Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


With so much to do & already missing a pre-planned Halloween deadline i set for myself a while back. This post is essentially a huge update of current projects, future projects, HOW TO video news etc. Basically the idea being i give you a host of posts in a single huge update post to read in one go so i can concentrate on my WIPs & repairs etc  for the following week or so & then i don't have to feel guilty not updating things here in fragments as normal whilst i get on with things. So where to begin then? Well first of all this IS a much longer post than normal. & around one third of the way down there are some pictures that are of a 'simulated' graphic 'bloody' nature that some people may find offensive or be disturbed by in some manor.

There isn't much to report on this project right now. As you can see from the picture below i have only gotten as far as adding some frons to the cheek sections at this point. Why you may say when i last stated this dragon trophy would be going to paint this very week? Well as things do with larger projects go you tend to use a lot more materials than smaller projects. If your like me you don't always stop to think 'now do i have everything i need?' A golden rule of course - DO SO first!. Well to begin with i miss-judged my hot glue stick supply & almost ran out before i was done with the glue gun. I still have to add some frons the the lower jaw. As you can see i also have now added the neck to this trophy too now:

The ears have also now had the final detailing added to them. I still have to create the teeth & tongue yet but that's a small job. I need to also add a few 'stretched skin' details to the neck where it connects to the lower jaw & head too but again that is a small thing to do.

Once all that has been done i will be giving 'this' dragon trophy a double layer of thin cheap handkerchief tissue wrinkly, skin look. The others will have a scale & tissue skin combination to them when i get them to that stage later. Now apart from the few more required frons & neck stretched skin effect when i went rooting through my back up supplies to check for some more glue sticks i realised my family had been using my supply of tissues faster than they had been replacing them, er!, essentially they had NOT replaced any of the entire boxes they had taken away - gotta love they're little butts huh lol.

So this all took place over the weekend just gone. Since it was art supply run time of the month anyway yesterday, i figured okay leave this here for the weekend, come back to it next week when i get my art supplies topped up again. Find something else to work on over the next four days, art supply run days are always on a Tuesday at the end of each 'lunar' month (every four weeks) as a rule. 

So remember my wall mounted grim reaper? No, never mind there should be a picture in the right hand columns the finished projects listing. Here is a picture of him finished 'before' one of my eldest sons kept ignoring my warnings about running down the stairs, firstly because it is something we have tried to instill in ALL our children (as you do!) & secondly because most of my children are or are going to to be six feet plus. Well he ran into poor grim three times before he got the message. The last time he got a damn good clawing across his left arm, unfortunately he snapped the left arm damn near off the poor grim too. Here is the finished grim pre-damaged:

I still have to repair the arm (the one holding the sand) but when i came to doing it this weekend gone i thought to myself "That scythe is pretty crap. Plain & boring!". So i decided to re-model the scythe to what you see below:

As you can see i kept the blade but scrapped the shaft. The original straight shaft was just too boring & where the blade connects to the shaft at the top was just too plain. So i am in the process of making a new shaft as you can see with a few curves to it this time. Where the blade connects to the shaft at the top i have now added a skull to liven things up a little.

I still need to add another 5/6 layers of news paper strips to the shaft before painting, but the skull simply requires a couple of coats of bone mix dragon skin to finish that off. A few rust effects added to the blade along with some dried blood effects & viola' a new improved scythe.


I have  few more tricks & tips for you to come still  which i will slip in between posts as i go once i get the pictures formatted etc later, so stay tuned for those coming very soon folks.

Paper mache is possibly the cheapest form of art going whilst being possibly the most planet friendly (recycling) art form out there. Yes i know there are 'other' artists who recycle tins etc in their art. Paper mache how ever can be paper/card stock only or it can also include 'mixed media' too & i mean anything media wise & STILL be classified as paper mache.

