I’ve successfully added to my diorama again, this time adding a lower class woman out shopping for food. I needed another, more typical Roman woman to complement the senator’s ostentatious wife, so this one is wearing a simple undied wool tunic while she visits the market.
She’s removing her hood to see what all the fuss is about behind her. In her basket she carries a small loaf of bread, a sausage, and an apple. I’m planning to add another item, maybe a pomegranate or a quince, which has fallen onto the street.
Here’s today’s mini added to the Roman diorama. This figure is a slave cook carrying two chickens from the market. Unlike the other figures, who are engaged in one way or another with the hubbub in front of the popina, this fellow is going about his business as planned.
I knew the scene wouldn’t be complete without a slave, a member of an often forgotten class of essential workers who enabled the vast Roman society & economy to function. We must keep in mind the institution of slavery whenever we are tempted to glorify Roman ‘greatness’. While a fundamentally different practice than modern slavery, servitudo was nevertheless a vicious and dehumanizing state of affairs.
Well, another figure entered the scene, and two more are on the way! I am having a lot of of fun cramming as much information, humor, and drama into this tiny diorama as I’m able, so I just keep adding more details & minis!
The latest is the legionary hanging out by the door, watching the scene unfold but doing nothing to help. The miniature’s face points at the main character, but if you follow his eyes he’s actually checking out the senator’s wife!
I also added a number of scenic details, finishing the rubbish & mule dung, smashing a wine cup onto the sidewalk, and tucking a tiny lizard up onto the roof above the barkeeper.
I’ve continued adding to my Roman diorama and lent some sophistication to the street with the inclusion of a senator and his elegant wife.
I’ve been painting the figures as fast as I can, aiming to get them done in an hour or less apiece. I’m after a strong expression, which I feel I’ve achieved despite poor quality sculpts. I’m making good use of the ink technique described here to liven up their faces. By concentrating on the relationships between the characters and what you cannot see (who is that fellow yelling at and why?) I’m hoping to suggest a human story with this diorama.
I’m almost finished with my little Roman tavern diorama. It’s been fun, if challenging at times. I’ve had a hard time streamlining the process to the bare minimum I’ll accept from myself, but I’m trying to produce a high (enough) quality piece with techniques and time investment I could reasonably expect from my teenage Latin students.
This is the diorama mostly completed. There are two 28mm figures, hopefully telling a simple and amusing story.
Lots of time and motivation Sunday afternoon saw my little bust of H.P. Lovecraft to completion. Last year I was pushing to finish my Eldritch Elf gift in time, but this one just sort of blurped itself into existence. I sculpted and painted it in well under a week.
I had an absolute blast on this one. I don’t fall into a perfectionist trap on these projects, and I think the joy of creativity shows through in the final product.
I returned from a wonderful Thanksgiving trip with my family, which included a crackling fire at my parents’ cabin, a nice walk in a dark, quiet forest, and a ton of great food. Upon my return, my miniature Lovecraft was eager for some hair & clothing.
I’m fairly pleased with this result. I obviously have areas that could be improved, but it’s pretty close to my original idea and I learned some things along the way.
I used a mixture of Original Sculpey and Sculpey Firm. I built around a little wad of aluminum foil that I added for bulk and to help in evening out the baking. I baked at least 5 layers into the sculpture without cracking or even browning, which had been a concern.
Stay tuned to watch this little fellow come together!
I’ve got to let my streak of monster drawings lapse because once again it’s time for Eldritch Elf! This is the international gift exchange run by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. I really love this opportunity for creativity and generosity and look forward to it every year. I’ve sent weird little things to England, Argentina, and New Zealand, and this year I’m sending a gift to Sweden.
So far I have most of the work done on a little bust of Lovecraft himself. I still need to add the author’s hair and whatever clothes I think will work best. I haven’t decided yet whether to add tentacles or something explicitly creepy or just play it straight.
We’re out of town celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, so I had to put the sculpture down for a few days. When I return I need to finish off the figure and get it painted. I have an idea of how I want to approach that.
If you’re interested, there are quite a few posts regarding the creation of last year’s Eldritch Elf gift on the site, starting here. You can find the entire series under the Arkham & Environs tab.
Stay tuned for updates as I complete this little guy!