Eldritch Elf: 10 XII 18

The weather in Innsmouth is pretty soupy. The locals like it that way.

Our humble public house, a subtle fluorescent glow emanating from around the door…

Whoa. Ugly brown stains. These were done with ink.

And green stains, too. I used enamels for these.

I’m quite pleased with the patinated bronze. You can perhaps see I added an optically impossible shift toward more and brighter patina on the portion of the lamp that points away from the viewer & scene.


All these strange visual tricks & mixed styles hopefully help create an interesting piece with a Lovecraftian feel. You can see the light effects on the door (which could definitely be better) are sketched in as if with a pencil, the slime in the street is painted like a cartoon, the enamels themselves are applied fairly naturalistically (though what’s underneath is unrealistic), and the whole thing is rigged for fluorescent illumination.

These kinds of quick & crazy projects offer great opportunities to throw yourself into new techniques (and make up your own) and try your best to capture a mood, an insight, a joke, or whatever.

And we’ll leave it there for tonight. See you soon.

Weekend Elf: 9 XII 18

Lots of painting today brings an enormous update. This was as fun a day as you can have inside on a cold day!

Your wife loves you. She supports your hobbies. Also, cats make good sources of magicians’ wards.


Undercoats. This is almost wash consistency. Treat it like a watercolor.

The joy of toothpicks. They’ll help us do some quick paint chipping with foam.

I’m starting to block in colors and develop light effects, which will be a major feature of the piece.

Now that’s a big brush!

Almost looks inviting…


Yellow paint on the plaster.

Sketching light effects on the door.

I’m trying to create interesting viewing angles with dramatic effects.

I’m very pleased with this gross stuff down in between the cobblestones.


Sort of weird looking, isn’t it?

You should see it at night! What are those creepy locals getting up to in there?


This was so much fun. No time for doubt. Lots of great music. Go!

I’m really happy with the progress I made today. Much less worried about getting it out on time.

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

Ok, fifth post of my Saturday. Little bursts of productivity throughout the day have produced great progress and we’ve reached our goal of priming tonight!

You can can the lamp post overhangs the square ‘edge’ of the piece, and that the brickwork above breaks the upper limit.

These little violations of space I love to incorporate into my pieces – especially in a Lovecraftian context, where distortion of this sort is expected!

You’ll see that the angle of the wall to the cube is very narrow. I want the ‘main’ view from the front to look almost straight, but not quite, and I want to leave a large lonely space in front of the door.

I love creating little tiny slivers of buildings like this. They’re so much more interesting than just slapping a wall on the back flush with the scene. To me the illusion is dramatically improved. It’s worth the trouble of building it, I think.

I talked a few posts back about balancing control and chaos in this sort of creative effort. This is a good example of where deliberate deviations from ‘true’ create an engaging illusion of a worn in place with a history of its own. The low fidelity methods of construction help this, too.

Ready for the next stage!

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

We’ll glue on some of the Green Stuff items we made the other day.

I actually used super glue to secure the mushrooms at the base of the doorjam. The layers of dried wood glue have created a barrier between the foam & the glue that allows me to use the right glue for the job.

It’s fiddly work. Super fiddly. You pretty much have to use a pair of silicone tweezers for some of it. They don’t adhere at all to tiny pieces and they spring apart when you release pressure. Great tools. Sometimes you have to paint a dot of glue on with a toothpick and use a moistened toothpick to pick up the tiny mushroom. They’re fragile and won’t survive a serious blow, but they’re tucked away (relatively) safely at the base of the wall. Once the super glue was dry I put yet another layer of thinned wood glue over everything, taking care to work glue into all the joins between foam & other materials.

Here is the door behind the standard unit of miniature measurement, the tactical space marine.

I’ve been drying the wood glue on the heating register to speed it up. Hopefully I’ll be able to throw some primer onto this tonight and begin actually painting tomorrow. I’ve imposed a deadline on my self of Saturday a week from today. It has to travel across the globe and it is to arrive on the Solstice, which falls on the the 21st. I should have enough time, but my schedule is fragile. Perhaps Yog Sothoth can keep open a time portal for me. Whatever that means.

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

Cranking along. I’m hoping to get this primed & ready to paint by the end of the weekend. End of the day would be better, but we’ll see how long it takes to get it adequately clad in glue.

Making a sign from styrene.

Sticking the sign on. Pressing the sign into the foam (cut around the edge where the foam is high so you can compress it straight down) allowed you to bridge the levels of relief. Now we can see that the sign was once mounted in the plaster, but that now the fallen plaster has exposed most of the bricks. We’ll use these elements to tie into Lovecraft’s text.

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

Elf’s are busy this time of year, and never more so than Saturday morning before their babies wake.

We need a lamp on this scene.

Lamps! These are from Wyrd. I’m cutting one down to hang from a sconce rather than placing the whole post on the street.

Best way to nice flat ends on little tiny bits that I’ve found is to sand it. Here’s the sander I love. This one’s a medium grit, but I have a fine on order.

Doohickey to hold the lamp and a good stout metal pin to keep it in place. Gotta build them as sturdy as you can or there’s you’re setting yourself up for major disappointment later.

This has to be wood-glued into place. You can build up enough of a shell on the outside, but the pin will be in direct contact with the foam. If super glue touches the foam it will eat it, so you must use wood glue. Try to get a good amount of thick glue into the hole, but keep it tidy & tight.

We’ll see how many posts I can put up today!

Weekend Elf: 8 XII 18

Laid down the streets this morning using Milliput.

Some people don’t like Milliput. My only criticism is that it makes my skin burn. It warns of that on the box, so… it’s ok, I guess.

I like Milliput because it interacts with water a lot like real clay. You can thin, smooth, shape, soften, and otherwise persuade the Milliput to do your bidding if you use enough water in the right way. I use a super soft cheap brush or my finger so I can control it easily. Milliput can also be carved or sanded after it’s dry, so don’t worry if a few areas aren’t perfectly flush with your edges, etc.

Make some tea first thing in the morning! Nicer that way. Mmm.

Cut this crap off the grey component of the Milliput. If you buy it at a hardware store or somewhere with high turnover, you won’t have to worry about it, but I got this at a game store and t had clearly sat for a while.

As the fumes of the yellow putty hits the roll of grey, it hardens the exterior. It’s chunky and not malleable, so you want to cut it off.

These are some tools I used. If you’re going to do any sculpting, do yourself a favor and get some silicone clay shapers. Get a few decent ones rather than a huge set from The craft store. The cheap ones have manufacturing seams which make them all but useless for smoothing.

Now we fill all our ragged edges with Milliput. It will clean up the look and strengthen the construction. I used a wet finger to smash little blobs & rolls of it into place.

Cobblestones have been gouged in with an engraving tool. The rough edges will have to be cleaned, but this will be easy for us to see the individual rocks and will give us something to work with as we soften everything up.

Now we can use the tiny metal ball tip to open the gaps between the stones and the rock, metal brush, and razor for a bit of texture. Keep going over the Milliput with a wet brush to soften & clean everything, and adding texture back in as necessary. Cobblestones are mostly smooth, though, so keep that in mind.