Now whilst planning (creating them NOW)  a series of projects using life sized & smaller size  ranges of skulls in paper mache. There are a 'few' things i want to make that for fire safety, strength/durability & speed of creation, paper mache is simply NOT best suited if at all. So 'some' of the skulls i am currently working on are going to be made from either 'solid' plaster or 'hollow' plaster forms. Not only will these have they're OWN dedicated Etsy shop created for them but i might even create a totally new separate blog for them too. I have not thought 'that' far ahead yet.

Now even though i go on my art supply runs to buy specific items (PVA glue, paper of varying types, 140/180 grade paper & box salvaging etc) i always keep my eye's open for 'ideas' that can be found from many & often totally unexpected sources be they materials or indeed  'whole' objects too. Here are a couple of items i picked up at my local ASDA store whilst grocery shopping during this months art supply run (rice, pasta, curries favourites & the like i buy for myself lol) whilst spotting the store had just gotten in this years Halloween products.

I spotted these fantastic polystyrene foam skulls (one third life size) that were a steal at three for only £5.00:

Now the  untrained eye or put another way those who may not know too much about anatomy may not easily spot the few short comings in these skulls. They are few but very 'fixable' faults. The worst one that i feel 'must' be corrected before these skulls can be used to any serious manor: The side of the temples as you can see from the central skull here are not 'sunk in' as with a real skull. The long bone running along the skull from the cheek bone stops short slightly & there is no 'hole' for the ear as in a real skull. The other faults are minor & can be glossed over later or simply ignored. I will show you in a future HOW TO just how to 'alter' these skulls in a way that you can adopt & modify with similar skulls of either foam or wax materials & sizes with a mind to copying them using paper mache techniques whilst altering the initial design making both a version of your own & mass copies.

Another bargain:

These all plastic champagne flutes. Now whist there is little room for copying & re-creating these with enough of a design change to truly call the 'new' copies your own design i have an idea in mind for these little plastic beauties that again i will show you how to not only copy  using moulding latex with these complex forms but also modifying them along the way like the foam skulls above. I will show you how to copy these 'then' transform them along with the skulls into totally NEW & functional objects that will please any true dark Gothic fan or Halloween fan alike.

I think i mentioned my only decent source for video shooting was my PSP hand held  3000 series which  my two youngest broke a little while back? If not then i apologise folks. So i haven't made or uploaded any recent HOW TO videos recently as i say my only decent video shooting tool was wrecked.

I did how ever replace this on my art supply run.  Now someone is bound to be thinking why replace that when you can get a far superior dedicated camera instead,. Well i did have the PSP (not the newest smaller model) to which i still have my camera, PSP to PC cable (PS3 USB power cable which is cross platform friendly between the PS3 & the PSP range), eight gig memory card & a few games (they  broke over two hundred pounds worth of my UMD games too) so i only required the PSP replaced. Now i simply can't stand the newer model &  could have bought a pre-owned PSP for some £79.00. I how ever am loathe to buying 'other peoples' potential troubles not knowing the history of an object & will ONLY do so when lack of cash forces me to do so which is rare. So shunning the wealth of available pre-owned models i simply purchased a brand new series 3000 model, amazingly it still cost me around £139.00. The original one i had cost £149.00 some two years ago!. Don't you just love a money grabbing greedy companies that are out there?

Any way long story short (eventually) i NOW have the means to do more HOW TO videos for YouTube & will get back to it as son as i possibly can. 

There now all done for now. I warned you this was a much bigger post than normal didn't i lol. More soon on ALL the topics raised in this post. Now i have way to much to do so i will shoot off for now, but i WILL be back sometime next week with updates, full HOW TO's & more. Oh i will be here to respond to any comment posts of course lol.

Back soon.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Work on these large wall mountable dragon heads is progressing nicely even if i do say so myself lol. The original plan was to make one female & one male dragon head. When i began adding the frons to the female head (shown below) i began to wonder what she might look like with horns instead of frons. The obvious solution of course was to quickly make up another female head in the same style but add horns instead of frons - logical really lol.

