10.29.2006

Tree Monster, from the rear

Hey folks! Sorry about the delays here, especially considering Monster Month is almost over, and I didn't contribute nearly as much as I'd have liked too, not compared to Sven Bonnichsen's incredible Bestiary over at the Scarlet Letters....he's definitely set the bar for next year ;)

I'm recovered from my overnights, well rested and rarin' to go :::D One last delivery on Monday and I've got my foam latex testing supplies all set....GM kit and primer, prosaide, oven, mixer, ultracal, burlap, gloves, cups, scale, clear coat, cornstarch, white clay....and after today's progress on the Tree Beast, I'm one step closer to molding....should happen this week people ::;) Here's a couple of pics of the backside....

**for some reason I'm having Blogger-pic-upload issues, so the images are coming to you via Hello!**

...closer up...I love the shape of the shoulder blade area and the back of the neck... Posted by Picasa

...still got some work to do on the top of the head, back of the hands, and lower back tentacles, er...I mean..roots :) Posted by Picasa

10.19.2006

A Little Landmark

Today marks the one year birthday of my Jenny 1 sculpt. Important because this was the first physical manifestation of the project, the first baby step of my stop-mo journey so to speak. I remember I was working in my bedroom, with a board layed out on the bed and the tv on. My wife had just gone back to work post-Katrina and I was lonely after being together non-stop for two months. As I sculpted, I don't think I even knew what I was going to do with Ms. Greenteeth. I definitely had no idea she would lead me to all of this.....so raise a glass and toast the anniversary of the day Jenny swam out of my brain and openned up a world....

picture dated Oct 19 2:51 pm

10.18.2006

More Monsters

Here's a back link, into the archives to one of my first posts, a storyboard animatic for the Jenny Greenteeth film....some of this has changed but not much...click here then watch the vid....



gorilla chicken.....'nuff said

Undead gunslinger......doomed from the get-go, not the quickest draw in the west, especially with limbs and digits falling off....

An alien of unspecified origin, wearing a human head hat....well gosh isn't he polite?

Baby tree monster, just a little rooty tadpole tryin' to make a go of it....

10.17.2006

Monster Month - Faeries and Ritz

Here are a couple of bits from other projects that bob around in my brainpan like potatoes in a pumpkin stew...seemed appropriate to share now, in Monster Month, woo!! My stop-mo blog buddies have helped carry the monster torch with awesome sketches over at Darkmatters and the Scarlet Letters, and I feel like I should contribute more so here you go....

First up we've got The Vanity Faeries, c.2002....

They are amongst my most beloved creations, co-created by my wife and I, part of a series of children's books about a skewed world, very 'Through the Looking Glass'. In the tales, the path to the gateway to the world is lined by the Vanity Faeries. As you enter, their voices are soothing, their song is sweet, they hide their faces but you can see their reflections in a mirror at each faerie's side, and they are breath-taking. On the way out however, their song becomes vicious, their true faces, hideous, eye contact will turn you to jello. This is possibly the greatest writing challenge I have ever presented myself. Y'see, I want their song to be welcoming and warm on entry, but then malicious and evil on exit. Same words, sung the same way, with different meaning. I've tried to write it a few times over the last few years but I think it'll have to come after the story is done....which could be years unless I get the bug...As with all of my BS projects (Before Stopmo ;) I can completely see this reimagined in stop-motion glory.....

Next up is an unfinished animated storyboard for a funny gross little period zombie musical number, set to Puttin On the Ritz....

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep This is a test of the Photobucket Video System Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep

Here's a direct link in case the embedded player doesn't wanna.....

I like the idea of having vids that play right on the blog, so let me know how this one goes folks...Ive had trouble with Photobucket in the past....this project is also BS, imagined live-action (Johnny Depp?), but now completely and totally puppet friendly....makes perfect sense given the subject matter: Zombie Guy (think Baron Samedi meets Freddy Krueger) works up an army of rotten zombies then descends on a snooty little upper-class cobblestone marketplace and dismembers shoppers, attaching their limbs to his zombie army where needed, an arm here, a head there....putting on the ritz....puppets with removable limbs anyone? Far off, again unless I get the bug....

