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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

The Happy Undertaker

on May 8, 2009 - 9:58am

the Happy Undertaker
It's been almost two years since the last instalment of The Happy Undertaker was published to his blog, but I still wanted to draw your attention to these illustrations by Drazen Kojan.

The layout is reminiscent of Sunday paper comic strip cartoons; each issue an episode, each episode with it's own plot surrounding the same whistling Undertaker.


For me, the Happy Undertaker is a bit of a surrealistic melting pot of anything that might pop into my head and onto the page and does not necessarily need to be explained. I try to keep this sense of adventure, surprise and a good (if mysterious) story, with the best drawings I can muster in all my work from children's book illustration to single image illustration and paintings. It's always wonderful to watch an idea grow.

Drazen, originally from Croatia, has called Canada his home for many years. In 2005 he began illustrating children's books and continues to do so. You can see his recent work on his active blog Hypnotik Eye.

But first, do yourself a favour and spend some time going through the Happy Undertaker issues.

Prop Update: Aucellus

on May 7, 2009 - 1:45pm


I'll be cleaning up feathers for the next few weeks, but I suppose it's worth it.

Here is a progress picture of Aucellus or Aucky, as I've started to call him. He's been on the back burner for a while now. I decided it was time to tackle what I'd been avoiding. You see, I've been stumped when it came to making the wings and also attaching the feathers. I didn't know how I wanted to (or how I could) do either.

The only way to get over a problem like that is to run straight at it. Ignore the doubting voice and just do it. I hummed and hawed with the wire armature for a long time, and finally told myself to just put some clay on it to see how it looked. Thank goodness I did, or I'd still be sitting and staring at a featherless bird.

When you're stuck, just experiment. Just 'do'. And trust yourself.

Monsterdecay

on May 5, 2009 - 4:24pm

Circus Punk doll by Monsterdecay
When you have some time and want to fill up on some ghoulish goodies, check out the Monsterdecay blog. You'll find a mix of artistic mediums by the same artist.

Highlights include this circus punk (pictured right). I'd wanted to create something similar last year for the Halloween game room, but just didn't have the time or resources. I'd love to have this in my office.

Monsterdecay, like many of the other artists highlighted in my blog, has a background in graffiti art and tattooing:

I'm a self-taught artist. I think being a self-taught artist may be harder to learn certain things but in the end you can say you really didn't have any help or brainwashing. I've met many people that have 'fine art' backgrounds and it seems that many of them have been taught that you have to do things for certain reasons, which I think is stupid. If you wanna do something do it because you want to not because a teacher told you to.

Kathie Olivas Sculpture

on May 4, 2009 - 9:25am

Kathie Olivas SculptureSpankystokes somehow got the scoop on this, and since the artist's website is rarely updated, I haven't been able to find out more information about the sculpture.

I've blogged about Kathie Olivas in the past (and how I'm a big fan). I own a limited print of hers and have been salivating over her designer toys, plotting ways to add them to my collection.

I don't think I'm going to be able to afford this new piece.

She has taken her Elizabeth figure and created a 3 foot fibreglass sculpture.

I can only imagine how wonderful it must look in person, with her perfect petticoat and tentacles.

Where do you put something like that? Not outside, else it gets stolen. You make room for it inside. Somewhere grand. I don't care if you have to throw out an armchair.

Of course, if you can afford this piece I imagine you have enough square feet to incorporate it into your living space without chucking furniture (or by simply buying new, more accommodating furniture).

Sigh.

Little Jack O Lanterns - Second Crop

on May 1, 2009 - 10:56am

Little pumpkins made from sculpey
Just wanted to share the second crop of mini pumpkins I've been working on.

Their backdrop - the mossy field nestled into a weathered crate - is part of the table display I'm working on for the Festival of Fear Horror expo in August.

It's been a lot of fun experimenting with the different facial expressions and shapes of the pumpkins. Now that this second batch is finished, I have a better sense of what eyes and noses work the best (to my taste, at least) and I'm getting the multi-layered painting technique for this item more perfected (again, to my taste).

It's interesting. Even though I use the same basic approach to painting with each prop, they always end up with their own rhythm and tweaks. It's like experimenting with a recipe: you've figured out what works, but you change up the basic ingredients and cooking methods to get something different.

Intestine Socks

on May 1, 2009 - 8:43am

Intestine socks
A couple of days ago, www.monster-munch.com posted about AshiDashi (which means "stick out your feet" in Japanese). It's an American sock store with an interesting selection.

Meat, monster, cigarette, and pencil are but a few of the designs to choose from. Obviously, I've taken to the intestine pair.

A really fun feature of the company is that they allow you to mix and match - so I could buy one intestine sock and one meat sock. Genius.

They encourage consumers to buy an extra sock because we all lose socks in the dryer.

*Pffft* Laymen. Still blaming the dryer.

Making a Polymer Clay Skull

on April 30, 2009 - 10:58am


Lately I've gotten a number of requests for a polymer clay pumpkin how-to. I haven't had the time to write one, but I can offer you a distraction in the meantime.

Thanks to Haura Laura, I can point you in the direction of a simple skull tutorial on www.polymerclaycentral.com.

The most important information to glean from this tutorial is that you don't need special tools to shape and carve. While certain tools can help (and certainly make life easier), you'll note the artist uses a pin for the detailing.

Household items will work just fine. Instead of using the tool shown in the tutorial for the eyes, look around for similarly shaped objects (like a pen lid, for instance).

Morbid Anatomy

on April 29, 2009 - 2:49pm

Anatomy images from the book DissectionMorbid Anatomy is one of my favourite blogs. It's jam packed with images, links and articles on all things anatomical with a dark twist.

These images (left and below) are from the book Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine 1880–1930 by John Harley Warner and James M. Edmonson. If you visit the blog, you'll find an insightful interview with the co-publisher and editor of the collection that shines light on the history of the images.

The blog itself represents an actual Morbid Anatomy Library in Brookyn, New York. Apparently it's open to the public if you make an appointment (I know where I'd be spending a few afternoons each month). The library is part of the Proteus Gowanus Interdisciplinary Gallery and Reading Room:

Ghoul Friday MIA

on April 28, 2009 - 9:54am

Raccoon in Ghoul Friday's Tree
Am I grounded? I've missed three days of blogging and feel a bit out of sorts (and guilty). Perhaps if I entertain you with stories of what kept me away, you'll forgive me.

Like many other people, I took advantage of the warm weather this past weekend and decided it was time to attack my garden.

I don't find gardening relaxing despite what people say. Sure, the end product helps me to feel calm, and perhaps the cold cider I'm drinking takes the edge off while I take a break from accidentally butchering the flowers and plants in my garden.

I do a lot of shrugging in those moments, completely baffled by the task at hand.

But a real head-scratcher was when I was standing in my driveway, looking toward the large elm tree in the backyard. High up in the branches was a dark, mossy form. Does my tree have a fungus? Oh no...is it a wasps nest?

Koldo Barroso

on April 24, 2009 - 12:56pm

Harpsong by Kodlo BarrosoAs a blogger, I spend a lot of my time watching the web for terrifically terrifying tidbits and talented artists. Now and then, they find me. Such was the case with Koldo Barroso. One day he was following me on twitter, and I've been following him ever since.

Pictured left is a close up of one of the illustrations he did for Judy Dyble's album "Talking With Strangers". It was created for and named after a song entitled Harp Song. You can see the full illustration posted below.

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