As you can see (click on image to enlarge) the ears still are unfinished, the eye lids need defining a little more too. I will be adding some more frons to the sides of the cheeks & the lower jaw along the way too. I have not started on the teeth or the tongues yet for either heads but will make those last since they will only take an hour or so to make for both dragons at once. Oh & i still have to add a small neck section to each head too later nearly forgot that until now lol.

Below is the second female head that will have horns instead of frons like her friend above.

The horns on the cheek are only temporary for now to help me gauge what sizes i want to have there finally. I still need to work out just how many is enough yet too lol.

The blue eyes on the second female again like the horns are only temporary. For this size of dragons head(s) i use medium sized plastic balls. The type found in ball pools for toddlers. I will layer around four layers of PM strips over each section of ball showing through the eye sockets then remove the plastic balls later from the inside. Whilst i 'don't' ever use wire or wooden frames etc in my large projects (or any) i do sometimes use shapes or forms from plastic items. I always how ever remove ALL traces of said during the build. With the exception of trace amounts  of foil  i used  for bulking (shaping horns, noses, cheeks etc) or copying    along with cling film for copying too i always attempt to remove as much of this as possible during the build.

More soon as work progresses.

Friday, 17 September 2010


Yesterday i worked a little more on the first of the 'final' skull designs that would be copied in moulding latex. Whilst i require as many slightly varied skulls as possible for the projects i have planned that involve more than one skull being used per project. I also want some to have lower jaws & some not. Sadly this first skull became a none lower jaw version when i dropped the lower jaw for it after removal. The way i sculpted (carved) the lower jaw details in the hardened plaster it made copying a final design in moulding latex simply too tricky. I decided the best way to do it was to create the final look then remove all lower jaws & cast them separately.

I tried to get a foot under it before it hit the hard tiled flooring but was not quick enough. So instead of my first master plaster version having a lower jaw it became a jaw less version in the blink of an eye & a wail of despair lol. So here is the first final skull design i will be using in some future projects:

I apologise for the poor pictures but the light is poor today & i am feeling a little under the weather & a little shaky for it.

Whilst starting to make these skulls for future projects both paper mache & plaster versions are required. More on the plaster version being required in a future posting when i come to use them that is. It dawned on me that that working with plaster versions, casting them then re-sculpting them into the final designs, then casting 'final' moulding latex versions to work from. This was going to get a title expensive & not sticking to my basic rules that my showing you what i do with those working on a tight budget in mind was being over looked here.

Buying small wax skulls, copying with moulding latex with modelling plaster only to then re-sculpt the new plaster copies to then re-copy in moulding plaster. Well was a long winded timely & expensive way to go about it. Why not simply make a stack of my own wax skulls, re-sculpt those then make the final moulding latex copies by passing the plaster version at that point totally? It of course made perfect sense of course only after i began doing it the long & expensive way first lol. Oh well. Here are the first two wax versions i made myself from my first basic moulding latex copies:

Of all the materials i have ever created art with this is the first time  have copied anything in a mould using wax, to this result anyway. Now of course since the latex copies i made are now in two sections the wax versions i want to re-sculpt will be made in two separate halves too. Of course they being in wax form at this stage joining them together IS very simple.

Take a small amount of wax & place it on an old small heat tolerant plate, a saucer or the like. Heat up the plate until the wax runs freely (melts). Now take one half of your newly copied wax skull & simply dip it into the melted wax on the plate. Now you only have about two seconds to join the two halves & line them up. So i recommend that you prior to doing this hold the two halves together 'first' to make sure you know in advance which will be the best position for them when joined. Squeeze the two halves together for around three/four seconds to allow the thin layer of melted wax to harden - voila' a new wax skull.

Now no matter how good you become at doing this your still now & then going to have a join line that requires filling & leveling out even if your going to re-sculpt the new wax copy anyway. Take a small thin bladed knife & dip it into the wax your using to join the halves on your small heated plate. Leave it in the wax on the small plate a few seconds to warm up to the wax temperature otherwise before you can rub the wax onto the newly created skull it will harden & be unworkable. also remember to allow the knife to heat up slightly 'every time' you do this it will cool in seconds so work fast.