Enjoy!

10.16.2006

Twiggy Tests

This afternoon I tried out some twiggy configurations for the head, this is what I ended up with. Looks pretty cool here, will be even better when he's all painted up...

10.15.2006

Sculpting with Woody

A little more progress today, may do some more later on tonight....its going to be a rough two weeks for me starting tomorrow as I go back to overnight shifts at the workplace...Mon-Thurs 10pm - 6am...I'm really not looking forward to it, but I'm earning bonuses which have funded and will continue to fund my foam latex obsession....this week I got my mixer :) A nice one, in fact I think its the same one that Sven had decided on over at The Scarlet Letters...the nice red Sunbeam Mixmaster....got my plastic spatulas, rubber gloves, ultracal, GM foam kit, rasp, scale, buckets and cups and oven...need to make a final purchase for pros-aide, foam primer, and water based clay and then......... :D

10.12.2006

Sequoia the Tree God...Monster....Take 1

Here's tonight's progress, about 1 1/2 hours, lots of staring and pondering...I had to be careful, he was starting to go elder god-y on me....(little more with the tentacles, less of a face at the top, more cone shaped and viola! Ready for his close-up in Let Sleeping Gods Lie :::)
I'm liking him more, obviously, as the details build up...he'll have real twig attachments for the beard/teeth/hair, which I will press into the clay of the final sculpt, so when he's cast the pieces will fit right in (probably have pegs into the foam, or just supported with some rubber latex if that works ok, or both....maybe epoxy glue?....all assuming I get a successful foamy puppet that is...yikes....fingers and toes crossed on that one....)

10.11.2006

Slappin' Clay

First, introductions......Johnny Appleseed, meet Jenny Applehead ;;;) It was staying a bit moisty potentially moldy so I put it in the toaster oven...of course I forgot it was in there and it started to burn :) smelled great actually but got a little crispy.....nice and dry now though....still feels spongy and wet inside, squishy, may shrink a bit more....
I slapped some clay this morning too. Refined tree monster's armature even more, shortened the arms a little, and chopped off the two upper smaller root-legs....trying to remember to keep it simple, this guys all about foam-testiness....I have faith in the fact that I can make his bottom rooty and scary without the extra armatured legs, just with the sculpt itself and the paintjob...I'm going to need to add a tie-down rectally (my first!) before I cast....I wrapped the armature in florist tape and slapped the first layer of clay on....he doesn't look like much now, does he?
Gonna give him a knot/hole where the bellybutton would be, make him a little heftier around the middle and bottom...the teeth will be carved wood bits that I add after casting...I'm thinking I can also add floral-wrapped-wire-strands for viney rooty draggy 'legs' after the cast is done, like I did with Jenny 1's hair way back when...maybe even a couple of vines coming out of the back of his shoulders, for grabbing tiny mortals and lumberjacks....which by the way will be pure clay, about 2-3" tall, slightly less than half Sequoia's size...really all I need them to be able to do is run.......

Jenny in the Rain

I get up. I blog comment. I'm listening to 'Harvest Moon' by Neil Young. It starts raining, gets dark and cold (79*). A gorgeous day. Jenny 1 gets restless, hearing the water pitter patter. She decides to take a stroll. Can't find her eye so she steals one of Nola's. Baptised by October Rain.

