Spend any time around ToadChapel and you know I’m plum crazy about the fungus. I like the way mushrooms look and I like learning about them, so I photograph them, I draw them, and I use them extensively in my miniature projects. I’ve developed techniques for creating a variety of mushroom shapes suitable for 28mm, 54mm, or larger scale mini scenes, and I’m happy to share my approach with you. Depending upon how you paint these, you could produce many actual mushroom species and an unlimited number of fictional fungi.
These mushrooms are sturdy and small enough to use on gaming bases, especially if you place them intelligently, but they’re delicate enough to add a lot of dazzling detail to display pieces. Read on to learn how to work some minuscule mushrooms into your next modeling project.
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 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!
Driving 8.5 hours from Pittsburgh to Connecticut, we broke up the trip by overnighting with my parents midway. I was happy to see these old friends again.
These are over twenty years old. I made them in high school when my imagination was deeply colored by the classic American weird writers Edgar Allen Poe & H.P. Lovecraft. Some classics merit acclaim, or attention, or whatever they merit chiefly due to their influence, but others stand on their own artistic achievement even today.
The urgent and concrete terror both authors can convey in their fiction holds up well to the modern reader. Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart introduced me to psychological horror around age twelve and has stuck with me for the next two and a half decades. The cataclysmic emotional release at the end of the tale demonstrated what a well crafted short story could accomplish. Lovecraft typically paints in dread rather than pandemonium. When I first discovered Lovecraft at fourteen I read (like so many of his protagonists) too much too quickly and ended up scared to walk down the dark hallway at night. I was certain that there were ghouls ready to pounce on me from the shadows!
My ceramics teacher, Jim Shirk, was a supportive mentor and always allowed me to create my own projects rather than follow his syllabus. I can remember the incredible schematic drawings he would spontaneously produce whenever we asked for creative advice and his beautiful, meticulous handwriting. Jim is a wonderful artist who, like me, loves to capture Nature’s beauty in his work. These two sculptures always evoke fond memories of my time learning from him.