Do not worry if your repaired join looks a little crude or rough around the edges (as mine are shown in the pictures above) your going to re-sculpt them to some degree anyway remember lol.

So that's where i am up to on this project anyway. More soon.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Below is the first of two dragons i will be working on a male & female, the female shown here. This head minus the frons & ears is around 55cms long x 20cms tall:

To begin with i enhanced the nostrils a little making them more pronounced.

Then i finished both  the eyes.

The next stage is to add some details inside the mouth as this dragon will have her mouth open. It's best to work inside the mouth now before adding the frons etc to the head that way it will be easier to turn over without damaging anything.

More soon.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


well it's been a long busy & often tiring road this last year. My bad habit of starting projects, not getting them finished then starting new ones just got worse & worse all year gone. I did try to curb the creative fever, slow it down so i could get things finished failing miserably every try. Then of course my family breaking my creations both finished or not it was a never ending circle going nowhere really.

Well these last couple of months i have been a good boy & have gotten some old unfinished creations either finished or damn close to it. A couple of weeks back one of my idols (Dan Reeder) finished a pair of entwined dragons. To say the are awesome is an understatement but i digress a little here. On seeing these two dragons i realised i still have several large dragon heads as well as full bodied dragons of my own that i have been neglecting for way too long now. After seeing Dans latest creation i got the bug again to work on my own dragons.

I wanted to get them out from under my work table the weekend before last & then more so this weekend just gone. Of course one thing lead to another & so they were left under the table for a while longer. Today how ever i finally pulled out four of my large dragon heads & had a good long look & think about them for an hour or so. Of the four i pulled out i selected two to work on.

Unlike many of my main projects which are mostly to create HOW TO posts for use on my blog here or HOW TO YouTube videos etc. A lot of my creations are either simplistic in style or are of a cartoon like form. ALL my dragons heads or full bodied i take very seriously though & want to create these in a realistic form.

Of the two i pulled out are a male & female dragon heads. On having looked them over for a while as i say, i decided to re-do some of the facial aspects completely though these are small changes really & enhanced others slightly by adding more shape & definition to them. Sadly no pictures right now as i have only begun work on them today so theres nothing of note to see really at this point in time. Perhaps mid week next week or next weekend for sure, but just not right now sorry folks.

I can tell you how ever that the female will be all frons, wrinkly skin & long sleek head/face, long thin ears etc very clearly female in style. The male will be very masculine with heavy set scaled face, serious heavy duty duelling horns & a much more powerful fuller face to impress the female with etc.

Colours wise i am thinking greens & yellows for the female. Better for hiding in the long grass when rearing kits i suppose lol. The male though i am thinking reds & oranges to make him big & scary looking. So more on these guys very soon if not in picture form then certainly in more info in text form. As i say thanks to Dan's dragons i have the old dragon fever back & am looking forwards to spending all the time i can spare on these old unfinished dragon projects of mine here lol. Thanks Dan more soon folks.

Monday, 13 September 2010


After removal from the latex mould i glued the two halves to gether & then a little under two hours later i finished sculpting the plaster copy into soething closer to what i wanted. Here is how it looks now:

My plaster version is on the right hand side.

It will not win me any sculptor of the year awards but this is a much better skull than the original wax version.

I forgot to photograph the under side of the plaster copy sorry. The lower jaw is now hollow just like a  real jaw. This of course will make casting the final mould a little tricky, but i am confident i can do it. The mould from this plaster copy will be the version i will use to create the final versions of the small paper mache skulls for my new soul mirriors & mini reapers later once i get a few moulds made. How many i will make & when i could not say right now.

Stay tuned for the next part of this HOW TO coming soon.