10.10.2006

Sequoia, the Armature

His name's Sequoia and he's a Native American god. A vengeful one at that :::) (spider smilies all month long :::P
Today I received my copy of Foam Latex Puppetmaking 101, a fantastic & essential DVD, thanks to Kathi and Zung Studios. Kathi goes through the entire process, molding, casting, seaming, in an awesome hour-long tutorial. I've read online toots many times, but to see it all live....I'm starting to get very excited....scared but excited :::)


I spent the day creating the armature for Quoy (easy nickname, yea? we're buddies...), which was difficult given the measurements of the tiny oven that I'm using. The arms being bent in like that will make the job challenging, I'm considering snipping them off at the tie-down/elbow, but I really want long arms...what to do, what to do....I wouldn't be worried, the sculpt will be thin at the outer extremities, like tapered tree branches, except in the dvd toot Kathi creates a sort of wall of clay around the sculpt that lets the excess foam bleed out into voids in the mold, which makes seaming easier, but I don't think I would be able to create said wall with the limbs being so close together at the bottom.......I did away with the idea of legs and went with more of a walking-root-system kind of thing, and I reluctantly nixed the neck in order to keep him two-part-mold friendly. With the head closer in, I can sculpt it right to the trunk, negating undercuts that would be created by neck-space...the lower jaw wil be sculpted straight out from the head, but will be armatured for posing later, fun stuff!!...the top of the head will be sculpted onto the 'upper-jaw' armature piece...he's got 6 tee-nut tie-downs, in his 4 'roots' and his two 'elbows'...I might slap on the first layer of clay tonight, maybe tomorrow morning, then sculpting heaven for the next week or so...

Tree Monster : Illustrated

Last night I got the painting bug, spent a couple of hours working on a TreeMonster image in acrylic, I got stuck on the monster himself and realized its because he hasn't been fully realized yet :) It'll be easier to paint him once he's sculpted and I know what he looks like, so, painting on hold. But since I've never posted in progress on a painting before, considering I haven't actually done one in quite awhile (almost a year?!), here's some pics for your perusal....

I think the background area, the forest, is closest to done...I want to add some small details to the trees, make some of the edges more interesting/irregular...going to add some people-stumps to the foreground, and detail the monster.....more to come....

10.09.2006

Tree Monster

I expected to have more sketches to choose from, but I kept going back to the tree monster with no body, to the point where I had started to make up behaviors and imagine scenes, so now I think its inevitable....Tree Monster (a better name will come to me while I'm sculpting) will be my first foam latex puppet....he will be sculpted, molded, and hopefully successfully cast....and if you run into him on the outskirts of town, be careful....he remembers that ficus you forgot to water....I see him surrounded by a field of what at first appears to be stumps of trees, but turns out to be people....chopped down....planted & eaten? nature's revenge, an unavoidable theme :)
I did a rough sketch of the body, enough for me to build the under-armature for the sculpt, but leaving me enough freedom to improvise a bit during sculpting, which should take up the next week or so...I'm trying to resist the similarities to Treebeard but I think its inevitable as far as design goes...I'll definitely be posting progress and taking suggestions....I want the mouth to open and close for eating, never attempted that with an armature before, maybe not a good idea to try it out with such a huge mouth, or when I'm testing foam, but its too late now....the seed has been planted :)

10.06.2006

My Katrina Experience - Ballad of the Iceboxes

I said in my last Katrina post that I was going to let my experiences leak out, and I'm having sort of a downer of a day so I thought it might be time to dive in again. Today I discuss the Refrigerator epidemic. With parts of the city in ruins, trees and powerlines down in even the best looking spots of the surrounding neighborhoods, there was no electricity. We were allowed to return home in mid-September. Our neighborhood got power back in October. As folks flooded back home, as the waters receded and streets were cleared of debris, there was this small issue of perishable food items, which sat in uncooled refirgerators in every home for weeks or months in the summer heat of New Orleans. Not pretty. We were instructed by radio not to put fridges by the curb with food in them, most didn't oblige but we did. The first thing we did when we got home was wheel the fridge to the back sliding glass door (miraculously still intact) and open her up.
I emptied the contents, milk, meats, moldy unrecognizables, into black trash bags. Then the radio says, "Oh yeah, we don't know when trash pick-up will begin, so don't put the food by the curb because there are packs of abandonned wild dogs tearing into piles of rotten food across the city. Just bury the bags in your yard." OK, not an easy task, but there are now two 30 gallon black trash bags full of Katrina Fridge Trash buried under our vegetable garden in the yard. Most folks just wrapped their iceboxes in duct tape with everything inside and stood them by the curb. They were like Stonehengian monuments across the city, lining every neighborhood block. Only added to that stench that I can still pick up on when near Lakeview or the Ninth Ward or Chalmette, not to mention the pests, roaches, fruit flies, nowadays rats...

