little more until we realize we have been bitten by the Halloween bug and no store bought prop can help us materialize our every creative idea so we force ourselves to being making the props we want or need to create the scenes we had envisioned in our sick  and twisted minds!

It is important to remember at the very point we set out to create our very own hand made props that everyones level of artistic abilities is different and you cannot let any one image or video you see of a prop similar to the one you want to build be the reason you slow up progress on yours. It is always a learning process and that process needs to develop over time.

What tends to happen to me is that I see someone building the exact same prop I would like to create and I begin to analyze their prop vs mine. Shortly after I begin to ask myself various questions such as "why does my detail not look the same?" or "does my paint job make it look realistic enough?" I begin over analyzing everything I am doing and begin questioning everything I had planned too do. Will it be good enough? Is it good enough? These are the questions that begin to form in my head. I become so consumed with it needing to be exactly like the reference I saw that I do not even bother to work on it any more.

I recently began working on a Madame Leota Tombstone prop in which I am sculpting her face while looking at reference pictures of the original. Shortly into the process I got the feeling that it wasn't looking right and I needed to step back and rethink what I was doing. I ended up scraping the sculpt and starting over. As I got into the sculpt the second time around now taking a new direction with it I got the slight feeling the same thing was happening again! I didn't think what I was doing was terrible and liked plenty about it but compared to the picture reference it was not spot on. Here is where I began to over analyze what I was doing. Now I could very well scrap the work which I have done which would amount to maybe 2 hours of my time or I can push ahead and continue and finally I decided to do just that and continue on.

It's always hard to catch perfection. I am not sure you ever can really but you can always continue to better yourself and your skill set and learn from the experience in which case I am learning with this sculpt. My goal now is always to push through and finish and enjoy the fact that I can mark the project as being done and off my list and ready myself for the next. I can always sculpt another Madame Leota in the future and will take this one as my learning project but if I don't finish it I will have nothing to show for the time I did invest and I can never look back and say "wow look how far I have come!"

The moral of the story really is not to over analyze your art. Don't sweat the small stuff and let it hold you back from finishing what you had originally set out to do because after you finish each project you will get progressively better at your craft. You will learn new skill sets, tips and tricks to make you a better artist but that is only by doing and not by staring at a computer screen analyzing what other people are doing.

So go out and get to work on whatever new project or build you have in mind and don't let anything hold you back from creating your next work of art!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Sand casting a skull with kinetic sand.

Hello Frightners!

For some time now I have wanted to give sand casting a try. I first learned about sand casting in the book series created by Lynne and Shawn Mitchell How To Haunt Your House . I had received the first issue of the series as a Christmas gift some years ago and while flipping through it I came across the sand casting tutorial and thought how fun and useful it looked to be especially for casting smaller items.

Fast forward to today and I finally decided to give sand casting a try and I am glad I did! The catalyst for me to finally try sand casting was when my daughter received Kinetic Sand as a gift. The Kinetic Sand doesn't require water, holds it shape very well, and does not stick to anything. After playing around with it for a bit the light bulb went off in my head to give it a try and use it for sand casting.

I won't go into great detail about the process because you can easily look it up on line or check it out in the Mitchell's book but the gist of it is to find an object you want to make a casting of, press it into the sand to get the impression of the piece and fill the impression that has been left with hot glue. Once the glue dries you are left with a casting of the piece.

I choose a small baseball sized skull I had lying around and pressed it's face into the sand. It took about 3-4 glue sticks to fill up the void left behind and ensure that the glue filled it up fully and evenly with the sand leaving the back of the casting nice and flat. I would say about 2-3 minutes later the glue had cooled and I pulled the casting. Originally I had thought that maybe the kinetic sand which normally does not stick to anything would not stick to my casting but there was some slight clean up. I simply used a wood skewer to clean out the sand as best I could then ran the piece under water to get any sand that was left over off. It took a little time but the results (in my opinion) were well worth it.

I made two sized skulls with this method and while neither were perfect representations of the original they were good enough for my intended uses on tombstones and my future mausoleum build. I gave them a quick paint job each by using a base of acrylic black paint then a dry brush of white over top for a stone look.

Overall I would say sand casting is an enjoyable and easy process best served for small items that you may need a few multiples of. Larger castings aren't out of the question but you would have to test melting large portions of glue sticks in a pot for some fast pours because the time it would take to fill up a sand casted mold from a hot glue gun would take more time than this haunter thinks it would be worth.

I would be interested to see what other casting materials could be used using this technique like resins perhaps or various types or rubber or silicone but for the time being hot glue works for me. I would definitely suggest giving  this a try. Even if you don't have anything you really need to cast up at the moment it is still a fun craft to do.

If you happen to give this s try or try other methods please let me know in the comments below and attach some pictures for us to see. Have fun with it and now on to the next creepy creation for the 2016 Haunt Season!