As i mentioned in the last post i want to make some smaller grim reapers but i also need some small skulls for other projects too my better version of my soul mirror for one thing seen in my Etsy shop right now To speed creation up i was using two small wax candle skulls for the crude skulls i used before. Saddly one of the candles is no longer useable & one skull to copy from is going to be too slow going as the soul mirror design using this sized skull requires sixteen small skulls alone per one mirror. The damaged wax skull for some unknown reason at the time became stuck in the plaster i was copying it with. Unkown to me these small wax candle skulls are not moulded from a single piece of wax. Rather they are made using two grades of wax. An inner 'blank' skull as seen here:
The outter coloured wax is much softer. A strange way to make a wax candle if you ask me, but then this is not my field of expertise so what do i know. Anyway as it is this is no good for making copies from. I will do something with this one day.
Now back to the process so far. My final skulls will of course be paper mache in construction but i need the skull copies first. So taking my remaining wax skull i brushed on three consectutive layers of moulding latex. You can of course use silicone or any of the other formats of mould making that are available but remember i am working with those who may be working to a limited budget. Here i used a none branded moulding latex & thickner.

On the fourth layer i added an overlapping later of fine cotton cloth gauze shown here:

This will give the latex a little more strength to reduce tearing. Of course if i pourd the project into a boxed off frame i could quickly build up a very thick layer in no time, but i only have a 1 litre bottle for now. So this method (also used in plaster casting) will reduce the amount of moulding latex i need to use without compramising the mould in the end. I then followed through with another five layers of moulding latex.

I did a couple of  'face only' test moulds previously to guage drying times for the thicker regions of latex such as in the eye sockets, around the sides of the skull etc. In the end i gave the mould two full days in a warm room drying time which worked perfectly. Here is the first casting being removed:

The green hue is the fine cotton mesh gauze showing through. As you can see the moulded latex is not really very thick at only 4mm at the thinnest edges & at 6mm at the thickest edges not including the eye sockets of course.

As this mould is so thin it WILL require some kind of internal support whilst not in use especially over long periods of time. The latex WILL eventually begin to shrink as it finally dries out fully & WILL warp over time. A simple soloution is to re-insert the original form that each mould was cast from. This will give perfect support for the life span of the latex mould copy.

Below the whole mould removed:

Moulding latex (especially silicone moulding materials) will release from most raw surfaces (no releasing agent required) easily, wax is one of the best for casting from. Below the newly cast plaster copies:

In the right conditions modelling plaster or casting plaster will be dry enough for you to be able to remove the copies after a few hours. I DO advise how ever you leave your moulds intact for at least twenty four hours when making solid forms as i did here.

The next step will be to sand down the flat sides of these two halves so i can then glue them together to make the full skull. Once i have done that i can then alter the copy so it looks moe like how i want it to be. Whilst i am doing that i will re-use the original wax skull to make more copies to work from.

More on this project soon.


I still have a few old projects to get to repairing & then again i am still assesing whats worth repairing too. Saying that how ever i always have something on the go or on the drawing board waiting to be started lol. Right now (right after i get finished here) i will be working on the following creations.

I have four new bowl designs on the table so to speak. I want to be a little bit more creative with these creations before they go for sale & i am not just talking about the painted finish either. I want to add something more three dimensional to the designs. What that may be for each i am not sure yet but it is just there on the edge of my mind. The fourth bowl design is something i haven't personally seen anywhere online right now & i think (hope) it is something never before seen, though i have been wrong before. I  will show you 'that' bowl only when it is finished. Right now it is awaiting painting & sealing then it's finished. Here are the first three of them in their WIP stage anyway for now:

So what else is to come then?

Well do you remember my daughters dolphine money bank? I want to mak a couple more of those (slightly different designs) as well as a couple of dolphine real water features. YES, i said 'real water' features. Basically a couple of dolphines in a leaping pose with water running down off them. Did i hear someone say "No way it's paper mache" Lol trust me PM or not this is entirely possible.