We still had the top of our wedding cake in the freezer. Now its buried in the yard.

10.04.2006

Monster Month - Sketches and Cletus the Applehead, Day 3


I'm lovin the way the bottom is shrinking up and leaving the teeth protruding....looks like a Cletus, a yokel....think I'll make him a scarecrow when he's all dried up :)




I call this one "Ghost of a Mayfly"...sometimes I crack myself up...there's something inherently hysterical to me about the eternally trapped spirit of a creature with a one-day life span :) bet you didn't know that Mayflies have tiny nipples and bellybuttons, did you? Did you?!? Yeah, me either.....


Tentacled Eye Guy - ahhh, tentacles....always goes back to Cthulhu....Designing a Lovecraft creature is something that I feel like I'm working towards in my artistic journey, something that I'm not quite ready for....when it happens I want it to be spectacular...


The Flying Uvula...another one that cracks me up.....I imagine someone's uvula (y'know, that hangy thing in the back of our throat?) getting tired of just hanging around, decides to break free, taking most of the mouth and some of the esophagus with it....I mean, come on....I couldn't think of a worse place to be than stuck at the back of someone's throat..........ok...yeah, I can....

Now this guy.....this guy I think is going places....started out as a tree monster, still kind of is, though he needs a body but I'm sure one will turn up :) I did this right after watching Lucky McKee's "The Woods", which just came out on DVD, a good flic but not as great as the directors first film "May", which I recommend to everyone....the story of a socially awkward (this is being polite, mind you) young woman who's only real relationship is with her doll.....the final few frames of the film are Svankmajery, not stop-mo but anyone with a love for puppets would appreciate it...put it on your Halloween Horror list....go ahead, I'll wait here....

EDIT: Awhile ago we were watching 'Eat Drink Man Woman' (excellent) and at one point a soup is served in a hollowed out pumpkin....my wife has been waiting for October to roll around so that I could try one out....gonna make something tomorrow for dinner, I usually cook on my day off....found this great site for you foodies out there like me :) http://www.mom-mom.com/pumpkin_soup_recipes.htm

10.02.2006

MONSTER MONTH!!

Its October......yes, October.....Monster Month is in full swing....today I went to the store, bought my first carving pumpkin, and a little pie pumpkin, and a couple of apples that will hopefully turn out to be nice puppet heads.....Apples you ask? Wanna know more? Darkmatters....

Lemme touch on my goals for this month....1) lots of monster sketches....I'll try to keep up with the daily posting by sketching a few monsters every night and popping them up here...one of these lucky sketches will be sculpted mid-to-late-October (viewer feedback will be taken into account when choosing the 'winner' :), which brings me to my next goal 2) cast a small (7") wire-armatured monster in foam latex (fingers crossed on the learning curve) and then there's 3) finish or at least continue sculpting Jenny 2...realistically she will probably take me into November...I'm dreaming of a foam Jenny this Christmas....but thats too far ahead....I was talking monsters....


Look! Up in the sky! Its a bird! Its a plane! Its a flying hairy eyeball! I have to say, I am leaning towards a flying creature for my first foamy puppet, I've always loved Uncle Ray's 'Jason' harpies, and it would present me with the animational challenge of constant rigging, which I'm ready for I think. Even drawing a monster I end up with a human body :) Expect lots more winged things....

The Many-Toothed Raptor Mummy...looks very Gary Larson/'Far Side' to me....

This one I call..."The Drunken Batman"..... :P not sure where this came from, but I couldn't resist posting it....

EDIT: For some reason I can never add pictures to a post once its posted, but I wanted to share my applehead, I couldn't wait to get one done....here it is...

Me on the "Widow" Set

Here's a cap that was snapped while I was animating the shot....love this pic...