I always planned to make more grim reapers too again 1/3rd life size, but i have plans to make some smaller ones too somewhere between 10cms to 24 cms tall as well as wall mounted versions of the same size too. More on the mini grims in another post a HOW TO post to be exact.  I also want to get back to my head & full bodied dragons too which i will be doing tomorrow. I have a nice plan for something dragon related, again more on that in another post though.


Finally after a year or more of one set back after another i finally got my old bank changed, then eventually got to creating my own little corner of E-commerce - my own little Etsy shop. Of course if you have been a follower of my blog here from he start you'd know the trials & tibulations i have had with family members wrecking my art over the years. So it has been a constant battle to get things both repaired & others finished to be able to put into my shop. Finally how ever after much work i managed to get a few things repaired & a few things i always wanted to make done too. So just what is in my shop right now then?

Below are the very pictures of items i used in my shop. I won't list sizes & prices here as they are all clearly listed in my shop anyway & my shop is a mouse click away anway:

So the pictures then:










If you want to find out more information on all of these items it's alll listed in my shop.

Sunday, 12 September 2010


I have worked with balloons to create many forms of armatures for a few years now. I use them as they are (blown up) standard & creatively shaped ones. I often cut into the dried PM'd balloon shells as i call them to create either new shapes from the whole shell or bits of said shell.

Now even though as i say i have done this for a few years now even i make mistakes, not directly of course a room can unexpectadly become too cold or too warm overnight. A cold room results in the balloon shrinking & if it does this before the PM shell(s) are dried enough to retain the final desired shape. Well theres not a lot you can do unless you are extremely creative lol.

Of course this works the opposite way if the room becomes too hot too. Below is a nasty looking rupture that actually occured 'after' the shell was fully dried. Sadly i mis-counted the layers & the built up pressure in the balloon was actually enough to cause the damage shown. Trust me it WAS worse than it looks in the picture.

When this happens there is no need to panic what so ever, this IS an extremely easy fixable problem.

First allow the balloon to cool down by placing the whole thing i a cool place for a while. It will be obvious when enough is enough. Quite simply when you can squeeze the split together again easily then it's ready to be repaired.

Depending on the size of the balloon shell, apply two layers of maksing tape in a cross over fashion. By that i mean go in one direction with the masking tape then another 'opposing' direction with the second layer, just like you would with paper strips.

Now rub it all down with a smooth but hard tool. I nomally use the finger guards on my scissors. Next string up the balloon in it's original drying place in a warm room to allow the balloon to re-inflate. Once the balloon is visably filling up inside the shell again quickly add around 4 to 6 layers of paper strips. Then return to your chosen drying place & leave overnight.

Once fully dried again you will have a fully restored balloon shell to work with.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


At long last after delay on top of delay i have managed to find some free time to get back to my blog here. If i thought i had been busy in the past well lets just say that was the understatement of the decade no the century. So finally i can get to my 200th posting & set my way overdue first competition underway.

The first prize of course being Sharky the Troll Screamer pirate. Sharky is the first fully completed new style of Troll Sreamers to be created. Others will include:


long with many more i don't want to give away right now lol. I won't be offically selling any Troll Screamers until i get the first ten made after the coming new year as i still have too many projects waiting to be finished for my now active Etsy shop. I will be selling these at around the £100 mark so i guess you can say this first competition prize is worth £100 lol.

A full list of the rules for the competition which includes the 1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes are listed on the right hand column. The competition begins at TONIGHT 11/09/10 12:00PM (GMT) Greenich Mean Time, Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London. There may be a 2/3 week delay in shipping the prizes so if you are prepared to be patient with me cut across to the rules right now & take a look at how to enter.

I will be posting a NEW video featuring Sharky shortly.

Good luck to all who enter.

P.S. Yes before anyone points it out i did say "Banderra" instead of "Bandana". I am not going to go changing it though i am going to leave it as a constant personal reminder/lesson to myself even though i checked the recording five times before uploading it lol.